Duke vs North Carolina Preview
SATURDAY, FEB. 5, 2022 | DEAN E. SMITH CENTER | CHAPEL HILL, NC | 6 PM ET
Overall UNC leads, 141-114
In Durham, NC Duke leads, 55-50 (46-38 at Cameron Indoor)
In Chapel Hill, NC UNC leads, 64-37 (17-19 at Smith Center)
Last Meeting UNC, 91-73 (3/6/21 @ UNC)
Coach K vs. UNC 49-46
Last 10 Games (Streak) UNC, 6-4 (UNC, 2W)
Duke vs North Carolina:
For the 256th time overall and the 96th meeting in the Coach K era, No. 9 Duke and North Carolina square off in the Battle of the Blues on Saturday night at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill. Carolina leads the overall series 141-114, but Duke is 49-46 vs. UNC under Mike Krzyzewski. The last 100 meetings are split 50-50.
The North Carolina Tar Heels are on a 4 game winning streak and are 16-6 overall and 8-3 in conference play. The Heels, once thought to be a tournament afterthought have played their way into a possible 10th seed at this point in the season. The Tar Heels in conference play are first in rebounding, 4th in assists, 4th in blocks. The Heels are 3rd in the ACC in 3 point field goal percentage and first in points per game.
Armando Bacot leads the Tar Heels in scoring and rebounding at 16.5 and 12.5 per game. Caleb love is the leading assist man at 3.5 per game to go along with his 15.3 points and is shooting 42% from beyond the arc. His backcourt mate RJ Davis scores 13.9 points per game and also shoots 42% from three.
The Blue Devils, in sole possession of first place in the ACC, have won four straight games and six of their last seven, while the Tar Heels have won four straight, are 12-0 at home and sit a half game back of Duke in a three-way tie for second with Notre Dame and Miami. Duke leads the ACC in both field goal defense (.399) and three-point defense (.295) — one of just three power conference teams this season holding opponents to below .400/.300 (LSU, Michigan State). And Since January 1, Duke opponents are shooting just .267 from three-point range — the best percentage defense by power conference teams in that span.
Six-time ACC Freshman of the Week, Paolo Banchero leads the Blue Devils in both scoring and rebounding and is averaging a double-double over Duke’s last six games with 17.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists and a .506 field goal percentage in that span. Banchero, the ACC’s lone representative on the late-season watch list for the Wooden Award, has nine 20-point efforts this season — seven coming against power conference opponents — six in ACC play — in addition to 21 points vs. Gonzaga. He leads all scorers in ACC play at 19.1 and is second in ACC play in rebounds (9.4).
Wendell Moore Jr. leads the Blue Devils in assists at 4.5 per game, he’s also averaging 14.2 points per game and 5 and a half rebounds in his junior season. Moore is shooting 40% from beyond the arc. Sophomore Mark Williams, a finalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year, leads the ACC and is 11th nationally in blocks (3.2). Williams is Duke’s second leading scorer and rebounder over the last five games with 13.0 points and 9.0 boards. Freshman AJ Griffin set a Duke freshman record for three-point accuracy with his 5-of-5 at Louisville last Saturday, matching career highs in points (22) and made three-pointers (five). Griffin is the only power conference player — and one of 11 players nationally — shooting .500+ from three with a min. of 50 attempts.
Duke vs North Carolina: Keys to the Game
Battling against the Tar Heels means battling against human nature sometimes. When you score you job back – against UNC that means giving up a bucket. The Heels are a team that creates fast breaks based not solely on your misses but your makes. They manufacture easy buckets through taking advantage of your own habits. They are also a team that rebounds the ball amazingly well. The Blue Devils will have to be a much tougher team on both ends of the floor – this includes finishing through contact as well as making sure rebounds are secured on the defensive and offensive glass.
Also, defensively the Blue Devil guards have to do a much better job of keeping Caleb Love, RJ Davis and Leaky Black from getting past them. It’s a very cerebral and tricky situation – they have to not give enough space to allow for those 3 (who all shoot around 40% from 3) good looks but also not being beaten off the dribble so that Mark Williams has to leave Armando Bacot open for lobs and wrap-around passes. If the Blue Devils can make them into miid-range shooters Duke wins that battle.
For Mark Williams picking and choosing when and where to go for blocked shots will be crucial, with UNC guards looking to penetrate and dish. UNC will push the issue and foul trouble could become a factor especially playing in Chapel Hill. Corner 3’s will also be something Duke will have to account for, I’m certain the scouting report that Duke uses will point out the favorite spots for UNC shooters – 1 being short corners and the others on the right and left sides of the top of the key.
Offensively the Blue Devils need to be better with taking care of the basketball. Neither team turns the ball over very much but both have had stretches where turnovers have been an issue.
DUKE VS NORTH CAROLINA OVERALL
DUKE VS NORTH CAROLINA CONFERENCE
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS
DUKE VS NORTH CAROLINA
Duke Blue Devils
Guard Jeremy Roach 6’1, 180lbs – Sophomore
Guard / Forward Wendell Moore 6’5, 213lbs – Junior
Forward AJ Griffin 6’6, 222lbs – Freshman
Forward Paolo Banchero 6’10, 250lbs – Freshman
Center Mark Williams 7’1, 242lbs – Sophomore
Guard Caleb Love 6’4, 195lbs – Sophomore
Guard RJ Davis 6’0, 175lbs – Sophomore
Forward Leaky Black 6’8, 200lbs – Senior
Forward Brady Manek 6’9, 230lbs – Graduate
Forward Armando Bacot 6’10, 240lbs – Junior