Preview: Duke Blue Devils vs the North Carolina Tar Heels- ACC Tournament Edition

Brian HoraceGame Previews, PreviewsLeave a Comment

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March 15, 9:00PM
ESPN

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The Series:

Overall: 251th meeting; North Carolina leads, 139-111
In Durham: Duke leads, 54-49
In Chapel Hill: UNC leads, 63-36 (UNC, 19-15 at Smith Center)
At neutral sites: North Carolina leads, 27-21
Current streak: North Carolina, W3
Coach K vs. North Carolina: 46-44

Media:

TV: ESPN
Internet: ESPN
Listen Live: Blue Devil IMG Sports Network
Radio Affiliates
Live Stats

Duke will try for the 3rd time to take down the Tar Heels of North Carolina in the ACC semifinals in Greensboro. The Tar Heels have beaten the Blue Devils handily in both contests during the regular season. This ACC Tournament matchup could be the determining factor in which team inherits a number 1 seed in the NCAAT. With Duke's poor play of late they have, in the eyes of most pundits, slipped into a 2 seed while UNC on the strength of their current 8 game winning streak has played themselves onto that 1 line.

Duke did play better in the second game but could not match the shot making prowess of freshman guard Coby White who scored 21 points on 8-18 shooting and 4-10 from 3 point range. UNC also got 14 from Cameron Johnson and 18 from Kenny Williams. The Blue Devils without Zion Williamson on the floor were paced by R.J. Barrett who scored a game high 26 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Cam Reddish added 23 points to the Blue Devil total as well.

In order to contend with Carolina Duke will need to improve on several fronts. They Syracuse game saw the Blue Devils turn the ball over 18 times leading to 20 Syracuse points. Duke will have to be much stronger with the ball against a team that runs like UNC. Duke will also need to defend the perimeter much better. Duke took a 2 point lead into the half only to see North Carolina come out in the second half and shoot 43.8% from beyond the arc. UNC also had the edge in second chance points doubling up Duke's 11 for 22 points.

With both teams playing their second game in as many days, the edge in depth goes to the Heels. Duke will need to slow this UNC team down - somehow. If UNC is allowed to run I can see this Duke team being gassed early - especially with emotions being so high.

GAME NOTES

  • Third-seeded Duke battles second-seeded North Carolina Friday night in the semifinals of the 66th New York ACC Tournament with a spot in Saturday’s title game on the line.
  • The Blue Devils and Tar Heels are meeting for the 251st time in the series overall, for the 23rd time in the ACC Tournament and in the tournament for the third consecutive season.
  • The Blue Devils’ 20 ACC Championships lead the conference, while their 101 ACC Tournament wins are tied for the most.
  • Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski is 63-23 all-time in the ACC Tournament with 14 titles. Duke has won 11 of the last 22 ACC titles and is 46-11 in the tournament in that span.
  • Freshman Zion Williamson enters the North Carolina game having made 19 consecutive field goals -- one shy of tying the ACC record (20) set by Duke’s Alaa Abdelnaby in 1989.
  • Williamson was 13-of-13 from the field against Syracuse, setting both a Duke and ACC single-game record for accuracy, and tying the overall ACC game record.
  • Williamson is the nation’s only player averaging 20.0+ points and shooting .650+ from the field.
  • Freshman RJ Barrett, who holds the ACC single-season freshman scoring record with 747 points, leads the ACC in scoring at 23.3 points. He is the only major conference player to score 13+ points in every game this season.
  • Barrett (23.4) and Williamson (21.9) are aiming to become the first freshman teammates in NCAA history to each average 20.0+ points in a season.
DUKE 3PT SHOOTING PERCENTAGE
30.6%
North Carolina 3PT SHOOTING PERCENTAGE
37.3%
DUKE SHOOTING PERCENTAGE
47.7%
North Carolina SHOOTING PERCENTAGE
46.6%
DUKE FREE THROW PERCENTAGE
68.9%
North Carolina FREE THROW PERCENTAGE
74.2%
Duke PPG
84.1
North Carolina PPG
86.5

Duke Probable Starters

  • G Tre Jones 6'2, 183lbs
  • F R.J. Barrett 6'7, 202lbs
  • F Cam Reddish 6'8, 218lbs
  • F Zion Williamson 6'7, 183lbs
  • F Javin DeLaurier 6'10, 234lbs

North Carolina Probable Starters

  • G Coby White, 6'5, 185lbs
  • G Kenny Williams, 6'4, 185lbs
  • G Cameron Johnson, 6'9, 210lbs
  • F Luke Maye, 6'8, 240lbs
  • F Garrison Brooks, 6'9, 230lbs

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