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Preview: #7 Duke Blue Devils (16-4, 7-2 ACC) vs. #3 North Carolina (17-4, 9-1 ACC)

Saturday, Feb. 3 • 6:30 p.m. ET
Dean E. Smith Center (21,750) • Chapel Hill, NC

The Blue Devils face the North Carolina Tar Heels Saturday, it marks the 261st meeting in the Duke-North Carolina rivalry history. This will be the 49th time the Blue Devils and Tar Heels have clashed as top-10 teams. The record in those matchups is 24-24, with an average score of UNC 76.8, Duke 76.0.

Series & Game Info


Overall UNC leads, 143-117
In Durham, NC Duke leads, 56-51
at Cameron Indoor Stadium Duke leads, 47-39
In Chapel Hill, NC UNC leads, 64-39
at Smith Center UNC leads, 20-18
Neutral Sites UNC leads, 28-22
Last Meeting Duke 62, @UNC 57 (March 4, 2023)

Game Info

TV/Video Stream ESPN
Play-by-Play Dan Shulman
Analyst Jay Bilas
Sideline Jess Sims
Director Mike Roig
Producer Eric Mosley

Radio Blue Devil Sports Net.
Play-by-Play David Shumate
Analyst John Roth
Engineer John Rose
In Durham 96.5 FM & 620 AM
SiriusXM 81

The Teams

North Carolina Tar Heels

North Carolina enters Saturday as the ACC’s best team with a 9-1 conference record and a 17-4 record overall. The Heels are 9th in the country in rebounding, top 25 in scoring and 8th in free throws per game. Defensively, UNC is holding opponents to under 30% shooting from 3 on the season and that number shrinks significantly within the ACC to 26.8% – leading the conference. They are 3rd in the conference in scoring defense and 4th in offensive rebounding.

Favorite for ACC Player of the year, senior guard RJ Davis leads the Tar Heels in scoring at 21.5 points per game to go along with 3.7 boards. 5th year senior Armando Bacot is averaging 13.4 points per game and leads the Heels in rebounding at 9.9 per game. Transfer forward Harrison Ingram is averaging 12.1 and contributing 8.8 rebounds. Notre Dame transfer Cormac Ryan is averaging 10.9 points per game while freshman Elliot Cadeau leads the Tar Heels in assists with 3.7 per game.

North Carolina boasts a starting lineup with a ton of experience with starting 5th and 6th year seniors in Armando Bacot and Cormac Ryan respectively, a 4th year senior in RJ Davis and a junior Harrison Ingram. The youngest member of the starting group is freshman Elliot Cadeau.

Duke Blue Devils

The Blue Devils enter Saturday with a 16-4 record and a 7-2 conference record. The Blue Devils are 16th in the nation in 3-point percentage at 38.7% overall, they rank 2nd in the ACC at 40% in league play. Duke ranks 11th nationally in fewest turnovers (9.4 per game) and 12th in assist/turnover ratio (1.70).

Kyle Filipowski ranks seventh in scoring (17.5 ppg), fifth in rebounding (8.7 rpg), fourth in blocked shots (1.9 bpg) and seventh in field goal percentage (.504). Filipowski leads the Blue Devils in scoring, rebounding and blocks. Jeremy Roach tops the ACC and ranks 12th in the nation in assist/turnover ratio (3.28), while Tyrese Proctor is positioned third in the conference and 32nd nationally (2.87). In Roach’s last 11 games, the senior guard has distributed 37 assists with eight turnovers (4.6 assist/turnover ratio). Roach is second on the team in scoring at 13.9 per game. Tyrese Proctor has scored at least 10 points in each of Duke’s last five games, averaging 16.4 points across that stretch, including a career-high 24 points at Louisville (Jan. 23). Proctor has raised his scoring average to 11.2 points per game – he leads Duke in assists at 3.9 per contest. Mark Mitchell comes in second in rebounding for the Blue Devils at 6.1 per game to go along with his 12.5 points per game scoring average. Freshman Jared McCain rounds out the double-figure scorers for the Blue Devils at 12.4 per game.

Stats Comparison

Duke 20 40.0 28.4 58.9 .482 20.1 37.3 .538 8.4 21.6 .387 15.9 21.6 .734 9.6 26.3 35.9 16.0 6.8 4.0 9.4 15.9 81.0
North Carolina 21 40.2 28.3 62.7 .451 20.7 41.1 .503 7.6 21.6 .352 18.4 24.4 .754 12.5 29.1 41.6 14.0 6.0 4.4 10.7 16.8 82.6

Stats Comparison (Conference)

Duke 9 40.0 26.3 57.6 .458 17.6 35.8 .491 8.8 21.8 .403 15.0 21.0 .714 8.3 24.6 32.9 14.3 6.6 4.1 9.6 16.0 76.4
North Carolina 10 40.0 27.1 63.1 .429 20.3 41.9 .484 6.8 21.2 .321 16.8 22.5 .747 11.6 29.8 41.4 13.6 5.8 4.4 10.9 16.9 77.8

Projected Lineup

Duke Blue Devils

G Jeremy Roach 6’2, 180lbs SR
G Caleb Foster 6’5, 197lbs FR
G Jared McCain 6’3, 197lbs FR
F Mark Mitchell  6’9, 232lbs SO
C Kyle Filipowski 7’0, 248lbs SO

North Carolina Tar Heels

G RJ Davis 6’0, 180lbs SR
G Elliot Cadeau 6’1, 180lbs FR
G Cormac Ryan 6’5, 195lbs GRSR
F Harrison Ingram 6’7, 225lbs JR
C Armando Bacot 6’11, 240lbs SR


Jon Scheyer says that his team is ready to face North Carolina and I believe him. There are some caveats to that statement that have to be addressed. The Blue Devils are simply going to have to play a much better game against the Tar Heels. The weak finishes, the bad shot selection – none of those things can happen against the best team in the ACC. The Blue Devils will have to get back in transition defense – make or miss. UNC is going to run at Duke any chance they get but this UNC team is a much older and wiser group who can play in the half-court as well. Stopping RJ Davis is key and something that no team has truly been able to do this season. The favorite for ACC Player of the Year is a scoring machine and doesn’t make many mistakes. Davis is excellent at all 3 levels and an inch of space for the 4th year senior may as well be a mile – he doesn’t need much to get his shot off. Armando Bacot has a way of controlling the paint and Jon Scheyer is no stranger to that fact. This season’s version of Bacot is leaner, stronger and quicker. Keeping the big man off the glass and keeping him taking tough 2’s will be paramount.

Controlling the boards in this game will be in essence controlling the game – Duke is going to need the guards to step up their rebounding and Mark Mitchell needs to be a menace both on the boards and in the paint. Kyle Filipowski has to play a smarter brand of basketball, and keep in mind that you can get two points back but you cannot get back a foul. The Blue Devils have been battle tested  but they haven’t come out of every battle unscathed. Duke has to play better simply put – I believe they can and will.

Harrison Ingram is no doubt the x-factor for the Heels, the junior forward has been a revelation for Hubert Davis, sneaky good from beyond the arc but most importantly his efforts on the glass have been a life and game saver for UNC. Ingram is all out effort.