Duke Blue Devils (16-6, 7-4) vs. North Carolina Tar Heels (15-7, 7-4)
Game #23 • Home Game #12 • ACC Game #12 • Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023 • 6:30 p.m. ET
Cameron Indoor Stadium (9,314) • Durham, N.C.
Radio: Blue Devils Sports Network from LEARFIELD / Westwood One
After facing Wake Forest Tuesday in the series’ 259th meeting, Duke and North Carolina meet Saturday for the 259th time. Wake and UNC are the two most frequently-played rivalries in Duke’s basketball history.
Duke and UNC won on each others’ home courts last season — Duke winning 87-67 in Chapel Hill and Carolina taking a 94-81 decision in Durham. Last year’s third meeting came at the Final Four in New Orleans, an 81-77 UNC win in a classic that featured 18 lead changes and 12 ties — the rivals’ first all-time meeting in the NCAA Tournament. The all-time series favors the Tar Heels, 143-115, but the Blue Devils are 55-51 in Durham and 46-39 at Cameron Indoor. The last 100 games in the series are split 50-50, with Duke out-scoring UNC by just 17 points over that span (7,861-7,844).
This season marks the 103rd anniversary of the Duke-North Carolina rivalry, which dates back to January 24, 1920 — a 36-25 UNC win in Durham. Saturday’s game is the 259th all-time meeting — North Carolina leads the all-time series 143-115, but Duke leads 55-51 in games played in Durham, including 46-39 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Over the last 100 games, the series is tied 50-50. The total points scored over the last 100 games are nearly identical, with Duke leading 7,861-7,844 (+17).
Jon Scheyer is making his debut in the series as Duke’s head coach. He was a Duke assistant for 22 games vs. UNC (11-11) and a player for eight (3-5). Scheyer averaged 19.4 points in eight career games against the Tar Heels, the fifth-most by a Duke player all-time with a minimum of four games played in the series. He had five 20-point games, including 26 in his UNC debut. He closed his career in the rivalry with an 82-50 win on Senior Day with 20 points, seven assists and five rebounds — the 32-point margin being the second largest in the rivalry’s history behind a 35-point win in 1964, 104-69. He was 44-of-105 (.419) from the field, 23-of-51 (.451) from three, 44-of-53 (.830).
Last year’s clash in the Final Four in New Orleans marked the first all-time meeting between the rivlas in the NCAA Tournament. Duke is 14-9 vs. North Carolina in the ACC Tournament, having won seven of the last eight meetings. Duke and Carolina have met once in the NIT — a 73-67 UNC victory in 1971 at Madison Square Garden in the semifinals. Duke and North Carolina have accounted for 39 of the 69 ACC Tournament Championships. Duke has an ACC-best 21 conference championships, including 15 ACC titles that came under Coach K. Duke won three years ago in Chapel Hill on Wendell Moore Jr.’s buzzer-beater on Feb. 8, 2020. Eight years prior in 2012 in Chapel Hill, Austin Rivers hit a three at the horn to win, 85-84.
The Blue Devils won the first matchup last season, winning 87-67 on Feb. 5 in Chapel Hill. AJ Griffin scored 27 points, tying for the fourth-most by a Duke player in their first Duke-UNC game. RJ Barrett’s 33 points in 2019 stand as both the Duke freshman record vs. the Heels, and the most by a Blue Devil in their first Duke-UNC game. Carolina evened the season series last year with a 94-81 victory at Cameron Indoor on March 5 as four different Tar Heels scored at least 20 points. The teams produced a classic in the national semifinal game in New Orleans during last year’s Final Four, as Carolina pulled out an 81-77 victory in a game that featured 18 lead changes and 12 ties.
Overall UNC leads, 143-115
In Durham, NC Duke leads, 55-51
at Cameron Indoor Stadium Duke leads, 46-39
In Chapel Hill, NC UNC leads, 64-38
at Smith Center UNC leads, 20-17
Neutral Sites UNC leads, 28-22
Last Meeting UNC 81, Duke 77 (April 2, 2022)
Last 10 Games in Series UNC leads, 6-4
Duke has out-rebounded 18 of its first 22 opponents and is 15-3 this season when holding an advantage on the glass. Duke is 13-3 when leading in offensive rebounding. The ACC’s best rebounding team, Duke ranks third nationally in rebound margin (+9.1), 10th in offensive rebounds (13.4) and 14th in rebounds per game (39.7) — leading the ACC in each. Duke, Alabama and Tennessee are the only teams ranked inside the NCAA’s top 15 for each rebound margin, offensive rebounds and total rebounds. Duke has held 19 of 22 teams below their season scoring average, ranking second in the ACC and 39th nationally in scoring defense (63.7). Georgia Tech was the most recent of eight teams this season to post a then season-low in points versus the Blue Devils.
Freshman Kyle Filipowski, staking his claim as the ACC Rookie of the Year, leads all conference freshmen in scoring, rebounding and double-doubles. He has 11 doubles-doubles, including a monster current six-game stretch averaging 21.0 points and 11.8 boards. This week’s ACC Rookie of the Week for the seventh time, Filipowski is the only freshman nationally averaging at least 15 points and nine rebounds this season.
Guards junior Jeremy Roach (21 points) and freshman Tyrese Proctor (17 points) combined for 38 points on 15-of-27 (.556) shooting in Tuesday’s win over Wake Forest. Roach (right) is on pace for a career scoring year at 12.2 points, while Proctor is averaging 8.9 for the season, including 12.7 points on .416 shooting over the last six games. Freshman Dereck Lively II is second in the ACC and 25th nationally with 2.0 blocks. He has swatted 12 shots and posted both of his career-high 10-rebound games over the last four.
About North Carolina
The Tar Heels enter Saturday with an identical record in the ACC to the Blue Devils at 7-4. They are coming off a 1-point loss at home to Pitt in a hard fought grudge match. The Heels are 15-7 overall this season.
UNC is 21st in the country in total boards per game, 11th in defensive rebounding and 36th in scoring in the country. They are 4th in the ACC in scoring, 3rd in rebounding, 2nd in defensive rebounding, 3rd in offensive rebounding.
UNC is led by probable ACC Player of the year Armando Bacot who leads them in both scoring and rebounding at 17.7 points and 11.3 rebounds per game. The Heels also boast 3 other double figure scores in junior guard Caleb Love who scores 16.5 points per game to go along with his 3 assists, RJ Davis who scores 16 per game with 3.2 assists – David is tops among the starters in 3pt field goal shooting at 36%. Graduate transfer Pete Nance rounds out the double figure scorers for UNC at 11 points per game and 5.9 rebounds.
Duke Blue Devils
G Jeremy Roach 6’2, 180lbs Jr.
G Tyrese Proctor 6’5 175lbs Fr.
F Mark Mitchell 6’8, 220lbs Fr.
F Kyle Filipowski 7’0, 230lbs Fr.
F Dereck Lively 7’1, 230lbs Fr.
North Carolina Tar Heels
G RJ Davis 6’0, 175lbs Jr.
G Caleb Love 6’4, 200lbs Sr.
F Leaky Black 6’9, 205lbs Gr.
F Armando Bacot 6’11, 235lbs Sr.
F Pete Nance 6’11, 230lbs Gr.
The energy expended before this game ever even gets tipped is so underrated the biggest hurdle for the Blue Devils, besides this team who’s average age is 22, will be their own emotions. While the level isn’t as distracting and as wild as last season it’s still there to an extent. Tempering and settling down is huge.
As for on the floor the Blue Devils will be in for a very physical brand of basketball in which the little things will add up to big results. Duke has to continue to rebound the basketball as well as they have if not better to win this game. They will also have to curb their penchant for live-ball turnovers. Letting UNC get out on the break is probably the worst thing that this young squad can do and would assure them of playing behind for most of the game. Make the Heels work on both ends of the floor, make them guard multiple actions when on offense and finish at the rim. Going at Bacot defensively worked in the Dean Dome last season and might be a good idea for Saturday put him in ball screens, pick and rolls and make him have to move his feet defensively.
Perimeter defense is another area that Duke will have to excel at. UNC is not a good shooting team but we all know that when Duke comes knocking they will hit every open shot. Being disciplined on your screens and closing under control are huge. Recovering will be huge in scramble situation and identifying who can and can’t make shots. Doubling the post, to me, seems like a very good way to get UNC’s guards good rhythm shots, living with Bacot 2’s over open 3’s might be the way I go.
The duh in the room is that the Blue Devils cannot put the Tar Heels on the line. It’s a huge part of UNC’s game, getting to the line and the balance of fouls that their opposition accumulates has been a huge advantage for them.
HEAD COACH JON SCHEYER
On if this week and upcoming game is a moment he thought about when he initially was named head coach:
“Yeah, I mean, to be honest with you, no. Just because you can’t skip steps and as a young kid, I’ve watched this game and to me, it is the best rivalry in sport, no question about it and have a lot of respect for Carolina. But not really until this moment preparing for them. Obviously excited and just like I’ve been for every other game. It’s not like this was one circled or checked off or anything. It has to be just game by game.”
On what he remembers about playing in this rivalry game:
“There’s a lot of memories that stand out. We’ve had some battles with these guys through the years. Dating back to my freshman year and they had some incredible teams during my years and just like they have ever since and vice versa with us. Anytime you get a chance to play your last home game, in Cameron, whoever it’s against – it happened to be so those guys, you want to finish up with a win. And so the fact that we were able to do that is a special memory. I just remember my first game here, it was actually at home … I had 26 and those are games you dream about playing in. The bigger it is the better it is.”
On if he gets as much juice being on the bench coaching against Carolina as he did playing against them:
“Yeah, no question. It’s a different feeling, of course, but it’s special when Cameron is rocking and to be honest with you, our crowds have been incredible. I mean, just the support that we’ve had and the students’ support has been amazing. So each game has been like that. But when Cameron’s going and it’s Saturday afternoon or Saturday evening it’s a pretty special place to be.”
On how the team compartmentalize the two losses last season to help the players prepare:
“To be honest with you, you move on. It’s such a different team, different circumstances for us. Obviously, for them, they have a lot of returning players and Hubert [Davis] was the coach last year but we haven’t, we’ll talk about it with our team, it’s not going to be about that. It’s about where we are right now, where they are and winning this game for Saturday. So, you take any experience you’ve had in the past, you learn from it, of course, but it’s not about putting that aside or trying to think of how do we use that as motivation. It’s about right now where we are, and that’s what we’ll focus on with our team.”
On how his previous experiences with the rivalry helps him prepare the team:
“I think it’s around 30 games [for me], give or take in this rivalry as a player, as an assistant coach. And you really have to keep the main thing, the main thing. And that’s what your job is for the game. Focus on, you know, they’re a really good team, so you have to focus on making winning plays whether it’s rebounding or taking care of the ball, whatever it may be, and not get into anything bigger as far as distractions go or as far as anything else. So I think that’s the biggest thing.”
On what Duke has to do to win the rebounding battle against North Carolina:
“Yeah, it’s a fight. It’s a fight on the boards and [Armando] Bacot I mean, he’s, I think it speaks for itself, his numbers that he’s had, the job that he does rebounding the basketball on both ends. And just like every other game we go into; it has to be a battle. We have to have discipline, making sure we’re not just pursuing it on the offensive end where they can just get run outs but also when we have the opportunity, we need to go rebound, that’s been a strength of ours and that’s not going to change whoever we’re playing against.”
On what has been clicking for Tyrese Proctor recently:
“I think his confidence is really growing. We threw him into … it’s his first year and he actually shouldn’t even be here right now. We brought him a year early. We threw him right into the fire. And sometimes when you do that you can, you go through moments where you have great success and go through moments where you don’t look very good. And Tyrese, that happened to him early. Really went through a tough shooting slump, which probably impacted him, and you just see his confidence growing each day. He’s done amazing work with Jai Lucas every single day and his feel for the game, his shooting, his ability to make others better. And he’s got more in him. He’s got a lot more in him. Really proud of him for what he’s done. And I really think his best basketball is yet to come this year still.”
On how much the energy provided by the fans has helped the younger players on the team:
“Yeah, you know what, it’s funny you say that because what I want Duke fans to feel is they’re right alongside us with us in this journey. And it is a journey. I think back to my playing days, and it ended in a National Championship. Was fortunate to be a part of a National Championship team as an assistant coach. It was not linear. Like that thing did not go up every step of the way. We got knocked on our butts many times. We lost, and with this group, we haven’t been perfect, but this group has responded anytime it’s gotten knocked down. And I think that shows an incredible amount of character that these guys have. And so, for us, we’re at home, we’re all scrapping and clawing and fighting together. We’re trying to do this. And so, I’ve felt that from everybody. I’ve felt that from Cameron. You can’t assume it’s just going to happen when you’re home, either. That’s one thing for a young group you can sometimes think it’s just going to happen. Our guys haven’t felt that way. But that’s what I want everybody in this building to feel anytime we’re in here. We’re going through this together, and we’ll get there, but it’s not going to be easy, and we have to fight every time we’re out here.”
JUNIOR GUARD JEREMY ROACH
On how he views the Duke-UNC rivalry:
“One of the best, in my personal opinion the best rivalry in all sports … Obviously, what happened last year, happened last year, but we don’t want to focus on that too much. Want to focus on ourselves and what we have to do to just get the win. It’s going to be a fight. It’s going to be a war. UNC is a great team. It’s always going to be a great battle, but just got to focus on us and the 15 guys in the locker room.”
On how much the time off helped him manage his toe injury:
“The time off definitely helped me a lot just to kind of get it under control. But while I’m out there with my guys, I’m not worried about the toe. The toe’s fine. I’m out there for my brother’s fighting, just to do anything I can to get a win. … definitely manage it, definitely got to keep an eye on it. I mean, the big toe, it’s kind of the main thing you need to walk. You’re always going to feel it when you’re walking, doing any type of sporting activity. Always got to be aware of that but right now I’m feeling good.”
On if he has talked to the other players about last year’s results or if it’s something they’ve asked about:
“I mean, obviously, everybody wants to know what happened, how it was last year obviously for Coach K’s last game at home. In the Final Four, what the atmosphere was like, how the game went. You can see on the game; it was a war. Just gave them some pointers and stuff like that. It’s not going to be the team you see on TV, they’re going to be at a whole other level. You’ve just got to be ready for that. And know that at any point in time, whether he’s the lowest person on the scouting part of the highest person on the scouting report, he can go off at any time.”
FRESHMAN FORWARD KYLE FILIPOWSKI
On the report that he was dismissed from a practice in the summer:
“Just to set the set the record straight, we were doing this drill and I wasn’t putting in my full amount of effort. And [Coach Scheyer] got on me about it. But he didn’t tell me to get out. I was just overwhelmed. And so I actually left myself, because I just needed to blow off some steam. But that was because him and some of the guys were on me on the drill because I wasn’t putting in the effort I should have been. But I mean, just from the summer to where I’m at now and like the strides I’ve made, that’s all because of my coaches and my teammates. If they haven’t been on me since day one, I wouldn’t be where I am now. Just with the confidence they’ve had in me, for always believing in me, and just all of us starting to become a family too. That’s really what I give the credit for with my personal success and I’m going to repay the favor by going out there every game and diving on the ball for the loose ball. Always putting in my effort.”
On his first memories of the Duke-UNC rivalry:
“Oh, man. Everyone talks about, it’s one of the one of the greatest rivalries in sports, so I’ve known it my whole life. My oldest brother was a big Duke fan. So just growing up and always seeing him watch Duke and him talk about the history and how great it is here. I kind of already got a little sense for that growing up just with kind of being around a fan growing up.”
On what Duke has to do and what he has to do to make sure Duke comes out on top of the rebounding battle:
“Just punch first and keep punching. I think that’s something we learned the hard way with some of the tough losses we’ve had and we don’t need to worry about the numbers they’re putting up. We just need to focus on what we do best and how well we rebound and keep going for the ball. I think we’ll be fine in that that part of the game if we just focus on what we do best.”