North Carolina Tar Heels (22-8) at Duke Blue Devils (24-6)
What a nasty loss we took last night. We were on the Rhode Island Rams on the road against Davidson. The Rams had this game in control seemingly all-night long. They held the lead basically the entire game and had a seven-point lead with under two minutes to play. Easy game, right? Wrong.
The Wildcats fought all the way back, and with just three seconds left on the clock, Jon Gudmundsson made a go-ahead layup for Davidson. This is now two straight losses for Rhode Island and three out of their last five.
They are not playing well at the moment and will need to win the A-10 tournament if they want a good seed in the NCAA tournament. What once looked like a very promising season for the Rams is quickly looking like a first-weekend exit from the Big Dance.
Today I will take a look at the North Carolina Tar Heels as they play the Duke Blue Devils.
The North Carolina Tar Heels take the short trip down Tobacco Road to face their hated rivals, the Blue Devils of Duke Saturday night in primetime. This is the best rivalry in all of college hoops and marks the last game of the regular season for both squads.
The Blue Devils are looking to avenge an 82-78 loss to the Tar Heels earlier this season. North Carolina has won six out of their last seven games, the Blue Devils have won five out of their last six. The Blue Devils are -7-point home favorites. The game total over-under is set at 160.5 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:15 PM PST from Cameron Indoor Stadium.
This is as good as it gets for college hoops. Two elite level programs, ranked in the top ten, and both playing very well at the moment. When these two teams meet up, you can always throw the records out, but in this case, both teams are playing for a top two seed in the NCAA tournament this year.
If either of these teams win the ACC tournament, they could very well find themselves on the top line come Selection Sunday next weekend.
For North Carolina, they are looking for the very rare season sweep of Duke. The Heels hit a rough patch in January when they lost three straight games but seemed to have righted the ship in February as they won six straight games before losing to Miami in their last game. This team is very reminiscent of last year’s team that got hot late and rode it all the way to a national title.
The recent play of point guard Joel Berry has been a big reason why the Heels are playing so well at the moment. Berry was huge in the Tar Heels win against Duke earlier this year. The veteran guard went for 21 points and 6 assists and carried the Heels down the stretch in that game. They will need another great game from Berry tonight if they want to beat a very good Duke team.
Cameron Indoor Stadium might be the toughest place to play for visiting teams in the country. Duke always protects its home court. This year has been no different as Duke’s lone home loss came at the hands of the Virginia Cavaliers, aka the number one team in the country. Coach K just doesn’t lose at home very often.
Duke hit a bit of a rough patch themselves earlier this month as they lost three out of four games. The losses to Virginia and North Carolina were completely understandable, but the loss to St John’s was a shocker. The Blue Devils lost another shocker in their last game to Virginia Tech.
It’s not that Virginia Tech is a bad team, they are actually pretty good. It was just the way they lost that was surprising. Duke held a double-digit lead most of the game and were still up seven points with three minutes left in the game. Coach K just doesn’t let games like this slip away very often.
But when Chris Clarke tipped in a miss with just three seconds left on the clock to give the Hokies a 64-63 lead, that is exactly what happened. Duke will need to play better tonight if they want to hold off the defending national champs.
This has all the makings of a classic game. Both teams are playing well right now, even though they both lost their last games. They are both in the top ten and always play their best games against each other. That is why I was a little surprised to see this number so high.
I like Duke more than I like Carolina this year. I think they just have a lot more talent. But seven points seems mighty high for a game that could very easily come down to the last possession.
I think Duke wins this game tonight. But I just don’t see any way that it is a blowout. These two teams always seem to play tight competitive games and I expect that again tonight. I think the season series evens up tonight and I can’t wait to see these team’s matchup again in the ACC tournament on a neutral floor.
Give me the North Carolina Tar Heels getting +7 points tonight on the road.