Even though this blog is one that is focused on Arkansas sports and the SEC, I take the liberty as a lifelong North Carolina fan (my mom graduated from there) to preview a unique battle between North Carolina and the school less than ten miles down the road.
If you don’t know who I am talking about, look at the title of this post. The Duke-North Carolina rivalry has been one of if not the best rivalry in college sports since its inception in 1920. North Carolina leads the rivalry by just 25 wins, 139-114. Usually the two split the regular season series but in 2018-2019 North Carolina swept and a year later Duke did the same thing in 2019-2020. Alright, enough with the history, let’s get to the game set for February 6, 2021.
North Carolina at. Duke
Cameron Indoor Stadium (Durham,NC)
Saturday February 6, 6 PM ET
In Chapel Hill and Durham, we are used to seeing elite match ups at every position. This season, maybe not so much. Although, us fans do get North Carolina big man Garrison Brooks (10.5 PPG, 7.2 RPG), who was the Pre-Season Player of the Year in the ACC, matching up with Duke big Matthew Hurt (18.8 PPG, 7.5 RPG). Fellow North Carolina big man Armando Bacot (11.9 PPG, 7.5 RPG) has played well the last few games scoring 21, 17, and 18 points three of the last four games. Another big man in Tar Heel blue is Day’Ron Sharpe (9.6 PPG, 7.8 RPG) who gives Roy Williams an excellent option to score in the paint, having not developed much of an outside shot yet. North Carolina does have veterans on the perimeter, but I agree with most of the media when they say that is North Carolina’s major weakness this season is guard play. That is one area in the game where the 7-6 Blue Devils have the advantage. Duke Freshman Forward Jalen Johnson, a projected lottery pick, is averaging 12.1 points per game and 7.4 rebounds per game. Many think he will be the difference in the game. If Duke plays through Matthew Hurt and gets good starting minutes from starting guards Jordan Goldwire (6.8 PPG, 3.7 APG) and Jeremy Roach (8.8 PPG, 2.6 APG), they should be in good hands. For North Carolina to come out of Durham with a win, they need guard Caleb Love (10.3 PPG, 3.1 APG) to play like he has been playing and continue to get good big man play from Bacot, Brooks, and Sharpe.
Projected Score: Duke 77, North Carolina 74