By Greg Mengelt, CollegeHoops.Net
NO. 6 NORTH CAROLINA (26-4, 13-2 ACC) AT NO. 3 DUKE (26-4, 13-2 ACC)
Time: 7 p.m.
TV: ESPN (Dan Shulman play-by-play, Dick Vitale and Jay Bilas analysts, Erin Andrews sideline).
Location: Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C.
North Carolina 5 (No. 2 ACC)
Duke 3 (No. 1 ACC)
Line: Duke -1.5 (150 o/u)
North Carolina Players to Watch: G Kendall Marshall, 6-4 So. (6.9 ppg, 9.7 apg, 1.3 spg); F Tyler Zeller, 7-0 Sr. (15.7 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 54.5% FG); F John Henson, 6-11 Jr. (14 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 50.1% FG). With eight assists in Wednesday’s 88-64 win over Maryland, Marshall now holds the UNC single-season record with 289. He’s tied for third in ACC history with Duke’s Bobby Hurley and needs 15 to surpass Georgia Tech’s Craig Neal to become the league’s all-time single-season leader.
Duke Players to Watch: F Ryan Kelly, 6-11 Jr. (12.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 43% 3s); G Austin Rivers, 6-4 Fr. (15.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.1 apg); G Seth Curry x Jr. (13.6 ppg, 2.4 apg, 39.2% 3s). Curry is averaging 17 points per game in four games against UNC, which is 17th-best in Duke history against its rival.
Storylines: The ACC regular-season title, the No. 1 seed in the ACC Tournament and a possible No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament are on the line.
Keys: Carolina dominated the first 38 minutes on Feb. 8 in Chapel Hill, but the Blue Devils outscored the Heels 13-2 down the stretch to steal the victory. Rivers scored a career-high 29 points, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer. Four different Devils (Andre Dawkins, Curry, Rivers and Kelly) have made at least 40 3-pointers this season. That’s only the fourth time in school history that has happened. Duke leads the ACC in 3-point percentage at 39 percent and 3-pointers made at 252. Duke also holds its opponents to 31.3 percent from deep. Carolina is the ACC leader in scoring (82.1, which ranks second to Iona nationally), scoring margin (plus-16, third in the nation), rebounding margin (plus-11.1, which leads the nation), offensive rebounds (16.1), blocked shots (6.2, seventh in America), assists (17.6, fifth nationally) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.5-to-1, sixth in the country). The Heels and Devils have met 233 times with Carolina holding a 131-102 all-time advantage. Duke has won five of the last six in the series and 22 of the last 32 dating back to 1999. The Devils are 9-5 at Durham against UNC over that span. Carolina is 6-3 in true road games this season and has won five straight away from home. The Devils are 14-2 at Cameron, including a 6-2 ACC home mark. They have won three straight in front of their home crowd.
The Bottom Line: Except for two bad minutes on Feb. 8, Carolina is rolling. That will continue on Saturday in front of the Crazies.
The Pick: North Carolina 82, Duke 75
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