Rivals Duke and North Carolina Face Off in Chapel Hill

The biggest basketball rivalry in the ACC continues on Saturday when number 7 Duke visits number 3 North Carolina at the Dean Dome in Chapel Hill. ESPN provides live coverage starting at 6:30 PM ET.

The Tar Heels bring a 17-4 record after a shocking 74-73 upset loss to Georgia Tech on Tuesday, ending their perfect run in conference play so far. Duke sits at 16-4 after handling Virginia Tech 77-67 on Monday. At 9-1, North Carolina still leads the ACC. Duke’s 7-2 record puts them alone in second. These remain the only two ACC schools in the AP Top 25 rankings.

Duke vs. North Carolina Betting Odds and Predictions

Here are the current odds for Saturday’s matchup from top North Carolina sports betting apps:

The teams rank number 7 (UNC) and number 12 (Duke) nationally on KenPom. Duke won both contests between the rivals last season.

Duke’s Long Range Shooting Could Decide Outcome

Duke leads the ACC in three-point shooting at over 40%. But they will face the conference’s toughest perimeter defense. North Carolina holds ACC foes under 27% outside the arc this season.

ACC Preseason Player of the Year Kyle Filipowski paces Duke with 17.5 points per game. Four other Blue Devils also average double figures:

  • Jeremy Roach: 13.9 ppg
  • Mark Mitchell: 12.5 ppg
  • Jared McCain: 12.4 ppg
  • Tyrese Proctor: 11.2 ppg

Ankle problems still affect senior leader Roach. His defense helped limit UNC’s R.J. Davis to just 14 points per game last season.

Expect Proctor to also shadow Davis, the ACC’s top scorer at 21.5 ppg.

The battle between big men Filipowski and UNC’s Armando Bacot may decide the outcome. Filipowski dominated Bacot for 22 and 13 points in Duke’s 62-57 win earlier this season.

Duke coach Jon Scheyer says the keys include defending the paint against Bacot and staying glued to Davis on the perimeter.

North Carolina Seeks Bounce Back Performance at Home

The loss at Georgia Tech served as a wake-up call for North Carolina. The timing suits the Tar Heels perfectly.

Still stinging from two losses to Duke last season, UNC brings even more motivation into this game. Pace of play and transition offense are pivotal.

Bacot usually elevates his play against Duke. In nine career matchups, he’s posted 15.1 points and 9.4 rebounds per contest.

Working inside-out through Bacot is crucial to UNC’s half-court offense. But his scoring and touches have declined lately. That must change Saturday.

Bacot also needs to avoid early fouls. Foul trouble has hindered him often this year, including early in UNC’s first loss to Villanova.

When Bacot sits, junior transfer Harris Ingram fills the rebounding void. Ingram has grabbed 57 boards in UNC’s last four outings.

Look for Davis to bounce back against Duke after last year’s struggles. Beyond his ACC-best scoring, the senior nails over 40% of threes and 92% of free throws.

The Prediction: Home Cooking Carries North Carolina

After a defensive letdown at Georgia Tech, expect North Carolina to ratchet up the intensity on their home floor where they are 9-0 this season. Make it 10-0 on Saturday.

Pick: North Carolina -3

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✅ Fact Checked on February 3, 2024 by Ken Weaver