CHAPEL HILL– The 237th installment of what is widely believed to be the greatest rivalry in college sports promises to be another classic encounter between two of the most iconic programs in college basketball.
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Sophomore guard Marcus Paige says the team is confident it can sustain the momentum in the Duke game.
“I think we’ve had some success and we’ve been able to build off it. It’s given us some confidence. We know what we are capable of doing right now. We’re not struggling as much. We’re still not perfect by any means, but we understand that our defense can get us through our tough stretches on offense. I think as long as we continue to stick to that and build off that, we can keep this run going,” Paige says.
Head Coach Roy Williams says he worries that the Tar Heels do not have any low-post players that can dominate inside and create matchup problems for the Blue Devils.
“The difficulty lies in that we don’t present the same kind of problems for them on the other end. When we had Tyler [Hansbrough] as our five man, he created tremendous matchup problems for them on the offensive end, and we don’t have the low-post kind of scorer this year that presents a lot of matchup problems for them,” Coach Williams says.
Coach Williams says freshman Kennedy Meeks has matured and developed a ton over the course of the season, but he says he still hasn’t become the player he hopes he can be. But that isn’t stopping Coach Williams from hoping for the best in the Duke contest.
“Kennedy is doing a nice job. He’s going to be a really good player, but he’s not at that level yet. Except I hope he eats the right Cheerios for breakfast tomorrow and it works for him tomorrow night,” Coach Williams says.
The difference in the game may come down to three-point shooting. Coach Williams points out that the Blue Devils have a distinct advantage from behind the arc.
“They’re shooting 42 percent from the three-point line. They’re shooting 43 percent in the league. Most teams’ percentages go down. We don’t have anyone on our team shooting 43 percent,” Coach Williams says.
The Tar Heels lead the all-time series 132-104, but the Blue Devils claimed the last meeting between the two schools 69-53 in March of 2013.
Carolina is an even 39-39 against Duke since Mike Krzyzewski became the Duke Head coach. Wednesday night’s game will tip the scales one way or another.
The game will be broadcast on 97.9 FM, WCHL and televised nationally on ESPN at 9 p.m.