The No. 14 Carolina men’s basketball team takes on No. 4 Duke Saturday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Tar Heels defended their home court against the Blue Devils earlier this season, but a season sweep would be even sweeter.
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Carolina point guard Marcus Paige speaks on the need for the Tar Heels to regain Coach Williams’ famous “sense of urgency” as the Duke game and postseason play draws near.
“It meant more to them [Notre Dame] for the majority of the game. That can’t happen, especially because we’re a team close to the top of the ACC fighting for a third seed and a high seed in the Tournament. We can’t have that kind of effort,” Paige says.
Paige says Carolina’s level of play has dropped off a bit in the last couple games despite the victories. He says if the Tar Heels want to accomplish their big goals, they need to ratchet back up the intensity.
“That’s three or four in a row against teams we are capable of beating by a better margin than we have. That’s no knock on them, but we’ve been playing really well lately. If we have big goals and dreams, we can’t have all these sluggish games,” Paige says.
Despite Duke’s shocking loss to lowly WakeForest in Joel Coliseum Wednesday night, Carolina can expect the Blue Devils’ best to come out at Cameron Indoor Saturday night in primetime. After all, Duke is a perfect 16-0 at home this season.
With that being said, junior James Michael McAdoo says he doesn’t feel like he needs to go out there and “be Superman”. He says Carolina’s 12-game winning streak has given all the Tar Heels more confidence, loosening his scoring burden.
“I feel like all these last games have been important to us, especially starting the way we did in conference play. We realize the importance every time we step out there […I think the biggest thing for me personally is going out there, playing in my game and not trying to be Superman,” McAdoo says.
Senior Leslie McDonald says this lull in game activity after the Notre Dame win Monday comes at just the right time for the Tar Heels. He says it helps some banged up players recover and be primed for the Duke showdown.
“We’re going to be able to rest our bodies a little bit, go back to practice, evaluate ourselves and have hard practices to prepare us for Duke. I think it’s a wonderful time,” McDonald says.
With a win on Saturday, Carolina would claim not only a season sweep of their bitter rivals, but also claim a top three seeding in the ACC Tournament next week.