Previewing the Tar Heels (14-5, 5-3)

It's the best rivalry in college basketball, and some would say the best in all of sports. Duke and North Carolina meet tonight in the Dean E. Smith Center in what should prove to be a better game than almost anyone expected before the season began. Tip off is at 9:00 PM EST with the game to be broadcast on both ESPN and Raycom/JP.

2/2 Duke (21-1, 10-0) vs. 23/24 North Carolina (14-5, 5-3)
Chapel Hill, N.C. – Dean E. Smith Center
9 p.m., ESPN

Program Vitals
Conference: ACC
Nickname: Tar Heels
Colors: Pastel Blue & White
Head Coach: Roy Williams  (4th year)
Career Record at North Carolina: 66-20 (484-121 overall)
Last Year: 33-4 (NCAA Champions)

Projected Starters:
 4 Bobby Frasor (6-3, 195, Fr.) – 6.6 ppg, 4.9 apg
22 Wes Miller (5-11, 185, Jr.) – 7.0 ppg 44% 3pt
34 David Noel (6-6, 232, Sr.) – 11.9 ppg, 6.9 rpg
 3 Reyshawn Terry (6-8, 228, Jr.) – 13.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg
50 Tyler Hansbrough (6-9, 235, Fr.) – 17.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg

Key Reserves:
14 Danny Green (6-5, 202, Fr.) – 8.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg
41 Byron Sanders (6-9, 238, Sr.) – 3.2 ppg, 2.7 rpg
11 Quentin Thomas (6-3, 190, So.) – 2.0 ppg, 2.2 apg
 1 Marcus Ginyard (6-5, 200, Fr.) – 6.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg

Information courtesy of North Carolina Sports Information

Exceeding Expectations: After losing so much from last year's NCAA Championship roster, few expected the Tar Heels to challenge for anything more than a middle of the pack ACC finish. However, head coach Roy Williams has guided his team to a surprising 14-5 overall mark, and a 5-3 record in conference play.

What makes the Heels' record even more impressive is the youth that Williams is forced to rely on night in and night out. UNC's rotation features four freshmen in the top nine players led by All-ACC candidate Tyler Hansbrough and fellow starter Bobby Frasor.

Star Watch: Freshman forward Tyler Hansbrough, the media's preseason choice for Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year, has been named the ACC Rookie of the Week a conference-high six times this season, including four of the last six weeks. He has scored 20 points or more in eight games this season, including six of the last 10. Hansbrough leads the ACC in free throw attempts per game at 8.0. In his last 11 games, he has hit 74 of 88 attempts from the free throw line (84.1 percent) to raise his free throw percentage from 65.6 to 76.3. Through 19 games, he leads Carolina and all ACC freshmen in scoring (17.8 ppg) and rebounding (7.6 rpg). Hansbrough's field goal percentage of 60.7 is first on the squad and second in the ACC.

The Series: The Tar Heels are the only ACC opponent with a winning record against Duke all-time. North Carolina currently holds a 124-95 record against the Blue Devils, including a 12-8 mark in the Dean E. Smith Center. However, Duke has won five of the last seven meetings in Chapel Hill, and 15 of the previous 18 meetings overall.

Since returning to Chapel Hill from Kansas, head coach Roy Williams has amassed a 1-3 record against the Blue Devils. Williams is just 2-6 overall versus Duke, including a loss in the 1991 National Championship game while at Kansas.

Last season, the teams played a pair of classics. The first round went to the Blue Devils as Duke held North Carolina without a shot attempts in the final 13 seconds to win at Cameron, 71-70. The rematch, in Chapel Hill, saw North Carolina rally late with an 11-0 run for a 75-73 victory.

Glass Work: UNC ranks first in the ACC in rebounding margin (+8.3) and second in defensive rebounds at 26.05 per game. The Tar Heels has out-rebounded its opponent in 16 of 19 games this season, going 13-3 in those contests. On Feb. 2 at Maryland, UNC out-rebounded the Terrapins 52-34 and grabbed a season-high 38 defensive boards.

Heels .500 vs. Ranked Opponents: Carolina has played four teams ranked in the Associated Press poll this season, going 2-2 in those contests. UNC beat No. 10 Kentucky on Dec. 3 and No. 13 NC State on Jan. 7. Carolina lost to No. 12 Illinois on Nov. 29 and to No. 20 Boston College on Jan. 25. Roy Williams is 16-11 as the Tar Heels' head coach against ranked teams, including a 7-5 mark against Top-10 opponents.

On the other hand, the Blue Devils are 7-0 against ranked opponents this season with wins over No. 2 Texas, No. 11 Memphis, No. 16 Indiana, No. 22 Wake Forest, No. 21 Maryland, No. 14 NC State, and No. 14 Boston College.

Duke has won seven consecutive games against ranked opponents, tied for the fifth best stretch in Duke history. The school record is 12 straight wins from March 4, 2001 through Feb. 14, 2002. The Blue Devils are 99-15 all-time when ranked No. 2 in the AP poll. Duke is 7-2 all-time versus the No. 23 team in the country.

Duke Notes:

- The Blue Devils rank first in the country in RPI (.7191) and second in strength of schedule (.6818). Baylor, who is playing only conference games this season due to NCAA sanctions, is currently first in strength of schedule. Duke is 13-1 on the year against teams ranked in the top 100 of the RPI.

Duke is one of seven NCAA Division I teams without a loss in conference play this season. The other conference undefeated teams are West Virginia (Big East), George Washington (A-10), Memphis (CUSA), Penn (Ivy), Bucknell (Patriot) and Gonzaga (WCC) The Blue Devils have posted wins over three of the conference undefeated teams (Memphis, Penn and Bucknell) this season.

- J.J. Redick has been named the ACC Player of the Week in two of the past three weeks (sharing the honor with Boston College's Craig Smith on Jan. 23). During the six-game stretch, Redick averaged 32.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game while shooting 50.9 percent (57-of-112) from the floor and 47.3 percent (26-of-55) from three-point distance. He was named National Player of the Week by on Monday, Feb. 6 after averaging 32.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game in wins over No. 15 Boston College and Florida State.

Redick leads the ACC and is second nationally in scoring at 28.1 ppg. The Roanoke, Va., native led the league in scoring last year at 21.8 ppg. The last player to lead the ACC in scoring in back-to-back seasons was Jason Williams (2001 & 2002). Redick's points per game average is the highest single-season average in Duke history. Bob Verga averaged 26.1 ppg. as a senior during the 1966-67 season to set the Duke standard. Redick's scoring average is also the highest in the ACC since 1975 when David Thompson (N.C. State) averaged 29.9 points per game.

- The Blue Devils are shooting an ACC-best 40.2 percent (168-of-418) from three-point range, while holding the opposition to an ACC-low 29.1 percent (84-of-289). On the year, J.J. Redick has made more treys (85) than the Blue Devil defense has allowed (84).

The Blue Devils are shooting an ACC-best 50.7 percent (618-of-1218) from the field on the year. The Blue Devils last shot over 50 percent for the year during the 1998-99 season. Four Duke starters (Sean Dockery, Josh McRoberts, J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams) and top reserve DeMarcus Nelson are all shooting over 50.0 percent from the field this season.

Duke also leads the ACC in free throw shooting at 76.7 percent (418-of-545) and has made more free throws (418) than its opponents have attempted (330). Duke has accomplished that feat eight times (1972, 1978, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1999 & 2000). The Blue Devils are 14-0 this season when making more free throws than an opponent has attempted.

- Shelden Williams has 1,656 points, 1,093 rebounds, 370 blocked shots and 146 steals in his career. He is four steals shy of joining Pervis Ellison (Louisville) and David Robinson (Navy) as the only players in NCAA history with at least 1,500 points, 1,000 rebounds, 350 blocks and 150 steals in a career.

- Freshman Greg Paulus leads the ACC in assists per game (5.18). Only three freshmen — Jeff Jones (Virginia), Kenny Anderson (Georgia Tech) and Ed Cota (North Carolina) — have led the conference in assists per game. Paulus has led the Blue Devils in assists 14 times and has had at least four assists in a game 16 times.

- Shelden Williams has 49 career double-doubles, including an ACC-best 11 this year. Duke is 43-6 in those contests, including an 11-0 mark this season. Williams has registered double-doubles in nine of the last 13 contests.

- Duke recorded its 20th win for the 41st time in 101 seasons and Duke has also reached the 20-win plateau in each of the past 10 seasons.

- Coach Mike Krzyzewski improves to 742-247 overall and 669-188 at Duke. He is 12th in NCAA history just four wins away from Phog Allen (746) while he sits in seventh place for most wins at one school and is six short of Louisville's Denny Crum (675).

- Duke is 128-25 in the ACC since 1997-98 with 31 more victories than any other league team in that time frame (Maryland – 97).

- Duke is now 99-15 all-time as the AP's No. 2 ranked team.

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