Previewing Duke

One week after meeting to decide the ACC regular season title, North Carolina and Duke meet again on Sunday for the ACC Tournament championship. Tip-off at the Greensboro Coliseum is set for 1 p.m. on ESPN/Raycom

North Carolina (26-6, 14-2) vs. Duke (29-4, 13-3)
Greensboro, N.C. -- Greensboro Coliseum
1:00 -- ESPN/Raycom


"The thing that makes this game is that it's for the ACC Championship. I have told all of you many, many times that this tournament means a lot to us, and that we play it in that manner. And we will try to play it in that manner tomorrow and hopefully have a chance to win." – Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski

"It was this matchup in the regular season championship and it's the two best teams again." – Duke guard Nolan Smith


Season to Date: Duke enters Sunday's final with a 29-4 (13-3 ACC) record. The Blue Devils have won two straight after losing two of their final three regular games to Virginia Tech and North Carolina. Head coach Mike Krzyzewski's squad is looking to secure a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament with a victory over its archrival.

Highlights from Saturday: Duke used an 11-2 run midway through the first half to build a 29-18 lead over Virginia Tech and the Hokies could never get back within six points the rest of the way. Nolan Smith returned from a toe injury on Friday night to lead all scorers with 27 points on 8-of-16 shooting. The Blue Devils shut down Jeff Allen inside (2 points, 1-of-7) and kept Malcolm Delaney in check (19 pts, 4-of-14, 10-of-10 FT) to notch the victory and give themselves a chance to win a record 19th ACC Tournament Championship.

Tourney Stats: Duke has knocked down 48.3 percent of its field goal attempts (56-of-116, 8-of-33 3s) in its first two ACC Tournament wins, while holding Maryland and Virginia Tech to a combined 40.9 percent shooting (47-of-115, 6-of-24 3s). The Blue Devils have forced 25 turnovers and outrebounded both opponents (MD: 41-33, VT: 35-33). Most intriguing is the fact that Duke has committed 27 turnovers while only dishing out 23 assists.

ACC Player of the Year: There's just not a whole lot that needs to be said about Nolan Smith's play this season. Once Kyrie Irving went down eight games into the season, the senior guard shifted over to the point guard position and has overwhelmingly been the best player in the league. Smith leads the ACC with 21.3 points per game and his 5.1 assists per contest rank second only to North Carolina guard Kendall Marshall (5.8).

Haves and Have-Nots: Kyle Singler failed to play like a first-team All-ACC player in his first two meetings with North Carolina this season, scoring 18 total points on 6-of-31 (1-of-11 3s) shooting against tight defense by Harrison Barnes. The senior forward posted a double-double with 13 points (4-of-11 shooting) and 11 rebounds against Virginia Tech on Saturday. Seth Curry stepped up to fill the void against UNC, scoring 42 total points on 14-of-25 shooting, including a lethal 8-of-16 mark from behind the arc.

Best of the Best: Sunday's matchup features the 2011 ACC Player of the Year (Smith), Coach of the Year (Roy Williams), Defensive Player of the Year (John Henson), Rookie of the Year (Harrison Barnes) and six of the 15 players named to the three All-ACC teams (Singler, 1st; Henson, Barnes, Tyler Zeller, 2nd; Kendall Marshall, 3rd).

Head-to-Head Season Results: Duke defeated North Carolina, 79-73, on Feb. 9 at Cameron Indoor Stadium in the first meeting. The Blue Devils rallied from a 16-point first-half deficit behind Smith's 34 points and Seth Curry's 22 points. The Tar Heels returned the favor in the season finale on Mar. 5, building an early lead and keeping Duke at bay with an 81-67 victory to claim the outright ACC regular season championship.

Series History: The Tar Heels lead the all-time series with the Blue Devils, 131-100 and have won seven of the last 11. UNC and Duke are playing each other in the ACC Tournament championship game for the 11th time. North Carolina has won six of the previous 10 meetings, while Duke has won three of the last four.

Projected Starters:
2 Nolan Smith (6-2, 185, Sr.) - 21.3 ppg, 5.1 apg
30 Seth Curry (6-2, 180, So.) - 9.4 ppg, 2.0 apg
12 Kyle Singler (6-8, 230, Sr.) - 17.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg
34 Ryan Kelly (6-11, 235, So.) - 6.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg
5 Mason Plumlee (6-10, 240, So.) - 7.1 ppg, 8.6 rpg

Top Reserves:
20 Andre Dawkins (6-4, 205, So.) - 7.9 ppg, 1.9 rpg
21 Miles Plumlee (6-10, 245, Jr.) - 4.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg
3 Tyler Thornton (6-1, 185, Fr.) - 1.7 ppg, 1.0 apg

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