Previewing Duke

North Carolina and Duke renew the game's best rivalry on Wednesday at the Smith Center. Tip-off is set for 9 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN and the ACC Network.

North Carolina (20-3, 7-1) vs. Duke (19-4, 6-2)
Chapel Hill, N.C. -- Dean E. Smith Center
ACC Network (Tim Brando, Dan Bonner)
ESPN (Dan Shulman, Dick Vitale, Jay Bilas)


"The main thing is to be prepared for playing the most talented team in our conference, and maybe the most talented team in the country. They have great experience. I mean, they have four guys who are on the pre season Wooden Award. They can be an offensive juggernaut, especially at home. We have to play really good defense in order to have an opportunity to beat them." – Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski on playing North Carolina

"I've never gone into a game thinking that we can't win. So I'm not going to change during the late stages of my career. So we're going to prepare to win, just like we will on Saturday when we play Maryland." – Krzyzewski


Season to Date: No. 10 Duke enters Wednesday's contest with a 19-4 (6-2 ACC record). The Blue Devils delivered impressive nonconference wins over Michigan State (74-69), Michigan (82-75) and Kansas (68-61), but lost games at Ohio State (85-63) and against Temple (78-73). Krzyzewski's squad won its first four ACC games, but has now dropped two of its last four with home losses against Florida State (76-73) and Miami (78-74, OT).

Rookie Leading the Way: Austin Rivers was expected to fill the void left by Nolan Smith when he arrived on Duke's campus as the nation's top incoming recruit last summer, and despite some bumps along the way, he has played his way into that role. The 6-foot-4, 200-pounder leads with Blue Devils with a 14.5-points-per-game average and is knocking down 38.2 percent of his 3-pointers (34-of-89). Rivers was named ACC Rookie of the Week for the sixth time on Monday, tying him with Luol Deng for the most in school history. The freshman guard is attempting to become the first freshman to lead Duke in scoring since Johnny Dawkins in 1982-83.

Bombs Away From Deep: As usual, Duke has made its living this season behind the 3-point line. The Blue Devils are shooting 39.3 percent (182-of-463) from behind the arc, but that percentage is down to 34.1 in ACC play. Guard Andre Dawkins (9.7 ppg) has stepped up in league play, however, knocking down 42.9 percent (21-of-49) of his treys. Forward Ryan Kelly actually leads the team with a 45.3 shooting percentage from long range, but the Tar Heels may want to focus on Seth Curry (12.6 ppg, 37.3% 3FG) most of all. Curry averaged 17.7 points in three games against UNC last season and connected on 52.4 percent (11-of-21) of his 3-pointers.

Duke's Version of Musical Chairs: To say Coach K has been frustrated by his team over the past several weeks would be an understatement. Nine Blue Devils have started at least two games in eight ACC contests. Mason Plumlee is the only Duke player to start in all eight games, while Rivers has only missed one start. Kelly, who is the second-leading scorer with 12.6 points per game, has only started two league games. Neither Curry nor Kelly have started in Duke's last two games.

Interior Post Presence: It's been several years since Duke has possessed a solid option in the paint, but Mason Plumlee has emerged as that option this season in Durham. The middle brother of the Plumlee clan is averaging 11.6 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. His rebounding average is good for second in the ACC and he's led the Blue Devils in rebounding in 16 of their last 20 games. The 6-foot-10, 230-pounder earned USBWA National Player of the Week honors on Jan. 31 after averaging 19.0 points, 14.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists in wins over Maryland and St. John's.

Random Fact of the Day: Duke's media notes list Krzyzewski's record against North Carolina as 36-36. The Tar Heels and Blue Devils have met 74 times during the Coach K era, but Krzyzewski is not saddled with the two losses against UNC during the 1994-95 season as he was recovering from back surgery.

Last Meeting: No. 2 seed Duke defeated No. 1 seed North Carolina, 75-58, in the ACC Tournament championship game in March 13, 2011, in Greensboro, N.C. The Blue Devils grabbed an early 8-0 lead and never trailed, shooting 50.0 percent for the game. Harrison Barnes paced UNC with 16 points, Tyler Zeller added 14 and John Henson posted a double-double with 10 points and 18 rebounds. Nolan Smith led Duke with 20 points.

Series History: North Carolina leads the all-time series with Duke, 131-101. UNC has won seven of the last 12 meetings between these two programs.

Projected Starters:
0 Austin Rivers (6-4, 200, Fr.) - 14.5 ppg, 2.0 apg
30 Seth Curry (6-2, 180, Jr.) - 12.6 ppg, 2.6 apg
20 Andre Dawkins (6-4, 200, Jr.) - 9.7 ppg, 1.9 rpg
34 Ryan Kelly (6-11, 230, Jr.) - 12.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg
5 Mason Plumlee (6-10, 235, Jr.) - 11.6 ppg, 9.7 rpg

Top Reserves:
21 Miles Plumlee (6-10, 245, Sr.) - 6.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg
2 Quinn Cook (6-0, 175, Fr.) - 5.1 ppg, 2.2 apg
3 Tyler Thornton (6-1, 195, So.) - 3.7 ppg, 2.0 apg
15 Josh Hairston (6-7, 235, So.) - 3.2 ppg, 1.8 rpg

DU Info
Roster & Bios

Inside Carolina Top Stories