Previewing Duke

No. 19 North Carolina will look to avenge its tough road loss to No. 3 Duke when the Blue Devils visit Chapel Hill for both teams' regular season finale on Saturday. Tip off is set for 9 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN.

North Carolina (21-9, 11-6) vs. Duke (27-3, 14-3)
Chapel Hill, N.C. – Dean E. Smith Center
Saturday, 9:00 p.m.
ESPN (Dan Shulman, Jay Bilas)

“If everything went well, it wouldn’t change at all, but everything didn’t go well. We’ll make changes based on that and see what works.” - Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski on potential game plan changes against UNC

“Basically we have five guys with [sore] left ankles. Justise [Winslow] has both. Some of these things, guys have just played so it’s not like all new things.” - Krzyzewski

“I would say I have more to give. I don’t think I shot too well from the free throw line. I watched the film with the coaches (about) where I could be sharper offensively. They definitely didn’t get my best shot nor my team’s.” - Duke forward Jahlil Okafor reflecting on his team's win over UNC two weeks ago

Season to Date: Duke enters Saturday's contest with a 27-3 (14-3 ACC) record. The Blue Devils have gone 4-0 since these two teams last met in Durham. Over that stretch, head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s squad has had just one close call (a come-from-behind overtime win at Virginia Tech), and overall has won 10 in a row dating back to Jan. 29. With a 14-3 mark in league play, Duke will finish second in the ACC regular season standings and are locked into the 2-seed for the ACC tournament next week.

Okafor’s Efficiency: North Carolina did an excellent job against freshman phenom Jahlil Okafor the first time around. The big man did have a double-double (12 points and 13 rebounds), but he wasn’t able to impose his will on the Tar Heels' frontcourt as he has so many other opponents this season. Okafor is second in the conference in points (17.8) and rebounds (9.4) per game, and has been one of the most efficient scorers in all of college basketball. The 6-foot-11 center has converted a staggering 66.5 percent of his field goal attempts, which leads the ACC and is good for sixth in the country. That percentage is even more impressive when you consider that Okafor has attempted 79 more shots than any player ranked in the top-5.

Vulnerable on D? As potent as Duke’s offense is, their defense is not nearly as formidable. The Blue Devils are below average in scoring defense (65.8 points per game) and field goal percentage defense (42.8). Those numbers rank 10th in the ACC in both categories. Duke also ranks 97th nationally in opponents' effective field goal percentage (47.2), according to

No. 1 Seed on the Line: Krzyzewski’s squad is currently locked into second place in the ACC regular season standings, and will thus be the No. 2 seed when the ACC tournament tips off on Tuesday. Even though this team’s ACC tournament seeding is set, the Blue Devils are still aiming for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament with a top-20 strength of schedule and their three losses to teams ranked in the RPI Top-75. A loss to North Carolina on Saturday, however, could hurt Duke’s chances for a top seed on Selection Sunday.

Defending Tyus Jones: While the Tar Heels did a nice job containing Okafor two-and-a-half weeks ago, the UNC backcourt had a very hard time dealing with point guard Tyus Jones. In that first matchup, Jones (along with Quinn Cook) led all scorers with 22 points and also recorded eight assists and seven rebounds. Whether it was Marcus Paige, Nate Britt or Joel Berry, the Tar Heels were unable to keep the all-around talent from controlling the flow of play. If UNC is going to have success against the Blue Devils, then they will need to do a better job defending Jones, especially in dribble penetration.

Last Meeting: The Tar Heels rallied from a 13-point first-half deficit to take a 10-point lead with 3:51 to play before faltering down the stretch and losing 92-90 in overtime at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Feb. 18. Brice Johnson led UNC with 18 points and 12 rebounds, while Kennedy Meeks (18), J.P. Tokoto (15), Isaiah Hicks (12) and Nate Britt (11) also scored in double figures. Duke guards Quinn Cook and Tyus Jones paced the Blue Devils with 22 points each.

Series History: UNC leads the all-time series with Duke, 133-106. Roy Williams is 5-6 against the Blue Devils at the Smith Center. UNC is 7-4 under Williams in the second regular season meeting between the rivals.

Projected Starters:
15 Jahlil Okafor (6-11, 255, Fr.) - 18.2 ppg, 9.6 rpg
2 Quinn Cook (6-2, 185, Sr.) - 15.9 ppg, 2.9 apg
12 Justise Winslow (6-6, 225, Fr.) – 12.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg
5 Tyus Jones (6-1, 190, Fr.) - 11.4 ppg, 5.7 apg
21 Amile Jefferson (6-9, 215, Jr.) - 7.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg

Top Reserves:
13 Matt Jones (6-5, 210, So.) - 5.7 ppg, 2.4 rpg
40 Marshall Plumlee (7-0, 255, Jr.) - 2.0 ppg, 2.3 rpg

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