Previewing Duke

The top spot in the ACC standings is on the line Wednesday night as UNC and Duke renew the game's greatest rivalry. Tip-off at the Smith Center is set for 9 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN and Raycom/LFN.

North Carolina (21-1, 6-1) vs. Duke (19-1, 7-0)
Chapel Hill, N.C. - Dean E. Smith Center
9 p.m., ESPN/RLFN


"They are playing better than we are right now. There's no question in my mind about that. They've only had one close game and that was at [Madison Square Garden] against Pittsburgh. In the league, they've had no close games… They're really playing well, but the bottom line is, you've got to play on Wednesday night and that's the reason we're going to play the game." – UNC head coach Roy Williams

"They have a terrific team. I think they have the best college player in Tyler Hansbrough. He's just an amazing competitor. We're going to play a really good basketball team on Wednesday." – Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski


Season to Date: No. 2 Duke enters Wednesday night's rivalry clash with a 19-1 (7-0 ACC) record. The Blue Devils' only loss of the season came against Pittsburgh (65-64 OT) at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 20. Krzyzewski's squad has been dominant in conference play, outscoring their seven opponents by 15.6 points per game, thanks in large part to a league-leading 48.6 field goal percentage. Duke trailed at the half in two its last three contests against N.C. State and Maryland, before scoring 50+ points in the second half of both games to secure double-digit victories.

Senior Standout: While DeMarcus Nelson has increased his offensive production this season (15.3 ppg, 50.7 field goal percentage), Duke has most benefited from the senior guard's defensive play. The Elk Grove, Calif. native is averaging 2.29 steals per game in conference action, and has played the role of the Blue Devil's defensive stopper. Nelson held Marquette's Dominic James to 12 points on 4-of-16 shooting, forced 14 turnovers from Virginia's Sean Singletary and Davidson's Stephen Curry, and held N.C. State's Courtney Fells and Miami's Jack McClinton to a combined 11 points and no field goals.

Stifling Defense: Duke has forced more turnovers than assists in 17 of its 20 games, including creating 20 turnovers in 10 contests this season. Krzyzewski's squad ranks first in the conference with a 5.55 turnover margin. The Blue Devils have taken 53 charges (2.7 per game) this season after taking just 53 (1.6 per game) a year ago, and are currently averaging 10.3 steals per game in league play. Their most impressive statistic, however, is that Duke has scored 140 points off turnovers in their last five games.

Balanced Scoring: Nelson, Gerald Henderson (13.5 ppg), Kyle Singler (13.3 ppg), Jon Scheyer (10.5) and Greg Paulus (10.3 ppg) are averaging double-figures in scoring this season. Only six previous Duke teams (1957-58, 1990-91, 1991-92, 1999-2000, 2000-01 & 2003-04) have had five double-figure scorers for an entire season.

Making a Living Downtown: Duke has made 10 or more three-point field goals eight times this season, and has won each of those games. The Blue Devils are shooting 38.7 percent (179-of-462) from behind the arc, led by freshman Taylor King's 42.7 percent (38-of-89) and Paulus' 42.3 percent (41-of-97).

Last Meeting: Tyler Hansbrough led all players with 26 points and a then career-high 17 rebounds as No. 8 North Carolina defeated No. 14 Duke, 86-72, on March 4, 2007, in Chapel Hill. The win clinched the top seed in the ACC Tournament for UNC, which finished the conference season tied with Virginia at 11-5 in league play. The Heels also swept the season series from Duke for the first time since the 1995-96 campaign, as Reyshawn Terry stepped up on Senior Day and posted 15 points and eight rebounds. The victory was Roy Williams' 100th as UNC's head coach.

Series History: North Carolina leads the all-time series with Duke, 127-96. The Tar Heels have beaten the Blue Devils in four of the last five meetings between the two schools, including three straight. UNC is 58-30 against Duke in Chapel Hill and 13-9 in the Smith Center.

Projected Starters:
 3 Greg Paulus (6-1, 185, Jr.) – 10.3 ppg, 3.5 apg
21 DeMarcus Nelson (6-4, 200, Sr.) – 15.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg
15 Gerald Henderson (6-4, 210, So.) - 13.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg
12 Kyle Singler (6-8, 220, Fr.) - 13.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg
42 Lance Thomas (6-8, 220, So.) – 4.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg

Key Reserves:
30 Jon Scheyer (6-5, 180, So.) – 10.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg
20 Taylor King (6-6, 230, Fr.) – 8.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg
 2 Nolan Smith (6-2, 180, Fr.) – 6.7 ppg, 1.9 apg
14 David McClure (6-6, 200, Jr.) – 1.1 ppg, 1.9 rpg

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