Previewing Duke

It's a different season, yet the same storylines follow the Tar Heels to Durham on Wednesday night. The game's best rivalry will once again feature two Top 10 teams, with first place in the ACC on the line. Tip-off in Cameron Indoor Stadium is set up for 9 p.m. and will be televised by Raycom and ESPN.

North Carolina (21-2, 7-2) vs. Duke (20-3, 7-2)
Durham, N.C. - Cameron Indoor Stadium (9,314)
9 p.m., Raycom/ESPN


"I feel very privileged to be a part of what I think is the greatest rivalry in college athletics, particularly college basketball." – UNC head coach Roy Williams

"I am honored to be a part of it. The rivalry and the game between Duke and North Carolina is bigger than any coach, player or combination. That is why it is the true identity game for college basketball." – Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski

"They are one of the best in the country in what they do getting the ball up the floor. For us, I think we feel comfortable in a sense that we have played them before; we have played teams like this before. We know generally what we've got to do." – Duke guard Jon Scheyer


Season to Date: Duke enters Wednesday night's contest with a 20-3 (7-2 ACC) record. The Blue Devils breezed through their first 19 games of the season, losing just once to Michigan (81-73) in Ann Arbor on Dec. 6. But Mike Krzyzewski's squad has stumbled over its last four outings, losing to Wake Forest (70-68) and Clemson (74-47) and needing overtime to defeat Miami (78-75) at home on Saturday. The 27-point loss to the Tigers was the worst defeat for Duke since being blown out by UNLV, 103-73, in the 1990 NCAA title game.

A Formidable Duo: Sophomore Kyle Singler and junior Gerald Henderson are directing the Duke charge this season, combining to average 31.0 points per game. Singler leads the team in rebounds (8.2 rpg) and steals (1.7 spg), while Henderson ranks second on the team in rebounds (5.0 rpg), blocks (0.9 bpg) and steals (1.5 spg). Henderson has turned up his play of late, averaging 18.9 points during conference action, compared to Singler's 14. 6 points per game.

Paulus' Reemergence: Greg Paulus was relegated to the Blue Devil bench to start his senior season, as sophomore Nolan Smith moved into his role as the starting point guard. But after Smith posted three points, four turnovers and no assists in the blowout loss at Clemson, Krzyzewski reinserted Paulus into the starting lineup against Miami, and the senior responded, scoring 18 points, grabbing five rebounds and forcing three steals in the overtime victory.

Offensive Struggles: While it's not surprising to see a Mike Krzyzewski-coached team ranked second in field goal percentage defense (39.5) in ACC play, it is shocking to see that same squad holding down the No. 11 spot in league play in field goal percentage (39.7). Of the five Blue Devils that have attempted 100 shots this season, only Henderson (50.8 percent) is connecting on more than 43.5 percent of those attempts. Clemson held Duke to 30.8 percent shooting last Wednesday, while Wake Forest succeeded in holding the Blue Devils to 33.3 percent in the Demon Deacons' victory two weeks ago.

Lack of Post Production: The Blue Devils have struggled to find any complementary players to Singler's contributions in the paint. Center Brian Zoubek and forwards Lance Thomas and David McClure are combining to play 47.1 minutes per game, but are only averaging a total of 13.2 points and 11.6 rebounds per outing.

Success at Home: Duke is 14-0 at Cameron Indoor Stadium this season, including a 5-0 record in league play. The Blue Devils have won 12 of their last 13 ACC home games, with the only loss coming against North Carolina in the 2007-08 season finale.

Last Meeting: The Tar Heels defeated Duke, 76-68, on March 8, 2008. UNC held the Blue Devils scoreless over the final 5:42 of the game, using a 10-run to pull out the victory. Danny Green led North Carolina with 18 points, eight rebounds and a career-high seven blocks. Tyler Hansbrough contributed 16 points and 15 rebounds, while Wayne Ellington also added 16 points.

Series History: North Carolina leads the all-time series with Duke, 128-97. UNC has beaten the Blue Devils in five of the last seven meetings between the two schools, including four of the last five. Duke leads the series 47-45 in games played in Durham, including a 38-33 mark at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Projected Starters:
 3 Greg Paulus (6-1, 185, Sr.) – 6.1 ppg, 1.6 apg
30 Jon Scheyer (6-5, 185, Jr.) - 13.0 ppg, 2.9 apg
15 Gerald Henderson (6-4, 215, Jr.) – 15.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg
12 Kyle Singler (6-8, 235, So.) - 15.8 ppg, 8.2 rpg
42 Lance Thomas (6-8, 220, Jr.) – 5.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg

Key Reserves:
 2 Nolan Smith (6-2, 185, So.) - 9.5 ppg, 1.7 apg
55 Brian Zoubek (7-1, 280, Jr.) – 5.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg
14 David McClure (6-6, 215, Sr.) – 2.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg

DU Info
Roster & Bios

Photo Gallery

Henderson ... Singler

Scheyer ... Paulus

McClure ... Smith

(Photos courtesy Getty)

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