Previewing Duke

North Carolina has won six of its last seven meetings against rival Duke, but with the teams on opposite ends of the conference standings this season, it's clear a Tar Heel win on Wednesday night would be a considerable upset.

North Carolina (13-10, 2-6) vs. Duke (19-4 7-2)
Chapel Hill, N.C. -- Dean E. Smith Center
9:00 p.m. Raycom (Tim Brando and Dan Bonner) ESPN (Dan Shulman, Dick Vitale and Erin Andrews)


"If only two of them were scoring, I'd be disappointed. The way we have set up our team, those three guys have to be put in prominent positions to score and they've come through pretty well in doing that. That's the nature of our team. If we had a fourth really big scorer, then I'd try to figure that out.'' – Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski on Jon Scheyer, Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler

"Our backs are already against the wall, man. Add to that the fact that Duke is in our building, I'd be surprised if we didn't come out with maximum fight." – UNC forward Deon Thompson

"It's time to bring it. We've been getting knocked down, so we've got to come out with some fight, especially when you see those four letters on the other team's jersey." – UNC wing Will Graves


Season to Date: Duke enters Wednesday night's contest with a 19-4 (7-2 ACC) record. The eighth-ranked Blue Devils' four losses have all come on the road by an average of 8.5 points, which helps to explain the program's 2-4 record in true road games this season. Head coach Mike Krzyzewski's squad is averaging 89.6 points on 49.1 percent shooting in home games against 70.7 points on 41.3 percent shooting in contests away from Cameron Indoor Stadium.

A Devilish Trio: Guards Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith and forward Kyle Singler represent the nation's top scoring triumvirate with a combined average of 53.6 points per game. Thirty times this season a Blue Devil has scored 20 or more points, but only once has someone outside of this trio crossed that 20-point barrier. Scheyer is the only player in the ACC to rank in the top 5 in six statistical categories – scoring (18.9 ppg, 2nd), assists (5.6 apg, 4th), free throw percentage (.907, 1st), three-point field goals (2.7 3pg, 1st), assist-to-turnover ratio (3.15:1, 1st) and minutes (36.5 mpg, 1st). Smith is averaging 18.1 points per game, while Singler is scoring 16.6 points and pulling down 7.0 rebounds per contest.

Stout Defensive Play: While Duke's field goal percentage defense statistics in conference play may not jump out at you (42.9 percent ranks 7th), the Blue Devils are limiting their opponents' scoring opportunities (plus-3.8 rebounding margin, 2nd) while forcing 14.8 turnovers per outing. Combine those numbers with the league's second-best 3-point percentage defense (.250) and you have a recipe that delivers the conference's top scoring defense unit (63.8 ppg, tied with Virginia). Even more impressive is the fact that Duke has been able to dictate pace to the top teams on its schedule, holding its seven ranked opponents to 61.0 points per game. The Blue Devils are allowing 63.0 points per game overall, the third-fewest points per game since the 1949-1950 season.

Taking Advantage of the Charity Stripe: Scheyer may get the headlines for his ability to connect on the freebies, knocking down an ACC-leading 90.7 percent of his free throw attempts, but the entire Duke ranks eighth nationally with a 75.7 mark (405-of-535) from the foul line. Smith, Andre Dawkins and Lance Thomas join Scheyer as Blue Devils connecting on better than 78.0 percent from the charity stripe. Duke is 15-3 this season when making 15 or more free throws in a game.

Strong on the Glass: Duke is averaging 39.1 rebounds per game and ranks second in the ACC in rebound margin overall (plus-6.5). Singler (7.0), Brian Zoubek (6.3) and Miles Plumlee (5.7) each rank among the top 20 rebounders in the league.

Random Stat of the Day: The Blue Devils have outscored their opposition 926-673 in the first half this season, providing an average halftime lead of 11.0 points per contest.

Last Meeting: North Carolina defeated Duke, 79-71, on Senior Night on Mar. 8, 2009. Tyler Hansbrough scored 17 points and pulled down eight rebounds, while Ty Lawson flirted with a triple-double with 13 points, eight rebounds and nine assists. Wayne Ellington added 16 points and Deon Thompson scored 14 points and grabbed five rebounds for the Tar Heels.

Series History: North Carolina leads the series with Duke, 130-97. The Tar Heels have beaten the Blue Devils in seven of the last nine meetings between the two programs, including six of the last seven. UNC is 59-31 against Duke in Chapel Hill and 14-10 in the Smith Center.

Projected Starters:
30 Jon Scheyer (6-5, 190, Sr.) – 18.9 ppg, 5.6 apg
2 Nolan Smith (6-2, 185, Jr.) – 18.1 ppg, 3.1 apg
12 Kyle Singler (6-8, 230, Jr.) – 16.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg
42 Lance Thomas (6-8, 225, Sr.) – 5.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg
21 Miles Plumlee (6-10, 240, So.) – 6.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg

Top Reserves:
20 Andre Dawkins (6-4, 190, Fr.) – 6.5 ppg
55 Brian Zoubek (7-1, 260, Sr.) – 5.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg
5 Mason Plumlee (6-10, 230, Fr.) – 4.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg
34 Ryan Kelly (6-10, 220, Fr.) – 1.7 ppg, 1.5 rpg

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