Duke vs North Carolina Game Preview

Game: Duke @ North Carolina (+6.5)

Sharp: Dave Miller

Selection: Duke (-6.5)

Arguably the best rivalry in college basketball takes center stage again on Saturday evening when Duke travels to Chapel Hill to take on North Carolina. This will mark the first time UNC is unranked going into this in-state clash since February 20, 2014, when the Tar Heels beat fifth-ranked Duke 74-66. Meanwhile, the Blue Devils will be trying to end a three-game losing skid at the Dean Dome (their last win coming on February 17, 2016).

Mike Krzyzewski's seventh-ranked Blue Devils (19-3, 9-2 ACC) didn't look great in their last outing, an eight-point win at Boston College that was the team's fourth straight victory. Duke leans a lot on Vernon Carey Jr. and Tre Jones for offense, so which Blue Devil(s) will step up to pick up the slack down the season's stretch?

Meanwhile, Roy Williams and the Tar Heels (10-12, 4-8) have endured a very trying season. This will almost certainly be Cole Anthony's lone home game against Duke in his college career, so the Tar Heels will need to lean on the freshman. Can he put up 30-plus and carry UNC deep into the game with a chance to steal it late? It's been a crazy season across the country, but that's asking a lot of the talented freshman guard, who recently returned after a seven-week absence following arthroscopic surgery to repair a partially torn meniscus in his right knee. One thing to expect, though: Anthony will bounce back from his 5-of-22 shooting performance against Florida State.

It doesn't appear that UNC will be able to go on a late-season run with Anthony back in the lineup after a home loss to Boston College and setback at Florida State. The Tar Heels are likely destined for the NIT, but expect them to play hard on Saturday night.

Still, you can bet that the Blue Devils aren't going to finish 1-of-15 from 3-point range as they did against BC. That one trey did keep alive an insane streak: the Blue Devils have made at least one 3-pointer in 1,081 consecutive games—the second-longest active streak in the nation behind UNLV 's 1,092 contests.

Overall, though, Duke's balance will be the difference, and it's just tough to envision Carolina's offense putting up enough points to keep up with the Devils.

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