by Bovada Sportsbook
Could there possibly be a better way to cap the final Saturday of college basketball’s regular season than with North Carolina Tar Heels visiting archrival Duke Blue Devils with the ACC regular-season title and likely a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament on the line? This game will have live betting available on Bovada Sportsbook’s NCAA basketball odds and the Blue Devils opened as 1-point favorites.
UNC and Duke have combined to win 47 regular-season ACC titles, with the Tar Heels claiming 28 and the Blue Devils 19. The rest of the schools in the conference have combined for just 23.
These two Tobacco Road superpowers played one of the games of the season back on Feb. 8, with the Blue Devils stunning North Carolina in Chapel Hill, 85-84, on a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Austin Rivers. The freshman scored a season-high 29 points and hit six 3s, the last over 7-footer Tyler Zeller with Duke down two. The Heels were up 10 points with less 2:38 left but instead saw their school-record 31-game home winning streak come to an end. UNC was up only three at the half but led by as much as 13 in the second half thanks to big performances from Zeller (who scored 19 of his 23 points in the first half) and Harrison Barnes (19 of his 25 in the second). Zeller, however, missed a free throw with just under 14 seconds left that allowed Rivers’ shot to be the winner.
That was UNC’s only loss in the past 12 games and its only home loss of the year. The Heels (26-4, 13-2) have since won six in a row, last crushing Maryland 88-64 on Wednesday in their final home game of the season. Zeller, a senior, led the way with 30 (20 of 23 at the foul line) on Senior Night. He is probably the ACC Player of the Year.
Duke (26-4, 13-2) is on a seven-game winning streak that started with the stunner of UNC. The Blue Devils won at Wake Forest 79-71 on Tuesday behind a career-high 23 points from Ryan Kelly. Duke became the third team in school history to finish 8-0 in conference road games.
This will be the 44th time the two have met with both ranked in the Top 10. It will be the seventh time that the rivals have played each other in the regular-season finale with the ACC title on the line. The team with the halftime lead has won five of the previous six winner-take-all matchups. Roy Williams is 2-0 in those games since he arrived at Chapel Hill but 8-10 overall against Duke. The Blue Devils look for their third straight win in the series and sixth in the past seven meetings. Duke hasn’t lost in Durham to UNC since Feb. 11, 2009.
austin rivers - duke blue devils - harrison barnes - ncaa tournament - north carolina tar heels - ryan kelly - tyler zeller