A huge rivalry contest tonight in college basketball takes place tonight between the No. 2 Duke Blue Devils and the North Carolina Tar Heels. The game is scheduled for a 9:00 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on ESPN. Currently the odds for the game have Duke favored by 11 points.
Arguably the best rivalry in sports takes place tonight in Durham, North Carolina as the Tar Heels and the Dookies take to the floor. It's certainly been a down year for the Tar Heels, by the standards, but they have a lot of talent and McDonald's All-Americans on the squad. There's really no excuse, even if they are very young at key positions.
Duke has been up and down in the Top 5 this season and are back on top of the coaches poll right now. They're certainly better than North Carolina this season and are expected to win this game tonight against a far inferior Tar Heel team. Both teams average 78.3 points per game on the season and Duke is a much better defensive team than North Carolina. Opponents score just 64 points per game against Duke.
At Cameron Indoor Stadium the Blue Devils have gone 12-0. North Carolina is a sub-.500 road team, checking into tonight's game with a 4-5 record away from home. Miami is the top team in the ACC at 10-0 on the season and Duke sits in second place with an 8-2 record.
Reggie Bullock, James Michael McAdoo and P.J. Hairston are going to have to play huge for the Tar Heels in this one. The trio averages better than 40 points per game this year. The key matchups for North Carolina tonight will be rebounding and surviving the rush Duke will have at more than one point. Mason Plumlee's playing like a man on a mission for the Blue Devils and he is going to be a problem for Carolina.
Duke's playing for some history tonight as well — a win would tie Mike Krzyzewski with Adolph Rupp for the most career victories at one school with 876. Some 3-point shooting tonight from Seth Curry and Quinn Cook will open up the middle for Plumlee to abuse the Carolina interior.
Carolina is fifth in the country in rebounds per game at just under 42. They also rank second in assists per game at 18 per contest. Duke rebounds at just 35 per game which is pretty solid but if the Blue Devils can't hit the boards hard in this one they will let Carolina hang around. Second chance offensive opportunities could allow Carolina to get easy buckets.
But it's not going to happen tonight, Duke is going to steamroll Carolina. The Tar Heels cannot play on the road and Duke feels like they have something to prove right now. Look for the Devils to run the floor and knock down threes. Their transition game will exploit Carolina tonight and it will be a big win.
Free Pick: Duke 77, North Carolina 59
College Basketball Free Picks: North Carolina at Duke Betting
What college basketball bettors need to know about North Carolina Tar Heels at Duke Blue Devils on Wednesday (2/13/13) - a free pick from Pregame.com's Steve Fezzik, with Brian Leonard.