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February 13, 2013

UNC - Duke Capsule

Basketball Preview

This week North Carolina participates in a little basketball game with a team from Durham.

Apparently it's a pretty big deal.

UNC will travel to Cameron Indoor Stadium to take on the Duke Blue Devils tomorrow night. The game will feature one team being considered as a national title contender and another trying to contend for a NCAA tournament berth.

The sizeable difference in accolades marks the difference between this year's version of the rivalry and versions from year's past.

Normally, this is a game that decides who will most likely be crowned regular season champion in the ACC. This year, bragging rights will have to do if everything stays on its current trajectory.

Duke at a glance

Location: Durham, North Carolina
Nickname: Blue Devils
Colors: Royal Blue & White
Conference: ACC
Arena: Cameron Indoor Stadium (9,314)
2011-2012 Record: 27-7 (13-3)
Last Game: W 61-60 on Feb. 10, 2013 at Boston College
Last Game vs. UNC: L 88-70 on March 3, 2012 in Durham
More on the Blue Devils:
Schedule | Stats | Roster | Rivals Site | Forums

GAME PREVIEW THOUGHTS

Reggie Bullock

Reggie Bullock is the only starter remaining from the line-up that took the court at Duke during the season finale last year.

Bullock had a nice game, finishing with 12 points in 29 minutes and hitting on two big three-pointers.

UNC jumped out to a 48-24 lead against Duke in that one. Bullock was just a complimentary player back then but, along with James Michael McAdoo, will be the focus this time around.

Can Bullock put on a Kendall Marshall performance?

Last year Marshall felt disrespected when Duke played the last second Austin Rivers game-winning shot from earlier in the year just before tip-off. Marshall gathered his teammates and told them to make a statement.

Bullock has been the most vocal leader the Tar Heels have had this year. Has he been telling them to make a statement tomorrow night?

Bullock has scored double-digit points the last three games. Look for him to get his shot going early against the Blue Devils.

Efficiency and focus

UNC is ninth in points per game, fifth in rebounds per game, second in assists per game yet sit 114th in field goal percentage.

Something isn't adding up.

It's been a different kind of team for UNC Head Coach Roy Williams. They still score, as evidenced by their position in the standings, but they rely more on the outside shot than ever before.

Being such a perimeter oriented team has come at a price. Long rebounds lead to run-outs and UNC has struggled to get back on defense.

N.C. State outscored them 20-0 in fast break points during one half of basketball.

UNC currently features a starting line-up that excludes two of its top four leading scorers (P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald).

Williams is clearly hoping that the defensive prowess of Dexter Strickland and Desmond Hubert will offset for a lack of offense, but it should be noted that UNC hasn't started the last few games particularly well.

Learning experiences, learning experiences and more learning experiences

It's been said time and again and everyone is tired of hearing about it but the fact remains that this Tar Heels team is young. It's always worth wondering how the inexperience will rear its head once the games start.

There isn't a more hallowed arena in the ACC than Cameron Indoor Stadium. There isn't a student section that gets more hyperbole thrown its way than the Cameron Crazies.

There isn't a rivalry like UNC-Duke.

North Carolina (16-7, 6-4) vs. Duke (21-2, 8-2)

Date: Wed, Feb 13, 2013
Time: 9:00 PM EST
Venue: Cameron Indoor Stadium (9,314)
TV: ESPN/ACC Network

Radio: Tar Heel Sports Network & SiriusXM (Sirius 113, XM 191)
Series: UNC leads, 132-102 (UNC is 47-49 vs. Duke in Durham and 35-40 vs. the Blue Devils in
Cameron Indoor Stadium)

2012-2013 ACC Standings

North Carolina

Head Coach - Roy Williams (273-75 at UNC; 691-176 overall)

Rankings - AP: NR, USA Today: NR, RPI: 36

Last starting line-up for North Carolina (against Miami)

F - Desmond Hubert
F - Reggie Bullock
F - James Michael McAdoo
G - Dexter Strickland

G - Marcus Paige

Stats

(Team)

Points: 78.3 PPG (9th overall)

Rebounds: 41.7 RPG (5th overall)

Assists: 18.0 APG (2nd overall)

Field goal percentage: .445 (113th overall)

(Individual)

Scoring: James Michael McAdoo (14.9 PPG) Reggie Bullock (14.0 PPG)

Rebounding: James Michael McAdoo (8.2 RPG) Reggie Bullock (5.6 RPG)

Assists: Marcus Paige (4.5 APG) Dexter Strickland (4.0 APG)

Duke

Head Coach - Mike Krzyzewski (875-234 at Duke; 948-293 overall)

Rankings - AP: 2, USA Today: 1, RPI: 1

Stats

(Team)

Points: 78.2 (11th overall)

Rebounds: 35.2 (161st overall)

Assists: 15.5 (34th overall)

Field goal percentage: .473 (27th overall)

(Individual)

Scoring: Mason Plumlee (18.2 PPG) Seth Curry (16.8 PPG)

Rebounding: Mason Plumlee (10.7 RPG) Ryan Kelly (5.4 RPG)

Assists: Quinn Cook (6.0 APG) Tyler Thornton (2.6 APG)

Last starting line-up for Duke (against Boston College)

F - Mason Plumlee
F - Amile Jefferson
G - Rasheed Sulaimon
G - Seth Curry

G - Quinn Cook

This is a game that allows a recruiting class to put its stamp on its time at UNC. For Brice Johnson, J.P. Tokoto and Marcus Paige that means an opportunity to make up for the goose egg that was the N.C. State game at PNC Arena.

This team hasn't made the jump from joggers to full blown runners but they've definitely gotten past the infancy stages where every new moment was met with some sort of struggle.

The biggest thing UNC has struggled with this season is meeting the moment with the ability to conquer it. UNC didn't have the urgency it needed from the get-go in games against Indiana, N.C. State and Miami.

Williams talked about drawing a line in the sand, being prepared to cross it and hitting someone in the mouth during his radio show Monday night. If they come out lethargic Wednesday night it's likely that Williams has players that might never understand how to reach the level needed to compete in the ACC.

If they come out foaming at the mouth ready for a (figurative) fight, then Williams won't need to preach about being prepared to start the game, instead he can focus on building up his team and their experience, win or lose.

Beating Duke will do wonders for how fans and media members remember them.

Beat Duke and all of a sudden it doesn't feel like a season that didn't reach the high standard UNC fans and alumni set for its basketball program.

Instead it feels like a glorious Monday morning where the sky is just the right shade of blue.

It will also help quite nicely in the quest to make the NCAA tournament.




 

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