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Next Up - UNC

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Well here we are again - Duke and Carolina in a fight for first place. Both 26-4. Both 13-2. And best of all, it's in Cameron, where the atmosphere is far, far better than it has ever been in the Dean Dome. And it needs to be, because there is going to be one angry team bussing over from Chapel Hill.

As much as Duke fans and everyone around the program celebrated Austin Rivers' huge shot to ice the comeback in Chapel Hill, the Carolina players have itched for a chance to get another crack at Duke. Realistically, there's no way they should've lost that game. Yet they did.

And they haven't forgotten either.

UNC brings a significant advantage up front. Tyler Zeller has been on a tear lately, winning the Virginia game with a killer dunk then hanging 30 on Maryland.

If there's one area to criticize him in, it's that his rebounding is slightly off: earlier in the season, he put up a streak of 10, 14, 11, 17, took a day off against Tech with three, then had 18 against Wake Forest.

He hasn't hit double figures since the Duke game, pulling down 9, 8, 7, 8, 6 and 8 in his last six games.

Curiously, John Henson's been a bit off as well: against Duke he had 17; since then, 10, 11, 8, 13, 11and 9. Surely nothing to be embarrassed about, but not peak performance either.

Harrison Barnes, who has been dealing with an ankle injury for some time, had 11 boards against Virginia after the Duke loss, but since then has grabbed 6, 7, 3, 9 and 4.

In his last two games, he's scored seven and 10 points respectively and shot 3-15 against Virginia and 3-8 against Maryland.

After a brilliant outing at State, where he was 7-8 from the floor and racked up 13 assists, Kendall Marshall has been less productive, with one point and six assists against stubborn UVa, and eight assists and three points against Maryland.

Since the Duke game, when he was not much of a factor with four points in 34 minutes, Reggie Bullock has hit double figures in four of his last five games. The exception was Virginia, but they do that to a lot of people.

Toss that one out and in the last four games he's hit four threes and gone 16-33 for 48.4%.

Worth noting: since Duke, Barnes has hit just eight three pointers and shot 29% from behind the line.

PJ Hairston, who came in with a big rep as a three point shooter, has seen his minutes decline sharply: before Duke, he got to double minutes in all but three games; since, he's done it just twice, once against Virginia and the second time against Maryland in a laugher. His three point percentage since Duke? He's 4-20 for 20%.

Despite some concerns and less depth than Roy Williams ever thought he'd have, UNC has done fairly well. Why?

Well, in a bit of a suprise, and perhaps out of necessity, UNC has become a much better defensive team. And that may have something to do with their remarkable size.

Marshall is the smallest starter at 6-4. Bullock is 6-7, Barnes 6-8, Zeller 7-0 and Henson 6-11 but for all practical purposes closer to 7-2.

What does Duke do with that? You'll remember that before the comeback in the Dean Dome, Duke was down 10 with just 2:35 left.

You'll also remember that Mason and Miles Plumlee managed just 11 points between them and that Duke had significant foul trouble: Miles had three, Mason had four as did Seth Curry and Tyler Thornton fouled out.

It's worth noting too that Mason Plumlee has not played his best lately: he had just three points and three boards against B.C., and while he scored 12 against Wake, surprisingly, most of that was from the line, where he shot 8-9.

Still, despite UNC's many advantages, not least of all their emotional incentives, Duke is a very difficult team to prepare for, particularly in Cameron. You don't know who could go off: it could be Curry. Or Rivers. Or Dawkins. Or Kelly.

And for all of Carolina's emotional incentives, Senior Day at Duke, much less Senior Day with UNC in the house, is an enormous Passion Play. If things start to go Duke's way, it's hard to slow that train down.

Most likely, though, it'll be another tight game, with the issue being decided in the last 90 seconds, and possibly much less than that.

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