clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Duke And UNC Is On Deck

Get ready. It’s going to be fun.

Clemson v Duke
 DURHAM, NC - JANUARY 25: Cameron Crazies and fans of the Duke Blue Devils pose for a photo with the Duke mascot prior to the game against the Clemson Tigers at Cameron Indoor Stadium on January 25, 2022 in Durham, North Carolina. Duke won 71-69.
Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

We’ll get more into this weekend’s Duke-UNC game, but just a few points to start with.

This is the first time that we can think of that neither team is ranked. Vic Bubas generally had his teams ranked in the early ‘60s’. Dean Smith had UNC consistently ranked from the mid-60’s until his retirement. Bill Foster had Duke up there for a couple of years and after Mike Krzyzewski took over, it was much more unusual for Duke to be unranked than ranked. While UNC struggled in the early post-Smith years, Duke had one of the most dominant stretches in ACC history. Roy Williams brought UNC back to prominence.

So basically it’s highly unusual for neither team to be ranked. Will it matter much?

Probably not.

The teams will meet at an interesting intersection. UNC just lost to Pitt at home and is 7-4 in the ACC.

Duke, meanwhile, has had some tough breaks, getting crushed by NC State, running out Clemson and falling just short at Virginia Tech.

But the young Blue Devils have grown up a lot as a result, as we saw at Georgia Tech and also against Wake Forest.

Will that matter much?

Probably not.

As Jay Bilas likes to say, this game never disappoints. It didn’t when Duke upset UNC in 1972. It didn’t when Mike Krzyzewski’s Duke team upset UNC in Gene Banks’ final game.

Think back:Dante Calabria hit a shot while falling down to win one for UNC. Jeff Capel hit a massive shot to force overtime in 1995. Walter Davis hit a 30 footer to force overtime in 1974 (UNC won). Austin Rivers. The double buzzer-beater game.

It goes on and on.

Nothing would surprise us Saturday. Duke vs. UNC has become Tobacco Road’s Mardi Gras only more meaningful.