Duke-North Carolina Basketball

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Eight miles, as the crow flies, separate the campuses of these two fierce rivals. If you drive along Highway 15-501 (Tobacco Road), the distance stretches to ten miles. The close proximity between Duke University (Blue Devils) and the University of North Carolina (Tar Heels) may explain the intense rivalry between the schools, especially in basketball. The following will offer some facts that you may not know about these two storied basketball programs.

The schools began to tip it off in 1920 and North Carolina holds a 134-108 series advantage. In the last 91 meetings, Duke owns a 46-45 edge, and the last time neither team was ranked at game time was in 1955. From 1988 through 2001, every Final Four except one (1996), included Duke and/or North Carolina.

Roy Williams coaches the Tar Heels and Mike Krzyzewski leads the Blue Devils.  Williams was at Kansas from 1988 until 2003, then left for North Carolina. Coach K has been at Duke since 1980. As you may imagine, both coaches own some impressive statistics at their combined schools. Krzyzewski has 12 Final Four appearances while Williams has 8. Coach K has 90 NCAA tournament wins while Williams has 70. Coach K has the most 30-win seasons of any active coach, 14, while Williams is second with 11. Coach K has five national championships and Williams has two, while Coach K has 13 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) championships and Williams has 11 Big 8/Big 12/ACC conference championships.

Besides owning one of the best rivalries in sports, North Carolina and Duke are ranked among college basketball’s elite programs. After the 2016 season, North Carolina ranked third and Duke fourth in overall wins. Both schools have five national championships, which ties them for third among all college basketball programs. Finally, North Carolina ranks first with 19 Final Four appearances while Duke is fourth with 16.

North Carolina and Duke play each other at least twice a year and each game seems to be a battle to the end reminiscent of the Roman gladiator days. The players leave everything on the court while the two great generals dig deep into their coaching bags to find some play, some word of advice, some psychological edge that may tip the scale in their favor. In the league of wine and cheese, this game deserves a bottle of Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon 1992 and a pound of beaufort d’ete!

 

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