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The Battle of the Blues

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Duke vs. UNC 2009

Duke vs. UNC 2009

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Duke vs. UNC 2009

Coral Aman, Staff Writer

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The rivalry between the Duke Blue Devils and the UNC Tar Heels is arguably the largest in college basketball. Fans fuel this rivalry as they cheer for two teams located only about eight miles apart on the Tobacco Road. This competition began during the basketball season of 1919-1920. On January 24th, 1920, UNC and Duke met for the first time. UNC won this matchup 26-25. Over a period of nearly 100 years, both teams have won some, lost some, and been a part of some of the most memorable games in history.

 

As of right now, Duke has won the national championship five times: 1991, 1992, 2001, 2010, and 2015. UNC has seven national titles: 1924, 1957, 1982, 1993, 2005, 2009, and 2017. Duke has won 20 ACC tournament titles, while UNC has won 18.

 

Both teams have had some of the best coaches of all time. Dean Smith coached the Tar Heels for 36 years. During this time, UNC won two national championships, made it to the final four eight times, and won 11 ACC championships. Under Smith’s leadership, the Tar Heels were victorious in 879 games. The current coach of UNC, Roy Williams, has led the Tar Heels to win two national championships and 279 total wins. For Duke, Mike Krzyzewski has the most wins in all of college basketball. Krzyzewski has coached since 1980. During this time, the Blue Devils have won 4 national championships and advanced to the Final Four 11 times.

 

Key players have led both teams to success. For the Tar Heels, Michael Jordan, Vince Carter, Phil Ford, Billy Cunningham, Antawn Jamison, Ty Lawson, and Tyler Hansbrough are just a few names that will be forever remembered. For the Blue Devils, Art Heyman, Dick Groat, Danny Ferry, Shane Battier, Bobby Hurley, and Grant Hill are a few of the legendary players.

 

Both men’s basketball teams from these schools already played once in Chapel Hill on February 8th. At the time of the game, Duke was ranked #9 in the nation, while UNC was #21. The Dean Dome was sold out and filled with screaming fans, hoping to leave with a win. For the UNC seniors, this was their last chance to beat Duke at home, so the Tar Heels came ready to fight. During the first half, the Blue Devils were up, but the Tar Heels had a run and were able to come back and end the first half within 4 points of Duke.

 

In the second half, the Tar Heels stepped up defensively to keep Duke’s Wendell Carter Jr. and Marvin Bagley from scoring. With a 3-pointer from Cameron Johnson, an iconic dunk from Theo Pinson, and free throws from Joel Berry, UNC secured the game. The Tar Heels were victorious and finished 82-78 over Duke. As the final seconds of the game came to a close, Joel Berry threw the ball in the air, and thousands of UNC fans went crazy.  At the first of two games, UNC pulled away with a win through the leadership of Joel Berry, Kenny Williams, and Cameron Johnson.

 

The two teams will meet again at Cameron Indoor Stadium this Saturday, March 3rd at 8:15 p.m. March 3rd will be senior night in Durham. Senior Grayson Allen will play for the last time in Durham. Duke will be looking to win one of the two games, while UNC will play for a second win.

 

The Blue Devils are ranked #5 in the nation, while the Tar Heels are #9. Both teams have lost to Virginia and N.C. State. Duke has lost to Boston College and St. John’s. UNC fell to Clemson, Michigan State, Wofford, Florida State, and Virginia Tech. After losing three games in a row, UNC was on a winning streak with 6 victories in a row. After losing to St John’s and UNC, Duke clenched five wins in a row.

 

Senior Tar Heels Joel Berry and Theo Pinson had their final home game on Tuesday, February 27th against Miami. The game was a hard loss, as Miami won with a three-pointer at the buzzer. Duke also lost to Virginia Tech on Monday, February 26th.

 

After the final Duke vs. UNC meeting, March Madness will begin! May the better blue win!

1 Comment

One Response to “The Battle of the Blues”

  1. Cj Spence on February 28th, 2018 8:58 am

    Let’s go Duke!

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The Battle of the Blues