Duke Blue Devils vs North Carolina Tarheels: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

Where: Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

When: Saturday, March 9th at 6pm EST.

How (TV/Radio): ESPN

Duke Blue Devils (Away)

Head Coach: Mike Krzyzewski {Overall: 26-4, .867 W-L% | Conference: 14-3, 3rd in ACC}

The Blue Devils look to close out their season strong after losing two of their last five contests, with the first loss coming against the Tarheels at Cameron Indoor Stadium on February 20th. Duke was beaten 88-72 after losing star freshman Zion Williamson in the opening minutes. Freshman wings R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish combined to score 60 points in the loss but did not receive much help as junior big man Javin DeLaurier was the next highest scorer with just 6 points.

Coach K’s program will have their pride on the line in this game, as a loss will result in the Blue Devils being swept by North Carolina for the first time since the 2008-2009 season. The Tarheels wound up winning the National Championship that year with a lineup featuring future NBA players Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, Danny Green, and Wayne Ellington.

In their most recent game, Duke came through with a nail-biting Senior Night win over Wake Forest on March 5th. The Blue Devils won 71-70 thanks to a missed buzzer beater and were led by Barrett who had 28 points along with fellow freshman, Tre Jones, who chipped in with 13 points.

North Carolina Tarheels (Home)

Head Coach: Roy Williams {25-5, .833 W-L% | Conference: 15-2, T-1st in ACC}

The Tarheels enter this game on a six-game winning streak and will look to improve their chances at a number one seed in the NCAA tournament with a win over their rival. Roy Williams will be hoping for an effort equivalent to the one in their win in Durham, where they forced Duke into 20 turnovers as well as 34.7% shooting from the field. Senior forwards Luke Maye and Cameron Johnson took advantage of Zion Williamson’s absence by combining for 56 points and 22 rebounds.

In their previous game, the Tarheels took care of business against Boston College, beating the Eagles 79-66 in Chestnut Hill. The aforementioned seniors each had double-doubles, with Johnson putting up 22 points and 12 rebounds, while Maye scored 17 points and ripped down 20 boards.

Duke Roster Notes

Freshman forward Zion Williamson is considered doubtful for this game, as he recovers from a knee sprain suffered in the first game against North Carolina.

North Carolina Roster Notes

Freshman forward, Rechon “Leaky” Black is out indefinitely with an ankle injury suffered on January 29th against Georgia Tech.

Head-to-Head: Cam Reddish vs Luke Maye

Cam Reddish

Small Forward | 6-8, 218lb (203cm, 98kg) | Westtown School | Norristown, PA | Freshman

14.0 PPG | 2.1 APG | 3.7 RPG | 1.7 SPG | 0.5 BPG | 2.7 TOV | .362 FG% | .336 3P%

Luke Maye

Power Forward | 6-8, 240lb (203cm, 108kg) | Hough HS | Huntersville, NC | Senior

14.9 PPG | 2.3 APG | 10.3 RPG | 0.6 SPG | 0.6 BPG | 2.0 TOV | .438 FG% | .302 3P%

A matchup to really look out for, with Williamson likely missing the game, is between two frontcourt players who have taken a back seat to more prolific scorers this season. Although their scoring averages do not jump off the screen, these players are more than capable of taking the reins on offense when necessary.

When Williamson went down in Durham, it was widely expected that Cam Reddish would easily replace this scoring production. Outside of that game, Reddish has failed to reach 20 points in the following four games and laid 5 and 6 point eggs against Syracuse and Wake Forest respectively. The 3rd ranked recruit in the 2018 class will need to have stronger performances than that in order for Duke to navigate the schedule ahead if Williamson is out for an extended time.

Luke Maye enters his final home game in Tarheel blue as one of the most prolific rebounders in the history of the Atlantic Coast Conference. He is also more than capable of getting buckets when needed, even though his production has dipped from last year. His ability to score from outside will force Duke big men like DeLaurier and Marques Bolden to step out of the paint and guard him, which will open up the offense for North Carolina.

Duke at North Carolina Predictions and Odds

Most oddsmakers have North Carolina as 3 point favourites over Duke at home, with the over/under currently at 166.