One of the crucial broadly anticipated contests in Ultimate 4 historical past until happen within the second sport from New Orleans Saturday night time when arch-rivals Duke and North Carolina sq. off within the NCAA event for the primary time in historical past.
At the least level you nearly actually know all the defining storylines right here — first event assembly, Coach Ok’s final season, Duke out for revenge for his or her final assembly, UNC taking pictures for the final word rivalry trump card by ending Krzyzewski’s profession — so let’s handle three issues concerning the precise sport that it’s best to know earlier than the Blue Devils and Tar Heels get it on in The Huge Straightforward.
1. Duke has a transparent expertise benefit
For a very long time on this rivalry, North Carolina was seen because the facet that was all the time loaded with future NBA stars, whereas Duke’s success was extra concerning the tradition of this system — one with terrific faculty gamers whose expertise wouldn’t essentially translate to the best degree of success within the NBA.
That dynamic has been form of flipped on its head in recent times, and by no means has that change been extra obvious than at this second.
For those who pull up just about any mock NBA draft on the web proper now, you’re more likely to see no less than three Duke gamers earlier than you get to a participant on one of many different three groups that can play in New Orleans this weekend.
Paolo Banchero is a near-lock to be a prime three decide within the draft and will go No. 1 total, A.J. Griffin can seemingly lock up a prime 10 spot with a powerful efficiency or a pair of robust performances contained in the Superdome, and Mark Williams and Wendell Moore Jr. additionally appear to be protected bets to be taken within the first spherical.
North Carolina’s Caleb Love and Brady Manek would appear to have an opportunity to listen to their names referred to as within the draft (Love if he chooses to go away faculty early), however nearly actually not till the second spherical.
We all know this Carolina group can outplay this Duke group as a result of all of us noticed it with our personal eyes only a month in the past. But when each groups are enjoying to their highest degree on Saturday — which might be great to see from an goal viewing standpoint — it must be the Blue Devils who’re transferring on to Monday night time.
2. Anticipate a high-scoring sport
Whether or not its the additional day without work, the huge arenas or simply the gravity of the second, the Ultimate 4 tends, particularly in recent times, to provide poor taking pictures and low scoring video games from groups that had been lighting up the scoreboard within the previous weeks.
There are causes to consider Duke-North Carolina gained’t fall sufferer to this plague.
The over has hit within the final six conferences between these two arch-rivals. Not solely that, however the scores from these video games have gone over the pregame complete set by the oddsmakers by a median of 20.1 factors per sport.
Duke lit up UNC in Chapel Hill on Feb. 5, taking pictures 57.6 p.c from the sector total and racking up 87 factors in a 20-point demolition of their Tobacco Street Rivals. The Tar Heels one-upped the Dukies a month later by hanging 94 on the Devils in Coach Ok’s final sport at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
These have additionally been the 2 highest-scoring groups within the event, with North Carolina averaging 82.5 factors in its 4 March Insanity victories, and Duke averaging 79.8. Curiously, the Blue Devils have scored precisely 78 factors in all however certainly one of their 4 victories.
3. The three has carried UNC up to now, but it surely may not carry them on Saturday
North Carolina’s shock run to the Ultimate 4 has been fueled primarily by red-hot three-point taking pictures. As a result of Caleb Love, R.J. Davis, Brady Manek and firm have been hitting the surface shot at the next clip, they’ve additionally been taking a bigger proportion of their photographs from three.
Through the common season, the Tar Heels took about 38 p.c of their subject aim makes an attempt from past the arc. Of their upset wins over Baylor and UCLA, that quantity jumped to 44 p.c and 47 p.c, respectively.
Curiously although, when UNC surprised Duke, 94-81, at Cameron Indoor again on March 5, the three-point shot wasn’t a weapon that actually fueled that upset. The Tar Heels took 23 photographs from past the arc, however made solely 9, good for a stable, however not spectacular proportion of 39.1. The larger causes for that vast rivalry win had been Carolina’s 19-of-22 efficiency from the free-throw line, it solely turning the ball over 5 instances, and it taking pictures a torrid 53.3 p.c from inside the arc.
North Carolina will completely be letting its fair proportion of photographs fly from deep on Saturday night time, but when these photographs aren’t falling early, it doesn’t essentially imply that the Tar Heels are cooked.