#8 North Carolina Looking for revenge vs Hated Rival Duke #17 Saturday Night

The first meeting was a thriller, with shorthanded visitor Duke somehow stealing an upset shocker in Chapel Hill. The much anticipated rematch comes Saturday night in Durham, as North Carolina seeks revenge with conference and national ramifications on the line.

How did Duke, basically playing only FIVE guys, win Round One? Let’s quickly run through the boxscore stats…

First Meeting: Duke 74, North Carolina 73
Two-Point Shooting: Duke 43%, North Carolina 51%
Three-Pointers: Duke 7/19, North Carolina 1/13
Free Throws: Duke 13/16, North Carolina 12/15
Rebounds Duke 34, North Carolina 46
Turnovers: Duke 7, North Carolina 10
Phantom Score: Duke 74, North Carolina 104

With all the talk about Coach K’s smart gameplan (which was brilliant, attacking the weakest Carolina defensive link on virtually every second half possession), and North Carolina’s choke factor (which was impossible to miss down the stretch), the boxscore shows that three-pointers were the real key. Duke was +18 points from behind the arc in a game they only won by a point. Carolina just couldn’t buy a long bucket… which is an issue for Roy Williams teams because he doesn’t recruit bombers! Duke kept working for good shots… and made enough of their long range attempts to overcome their disadvantages inside.

Our “Phantom Score” stat is a measure of “inside” play, simply the sum of two-point scoring plus rebounding. This is a historic Duke weakness, which is exacerbated by a short rotation because they can’t afford foul trouble. If North Carolina maintains that inside edge (likely), and makes a few more treys… they can get their revenge.

Now to JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats…

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency
N. Carolina: 119.3 per 100 possessions (#3 in the nation)
Duke: 119.8 per 100 possessions (#4 in the nation)

These are the “adjusted” numbers as posted online by college basketball guru Ken Pomeroy, who tweaks the raw data to account for pace and strength of schedule. You can see that both of these offenses are FANTASTIC, even though they do it in different ways. Carolina constantly attacks the basket, which creates two’s and a lot of free throw opportunities. Duke tends to rely more on three-pointers… and then some semi-traditional "home cooking" that gets them free throw attempts at home. They may need that this time!

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency
N. Carolina: 96.2 per 100 possessions (#39 in the nation)
Duke: 98.6 per 100 possessions (#94 in the nation)

Defense is an issue for both once you’re talking about elite teams matching up against each other. Carolina lost the opener because their weakest links were consistently exploited. Carolina “choked” the opener because they couldn’t figure out a way to score on a soft, shorthanded defense! Duke will have to play great on offense in the postseason to overcome this mediocre defense. Carolina will have trouble playing to their seed, which happens a lot because they’re always so respected in the media and markets.

Pace Ranking
N. Carolina: #37
Duke: #200

Duke is slightly below average because shorthanded teams can’t afford to destroy their own legs. Frankly, that’s “fast” for a team with such a short rotation. Carolina flies at the basket, which helps them run up the score on lesser teams. When smart opponents deny cheap points off the break, Carolina becomes mortal.

Against the Spread
N. Carolina: 12-17-1
Duke: 13-14-2

Big disappointment for Carolina… because they’re just not good enough to “play to perfection” the way the market demands of them. Duke has stubbed their toe a bit since that big upset of Carolina. Either team here is capable of getting a big result, but it’s going to be dangerous falling in love with them in any brackets because those vulnerable defenses and ATS results. Can either of these teams win you MONEY when it MATTERS?!

That’s what JIM HURLEY does for his clients. And that’s been true for more than 25 years! Daily BEST BETS in both college and pro basketball can be purchased right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453 or at 1-516-749-8094 during business hours Friday or before the early games get started Saturday. Be sure to ask about "rest of the season" packages that take you through March Madness and/or from Now thru the NBA Playoffs. Those get you the most bang for your buck!

Back with you Sunday to wrap up the regular season with a preview of SMU/Cincinnati in the American Athletic Conference. We picked that one because it’s the last game of the year for SMU (probation), while dangerous Cincinnati has a chance to play spoiler in the postseason.  Then, Monday, some championship previews from mid-major title tilts… launching us through marquee TV matchups in Championship Week.

The madness is about to begin! Be sure you GET ALL THE MONEY with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK MARCH MADNESS PROGRAM!

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