Tonight marks the 243rd match-up in the historic Tobacco Road Rivalry between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Tarheels and the Duke Blue Devils. Cited as one of the best rivalries in all of sports, the game between these two college basketball powerhouses is always entertaining. And it’s easy to understand why.
Not only are they two of the most historic teams in all of college basketball (having won 10 national championships between them), but the proximity of the two teams just adds fuel to the fire. The two schools are only ten miles apart traveling along Tobacco Road (U.S. Highway 15-501), but the fact that Duke is a private school and UNC is public is just another caveat to why the respectful hatred between these two exists.
So with tonight’s matchup set to continue the rivalry at 8:00pm EST, how do the two teams stack up? North Carolina (21-4, 9-2 in conference) is currently sitting at number 8 in the national NCAA rankings and number one in the ACC, due in large part to the great play of their bigs Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks, along with some increasing contributions from guards Joel Berry and Justin Jackson.
Duke (18-5, 6-4) on the other hand, is 18th in the country and 6th in the ACC. They dropped some big games when their coach Mike krzyzewski was out for a month due to back surgery, but are surging again with their great guard play of Grayson Allen Luke Kennard.
But as this rivalry has proved time and time again, when these two teams meet on the court, all of that gets thrown out the window. Anything is possible when they play, and tonight should be no different.
The teams have met a total of 242 times in their storied past, with UNC winning 134 to Duke’s 108. Lately, though, Duke has had the upper hand, winning 7 out of the last 10 matches. UNC won the most recently, however, with a 76-72 win at Cameron Indoor Stadium in 2016.
In terms of ACC play, Duke holds the slight edge, winning 19 total ACC championships to Carolina’s 18 (they won last year’s to pull within one of Duke). And the rivalry is all knotted up with national championships as both currently have 5.
Any sports fan worth their salt is likely excitedly awaiting tonight’s tip-off and continuation of this great rivalry, and rest assured, either Durham or Chapel Hill is going to be a fun place to be tonight.