College basketball's most historic rivalry starts a new era Saturday as Duke plays host to North Carolina in the first meeting since 1979 between the teams without Mike Krzyzewski coaching for the Blue Devils since his retirement after last season. Instead, its first-year coach Jon Scheyer who is leading Duke in what amounts to a pivotal ACC battle as the squads play for the 259th time in series history.
Duke (14-5, 5-4 ACC) enters as a projected No. 6 seed for the NCAA Tournament in Jerry Palm's Bracketology and has yet to lose at Cameron Indoor Stadium this season. North Carolina (15-6, 7-3) enters as a projected No. 9 seed for the Big Dance after a 65-64 home loss to Pitt on Wednesday. But the Tar Heels shouldn't be the least bit flustered by what figures to be a rowdy road environment.
In coach Hubert Davis' first season as UNC's coach a year ago, the Tar Heels walloped Duke 94-81 at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Krzyzewski's final home game as coach. North Carolina famously went on to beat Duke again nearly a month later in one of the most memorable Final Four games of NCAA Tournament history to end Coach K's career.
But history is history and the reality is that both teams are still finding their way in the 2022-23 season even after Final Four runs a season ago. Duke is heavily reliant on freshmen and is led by versatile seven-footer Kyle Filipowski. Because of their youth and Scheyer's inexperience, the have navigated ups and downs, but this game marks a chance for Duke to win three consecutive games for the first time since early December.
In contrast, North Carolina is one of the oldest power conference teams in the country with several key contributors back from last season. But the Tar Heels have dealt with plenty of struggles anyway after beginning the season ranked No. 1 in the AP poll.
How to watch Duke vs. North Carolina live
Date: Saturday, Feb. 4 | Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
Location: Cameron Indoor Stadium -- Durham, North Carolina
TV: ESPN | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Duke vs. North Carolina prediction, picks
North Carolina center Armando Bacot is difficult for everyone to defend, but he may prove to be particularly challenging for the Blue Devils to cover as it will be freshmen Kyle Filipowski and Dereck Lively tasked with bruising against him on the block. Much of UNC's roster knows firsthand what it's like to win inside Cameron Indoor Stadium and will be particularly motivated Saturday because of a poor showing against Pitt on Wednesday. This will be the first taste of college basketball's best rivalry for many of the Duke players, and it could be too big of a moment for a squad that has operated outside the national spotlight since a couple of big November games. Prediction: North Carolina +3
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