Duke vs. North Carolina Preview & Prediction

The Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels will meet for the second time the season, and are hoping to deliver a fitting sequel to Duke's thrilling 92-90 come-from-behind overtime victory in the first matchup.

Projected Starting Lineups

 (3) Duke Blue Devils (27-3, 14-3 in ACC)

G Tyus Jones (Fr.) – 11.4 ppg, 5.7 apg

G Quinn Cook (Sr.) – 15.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg

F Justise Winslow (Fr.) – 12.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg

F Amile Jefferson (Jr.) – 7.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg

C Jahlil Okafor (Fr.) – 17.8 ppg, 9.4 rpg

(19) North Carolina Tar Heels (21-9, 11-6 in ACC)

G Marcus Paige (Jr.) – 13.2 ppg, 4.4 apg

F Justin Jackson (Fr.) – 9.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg

F J.P. Tokoto (Jr.) – 8.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg

F Brice Johnson (Jr.) – 12.5 ppg, 7.9 rpg

F Kennedy Meeks (So.) – 12.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg

What to watch for:

Can Marcus Paige carry the load for UNC?

Paige is undoubtedly UNC's best player, but Duke limited him to just five points on 2-11 shooting in Durham. He wasn't able to make the plays down the stretch that the Heels needed him to make, and they need him to have much more of an impact in this game for UNC to win.

How will UNC stop Jahlil Okafor?

North Carolina's plethora of big men were able to slow Okafor in the first half, but he rolled his ankle right when he was beginning to take over the game. Okafor still had a big impact on the boards, but the ankle injury limited his offensive effectiveness. Now that he's fully healthy, he'll be the focal point of Duke's offense - look for UNC to send late double teams at Okafor to try and slow him down.

Prediction: Duke wins 82-75

This rivalry never fails to disappoint, and Duke and UNC will play another thriller tonight. However, the Blue Devils have more talent and will make the plays they need to down the stretch to win.

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