The Rivalry; Duke vs. UNC

Last Updated: February 10th, 2009 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor)

When you think of college basketball perhaps you think of the great teams throughout the years like UCLA, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Duke. Then when you throw the world rivalry into the phrase with college basketball two names standout far more than the rest and they are the North Carolina Tarheels and the Duke Blue Devils. These two highly successful teams have the most brutally intense rivalry in college basketball fueled by years of close games with anywhere from Conference to National Championship implications. These two programs rivalry burns like no other match-up in basketball and they will reignite the flame this Wednesday night.

It may be hard for those that do not understand the history to fully grasp the significance in this annual rivalry meeting which happens twice a year. North Carolina and Duke rank in the top 4 of schools in NCAA History on the all-time wins list not to mention both schools have combined for 7 National Titles. 5 of those National Titles have also come in the last two decades and only twice since 1990 has a Duke or North Carolina team not won or shared the regular season ACC Championship. The battles that take place twice every year always have extreme implications on the line. Nearly every year these two schools are battling for ACC supremacy or games with National meaning. This Wednesday night’s match-up is no different as these two schools are tied for first place in the ACC and they will take center stage in front of the nation to battle it out once again in one of the most highly anticipated games of the year.

If you could imagine battling the same team year in and year in these type of high pressure meaningful games, you can quickly understand why this game has become a rivalry. Add to the fact that both schools are from the same conference and they meet twice a season and you can see why this is a big rivalry. Finally, throw in the fact that these two campuses are separated by only 8 miles of Tobacco Road and you can perhaps understand why this has become one of the biggest calamities in sports. If you have not witnessed these games first hand, you could not imagine the animosity between the two fan bases. A spectacle that will once again be seen Wednesday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium at the home of the Blue Devils.

The rivalry has become of the rarest forms of true hatred between two teams in college sports and quite possibly it is all due to the success of both programs. When you combine 28 Final Four appearances from the Universities, and have to go back over 50 years to 1955 to find the last meeting that occurred when neither team was ranked in the top 25 in the Associated Press polls so you can just get a glimpse at the high profile type of play. In 2006, the rivalry hit one of its climax moments when it turned in to a bloodshed battle between two of the current standout players for each team. The Blue Devils Gerald Henderson went up to test a shot with North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough and the outcome was a scene for the ages. While the act did not look intentional, Henderson frustratingly swung to block the shot when he made a direct hit on Hansbrough’s nose. Hansbrough lied on the floor for a moment before hopping up with a nasty flow of blood streaming from his nose. This moment in time epitomized the rivalries intensity and the hatred between the schools. The 2006 game between North Carolina and Duke was later claimed to be the most watch college basketball game in NCAA history. In case you were missing from the basketball world in 2006 or just want to rekindle the moment here is the video.


The history between the rivalry is fascinating especially when you consider names like Michael Jordan, Jason Williams, Antawn Jamison, Christian Laettner, and many more have participated in these events then you can appreciate both teams and their significance to college basketball. As far as the recent history goes, North Carolina has won the last 4 of 5 games and they will be the favorites to win on Wednesday night despite Duke is a perfect 14-0 at home this season. Before the impressive run by the Tarheels in the rivalry, Duke put together one of the most impressive streaks in the rivalry when they put together wins in 15 of 19 meetings from prior to the 2006 meeting. The Tarheels lead the all-time series that started back in 1920, by a record of 128-97. However these two elite teams have met a total of 64 times when ranked in the top 25 and they are split even at 32-32. Be sure to tune in late Wednesday night as these two teams return to the spotlight and catch all of the magical moments from the best rivalry in college basketball.

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Posted in NCAA Basketball - Last Updated on Tuesday, February 10th, 2009 @ 6:51 pm (EST)
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