Previewing Duke

McRoberts

The greatest rivalry in college sports resumes Wednesday night. Tip-off at Cameron Indoor Stadium is set for just after 9 p.m. and will be televised nationally by ESPN and locally by Raycom/LFN.

North Carolina (20-3, 6-2) vs. Duke (18-5, 5-4)
Durham, N.C. - Cameron Indoor Stadium
9 p.m., TV - ESPN/R-LFN

PREGAME NOTES

Season to Date: The talented, but young, Duke team lost a November matchup against Marquette, but then recorded solid non-conference wins over Indiana, Georgetown and Gonzaga. The ACC slate, however, has been uncharacteristically rocky for the Blue Devils, as they enter Wednesday's game at 5-4 in the conference -- including two losses at home (Virginia Tech, Florida State). However, it should be noted that three of those four ACC defeats were by two points or less.

Slowing Down Guards: The common thread in all of Duke's losses has been a difficulty containing quick and athletic opponents -- especially guards. Dominic James of Marquette, Zabian Dowdell of Virginia Tech and J.R. Reynolds of Virginia all scored more than 20 points in their wins over Duke. Their ability to beat Blue Devils defenders off the dribble from the perimeter created scoring opportunities for both themselves and teammates.

Youth Movement: There aren't many Top 25 teams that are younger than Duke. The main seven-man rotation consists of one junior, three sophomores and three freshmen.

Defensive Formula: When you've got the lowest-ranked offense (69.4 ppg) in the conference, wins must come from defense. Duke's allowing an ACC-low 57.1 points per game and holding opponents to 39.3 percent shooting from the field and 28.9 percent on three-pointers. With the vulnerability off the dribble on the perimeter, the best way to beat the Duke defense is to attack it.

Mr. Versatile: While the Blue Devils would likely benefit if sophomore Josh McRoberts was more assertive offensively, he's still perhaps the most well-rounded big man in the conference. With his 13.2 points per game, McRoberts is averaging 7.7 rebounds (5th in ACC), 2.6 blocks (2nd in ACC) and 3.7 assists (team-high).

Series History: UNC leads the all-time series against Duke 125-96, which includes a 31-38 record at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke has won eight of the last 10 matchups played in Durham. They split the two games last season, with Duke winning in Chapel Hill (87-83) and then UNC winning in Durham (83-76). The Tar Heels averaged 18.5 turnovers in the two games, but got a combined 41 points and 19 rebounds from Tyler Hansbrough.

 3 Greg Paulus (6-1, 180, So.) – 8.7 ppg, 3.7 apg
21 DeMarcus Nelson (6-4, 200, Jr.) - 14.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg
15 Gerald Henderson (6-4, 215, Fr.) – 6.0 ppg, 2.7 rpg
42 Lance Thomas (6-8, 215, Fr.) – 4.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg
 2 Josh McRoberts (6-10, 240, So.) – 13.0 ppg, 8.1 rpg

Key Reserves:
30 Jon Scheyer (6-5, 180, Fr.) – 12.0 ppg, 2.3 rpg
14 David McClure (6-6, 200, So.) – 5.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg
55 Brian Zoubek (7-1, 250, Fr.) – 4.4 ppg, 2.7 rpg

Duke Info
Schedule
Stats
Roster & Bios

Photo Gallery


Paulus ....... McRoberts


Nelson ....... Scheyer


McClure ....... Henderson




(Photos courtesy AP

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