When considering both its intensity and astonishing balance over the years, few rivalries compare to the one harbored between Duke and UNC Basketball. But next year favor will tip towards the Tar Heels both during head-to-head matchups and across the ACC basketball standings.
While UNC Basketball somewhat enjoyed a silver lining within last season’s quick ending after suffering through an uncharacteristically disappointing campaign thanks to injuries and poor coaching even proclaimed by Roy Williams himself, the Blue Devils contrarily put up a solid 15-5 ACC record while eagerly eyeing up the chance for an NCAA tournament run. But despite their different agendas last year, these now teams share similar burdens brought upon by the NBA Draft, now watching their most talented pieces move onto the professional level.
Gathering the most attention, UNC point guard Cole Anthony proved correct the sizeable crowd predicting him to move onto the NBA once concluding his freshmen year. While they might lack the star power Anthony draws as a lottery projected pick, Duke’s departure’s poise to leave a noticeable hole within their basketball program as well, as Tre Jones, Cassius Stanley, and Vernon Carey Jr. all announced their NBA draft aspirations this spring.
Essentially, professional basketball intends to steal 65.1 points per game from this rivalry, and although no statistic or tool exists yet to measure leadership and experience, those factors will certainly decrease by a substantial amount for each program as well. But as we all know, with every departing player, the opportunity to recruit another opens up.
Both UNC and Duke earned top-five recruiting classes for next season, warranting another season filled with championship aspirations for the Blue Devils and a likely return to not just relevancy, but the big dance for the Tar Heels. With both squads fulled loaded having paired exceptional prospects with some returning pieces from last year, more heightened basketball appears on the way for this rivalry.
But when one really gets down to it, a singular team will reign supreme above the other. Here are 3 reasons why the Tar Heels will be that team.