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Duke at North Carolina Preview

March 04, 2007

College Basketball - Duke Blue Devils at North Carolina Tarheels (-10, 146) 4:00 PM ET

Tyler Hansbrough of UNCOn Sunday, part two of this season’s edition of one of the most storied rivalries in the history of sports is on tap as Duke travels eight miles to visit North Carolina.

The tide in this series has turned in Carolina’s favor as the Tarheels are apparently still in line for a possible #1 seed. Meanwhile, Duke has been on and off the national rankings, suffering its first 4-game losing streak in decades. However, the Devils have turned it up a bit of late and will be looking to spoil things in Chapel Hill. If the numbers fall right, Duke could surprise in this one and could offer you a strong handicapping opportunity.

You may have noticed that we didn’t mention the phrase “ACC Title” anywhere in the opener. Just to be sure though, after further review, neither Duke nor North Carolina are going for at least a share of the conference crown in this game.

Going into the season, that seemed as unlikely as Jack Black being nominated for an Oscar. For almost two full seasons Tyler Hansbrough received nearly every call from officials to the amazement of ACC coaches, now he is beaten and battered. A string of recent surprising defeats have shown that the sophomore center cannot have his way inside, and North Carolina has no other answer down low.

Meanwhile, across town, while Dick Vitale was excited that his Dukies ran off four straight wins prior to Wednesday, Maryland ended that fairly tale abruptly at Cameron Indoor this past Wednesday.

Truthfully, Coach K’s team is exactly where it belongs, in the middle of the pack of the ACC. Now each rival will be determined to re-establish confidence heading into the ACC tournament.

North Carolina is 17-1 and 10-5 ATS at the “Dean Dome” this season, yet just 3-6 SU and ATS hosting the Blue Devils.

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