Author Archives: KevinM

Duke – UNC preview

It is pretty amazing how quickly things have changed in the Duke – UNC rivalry over the past three years. Everyone knows that UNC won the title in 2009 and Duke won the title in 2010, but it goes deeper than that. There was a point in the past three years where it seemed like one school wasn’t just doing slightly better than their rival, but that one team had such a upper hand that it almost didn’t even seem like a rivalry.

On November 13, 2009 Harrison Barnes picked UNC over Duke. UNC had just come off winning the 2009 title and was 2-0 at the start of the 2009-2010 season. There was optimism in Chapel Hill, because Duke didn’t seem to be Duke any more. They hadn’t made it to the Final Four since 2004 and seemed to be the type of team that lost out on the top recruits (ex. John Wall, Greg Monroe, Harrison Barnes) and lost in the tournament to athletic teams like like Villanova the year before. It was clear who was winning the rivalry. This was the peak for UNC.

On September 30th, 2010 Austin Rivers picked Duke over UNC and Florida. Duke had just come off winning the 2010 title and were the pre-season #1 ranked team for the 2010/2011 season. They replaced Jon Scheyer, Brian Zoubek and Lance Thomas with future #1 pick Kyrie Irving and Seth Curry. There were some concerns about their size (could the Plumlees replace Zoubek’s productivity?), but most people were optimistic about lineup of future NBA players like Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler, Kyrie Irving and Mason Plumlee. They would start off the year beating good teams like Michigan State and Marquette and destroying a supposedly very good Kansas State team in a road environment (Kansas City) that had me texting my brother-in-law (a UNC grad) about being surprised if Duke didn’t win the title. UNC had come off a year, where they went 5-11 in the ACC, lost to Duke by 32 and didn’t even make the NCAA tournament.

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