Basketball Wiki
North Carolina Tar Heels–Duke Blue Devils
North Carolina Tar Heels Logo  Duke Blue Devils Logo
Men's Basketball Regular Season History
First Meeting January 24, 1920
First Result UNC 36 - Duke 25


Latest Meeting March 13, 2011
Latest Result Duke 75 - UNC 58
Next Meeting 2012
Total Number of Meetings 232
Largest Victory UNC: 37 points (1921)
Duke: 35 points (1964)
Current Streak Duke 1
All-time Series UNC leads 131-101 [2]
Men's Basketball Post Season History
Last Meeting 1971 NIT
Last Result UNC 73 - Duke 67
All-Time Postseason Series UNC 1 - Duke 0
Men's Basketball Conference Success
ACC Regular Season Championships
  • North Carolina - 28 (1st)
  • Duke - 19 (2nd)

ACC Tournament Championships

  • Duke - 19 (1st)
  • North Carolina - 17 (2nd)
Men's Basketball National Success
NCAA Final Fours
  • North Carolina - 18 (1st all-time)
  • Duke - 15 (3rd all-time)

NCAA Tournament Championships

  • North Carolina - 5 (tied for 3rd all-time)
  • Duke - 4 (5th all-time)

The Carolina–Duke rivalry, also referred to as the Duke–Carolina rivalry, the UNC–Duke rivalry, the Duke-UNC rivalry, The Battle of Tobacco Road, or The Battle of the Blues, is a fierce rivalry, particularly in men's college basketball, between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University athletic teams. It is considered one of the most intense rivalries in all of sports: a poll conducted by ESPN in 2000 ranked the basketball rivalry as the third greatest North American sports rivalry, and Sports Illustrated on Campus named it the #1 "Hottest Rivalry" in college basketball and the #2 rivalry overall in its November 18, 2003 issue. The intensity of the rivalry is augmented by the proximity of the two universities, located only eight miles apart roughly along U.S. Highway 15-501, and the dissimilar funding structures of the schools, as North Carolina is a public university and Duke is a private university. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a flagship school of the multi-university UNC system and consistently ranked in the top 30 national universities by U.S. News and World Report. Duke University is located in Durham, North Carolina, and is consistently ranked in the top 10 national universities.[1]

Men's basketball[]

<templatestyles src="Module:Hatnote/styles.css"></templatestyles>

North Carolina and Duke battled it out for the first time on January 24, 1920. The two teams have met at least twice a year since then. The games frequently determine the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) champion; since the ACC's founding in 1953, Duke and North Carolina have combined to win 80% of the conference's regular season titles and 61% of the tournament titles, including 14 out of the last 15 tournaments. The final game of the regular season for both schools alternates between Chapel Hill and Durham and has been played in Cameron Indoor Stadium since 1940 and the Dean Smith Center since 1986.

Much like the Alabama-Auburn football rivalry, the Carolina-Duke rivalry is all the more intense because the two schools have consistently been among the nation's elite men's basketball teams for most of the last 60 years. Both schools are also two of the most victorious programs in NCAA men's basketball history; North Carolina is #3 on the list of all-time winningest programs in Division I Men's Basketball and Duke is #4.[2][3][4][5][6] Duke has won four NCAA championships and has appeared in fifteen Final Fours, while North Carolina has won five NCAA championships and appeared in a record eighteen Final Fours.[7][8] Additionally, North Carolina was also awarded a sixth national championship by the Helms Athletic Foundation in 1942 for their undefeated 1924 season.

File:Duke-Carolina basketball tip-off 2006.jpg

Tipoff of the Duke-North Carolina basketball game on February 7, 2006.


Though the two schools had always had the hatred born of familiarity and proximity, some of the earliest roots of the modern basketball rivalry occurred in the early 1960s when Duke star and eventual national player of the year Art Heyman got into a brawl on the court with North Carolina's Larry Brown which resulted in suspensions for both players. The rivalry reached unprecedented heights in the mid 1980s under head coaches Dean Smith of North Carolina and Mike Krzyzewski of Duke, thanks to the emergence of cable channels such as ESPN and the increasing coverage of the ACC in national broadcasts by the three major networks, giving a vast national audience more opportunities to witness the two teams and their coaches. Indeed, the teams' final regular season clash has been nationally televised for many years.

Smith held the most wins by a men's college basketball coach (until surpassed by Bob Knight on January 1, 2007), with 879 wins against only 254 losses. In 1982, with players Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins and James Worthy, he won his first national championship. In 1991 Duke won its first ever national championship and then with most of their team returning won another national championship in 1992.

North Carolina then won the championship the next year in 1993. Since then, Duke won the national championship in 2001, North Carolina won the national championship in 2005 and 2009, and Duke won a fourth championship under Krzyzewski in 2010.

After Smith's retirement in 1997, North Carolina suffered through three coaching changes (from Dean Smith to Bill Guthridge to Matt Doherty to Roy Williams) between 1997-2003. From 1997–2003 North Carolina won only 5 games of 19 against Duke and some said that the rivalry was on the decline. However, with the arrival of North Carolina alumnus Roy Williams as head coach, North Carolina once again became a top basketball program by winning four ACC regular season titles in five years (2005, 2007, 2008, 2009), winning the ACC tournament in back to back years in 2007 and 2008 and winning its fourth and fifth NCAA championships in 2005 and 2009 respectively.[9] Erik Spanberg of the The Christian Science Monitor even argued that the rivalry has tilted towards North Carolina in recent years.[10] However, Duke swept North Carolina in their two meetings during the 2009-2010 season, winning the season finale by 32 points, which was the second largest Duke win in series history..[11]

Following that game, Duke went on to win a fourth National title in 2010.

Former Esquire editor and author (and North Carolina graduate) Will Blythe argues that the rivalry’s passion can be attributed greatly to class and culture in the South.


File:Carolina-Duke basketball 2006 2.jpg

The March 4, 2006 game was the most watched college basketball game in ESPN history.

The rivalry has been the subject of various books and articles, including To Hate Like This Is to Be Happy Forever by Will Blythe and Blue Blood by Art Chansky.[12][13]

Memorable games and incidents[]

March 2, 1968: #10 Duke 87, #3 North Carolina 86 (3OT)[]

Duke defeated North Carolina 87-86 in triple overtime at Duke Indoor Stadium (later renamed Cameron Indoor Stadium) when seldom used Duke junior Fred Lind erupted for 16 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocks after having only scored 21 points total in his entire career. When Duke All-American center Mike Lewis picked up his third foul in the first half (and Warren Chapman, his backup, had a knee injury), Duke coach Vic Bubas called on Lind to fill the void against North Carolina greats Rusty Clark and Bill Bunting. Lewis returned in the second half, but fouled out (four Blue Devils and one Tar Heel fouled out of the game) with about five minutes left in regulation when Duke was down by five, and Lind returned to the court. Lind went on to carry the Blue Devils in the three overtimes, blocking North Carolina's shot attempt at the end of regulation, making two free throws at the end of the first overtime, and knocking down a 15-foot jumper at the buzzer to send it into a third overtime. At the conclusion of the game, the students carried Lind to Duke’s main quad.[14][15]

March 2, 1974: #4 North Carolina 96, Duke 92 (OT)[]

Eight Points in Seventeen Seconds. Duke led North Carolina by 86–78 with 17 seconds left. Despite the deficit and despite the fact that the game took place prior to the implementation of the three point shot, North Carolina rallied with a pair of free throws by Bobby Jones, then baskets by John Kuester and Jones after a steal by Walter Davis and a turnover on inbounds attempts. After Duke's Pete Kramer missed the front end of a one-and-one, North Carolina tied the score on Walter Davis's 30 foot bank shot as time expired. The game went into overtime, where North Carolina prevailed, 96–92. To this day, many regard this comeback as the greatest in college basketball history.

January 3, 1975: Duke 99, #8 North Carolina 96 (OT)[]

In a Big Four Tournament matchup between North Carolina and Duke, the two teams played a see-saw game until a 10-0 Duke run in the second half made the score 64–56. North Carolina eventually tied the score at 70-70 with four minutes to go. Duke went back up by four with 1:41 to go, but a driving layup by Phil Ford with eight seconds to go in regulation tied the score at 82 and extended the game to overtime. The Blue Devils got quick baskets from Kevin Bellerman and Bob Fleischer to open the overtime but the Tar Heels answered and eventually took the lead, 89-88, on two Ford free throws with two minutes to go. Duke answered with four straight points and Carolina came back to tie the score at 92, and then Tate Armstrong converted a three-point play to put the Blue Devils ahead for good. The teams combined for eight points in the final 20 seconds of the game, but Duke's free throw shooting gave them the 99-96 win. Fleischer led Duke with 26 points and Phil Ford scored 22 for North Carolina.

February 24, 1979: #6 Duke 47, #4 North Carolina 40[]

Jim Spanarkel’s Senior Day game turned into one of the strangest afternoons in ACC basketball history as Duke held North Carolina scoreless for a half before knocking off the No. 4-ranked Tar Heels 47-40. Dean Smith resorted to the four corners offense and the Tar Heels held the ball throughout the first half, but Duke led 7-0 as Spanarkel forced two turnovers, assisted on a basket to Mike Gminski and scored the last bucket of the half on a short jumper. (Smith later said, "It should have been 2-0, or something like that, at the half.") North Carolina's only two shots of the first half were air balls, that resulted in the first-ever chants of "Air ball . . . Air ball!" from the Cameron Crazies. Sparnakel added 15 points in the second half and finished with a game-high 17, hitting 8-of-9 field goal attempts. The win allowed Duke to tie North Carolina for the ACC regular season title.

Duke coach Bill Foster wasn't amused by Smith's tactics in the first half and the next day said, "I've been doing this a long time, but during the first half last night I began to think maybe I've been doing it for too long." He then added this infamous dig: "I thought Naismith invented basketball, not Deansmith."

December 5, 1980: #10 North Carolina 78, Duke 76[]

North Carolina led by as many as 11 in the first half of the Big Four Tournament contest before Duke trimmed the lead to five at halftime. North Carolina played much of the second half shorthanded as Al Wood and Sam Perkins got into foul trouble; Perkins would foul out with 7:55 to go. James Worthy did his best to pick up the slack, leading the Tar Heels with 26 points and hitting eight straight shots at one point in the second half. Nevertheless, Gene Banks was able to give Duke only its second lead of the game, 73–71, with 2:36 left to play. North Carolina came back to tie the game at 76. Future Tar Heel head coach Matt Doherty, a freshman at the time, was then fouled, and hit a free throw with 12 seconds remaining to provide the winning margin. A Jimmy Braddock free throw in the final second gave North Carolina the 78-76 victory.

February 28, 1981: Duke 66, #11 North Carolina 65 (OT)[]

Duke struggled in its first season under Coach Mike Krzyzewski, going 17–13 overall and 6–8 in the ACC. However, the Blue Devils' regular-season finale was one to remember. On Senior Night, Duke's Gene Banks put on a tuxedo and threw roses to the crowd at Cameron Indoor Stadium before the game. North Carolina controlled the game early, then went scoreless over a four-minute stretch of the second half to allow Duke to take a 46-45 lead late in regulation. The Tar Heels fought back to go ahead 50-49, and the teams traded baskets until two Sam Perkins free throws gave Carolina a 58-56 lead with two seconds to play. Duke inbounded to midcourt and called time out with one second left. Banks took the inbounds pass and nailed a jumper at the buzzer to force overtime. The Blue Devils took a 62-59 lead early in the extra session, but North Carolina rallied to take a 65-64 lead on the strength of an Al Wood jumper and two free throws by Mike Pepper. Duke's Vince Taylor misfired on a short jumper, but Banks rebounded and banked home the game-winner with 19 seconds to go. Banks led Duke with 25 points, while Perkins scored 24 for Carolina.

March 3, 1984: #1 North Carolina 96, Duke 83 (2OT)[]

The final home game for Matt Doherty, Michael Jordan, and Sam Perkins, was a memorable one for Tar Heels fans. North Carolina looked to be finished when Duke's Mark Alarie converted a three-point play with 20 second to go in regulation and the Tar Heels missed a jumper that would have tied the game. However, after the Blue Devils missed the front end of a one-and-one, Matt Doherty took the inbounds pass the length of the court and hit a 15-footer with one second remaining to force overtime. The teams traded baskets during the first overtime and headed for the second extra session tied at 79. Michael Jordan opened the second overtime with an ally oop and a free throw, but Johnny Dawkins cut the North Carolina lead to 82-81 with a short jumper. Duke would get only one more basket as Jordan and Sam Perkins carried the Tar Heels to the 96-83 final, and North Carolina became the first ACC team in 10 years to go undefeated in conference play (14-0). Alarie led all scorers with 28 points, while Jordan topped Carolina with 25.

March 10, 1984: #16 Duke 77, #1 North Carolina 75[]

After losing two close games to North Carolina in the regular season, Duke finally upset the Tar Heels in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament. Johnny Dawkins and Tommy Amaker led the Blue Devils to a 40-32 halftime advantage. Nevertheless, North Carolina went on a 12-2 run to open the second half, tying the score at 44-44 in a game that was close the rest of the way. David Henderson hit four late free throws to keep Duke in the lead, but Michael Jordan closed the gap to 77-75. North Carolina regained possession with three seconds left in the game, but the Tar Heels comeback bid ended with Matt Doherty's errant inbounds pass. Jordan led all scorers with 22 points, while Doherty scored 20 and grabbed 10 rebounds.

January 21, 1988: #9 Duke 70, #2 North Carolina 69[]

Duke opened the game with an 11-2 run and eventually led 29-15, but North Carolina cut the lead to three before the Blue Devils took a 44-39 halftime lead. North Carolina still trailed 55-44 with 12:53 left when J.R. Reid took over the game. Reid scored 14 of Carolina's final 16 points to help the Tar Heels tie the score at 69 with 1:24 to go. A Danny Ferry free throw with 52 seconds remaining provided the winning margin for Duke, but not before North Carolina forced a turnover and failed to convert on four field goal attempts in the final 30 seconds. Kevin Strickland scored 22 points and Ferry added 19 for Duke, while Reid dropped in 27 for the Tar Heels. This would become the first of three Duke victories in a season sweep over North Carolina in 1988, including the ACC Tournament.

March 12, 1989: #9 North Carolina 77, #7 Duke 74[]

In one of the most intense games in the rivalry's history, North Carolina defeated Duke 77-74 in the ACC Tournament final at the Omni in Atlanta to secure the Heels' first ACC Tournament title in seven seasons. The teams had split the two regular season meetings; North Carolina defeating top ranked and then undefeated Duke 91-71 in Cameron in January (a game notable for the infamous "J.R. Can't Reid" placard displayed by some Duke fans) then Duke returned the favor in Chapel Hill in the season finale, knocking off North Carolina 88-86. Tensions between coaches Dean Smith and Mike Krzyzewski boiled over during Tournament week, stemming from the Reid sign in Durham in January, and by the time the two teams inevitably met in the conference championship, the game had developed the atmosphere of a heavyweight title fight. North Carolina led for much of the game, including a 39-35 halftime lead, but never could pull away. North Carolina's J.R. Reid, however, outplayed Duke's Naismith Award-finalist and ACC Tournament MVP Danny Ferry. The game saw an incredible 49 fouls called between the two squads, and Carolina prevailed, but only when Ferry's 3/4 court shot rimmed out as time expired.

February 5, 1992: #9 North Carolina 75, #1 Duke 73[]

In a rough game between the Blue Devils and Tar Heels that featured blood and broken bones, Duke used an early 9-0 run to take a 16-11 lead with 12:55 to go in the first half. Hubert Davis' three-point play capped off a North Carolina run to give the Tar Heels a 20-19 lead. The teams exchanged the lead 10 times before a Thomas Hill baseline jumper gave the Blue Devils a 39-38 halftime lead. The Tar Heels opened the second half with a 10-0 spurt, but then saw its offense disappear. Duke went five minutes before scoring a second-half basket but fought back with tough defense, holding North Carolina without a field goal over the last 9½ minutes of the game. North Carolina hit 12 of 14 free throws during that stretch; including two by Derrick Phelps with 44.5 seconds remaining to give the Tar Heels a 75-73 lead. Christian Laettner had two shots to tie the game in the final 24 seconds, but missed both. However, the lasting image from this game had to be North Carolina's Eric Montross who took a couple of rough elbows to the face and looked more like a boxer than a center as he sank two late free throws with blood streaming down his face. Bobby Hurley broke his foot during the game, but continued playing. Brian Davis led Duke with 16 points, while Davis scored 16 for North Carolina.

February 2, 1995: #2 North Carolina 102, Duke 100 (2OT)[]

With Mike Krzyzewski on leave of absence for the year, the Blue Devils suffered through their worst season in well over a decade. They seemed out-manned on their home court from the opening tip, falling behind 26-9 in the first half, highlighted by alley-oops by Carolina's Rasheed Wallace and a reverse jam by Jerry Stackhouse over two Blue Devils. However, Duke rallied in the second half and led by as much as 12, before North Carolina staged a rally of its own. The two squads exchanged leads four times at the end of regulation before heading into overtime. With three seconds left in the first overtime, Carolina led 95-92 and sent Serge Zwikker to the foul line with the chance to ice the game for the heavily favored Tar Heels. However Zwikker missed both free throws, setting up Duke's Jeff Capel for a running, 37-foot heave that tied the game as the buzzer sounded, sending Cameron into a state of euphoria. With the game still tied late in the second overtime, Donald Williams scored for the Heels and Jeff McInnis stole the inbounds pass for an easy layup, putting North Carolina up 102-98. Duke answered with a basket of their own and after stopping the Tar Heels, had a chance to force a third overtime or win the game outright. Nevertheless, Steve Wojciechowski's jumper missed and Greg Newton's putback drew nothing but air, preserving North Carolina's 102-100 victory.

January 31, 1996: #8 North Carolina 73, Duke 72[]

Duke led 37-20 over North Carolina with less than five minutes to go in the first half and took a 42-30 advantage into the locker room at halftime. North Carolina managed to close the gap to 44-42 with 14:14 remaining in the game, but the Blue Devils stretched the lead back to 11 with 8:44 left. The Tar Heels fought back and pulled within one behind scoring from six different players over the next few minutes. Steve Wojciechowski hit a three-pointer to give Duke a 72-68 lead with 1:13 to go. Shammond Williams answered with a three to cut the Duke lead to one with 58 seconds left, and North Carolina forced a turnover on the ensuing inbounds pass. Jeff McInnis drove the lane and fed Serge Zwikker, whose shot was blocked by Greg Newton, but Dante Calabria was there for the tip-in and a 73-72 Carolina lead. Duke's Ricky Price could not connect on a jumper at the buzzer, and the Tar Heels escaped.

February 28, 1998: #1 Duke 77, #3 North Carolina 75[]

Just two months removed from a broken foot that most assumed would sideline him for the season, Duke freshman Elton Brand rallied the Blue Devils from a 64-47 second-half deficit with 12 minutes remaining to a 77-75 victory over North Carolina. The victory earned Duke the ACC regular-season championship and Coach Mike Krzyzewski his 500th victory in the most memorable game of the college season. Duke tied the game at 75-75 on a slashing floater by sophomore Chris Carrawell with 2:00 remaining and took the lead for the first time on a driving basket by Roshown McLeod one minute later as the North Carolina offense lapsed into a series of turnovers and errant shots. Both point guard Ed Cota and freshman center Brendan Haywood had a chance to tie the game from the free-throw line in the waning seconds, but both missed the first of two free throws, and the Tar Heels were unable to turn intentional misses on the second attempts into points.

February 3, 2000: #3 Duke 90, North Carolina 86 (OT)[]

The Tar Heels were unranked coming into the game for the first time since 1990. Shane Battier scored 14 first-half points for Duke and North Carolina turned the ball over 14 times to give the Blue Devils a 17-point halftime lead. Duke eventually took a 19-point lead early in the second half. North Carolina then turned the tide down the stretch, scoring on 19 of its final 22 possessions, including a three-pointer by Joseph Forte with 5.2 seconds left to send the game to the extra period at 73-73. The Blue Devils scored on their first six possessions in overtime and got seven points from Carlos Boozer in the extra frame to hold on for the 90-86 victory.

February 1, 2001: #4 North Carolina 85, #2 Duke 83[]

Brendan Haywood, who entered shooting 48 percent from the line, made a pair of free throws with 1.2 seconds left and the Tar Heels beat the Blue Devils 85-83 in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Joseph Forte had 24 points and a career-high 16 rebounds for North Carolina. Duke tied it for the last time with 9.3 seconds left on a three-pointer by Mike Dunleavy, Jr., who had missed his first five three-point attempts. Shane Battier fouled out when he crashed into Haywood 30 feet from the hoop with 1.2 seconds left, leading to the game-winning free throws, the outcome only decided after freshman Chris Duhon's half court heave drew back iron at the buzzer.

March 9, 2003: North Carolina 82, #10 Duke 79[]

In the two teams' meeting in Chapel Hill, North Carolina coach Matt Doherty and Duke assistant coach Chris Collins "bumped heads" after North Carolina player Raymond Felton was injured by Dahntay Jones while both players were looking for a rebound. Subsequently, Duke player Andre Buckner bumped Doherty and several players from both teams became involved in shoving matches before officials finally restored order. North Carolina prevailed 82-79 when Jones' 30-footer that would have tied the game was waved off for coming after time had expired.[16]

February 4, 2004: #1 Duke 83, #17 North Carolina 81 (OT)[]

In the first game in the Duke-Carolina rivalry pitting Mike Krzyzewski against new UNC head coach Roy Williams, Chris Duhon's reverse layup with 6.5 seconds left in overtime gave Duke its 16th straight victory overall and fifth victory in the last six years on North Carolina's home court. Duke turned up the defense late in regulation and went on a 10-0 run, taking a 72-69 lead on two free throws by Luol Deng with 1:06 left. Sean May scored on a rebound with 53 seconds to go, but J.J. Redick restored the three-point lead on a drive with 38 seconds left. After a Carolina timeout, Jawad Williams hit a game-tying three-pointer with 18 seconds to go and Daniel Ewing missed a potential game-winner for Duke with 3 seconds left. In the first overtime, Shelden Williams had two blocks and his defense forced North Carolina into a 35-second shot clock violation with 22 seconds left. Redick then made two free throws to make it 81-78 and Rashad McCants drilled the game-tying three that set the stage for Duhon's heroics.[17]

February 9, 2005: #7 Duke 71, #2 North Carolina 70[]

In arguably the most anticipated game in the rivalry since 1998, the Tar Heels came up Highway 15-501 to visit the Blue Devils for a heavily hyped, prime time ESPN broadcast. The game did not disappoint. Despite a below average shooting night, Duke led much of the way behind an 18 point performance by J.J. Redick, while freshman reserve guard DeMarcus Nelson added 16. The Duke defense also led to 23 North Carolina turnovers. North Carolina big man Sean May keeping the Tar Heels within reach with a 23-point, 18-rebound effort, as well as gritty play by point guard Raymond Felton. North Carolina was down by nine with five minutes to go, but fought back in the hostile environment, a layup by Rashad McCants pulling North Carolina within a point at 71-70 with less than a minute to play. North Carolina opted not to foul and played defense for the Blue Devils' next possession, and the effort paid off, as J.J. Redick shot an air ball as the shot clock expired to give the Tar Heels one play to win or lose the game. Predictably, North Carolina got the ball into the hands of Felton, who looked to run a set play. Duke's Daniel Ewing made a play on the ball, but Felton sidestepped him and had an open lane to the goal. However, rather than drive to the rim, Felton attempted to continue to run the play that had been called, but Duke's defense had the play scouted, and Felton, having picked up his dribble, had nowhere to go. He tried a desperate pass to David Noel by the sideline, but the ball was tipped away and the horn sounded, the Tar Heels unable to get a shot.

March 6, 2005: #2 North Carolina 75, #6 Duke 73[]

On Senior Day in Chapel Hill, before the largest crowd to see a college game on-campus in the state of North Carolina (22,125), the Tar Heels had a chance to win their first outright ACC regular-season title since 1993. However, they trailed Duke 73-64 with three minutes to play. Offensive rebounds and subsequent put backs by North Carolina's Jawad Williams and Marvin Williams, the latter set up by a Duke turnover, cut the lead to five with two minutes to go. Duke's DeMarcus Nelson missed the front end of a one-and-one, giving the ball back to North Carolina. Sean May then rebounded a miss of his own, was fouled on the put back, and converted the free throw to complete the three-point play, trimming the lead to 73-71 with 1:45 to go. Missed jumpers by Lee Melchionni and J.J. Redick gave the ball back to the Tar Heels, but Duke's Shelden Williams came up with a huge block to regain possession for the Blue Devils with less than a minute to go. Duke inbounded the ball and looked to move it quickly up court, but North Carolina's David Noel chased down Daniel Ewing from behind and knocked the ball away before he could get a pass off. Raymond Felton came up with the loose ball in a scrum and called for time, setting up a game-tying possession for the Tar Heels - an eerily similar scenario to the game one month earlier at Cameron Indoor Stadium. This time, Felton took the ball to the hoop and drew a foul. Felton nailed the first free throw to cut the lead to one, but missed the second one. However, Felton redeemed himself for his failure at Cameron, and managed to tip the rebound to Marvin Williams, who took it straight back up, put the ball in the hoop and drew a foul, giving the Tar Heels the lead and blowing the roof off the Smith Center in the process. The free throw made it 75-73, and Duke called time to set up one final play. The ball went to sharpshooter Redick, but his three-pointer rimmed out, and Ewing's desperation jumper at the buzzer fell short.

March 4, 2006: #13 North Carolina 83, #1 Duke 76[]

Coming into the game ranked #1 in both polls, Duke hosted senior night, honoring the National Player of the Year and all-time ACC leading scorer J.J. Redick and two-time National Defensive Player of the Year Shelden Williams. North Carolina, the defending national champions, had lost the whole core of the team that won it all the year before, but came into the game on a 4-game winning streak. Freshmen Tyler Hansbrough and Danny Green led North Carolina as well as veterans Reyshawn Terry and David Noel. ESPN broadcast the game on all three of its channels as part of its first ESPN Full Circle coverage, showing a marathon of past games hours before tipoff. Duke led early 13-2 as Redick caught fire and hit his first five shots. The Tar Heels fought back, cutting the deficit to one by halftime. The Tar Heels stormed out to a 72-62 lead as Hansbrough and Terry starting hitting their shots in the second half. After a timeout, Duke's Williams hook shot pulled Duke back within eight, but Hansbrough recovered a loose ball 25 feet from the hoop answered with a three pointer to beat the shot clock. Duke gradually pulled within three points with 1:31 left. However, that was as close as it would get. The Heels hit their free throws down the stretch, Redick missed 15 of his last 16 shots, and DeMarcus Nelson shot an air ball that resulted in a shot clock violation that prevented a late Duke rally, leading to a final score of 83-76. The game was watched by 3.78 million households on ESPN and ESPN2, making it the most-viewed men's college basketball game ever.

March 4, 2007: #8 North Carolina 86, #14 Duke 72[]

North Carolina beat Duke at the Dean Smith Center 86-72, completing the season sweep of the Blue Devils. The most memorable part of this game was a combative foul by Gerald Henderson when his fist contacted Tyler Hansbrough’s nose on a hard foul attempt with 14.5 seconds on the clock and the result of the game clearly determined. The contact broke Hansbrough's nose, drawing blood. The officials charged Henderson with a combative foul and ejected him from the game. After the foul, Hansbrough jumped up with blood streaming from his nose, but was calmed by his teammate Dewey Burke, before heading to the locker room for medical attention. Since then, both Hansbrough and Henderson have stated the foul was unintentional. To protect his broken nose, Hansbrough wore a face mask throughout the ACC tournament, and into the second round of the NCAA tournament.[18][19]

February 11, 2009: #3 North Carolina 101, #5 Duke 87[]

Having not lost in Cameron Indoor Stadium since 2005, UNC looked to extend its streak to 4 in this highly anticipated matchup of two top 5 nationally-ranked teams. UNC led most of the way through the first half leading by as many as 11, but Duke clawed back and took the lead with under 6 minutes left in the half. Duke held an 8-point advantage going into the locker room. In the second half, Duke simply had no answer for Ty Lawson's relentless penetration. Ty Lawson scored a game-high 25 points, with 21 of them coming in the 2nd half. UNC broke the game open midway through the second half, rolling to a 101-87 victory over the Blue Devils. This game marked the first time since 2000 that Duke allowed 100 points on its home floor. This game also assured that UNC seniors Tyler Hansbrough and Danny Green would finish their college careers undefeated at Cameron.

March 8, 2009: #2 North Carolina 79, #7 Duke 71[]

With the ACC regular season championship on the line for both teams, the game was very close throughout, with neither team leading by more than 3 points in the first half. Duke took a 3-point lead into halftime. Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler led Duke in scoring with 24 and 23 points, respectively. Their efforts were not enough, as Tyler Hansbrough led the Tar Heels with 17 points and Ty Lawson fell just short of a triple-double as the Tar Heels opened up a late 10-point lead and cruised to a 79-71 victory. This victory gave UNC its 3rd outright ACC regular season crown in the last 5 years and its second regular season sweep over the Blue Devils in the last three seasons. It also marked UNC's 6th win in the last 7 matchups with Duke.

March 6, 2010: #4 Duke 82, North Carolina 50[]

After struggling mightily during much of the regular season, unranked UNC came into the matchup with a 16-14 record, while heavily-favored #4 Duke was 25-5. The Blue Devils were fighting for a share of the ACC regular season championship and a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Duke led the game throughout and Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler, and Jon Scheyer all hit consecutive three pointers in the first half in route to a 53-26 halftime lead. The "Big 3" combined for 65 of Duke's 82 points. The 32 point victory over the Tar Heels marked the largest margin of victory ever for Duke over UNC at home. The victory gave Duke the regular season sweep over North Carolina, and a share of the ACC regular season crown with Maryland. The victory ensured that the 2010 team finished a perfect 17-0 at home during the season.

February 9, 2011: #5 Duke 79, #20 North Carolina 73[]

This game had major implications in the ACC regular season race, as both teams entered the game with only one conference loss. Seeking revenge after a 32-point defeat at Duke the previous year, North Carolina started strong to take a 16-point lead late in the first half, led by Tyler Zeller with 24 points and 13 rebounds; and John Henson, who finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds. However, in the second half, the Blue Devils came storming back thanks to a career-high 34 points for Nolan Smith and a season-high 22 for Seth Curry, who scored 18 in the second half. Duke took the lead for good on a Ryan Kelly 3-pointer with 9:14 left, and sealed the victory with a deep pass to Smith, who beat his defender for a dunk with 15 seconds left. This performance gave the Blue Devils their third straight win over the Tar Heels, improving Duke's record to 22-2 overall (9-1 in conference) and an unblemished 14-0 at home, while UNC dropped to 17-6 on the season. The victory by Duke following a 14 point deficit at halftime also represented the largest comeback from halftime by a Duke team since 1959. [20]

March 5, 2011: #13 North Carolina 81, #4 Duke 67[]

The Tar Heels and the Blue Devils entered the game tied atop the ACC, with the winner of this game clinching the outright ACC regular season title and the top seed in the ACC Tournament--only the fifth winner-take-all game in the history of the rivalry. With North Carolina hosting the contest on Senior Night, they looked to exact revenge on Duke for the 79-73 defeat in Durham on February 9. Down 19-18 early in the going, the Tar Heels outscored Duke 33-20 to close the half, leading by a score of 51-39 at halftime and never relinquishing the lead after that, despite 30 points from Nolan Smith and 20 points from Seth Curry, constituting 50 of Duke's 67 total points. Harrison Barnes scored 18 points, while Kendall Marshall scored 15 points and recorded 11 assists as North Carolina snapped a three-game losing streak against Duke.

March 13, 2011: #6 Duke 75, #7 North Carolina 58[]

Duke defeated UNC in the finals of the ACC tournament to capture its record 19th ACC Championship (and third in a row). Nolan Smith had 20 points and 10 assists, as the National Player of the Year lead the Blue Devils in the rout.

Series facts[]

  • North Carolina leads the all-time series 131-101.
  • The first game ever played between North Carolina and Duke, known as Trinity College until 1924, took place January 24, 1920. UNC won 36-25. [3]
  • North Carolina and Duke usually rank amongst the nation's best teams when they meet.
    • For the last 128 meetings at least one school has been ranked in the AP Top 20 or AP Top 25. The last time when neither was ranked by the AP was on February 27, 1960, but North Carolina was #12 in the coaches' poll (run at the time by the UPI, now the ESPN/USA Today poll). The last time when neither was ranked in either polls was February 25, 1955 when Duke (ranked as high as #17 earlier in the season) beat North Carolina (unranked all year).
    • North Carolina has been ranked in the AP poll in 105 of the last 129 matchups. Duke was ranked in 84 of those 129 match-ups. Duke and North Carolina have met 69 times when both teams were ranked in the Top 25, with the series record at 35-34 for North Carolina.
    • North Carolina and Duke have never met in the NCAA Tournament, though both teams went to the Final Four in 1991 with Duke as eventual NCAA Champion. They did meet in the 1971 National Invitation Tournament semifinals, which North Carolina won 73-67 en route to the 1971 NIT championship.
  • The largest margin of victory by North Carolina over Duke was 37 points (55-18 in 1921). The largest margin by Duke over North Carolina was 35 points (104-69 in 1964).
File:Carolina-Duke basketball 2006 1.jpg

Cameron Indoor Stadium provides spectators with a close-up view of the action.

  • Head-to-head coaching statistics:
    • Dean Smith was 59-35 vs. Duke and 24-14 vs. Krzyzewski, winning 8 of the last 9 matchups before retiring in 1997.
    • Mike Krzyzewski is 36-36 vs. North Carolina. He was 13-4 vs. Smith's immediate successors (Bill Guthridge (1998–2000) and Matt Doherty (2000–2003)).
    • Roy Williams is 8-9 vs. Duke as head coach of North Carolina. (Williams was 1-3 against Duke as head coach of Kansas).[21][22]


Scores of games (1960–2011)[]

Winning team is shown in bold. Ranking of the team at the time of the game by the AP poll is shown in parenthesis next to the team name (failure to list AP ranking does not necessarily mean the team was not ranked at the time of the game). North Carolina leads the all-time head-to-head series with Duke 131-100.[23]

Achievements by season (1985–2011)[]


  1. ESPN Staff (2000-01-03). "The 10 greatest rivalries". The end of the century. Retrieved 2008-03-25. "Dean Smith. Coach K. Jordan. Hill. Tobacco Road. Cameron Crazies. The fans are passionate, the teams successful, the games almost always down to the buzzer. Two of the four winningest teams in history, going at it twice a year (and once more in the ACC tournament if we're lucky). This is what college hoops is all about." 
  2. "All-Time Winningest Teams". Retrieved 2010-12-09. 
  3. "University of North Carolina 2010-11 Men's Basketball Facts" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-12-09. 
  4. "North Carolina Tar Heels". Retrieved 2010-12-07. 
  5. "Duke Blue Devils". Retrieved 2010-12-09. 
  6. "List of teams with the most victories in NCAA Division I men's college basketball". Retrieved 2010-12-09. 
  7. "UNC Outlasts Oklahoma, 72-60". Retrieved 2010-12-09. 
  8. "University of North Carolina 2010-11 Men's Basketball Facts" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-12-09. 
  9. Doyel, Gregg (2003-02-05). "No denying decline of Duke-UNC". Retrieved 2009-03-09. "In the good old days — and some of us college basketball fans on Tobacco Road didn't know just how good they were — Duke-North Carolina was the rivalry that launched a thousand copycats." 
  10. Spanberg, Erik (2008-03-28). "Storied college basketball rivalry tilts to Tar Heels — for now". The Christian Science Monitor. "The campuses of North Carolina and Duke University are eight miles apart. But the competition between the two is much closer." 
  11. Press, Associated (2010-03-06). "No. 4 Duke Mauls North Carolina, 82-50". "Not after an 82-50 rout of North Carolina on Saturday that marked their most one-sided home win in college basketball's fiercest rivalry and gave them a share of their 12th Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title." 
  12. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named blythe2006
  13. Template:Cite book
  14. Sumner, Jim (2008-02-21). "Looking back... A triple overtime classic in the Duke-Carolina rivalry". Retrieved 2008-03-25. "The best game ever in the rivalry? Ask 10 people and you're liable to get 10 different answers. But 40 years ago - Saturday March 2, 1968 - Dean Smith's Tar Heels and Vic Bubas' Blue Devils put on a classic that deserves to make any short list." 
  15. Hoffman, Jared (1999-02-26). "Duke vs. North Carolina". The Sporting News. Retrieved 2008-03-25. "North Carolina and Duke will meet for the 203rd time on Saturday and college basketball's best rivalry has had many classic games through the years." 
  16. AP Staff (2003-03-09). "Tar Heels halt six-game skid vs. Duke — barely". Retrieved 2008-03-25. "North Carolina dived head first back into its rivalry with Duke on Sunday. The Tar Heels salvaged their up-and-down season and three-year slump against their arch rival by beating the Blue Devils 82-79 in a wild ending to the regular season." 
  17. AP Staff (2004-02-05). "Williams has 22 points, 12 rebounds". Retrieved 2008-03-25. "Mike Krzyzewski thought this was more than just one of the best games in the storied rivalry between Duke and North Carolina." 
  18. AP Staff (2007-03-04). "UNC clinches top ACC seed; Williams gets 100th win at school". Retrieved 2008-03-25. "Blood poured from his nose and onto his lip, chin and the court. The latest bruised face of college basketball's nastiest rivalry belongs to North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough." 
  19. AP Staff (2007-03-06). "Hansbrough: No bad blood with Duke player". Retrieved 2008-03-25. "Tyler Hansbrough insists there's no bad blood between him and Duke's Gerald Henderson, who broke the North Carolina star's nose in the closing seconds of the latest Tobacco Road showdown." 
  21. Walters, John (2004-11-11). "Devil's advocate?". The Final. Retrieved 2008-03-25. "Can one program be both the nation's most and least rootable? The author posed that infernal question to himself about Duke." 
  22. Barnes, Clifton (2005-01-14). "Don't try to emulate Duke by using obnoxious antics". Letters to the Editor. The Daily Tar Heel. Retrieved 2008-03-25. "Did you know that while I was a student, the "air ball" chant was invented? It was invented by Duke students when Rich Yonakor of the Tar Heels missed a short half-hook jumper from the baseline in a low-scoring game at Cameron Indoor Stadium. So, every time those of us with long memories hear the "air ball" chat, we think of that negative." 
  23. "Duke Blue Devils Basketball Statistical Database". Duke University Athletics Association. 2007-02-07. Retrieved 2008-03-28. 
  24. "2007-08 ACC Men's Basketball Media Guide". Atlantic Coast Conference. 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-28. 

Further reading[]

  • To Hate Like This Is to Be Happy Forever: A Thoroughly Obsessive, Intermittently Uplifting, and Occasionally Unbiased Account of the Duke-North Carolina Basketball Rivalry by Will Blythe [4]
  • Blue Blood: Duke-Carolina: Inside the Most Storied Rivalry in College Hoops by Art Chansky

External links[]