In this article, I will be giving my opinion on the second Duke vs North Carolina game held in Cameron Indoors. Here is the breakdown for each notable aspect:
Who has the upper hand?
Going into this game, North Carolina has the upper hand, simply because of the first time they met on February 8th, the Tar Heels upset the Blue Devils. The one thing Duke has against them at the moment is their home court advantage. Duke is a well-rounded team and is starting to work outstandingly together. North Carolina on the other hand contains more leadership over the Blue Devils, having senior point guard Joel Berry II, senior forward Theo Pinson, and junior forward Luke Maye. The only Blue Devil senior on the floor is Grayson Allen, as the other four are all freshman.
Point Guards: UNC will definitely have the advantage in this category. They have senior point guard Joel Berry II, as Duke contains Trevon Duval, a freshman. Joel Berry II is a leader of the Tar Heels, and is averaging 32.6 minutes, 18.2 points, 3.1 assists, and 1.8 turnovers per game. On the othe side, Duval is averaging 29.4 minutes, 10.5 points, 5.3 assists, but also a whopping 2.6 turnovers a game. In his defense, Duval averages a fair amount of assists, but out of a point guard, he shouldn’t be averaging almost three turnovers.
Shooting Guards: In the shooting guard position, Duke has the advantage. Standing at 6’6″, Gary Trent Jr. has been playing tremendously in his freshman season, averaging 14.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and only 1.1 turnovers. UNC’s Kenny Williams is fine player as well, averaging 11.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and also 1.1 turnovers. The reason I’m giving this to the Blue Devils is for the soul fact that Trent Jr. is just an all around better player, and when he gets on a roll, he’s difficult to stop.
Guard/Forward: Duke will also win this bout, as Cameron Johnson is averaging 13 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.3 assists, but he is also averaging 2.2 turnovers to Allen’s 0.9. This one was a close one, because Cameron Johnson is 6’8″ to Allen’s 6’5″, but with Grayson Allen at home, on senior night, he should be fired up and ready to play.
Forward: Marvin Bagley III is having a great season, and I think he will definitely have a chip on his shoulder going into this one. Compared to Bagley, Theo Pinson is undersized, but Bagley can be a selfish player at times. He currently averages 20.7 points, 11.1 rebounds, but only 1.6 assists to go along with that. The thing Pinson has against Bagley is his selflessness, as he’s averaging roughly 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game. I believe Duke will have this position won by a hair, just because Bagley does have an outstanding post game.
Center: Comparing to the last time these two teams met, Luke Maye will have the upper hand over Carter Jr. The Tar Heels center is great in the post, and can shoot when needed. Last game, Maye did something not many other people can do, as he put Marvin Bagley and Wendell Carter Jr on lock down. Onto Wendell Carter, with him at home this time around, he should now know what he needs to do in order to handle Maye. By the end of it, I believe Maye will come into Cameron Indoors against the freshman and replicate what he did in Chapel Hill.
The bench for Duke is definitely playing well, as they contain Alex O’Connell, Marques Bolden, Javin DeLaurier, and Jack White. Bolden is starting to step up and play well off the bench, and Jack White is doing the same. O’Connell is a great bench piece, and he could very well come in and take over what Duval has left. In my eyes, DeLaurier is also a terrific bench piece, as he is a high-motor type of player and brings fire off the bench.
This game will very well be an exciting one, but I think Duke will be coming out on top March 3rd, regardless of North Carolina beating Duke 82-78 back in February. The Blue Devils will be coming in with a chip on their shoulder, and everything will need to be running smoothly for Duke through Grayson Allen. If Allen doesn’t play well, Duke may be in hot water.
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