North Carolina and Duke are entering their final preparations for their ultimate showdown tonight in Chapel Hill. They are used to playing each other for pride and bragging rights, but there is something a little more special on the line tonight.
The Atlantic Coast Conference regular season championship.
The Tar Heels and Blue Devils both enter tonight’s game tied atop the ACC standings at 13-2, so it all boils down to tonight’s regular season finale. At stake is the regular season championship, as well as the No. 1 seed in next week’s conference tournament.
Both teams have earned a first-round bye, but that is not enough. Duke beat UNC the first time around, as the youthful ‘Heels could not hold onto a 16-point first-half lead. But this time is different.
They are still lead by mostly freshmen and sophomores, but they have grown and matured since their last meeting just one month back.
Harrison Barnes continues to hit big shots. Kendall Marshall completes some of the prettiest passes you will ever see. And John Henson is becoming a block party animal in the paint.
But if they cannot put it all together against Duke tonight, then so much will feel like it has all been for not.
As North Carolina gets ready to renew the best rivalry in college sports, here is a look back at the 10 most hated UNC opponents from the past two decades.
Spoiler alert: They are all Dukies. I was able to take some amazing pictures at the game using my new iPhone lens.
The particular ACC tournament schedule 2011 as well as the particular Big East tournament bracket have been announced, reminding all university basketball fans that the particular most great time of the year typically is upon you. The actual Big 12 as well as Big Ten conferences currently have equally secured their brackets, and inside a matter of days, the conference champs is named and we’ll currently have the NCAA bracket 2011 filled out with the hopes not to mention dreams for Cinderella teams and also alma maters.
My heart belongs to be able to the actual ACC conference — I grew up in Virginia, went in order to Boston University, and was raised by UNC fans. However do we want the particular ACC tournament this year?
I state let’s cut to the particular chase. It pains me to be able to leave Boston College from the blend here (even soon after that hard-fought 48-46 reduction to UNC) yet I think we all can easily just about all agree which the particular top 2 teams in the actual meeting are UNC and Duke.
The actual Tar Heels tend to be the particular first seed right after which impressive, if perhaps definitely not dominant win more than the actual Blue Devils inside Chapel Hill on Saturday. Did I think the students will need to currently have stormed the particular court? No, I did not, however, nevertheless, it was a superb win in order to secure the particular amount one place, plus to be able to tie the particular season’s rivalry at you game apiece. (Duke beat UNC in Durham 79-73 back inside February.)
Number 4 Clemson as well as amount 3 Florida State happen to be tough teams, the Tar Heels only beat both squads by two points, yet it will not matter. Inside the actual previous six ACC tournaments, either UNC or simply Duke has won. In the previous 20 tournaments, 18 instances the actual winning team ended up being within the state of North Carolina. The actual tournament has become predictable, thus put the income on a team from N.C. and forget regarding the particular rest.
Let’s spare all the people certain injuries, give Mike Patrick and Cock Vitale a chance with rest their vocal chords, and also just skip to the actual UNC vs. Duke final in Greensboro on Sunday. UNC can get the particular #1 seed inside the actual NCAA tournament, Duke will certainly receive a #2, then we will just about all take a limited hours off from work in the actual coming weeks in order to indulge inside certain wings, beers, and in addition college hoops. Go Heels! (Not to mention Eagles.)
Everett Withers headed into the tunnel with a triumphant wave to the fans. If this was his last game at Kenan Stadium, North Carolina’s interim coach will go out with a game ball from his players and the program’s latest win against a nearby rival.
Dwight Jones had three touchdown catches while redshirt freshman Giovani Bernard ran for a season-high 165 yards and a score to help North Carolina beat Duke 37-21 on Saturday.
Jones finished with 10 catches for 101 yards to set a school single-season record with 79 receptions, while Bernard had a season-high 30 carries and finished with 222 total yards to lead the Tar Heels (7-5, 3-5 Atlantic Coast Conference). Bryn Renner also threw for 274 yards and tied a school single-season record with 23 TD passes, helping UNC beat the Blue Devils (3-9, 1-7) for the eighth straight year.
With the win, North Carolina can look forward to a likely bowl game and a chance to match its 8-5 record of each of the previous three seasons. The past two have been under the shadow of an NCAA investigation, which led to the firing of Butch Davis just before training camp and Withers’ promotion from defensive coordinator to first-time head coach.
“These kids are tough mentally and physically,” Withers said. “They mean an awful lot to me. They’re resilient, they work their butt off every day and they try to do everything we ask them to do.”
Withers wouldn’t talk in recent days about whether he thought it would be his final game in Kenan, saying only that he believed he was a candidate for the permanent job. As he headed to the end zone to join his players following this win, he stopped to shake hands with new athletic director Bubba Cunningham — the man who will choose UNC’s next coach — and hug Dick Baddour, Cunningham’s predecessor who assigned Withers the task of leading the troubled program.
“It’s been a blast, it really has,” Withers said. “I didn’t know how they would react initially. They just kind of came to work (in training camp). … As coaches, we had to respond because they did. I’m as proud of this football team as any I’ve ever been on.”
Afterward, Renner presented Withers with a game ball in the locker room.
“He’s done an amazing, amazing job this year keeping all this adversity out of here,” Bernard said. “He stepped into a pretty tough spot and he did an amazing job.”
Regardless of Withers’ future, he at least extended the Tar Heels’ recent dominance against the Blue Devils and kept the Victory Bell in Chapel Hill.
North Carolina also capitalized on four turnovers, getting a pair of field goals and Jones’ 8-yard scoring catch midway through the fourth quarter following those miscues.
Sean Renfree threw a pair of touchdown passes for Duke, though coach David Cutcliffe went with mobile backup Anthony Boone for most of the second half after Renfree took a hard hit on a 45-yard TD throw to Jamison Crowder just before halftime.
“We knew what exactly we had to do coming in and we really did none of those things,” Cutcliffe said. “We played hard. We play hard every week, but penalties and turnovers and giving up explosive third-down plays (hurt). … They just did it to us in every area we figured we’d have to do well in to win the game.”
North Carolina had won 20 of 21 meetings and managed a 100-yard rusher in six of the last seven meetings, an indication of its physical edge in the rivalry. This one fit right in, with Bernard cracking the 100-yard mark in the first half and bursting up the middle for a 48-yard sprint to the end zone early in the second quarter.
Renfree found Juwan Thompson for a 70-yard touchdown pass on a perfectly called route out of the backfield in the first quarter, then hit Crowder for the 45-yard score late in the first half while taking a late hit from Zach Brown that cut UNC’s lead to 20-14 at halftime. But Duke went three-and-out on the first drive of the second half and Renfree fumbled on a blindside sack to end the second drive.
Cutcliffe said Renfree had numbness and swelling in his right hand in the second half, prompting the switch to Boone.
Boone led a third-quarter touchdown drive that ended with his 11-yard pass to Donovan Varner and cut North Carolina’s lead to 23-21 late in the third. But the Tar Heels answered when Renner found Jones for an 18-yard TD grab — Jones hauled it in with his left hand — to make it a two-possession game. Then, after Boone threw an interception, Renner directed a 91-yard drive that took 6½ minutes off the clock before he found Jones for the 8-yard score that made it 37-21 with 8:17 left.
Duke closed the year with seven straight losses.
Read more: http://www.greenwichtime.com/sports/article/North-Carolina-beats-Duke-37-21-2294183.php#ixzz1jMoZsHZD
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|UNC vs. James Madison||W 42-10||Bryn Renner single-game school record for comp. % (22-23, 95.7%)|
|UNC vs. Rutgers||W 24-22|
|UNC vs. Virginia||W 28-17|
|UNC @ Georgia Tech||L 28-35|
|UNC @ East Carolina||W 35-20|
|UNC vs. Louisville||W 14-7||Giovani Bernard first UNC player in 27 years to rush for 100 yards in four straight games|
|UNC vs. Miami||L 24-30||Giovani Bernard five straight 100-yard rushing games. First Tar Heel since Ethan Horton in 1984.|
|UNC @ Clemson||L 38-59||Ties record for 2nd most points given up in 405 ACC games (63 vs FSU in 2000)|
|UNC vs. Wake Forest||W 49-24||Homecoming Game|
|UNC @ NC State||L 0-13||Giovani Bernard breaks 1,000-yard rushing mark; UNC’s 5th straight loss to NCSU|
|UNC @ Virginia Tech||L 21-24||First 1,000-yard receiving season (Dwight Jones) and 1,000-yard rushing season (Gio Bernard) combination in UNC history|
|UNC vs. Duke||W 37-21||Dwight Jones 79 receptions, Bryn Renner 23 TD passes set UNC single-season records|
|UNC vs. Missouri||L 24-41||Independence Bowl|