ESPN’s Jay Bilas: UNC basketball has ‘higher ceiling’ than Duke in NCAA Tournament

ESPN analyst Jay Bilas offered his thoughts on the upcoming Duke-UNC rivalry basketball game and said despite Saturday’s outcome, he expects the Tar Heels to make a deeper NCAA Tournament run.

The Blue Devils (16-6, 7-4 ACC) are looking to snap a two-game losing streak dating back to last year when UNC defeated Duke in Mike Krzyzewski’s final game at Cameron Indoor Stadium and then ousted their Tobacco Road foe in the national semifinal – the first time the two storied programs had met in the NCAA Tournament.

“I think Carolina has the highest ceiling of the two teams,” Bilas said. “They’re an older team that has been there before and they’ve had some injuries which have been significant and it’s taken away some continuity for them. All you do is have to do is look back last year, nobody was saying this was a national championship team, that they were going to play for a national title and they did. They’ve got the ability level and the personnel to get there again.”

UNC (15-7, 7-4 ACC) and Duke both started this season ranked in the AP Top 10 – the Tar Heels No. 1 – but have failed to live up to the preseason hype. This is only the third time both teams have been unranked since 1950.

Two years ago, this game featured coaches — Roy Williams and Krzyzewski — with over 70 years of experience. Now, UNC’s Hubert Davis and Duke first-year coach Jon Scheyer will have less than three.

"We're getting toward the end, but there's still a significant amount of time left," Bilas said. "It's an important game, it's an important opportunity but the winner is not going to be written in pen in the national championship game and the loser is not going to be banished to the NIT."

This article originally appeared on The Fayetteville Observer: UNC-Duke basketball: Tar Heels NCAA ceiling higher, Jay Bilas says