North Carolina basketball vs. Duke: Score prediction for Tar Heels-Blue Devils rivalry
Coming off its first home loss of the season, North Carolina basketball heads to Durham looking to beat rival Duke for the third time in a row at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
ESPN’s 'College GameDay' crew will be on site for its show Saturday morning before the main event (6:30 p.m., ESPN) between the Tar Heels (15-7, 7-4 ACC) and Blue Devils (16-6, 7-4).
UNC beat Duke, 94-81, in coach Mike Krzyzewki’s final game at Cameron and followed that up with an 81-77 victory against the Blue Devils in the Final Four.
Here are some things to know and a score prediction ahead of Carolina’s game against Duke.
All about Armando Bacot
Armando Bacot, UNC’s top scorer and rebounder at 17.7 points and 11.4 boards per game, summed up the Tar Heels’ situation well Wednesday.
“If I don’t come and have a good game, we won’t win,” Bacot said after UNC's 65-64 loss to Pitt.
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That’s proved to be true throughout the season. When Bacot gets 15 or more shot attempts, UNC is 4-0. He averaged 10.4 shot attempts in five of the Tar Heels’ seven losses.
If Carolina is going to continue its streak of recent success in Durham, Bacot has to lead the team. He averaged 17 points and 14 rebounds in the two wins against Duke last season.
UNC’s poor 3-point shooting
The Tar Heels are on pace for their second-worst 3-point shooting season in program history, as ESPN’s Bryan Ives noted in a tweet following Wednesday’s loss to Pitt.
UNC is making just 31.1% percent of its shots from beyond the arc, which ranks 306th in the nation, according to KenPom.com. After making 36% of their 3s last season, junior guards RJ Davis and Caleb Love are shooting a combined 31.6% from long range through 22 games.
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The good news? Duke hasn’t been much better. The Blue Devils are shooting 32.5% from deep, which is 253rd in the country. But Duke is among the top offensive rebounding teams in the nation.
Caleb Love vs. Duke
The Blue Devils seem to bring out the best in Caleb Love, who has scored at least 20 points in four of five games against Duke. Love dropped 28 points, including the famous 3-point dagger, in the 2022 Final Four victory.
UNC vs. Duke score prediction
Duke 74, UNC 72: With back-to-back wins in Durham for Bacot, Davis and Love, Cameron Indoor Stadium has been more heaven than hell for UNC’s leaders. That trio can help the Heels win a third straight at Cameron for the first time since UNC won four in a row from 2006-09. But this squad is 2-4 on the road this season and Duke has yet to lose at home. I’ll take the Blue Devils to win a close one.
Staff writer Rodd Baxley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @RoddBaxley on Twitter.
This article originally appeared on The Fayetteville Observer: UNC basketball score prediction vs. Duke: Can Tar Heels earn road win?