One of the best rivalries in sports gets its newest installment on Saturday night, as No. 9 North Carolina travels up the 15-501 to take on No. 5 Duke at Cameron Indoor.
The game starts Saturday at 8:15 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on ESPN. If you don’t have cable or a cable log-in, you can watch the game live on your computer, phone or streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
Sling TV: ESPN is included in the “Sling Orange” channel package. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial, and you can then watch ESPN live on your computer via the Sling TV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app.
Hulu With Live TV: If you want an extensive Netflix-like on-demand streaming library in addition to your live TV, Hulu now also offers a bundle of live channels, including ESPN. You can sign up right here, and you can then watch a live stream of ESPN on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.
DirecTV Now: ESPN is included in each of the four main channel packages. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial no matter what package you choose, plus you can get a free Amazon Fire TV if you prepay two months. Once signed up, you can watch a live stream of ESPN on your computer via the DirecTV Now website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app.
The first matchup this season went to the Heels, who controlled the offensive end en route to an 82-78 victory. It wasn’t always pretty, as Roy Williams’ squad shot just 39.0 percent from the field, but at the end of the day their trips on offense were efficient ones because they owned the glass (20 offensive rebounds), protected the ball (two turnovers) and knocked down timely threes (11 makes from long range). They finished with 1.206 points per possession, which marks Duke’s second-worst defensive performance of the season in that regard.
But in the six games that have followed that loss, the Blue Devils have been a lock-down defensive squad, holding their opponents to 57.0 points per game and a minuscule 0.842 points per possession. Both of those numbers would rank second nationally on the year behind only Virginia (51.7 points per game allowed) and Cincinnati (0.839 points per possession allowed).
If the Blue Devils can continue to play that kind of defense, combined with an offense that ranks second in America in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted efficiency rankings, they are going to be extremely difficult to beat the rest of the way. Virginia Tech bested them with a dramatic one-point win on Monday, but that’s hardly a negative on Duke’s resume.
Combine that recent play with the fact the Blue Devils are at home, where they have just one loss this season (two points against Virginia), and it’s not too surprising to see them favored significantly in this one.
Still, though, the Heels are are far more efficient offensively than anyone Duke has played in the last six games, they have the tools to turn this into a shootout, and they haven’t lost a game by more than four points since January 22. Besides, even if these teams weren’t tightly matched, expecting anything other than a tight battle would suggest you haven’t paid much attention to this rivalry over the past billion or so years.
Put simply, you don’t want to miss this game. Just like every other time Duke and Carolina meet.