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Keys To UNC and Duke

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Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Grant Halverson/Getty Images

mac Chris "Mac" McClain
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Both teams come into this game playing good basketball. Duke has won 7 of 8 and the Heels 5 in a row.  They are the top two teams in the country since January 21 according to ESPN’s BPI Rankings.  I expect the result to be a tight game tonight and another great chapter in the UNC-Duke rivalry.  The outcome of the game hinges on these things……

1) REBOUNDING- UNC is 17th in the country in Offensive Rebounding percentage and first in the ACC in offensive rebounds per game.   They need to hit the glass and convert those misses into points. As good as they are on the boards, they have not always converted those 2nd chances.  And, don’t sleep on Duke on the Offensive Glass. They are 3rd in the ACC in Offensive Rebounds per game.  UNC needs to stop them in that area as well.

2) TURNOVERS- UNC has been great lately at creating turnovers and turning them into points.  Duke doesn’t allow teams to do that to them. They are 7th in the country in turnover percentage. If they take care of the ball tonight, UNC could be in real trouble.

3) 3 PT SHOOTING- Duke is number one in the country is 3 point percentage and UNC is number one in the ACC in 3 point defense.  Something has to give.  As difficult as Hood, Parker and Sulaimon are off the dribble, I have a hard time believing Duke won’t drive and kick their way to a lot of open looks from three. If they knock them down, they will win.

4) PAIGE- With UNC’s offensive struggles, it is often up to Marcus Paige to carry them for stretches during games.  And, it often happens in the 2nd half.  Can Duke with their full court pressure and multiple on ball defenders, wear Paige down for crunch time. Could be a big factor in the game tonight.

5) FOUL TROUBLE- If Tokoto or McAdoo get in foul trouble while guarding Hood and Parker, the Heels have a mess on their hands. No one else is equipped to guard those guys as well.  Conversely, if the Duke bigs (Parker and Jefferson) get in foul trouble  like the Syracuse game, the Heels could own them inside.


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