For nearly two decades the Duke–UNC rivalry has been the de facto national showcase game for college basketball. While many fans appreciate the skill of these two teams and the passion of their fans there is also a sizable group that has become disenchanted with the way that certain entities (notably ESPN) obsessed over the two (or more) games per year between the teams instead of talking about the other compelling rivalries in college basketball. The fans that fall into the latter group might want to skip to another article because earlier today CBS announced that it will be broadcasting the second game of this year’s rivalry (on March 5, 2011 from Chapel Hill) during prime time for the first time. The game is expected to be the feature game of the regular season for CBS, who is celebrating their 30th year covering college basketball. The match-up between the two schools (winners of 14 of the past 15 ACC Tournament championships, 12 of the past 14 ACC Regular Season titles, and 7 of the past 20 NCAA titles) who are separated by less than 8 miles will be the 231st between the schools with the Tar Heels holding a 130-99 advantage coming into the season.
The Blue Devils should be loaded for this match-up returning much of the nucleus from last year’s championship team including Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith while adding freshman Kyrie Irving and transfer Seth Curry. If the Blue Devils sweep the regular season series this year, Coach K will finally get over .500 against the Tar Heels (34-35 all-time coming into this season). While the defending national champion Blue Devils should be favored against a young Tar Heel squad, we expect the Dean Dome to be a tough place to get a win in March with Roy Williams (8-10 all-time versus Duke including 7-7 while at UNC) having almost a full season to work with Harrison Barnes, the presumptive #1 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, and home court. And if you are one of the people who cannot stand all the hype this rivalry gets, we do have one small nugget of good news for you: CBS is broadcasting this game so you will not be subjected to over 2 hours of Dick Vitale mentioning how all these students got 1500s on their SATs, which incidentally is pretty mediocre now that the SAT is on scored a 2400-point scale.