CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Duke and North Carolina are taking their much talked about and often debated men’s basketball rivalry on the road to a place its never been.
The neighboring schools are preparing for another first in a series filled with big-name players and intense finishes: playing each other in the NCAA Tournament. It seems fitting the matchup comes in the Final Four, with a berth in the championship game on the line.
It’s an intriguing script for Saturday night’s showdown in New Orleans.
Duke ran North Carolina off its own court in the teams’ first meeting this season. The Tar Heels exacted revenge by spoiling retiring Hall of Famer Mike Krzyzewski’s final home game in what appeared to be their last battle with Coach K.
A third meeting wasn’t something either wanted to talk about to start the week, not when Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils were first to earn their spot to the Big Easy and not when Hubert Davis’ Tar Heels followed a day later.
They have to now.
“To me, the thing is, I think we’re going to have two really good teams play against one another,” Krzyzewski said Tuesday, three days after beating Arkansas to claim the West Region title. “Whereas, the last two games we were better than them at that point and they were better than us at the other point. And now we’ll see what happens.”