Five things to know before Duke-Carolina

Here are the players to watch and stats to learn before the big rematch

Mark Dolejs—USA Today Sports
Feb 9

Duke and North Carolina close out the regular season with round two of their annual rivalry series. Duke won the first game, 86-78 in Cameron. North Carolina will be looking to win sole possession of first place in the ACC and send its seniors out with a win in their final home game.Here are five things to know about the guys in darker blue.1. Grayson’s AnatomyWith 16 points, Allen will become the 50th Blue Devils player to score 100 points against the Tar Heels. The junior has had huge games in his last three outings against the Tar Heels, including 25 points in February.Since then, Allen has fallen on hard times. Battling a sprained ankle, Allen has missed one game and hobbled through the others. He’s scored just 34 points in the five games since. He hit 9-of-15 field goals against Carolina. Since then, he’s 10-for-42. In fact, the Carolina game was the only one in the last 11 in which Allen has hit more than half his shots. After lighting up the Heels with 7-of-12 3-pointers, Allen is 7-of-28 since.There’s a chance Allen won’t play against Carolina, as Coach K tries to give him rest before tournament play starts. If he does, look for him to continue torturing the Tar Heels.2. Frankie goes HollywoodFreshman point guard Frank Jackson scored 11 points against the Tar Heels in the first game between the two schools. That was his only time scoring in double digits in a seven-game span and the most Jackson had scored since the third game of the ACC season.Jackson seems to have gotten past the freshman wall and found his second wind at the end of the season. He’s scored in double figures in three of his last four games, including a career-high 22 against Florida State in the last game.The freshman’s development gives Duke yet another scoring option from the perimeter, an area where the Tar Heels have struggled on defense this season.3. Plenty to play forWhile Carolina has wrapped up the top seed in the ACC Tournament, Duke still has plenty of room for movement. The Blue Devils are part of a three-team logjam in third place, and a total of seven teams could swap places based on Saturday’s results. Taking tiebreaker scenarios into account, Duke could end up seeded anywhere from third to seventh, depending on what happens in Chapel Hill.4. Familiarity breeds TV ratingsUNC coach Roy Williams has complained about how close together the ACC scheduled the two Duke-Carolina games this year, saying he can barely get a workout in between the two games. This year isn’t appreciably different from recent seasons, however. There’s a 23-day gap between the games this year. That’s actually the first time there’s been at least three weeks between the games since 2013. In the three seasons since then, the rematch was 17, 19 and 16 days apart. Since Williams took over as head coach in 2003-04, only twice have the games been played more than four weeks apart.5. Throw out the rankingsUNC enters the game ranked No. 5 in the AP poll. Duke is No. 17. This will be the third time in the last four games that the Tar Heels are ranked at least 10 spots higher than the Blue Devils when the two teams play. Duke won the previous two meetings, upsetting the Heels in the Dean Dome last February and winning in Cameron last month. Carolina has won just one of the last four games in which the Tar Heels were ranked higher than the Blue Devils.Overall, Roy Williams is 1-2 against Duke when he has a 10 or more spot advantage in the AP poll. Coach K is 22-6 against Carolina when Duke is ranked at least 10 spots higher. Dean Smith was 32-6.