Riding a seven-game win streak, North Carolina can end its regular season by dropping rival Duke Saturday night at the Dean E. Smith Center.
Presently unranked, it’s been an up and down year for the Tar Heels, who have struggled against ranked opponents.
During their winning streak, North Carolina has an average scoring margin of 10.4 points, and busted up Maryland 79-68 Wednesday.
Guard P.J. Haiston totaled a game-high 22 points, while Reggie Bullock ripped down 12 boards to go with his 19 points.
Netting just 10 points against the Terrapins, team leading-scorer James McAdoo aggravated a bulging disk in his back, but is still scheduled to play Saturday. The sophomore averages 14.6 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.
On senior night, No. 3 Duke dismantled Virginia Tech 85-57 on Wednesday, with guard Seth Curry firing off five 3-pointers on his way to 20 points, and Ryan Kelly amassing 18 points and nine rebounds.
Since returning to the Blue Devils line up last week, the 6-foot-11 Kelly is averaging 27 points and eight rebounds, shot 61 percent from the field, and Duke has gone 2-0.
Duke last beat the Tar Heels 73-68 at Cameron Indoor with Mason Plumlee totaling 18 points and 11 rebounds, but playing with foul trouble for most of the game.
Hairston and Bullock again proved to be a lethal combo with a combined 38 points and 16 rebounds, and North Carolina forced 17 Duke turnovers. However the Tar Heels 38 percent shooting proved to be the difference.
Another loss for the 26-4 Blue Devils may spell a No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournment, or pad North Carolin's resume for the big dance.
The game tips-off at 9 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN, or you can watch their live online stream at Watch ESPN here, by submitting your cable provider information.
Betting Odds: UNC is favored by 1.5 points.
Over/Under: 152 points
Prediction: The time off to heal his foot injury has clearly paid off for Kelly and Duke. The Tar Heels will have a tough time matching up against both Kelly and Curry, though Hairston should have another strong game. Duke should pull away late, but North Carolina will hang around.
Predicted Score: Duke 70, North Carolina 65
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