Ah, the month of March. That means it's time for some NCAA men's basketball conference tournaments, right!. Well, unless you're a Big Ten fan, not just yet.
Luckily, tonight will bring together bitter ACC rivals Duke and North Carolina for their always-exciting regular season finale. Duke lost by four points earlier in the season on the road at Chapel Hill, but now they will have their shot at home to defeat the hated Tar Heels. With that in mind, here are four bold predictions for Saturday night's massive showdown.
4. Heels Dominate
UNC is 5-3 vs. top 25 teams this season. The Blue Devils are just 2-2.
Roy William's boys also happen to be 5-3 on the road this season, which means they have every ability to stand up to the pressure at Cameron Indoor. And Duke may outscore UNC by two points per game on average, but the Hells out-rebound and out-assist Duke on a per-game basis.
Duke just needs their shots to fall on Saturday night. If that doesn't go their way, expect Carolina to run them over.
3. Grayson Allen Flops
In the first meeting of the season between these two, Duke senior point guard Grayson Allen had one of the worst performances of all.
His is capable of putting up show-stopping performances, but isn't immune to going blisteringly cold. In Duke's shocking loss to St. Johns a month ago, he tallied just seven points.
The home crowd will likely fuel his shot, but their is a chance he cracks under the pressure. He's due for a flop-- figuratively and quite possibly literally.
2. Low-Scoring Game
Both the Heels and the Blue Devils average right around 84 points per game. On the flip side, Duke holds opponents to less than 70 per game, about five points better than their rivals on the defensive end.
Although these are two high-powered teams with offenses capable of blowing up the scoreboard, we may find ourselves watching a defensive grind.
The last time Duke gave up more than 70 points was in their loss to UNC. But don't be surprised if neither team reaches that mark thanks to the relentless pressure and nationwide spotlight that always accompanies this rivalry.
1. Cameron Johnson is the X-Factor
UNC forward Cameron Johnson has had an up and down season.
He has gotten a handful of starts, but has also come off the bench his fair share. Regardless, he has the ability to make a real difference on the court in any given game, and Carolina's success will ultimately fall on him. We know that Grayson Allen, Marvin Bagley, and Joel Berry can all play big-time ball, but it is the support staff that makes the difference in hotly-contested affairs like these.
In UNC's win over Duke, Johnson made the difference with 18 points, 13 rebounds, and two assists. Look for him to do it again tonight in Durham.