Duke vs. North Carolina College Basketball Predictions Against The Spread

Duke's Grayson Allen drives to the basket while North Carolina's Cameron Johnson defends during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill N.C. Thursday Feb. 8 2018. Duke's Wendell Carter Jr. looks

Duke's Grayson Allen drives to the basket while North Carolina's Cameron Johnson defends during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill N.C. Thursday Feb. 8 2018. Duke's Wendell Carter Jr. looks

If that isn't impressive enough, UNC also finished with just two turnovers after averaging 12 the past four conference games. It never does when these teams get together.

Tonight's game takes place from the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and will air live on ESPN.

North Carolina was led by senior guard Joel Berry II, who finished with a team-high 21 points despite shooting just 1-for-8 from 3-point range.

Duke and North Carolina each entered the 2018 edition of the rivalry in a precarious position. A collision between the two top offenses in the ACC, fueled by likely all-conference honorees and projected National Basketball Association draft picks, produced a predictable result: lots of points. If Duke plays man-to-man (a big if, which we'll touch on), Berry could slice the Blue Devils apart.

HALFTIME: Duke 49, UNC 45: Twenty minutes are in the books, and the visiting Blue Devils used a balanced attack to take a lead into the locker room.

Duke got back into the game thanks to a Tar Heel scoring drought that lasted more than five-and-a-half minutes, during which the Blue Devils cut the score from nine down to three.

BIG PICTUREDuke: The Blue Devils were coming off Saturday's loss to a St. John's team that was 0-11 in the Big East - the Red Storm stunningly followed that with a road upset of No. 1 Villanova - in a performance that coach Mike Krzyzewski described as "disgusting" and not up to the program's standards.

The real key to North Carolina's win was reversing a recent trend of failing to take care of the ball.

Duke freshman forward Marvin Bagley III leads the ACC in scoring (21.4 points per game) and rebounding (11.2).

What happened that led to a second straight win for the Tar Heels?

But North Carolina is the team that knows themselves, and even if just for a night, played in a way that proved they understand their roles and how they fit within the roster. The Blue Devils are averaging 89.6 points per game on offense this season while allowing 72.4 per game on defense. While the Blue Devils are coming off a bad loss, they have rebounded very well each time they have lost this season. (15.0), Grayson Allen (14.5), Wendell Carter Jr. The three other teams that are sitting with seven wins in the ACC are Miami, Louisville, and Duke. The good news for the Blue Devils is they won't face an offense as potent as North Carolina's (15 in adjusted offensive efficiency heading into Thursday) before the Big Dance.

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