Tar Heels, Devils now focus on each other

Staff WriterFebruary 8, 2009 

North Carolina and Duke have each moved from the undercard to the main event with matching 7-2 ACC basketball records.

Saturday, the Tar Heels subdued last-place Virginia, 76-61 in Chapel Hill, while the Blue Devils needed overtime to dispatch a stubborn Miami team, 78-75, in Durham.

Wednesday the old rivals will meet for the first time this season, at Cameron Indoor Stadium, with the usual stakes -- ACC supremacy and NCAA Tournament seeding -- on the line.

UNC lost its first two ACC games but roars into the showdown with seven straight wins. Guards Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson are hot -- Ellington with 54 points, and Lawson with 15 assists and no turnovers over the past two games.

Duke lost by 27 at Clemson last Wednesday and stumbled in the first half against Miami. Greg Paulus, a three-year starter relegated to the bench at the start of the season, re-entered the starting lineup. His leadership, and 18 points, were crucial in Duke's 16-point second-half comeback against the Hurricanes.

Afterward, at least one Devil was loathe to weigh in on the meeting with UNC.

"Give me a break," guard Jon Scheyer pleaded. "I just played 40 minutes; I'm going to enjoy this win."

Fair enough. Wednesday will be here soon -- the pregame hype, even sooner.

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Duke vs. UNC: Get Involved

Everyone has their favorite memories from the Duke-North Carolina basketball rivalry. ACC beat writer Ken Tysiac will share his on Monday morning as The News & Observer tips off its expanded online coverage to get you ready for Wednesday night's matchup in Durham.

In addition to a list of N&O writers' top moments from this series, look for columnist Caulton Tudor and staff writer J.P. Giglio's podcast Tuesday on ACC Now. Wednesday at noon, Ken Tysiac and UNC beat writer Robbi Pickeral will be online to answer your email questions about that night's game.

E-mail your questions and predictions for them to assistant sports editor Lorenzo Perez at: lorenzo.perez@ newsobserver.com.

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