With everyone salivating over Duke (with Zion Williamson, finally) facing North Carolina (“Frankly my dear”) in the ACC tournament semifinals on Friday, it should be noted that the Blue Devils and Tar Heels have played 22 times in the tournament.
ACC championships have been decided and paths to the Final Four cleared. What was once UNC’s Dean Smith vs Duke’s Vic Bubas and later Mike Krzyzewski has been replaced by Roy Williams vs Krzyzewski. And Duke has won 13 of the previous 22 games.
Here’s a look at 10 of the most memorable Duke-Carolina ACC tournament matchups:
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UNC 77, Duke 74
This might have been the rivalry as its most ferocious, as Krzyzewski had words with UNC forward Scott Williams after a Williams foul, Smith had words with Krzyzewski and the players exchanged some bumps and shoves. A 70-foot desperation heave by Duke’s Danny Ferry at the buzzer bounded off the rim, leaving Smith to say, “An old man would have had a heart attack” had the shot dropped at the Atlanta Omni.
Duke 21, UNC 20
The halftime score in the semifinal game at Reynolds Coliseum had everyone’s attention: Duke 7, UNC 5. Smith, still establishing himself as a head coach, used a slowdown to shorten the game and nearly pulled off a huge upset. Duke went on to beat N.C. State in the title game and reached the Final Four for the third time in four years under Bubas.
UNC 83, Duke 68
The Blue Devils were ranked No. 1 and the Tar Heels No. 4, and it was the year after Smith retired, turning the program over to longtime assistant Bill Guthridge. Antawn Jamison’s 22 points and 18 rebounds gave Guthridge and the Tar Heels a title, and Jamison was the MVP.
UNC 82, Duke 73
It was Smith’s first ACC championship and the Tar Heels would advance to the Final Four for the first time since their 1957 NCAA title run. Larry Miller was the UNC workhorse and the tournament MVP, hitting 13 of 14 shots in scoring 32 points against the Blue Devils in the final.
UNC 85, Duke 74
It was a magical championship night for UNC’s Charlie Scott, whose 40 points gave the Tar Heels a third straight ACC title in the days when only the ACC champion received an NCAA tournament berth. Once again, UNC would move on the Final Four, making it three straight trips.
UNC 71, Duke 63
The most notable Duke-UNC game of the season was the regular-season finale, when Duke led 7-0 at the half and won 47-40 as the Tar Heels held the ball. In the tournament, the Tar Heels got an MVP effort from Dudley Bradley to cut down the nets.
Duke 93, UNC 83
UNC went 14-4 to finish first in the regular season while the Blue Devils were 11-7 and seeded fifth in the ACC tournament, but the Blue Devils won the semifinal matchup at the Barclays Center. Duke trailed by 13 points in the second half but rallied behind Jayson Tatum (24 points) and Luke Kennard (20) for a sixth straight win over UNC in the tournament.
UNC 96, Duke 74
Rick Fox, the tournament MVP, had 25 points as the Tar Heels blew out the Blue Devils in the title game. Krzyzewski later said the slap in the face was just what his team needed. Both teams made it to the Final Four in Indianapolis. Duke knocked off UNLV, the defending national champs, in the semifinals but Kansas -- coached by Williams -- prevented a Duke-Carolina championship final by beating the Tar Heels. Duke would win its first NCAA title two days later.
Duke 94, UNC 74
Same floor, same teams, different result. A year after being smacked by the Tar Heels, the Blue Devils were easy winners in the championship match as Christian Laettner scored 25 points in the title game and was named MVP. The Blue Devils later made it back-to-back national championships.
Duke 65, UNC 61
The year before the heated duel in Atlanta, Ferry was the Duke star, scoring 19 points in the championship game in being named MVP. The Blue Devils, beating the Tar Heels three times in the season, also opened NCAA tournament play in Chapel Hill, which rankled Smith and the Heels.