The big game is finally here: the North Carolina Tar Heels are just moments away from squaring off against the Duke Blue Devils in game one of the two-game series in the Tobacco Road rivalry. This year may have a different feel to it, but tonight we put all records aside, all preconceived notions will (hopefully) get thrown out the window, because if there’s one thing that we can guarantee from this game is that both teams will be out to beat the crap out of the other.
For Carolina to win this game, there are three things to watch out for. The first being whether or not UNC will use their post-presence advantage to keep Vernon Carey in check. Yes, Carey is an extremely good player and inevitably will do a lot of damage in the post, but Garrison Brooks is also an elite defender, and Armando Bacot will be able to help if need be when it’s needed the most.
The second thing to watch out for is the battle between Cole Anthony and Tre Jones. Ironically both players have suffered injuries this season, with Anthony spending the most time out for his team. Last year we witnessed Jones giving Coby White fits defensively, and we should expect nothing less when he squares off against one of the best freshman in the country.
With that said, the third biggest thing to watch is whether or not everyone not named Cole Anthony will step up to help take pressure off of him. While there was a lot of loud debates transpiring online about Anthony not hurting the team since coming back, Roy Williams came out and said point-blank that the lack of help that he’s receiving from his teammates is what’s causing a bulk of the issues. Will they be able to keep moving, set the right screens, and become more willing to take tough shots, or will this be the Cole Anthony Show once again, making this a 1 vs. 5 affair? We’ll find out in a matter of minutes.
As always, we’ll be back at the end of this game with more post-game analysis. Everyone take deep breaths, throw on your lucky attire, and get ready for the 100th year of the best rivalry in sports.