All week, the focus around the final Saturday of the regular season was on Coach K's legacy ahead of the final home game of his legendary career as he and Duke welcomed the Tar Heels to Durham. As a result, Hubert Davis and the Tar Heels were given no chance in his first trip to Cameron Indoor. However, thanks to what may have been the team's most complete game of the season, the Tar Heels walked in and pulled one of the most unexpected upsets in college basketball this season, handing Coach K a loss in his final game at home on a night where they honored him afterward.
Saturday night, Duke's men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski will take to Cameron Indoor Stadium for the final times as the team head basketball coach when they welcome the rival North Carolina Tar Heels. This is a game that many expect the Blue Devils to show out in with it being Krzyzewski's last game and with the way that this same team beat the Tar Heels earlier in the season in Chapel Hill.
It is no secret that it has been a down year in ACC basketball this season, but there have been some teams that have had nice seasons, outperforming their preseason expectations with the help of their head coaches. Mike Brey and Notre Dame were picked preseason eighth in the conference and currently sit at 19-8 (12-4) and might be the biggest threat to Duke right now in the conference's regular-season race. Jim Larranaga and the Miami Hurricanes were tabbed to finish 12th in the conference in the preseason and currently sit in third in the conference with a 20-8 (12-5 record and have a win on the road at Duke in their favor. However, the favorite of the group should be Wake Forest head coach Steve Forbes, whose team was picked to finish 13th in the preseason polls and is now staring down a tournament appearance sitting at 21-7 (11-6).
The NBA trade deadline was expected to be a silent one for the Charlotte Hornets, but shortly after 2:00 PM on Thursday, Shams Charania reported that the team was acquiring Montrezl Harrell from the Washington Wizards in exchange for Ish Smith, Vernon Carey Jr. and a top protected 2023 second round pick. While this may not be the rim protecting big that that Hornets have been in search, this could be the energy boost on the inside that this Hornet team is needing, especially on the offensive end where this team has been struggling.
The Hornets have hit a rough patch over the two and a half weeks, losing their last five games and seven of their last nine overall. With that, the Hornets have fallen to 9th place in the Eastern Conference after spending a majority of the season inside of the top six in the conference. However, the Hornets do still remain above .500 and are still closer to 6th place in the conference than they are to the 11th spot.
The Tar Heels entered Saturday's meeting with the Duke Blue Devils in Dean E. Smith Center coming off of a four-game winning streak, but in Coach K's final game in Chapel Hill, the team simply got embarrassed. The Tar Heels never led and were down as much as 28 points late in the second half and never got within single digits of the lead after the 16:20 mark of the first half.
Saturday night in the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill, one of the best rivalries in all of the sports will add a new chapter to it's story as the No. 9 Duke Blue Devils travel down US 15-501 to take on the North Carolina Tar Heels in a game that will determine who is in first place in the ACC as we head just past the midway point in conference play. The Blue Devils, on paper, are the better team heading into this matchup, but the Tar Heels have been a much different team in the Smith Center this season than they have been on the road, where a lot of their issues have popped up.
The Tar Heels will head to Louisville on Tuesday night as they look to continue the momentum that they built off a three-game homestand that they swept last week in the Dean Dome. The hope is that this can be the turning point for a season where the Tar Heels have had a lot of inconsistencies especially on the road and has left many fans frustrated after similar issues to close the Roy Williams era, even with the fact that this is Hubert Davis' first season as a head coach at the varsity level.
The Tar Heel basketball entered last Monday meeting with the Virginia Tech Hokies needing a win about as bad as any team in college basketball as they had fallen squarely on to the bubble. While it may not have been the prettiest win, that was the starting point for a 3-0 week which included a 100-80 win over NC State on Saturday that was desperately needed for this Tar Heel team to avoid falling completely out of the tournament field.
The Hornets suffered one of, if not their most disappointing loss of the season on Friday to the Orlando Magic in Charlotte, but they had an opportunity to get things back on track against a New York Knicks team that appeared to be getting themselves together after a rather disappointing start. They did just that with a dominant 97-87 win which was led by a career performance from Miles Bridges, who dropped 38 points on 14-20 shooting, and another nice afternoon from Terry Rozier, who finished with 22 points of his own.