Duke vs North Carolina Live: Act III of North Carolina vs. Duke takes place Friday, and a key piece is back in the equation for the Blue Devils. Zion Williamson, Duke’s star forward, will face the Tar Heels in the semifinals of the 2019 ACC Tournament after missing virtually all of the first two games between the teams.
Williamson famously blew out a shoe and suffered a mild knee sprain in the process, forcing him out of that contest as well as the next five. North Carolina beat a Zion-less Duke squad that night and in the regular-season finale. But Williamson returned with an emphatic performance on Thursday, scoring 29 points on 13-of-13 shooting in a victory against Syracuse.
Tipoff between North Carolina (27-5) and Duke (27-5) at Spectrum Center in Charlotte is set for 9 p.m. ET. The Blue Devils are favored by 3.5 points in the latest Duke vs. North Carolina odds, while the over-under for total points scored is 165. Before making any Duke vs. UNC picks of your own, be sure to see the 2019 ACC Tournament predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model.
This model, which simulates every game 10,000 times, has raked in the winnings for those following its picks. Over the past two years, the SportsLine Projection Model has returned over $4,000 to $100 players on its top-rated college basketball picks. It also entered conference championship week on a strong 11-5 run on all top-rated college basketball picks. Anyone who has followed it is way up.
Now the model has honed in on Duke vs. North Carolina. We can tell you it is leaning under, and it has also locked in an against-the-spread pick that cashes in well over 50 percent of simulations. That one is only available at SportsLine.
For Friday’s game, the model has factored in Williamson’s return. The presumed No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Williamson is averaging 21.9 points (second on the team behind RJ Barrett’s 23.3) while leading the team in rebounding (9.0) and shooting 69.6 percent from the field. Three of Duke’s five losses came with Williamson out.
After missing the past five games due to a knee injury he suffered while blowing out his shoe against UNC on Feb. 20, many in the media believed Williamson shouldn’t play another college game.
Williamson didn’t miss a beat from his time off, scoring 29 points on a perfect 13-of-13 shooting from the field, to go along with 14 rebounds, five steals and five dunks.
Williamson tied UNC’s Brad Daugherty for the most consecutive makes in a game by an ACC player, and also became the first Duke player with 25 points, 10 rebounds and five steals in a game since Christian Laettner did it in 1992 against UNC in the ACC tournament.
“The shoes were incredible tonight,” Williamson said with a smile. “I just know they’re a little stronger than the regular Kyrie 4’s, so I want to thank Nike for making these, but they felt very comfortable.”
Williamson will finally be a part of what is considered to be the best rivalry in college basketball with UNC. He only got to experience 36 seconds of the first meeting before the mishap with his shoe.