The college basketball regular season is quickly coming to an end. Selection Sunday is less than 2 weeks away, but there is still a lot left to be determined before then. This weekend there are a couple big games scheduled that have huge tournament implications. The one that is the most intriguing to me is #4 Duke at #3 North Carolina. According to ESPN, this game is just about a pick-em.
The Blue Devils hold the slight advantage at a 51.9% chance of winning, despite being the road team. These two teams played about two weeks ago in that infamous game where Zion Williamson blew through his shoe and got hurt; that game was on Duke's court. Williamson was knocked out within the game's first minute, and Duke never really competed after that injury, and ended up losing 88-72 despite being heavy favorites. Including that loss, Duke is 3-2 closing out their season headed into their finale.
At the time of that game, I really thought Williamson would be ready to return in time for this re-match, and that Duke would win, but now it looks as if he is still not available to play. He may not even be able to play in the ACC Tournament, which starts March 12 and ends March 16th- Selection Sunday will be the day after that- St. Patty's Day. Carolina has been on a hot streak as of late, losing just once in December to ranked Kentucky, once in January to Louisville, and once this month to #4-at the time- Virginia, a Virginia team whose only two losses this year were to Duke- but Duke with Zion.
Duke vs. Carolina tickets were the hot commodity last time around, going for upwards of 2,500 dollars a ticket, but now the demand won't be there without Zion in the lineup. Still, it's a huge game for college basketball, considering the history of both teams, and considering how they are ranked 3 and 4. I think Duke plays a good game and keeps it close.
If they win, that will be a huge confidence builder for them as it will show they can win big games without their star, but if they lose again, I think it just proves that they are going nowhere fast without that star. For the Tarheels, if they win, it just proves they can beat Duke without Zion, so the ACC tournament will really show whose who? I think the winner of the ACC wins the championship, and I am still picking Virginia.