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Duke, North Carolina ready to renew rivalry


More from Vitale: Duke's Redick raises his game

Feb. 8, 2005
On Wednesday night, we'll see the renewal of the greatest rivalry in college sports (ESPN, 9 p.m. ET). I know some will cry out about Michigan-Ohio State in football. There are so many great rivalries, but in basketball no rivalry matches North Carolina vs. Duke.

Just consider the intensity and emotion involved when these two ACC powers hook up. There is nothing like it, since these schools are separated by just eight miles. There is so much passion invested in these two programs, and when they meet everyone goes bananas. Cameron Indoor Stadium will be rocking and rolling when North Carolina visits Wednesday.

Rashad McCants
Rashad McCants, who averaged 16 ppg this past season, says he's hiring an agent.
I can't wait to get into the building to broadcast this special event. Duke's Hall of Fame coach, Mike Krzyzewski, vs. Carolina's Roy Williams, a sure-fire future member of the shrine in Springfield, Mass. ... it should be truly magical, baby!

The Tar Heels (19-2, 8-1 ACC) have one of America's finest-tuned offenses and lead the nation in scoring at 92.2 points per game. Duke (17-2, 7-2 ACC) also has a potent offense that is averaging 82.5 points per game, seventh-best nationally.

Williams' Tar Heels are an awesome offensive juggernaut. They share the basketball and play as a team. They also have bought into playing hard on the defensive side.

For Carolina, it all starts in the backcourt with junior "Everybody Loves" Raymond Felton at the point. Junior guard Rashad McCants has developed into a team-oriented player.

Senior forward Jawad Williams has been on a roll all season long. He puts points on the board both inside and from long distance. And in the paint, there aren't many better than junior center Sean May, the son of former Indiana All-American Scott May (who was one of the leaders of the undefeated, national champion '76 Hoosiers).

Off the bench, the next great superstar to wear Carolina blue is Marvin the Magnificent, freshman forward Marvin Williams.

North Carolina will be tough to stop come NCAA Tournament time. But right now, all they're thinking about is a four-letter word, D-U-K-E! Wednesday's tipoff is the only thing Roy Williams cares about.

The Blue Devils feature a threesome that is so dangerous. Junior guard J.J. Redick is a legitimate national player of the year candidate. Senior guard Daniel Ewing is underrated on the perimeter. Inside, junior big man Shelden Williams is known as the Landlord because he owns the interior defensively. The big man who stays out of foul trouble will give his team an advantage.

The ACC is blessed to have post players the stature of Shelden Williams, Sean May and Wake Forest's Eric Williams.

The Blue Devils might not be as strong or as deep as in the past. But they still have solid personnel, and guys like junior forward Lee Melchionni have stepped it up recently.

The Cameron Crazies will be going absolutely bananas at Cameron Indoor Stadium, and this contest should be another awesome edition of the most special rivalry in college athletics.

It's a basketball junkie's delight to be in attendance for this one.

Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question to Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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