Looking ahead a bit, Duke travels to Chapel Hill Sunday for a game that could serve as a defining moment for the program.
This week Triangle Offense will break down the position-by-position matchups between Duke and UNC.
Roy Williams’ return to Chapel Hill tipped the scale back to Carolina. Winning six of 11 games against Duke since returning– with three of those losses coming in his first three attempts, Williams has also dominated the national recruiting landscape.
A win could potentially put Duke back at the top of the ACC; a loss would sink Duke’s championship hopes along with a possible No. 1 seed for the NCAA tournament.
Talk of Duke’s standard February and March slide and their recruiting woes could be silenced by a statement game against a national title favorite.
A costly loss would send Duke’s seniors out with only two victories against their hated rivals — the fewest since the class of 1997.
Here’s a look at the starting point guard matchup between Duke and UNC.
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski revamped his starting lineup after losing to Boston College following the first UNC game, and as a result Jon Scheyer, who had been suffering from a midseason shooting slump, was handed the keys to Duke’s screening machine of an offense.
Scheyer brings stability to Duke’s offense with excellent ball handling and awareness. Oh, and he’s averaging a mere 18.6 points per game in his new position.
UNC’s Ty Lawson brings unteachable speed to the table, which is part of the reason for his undefeated record against Duke; UNC’s only loss since J.J Redick’s days came when Lawson was out with a high ankle sprain.
Lawson’s penetrating ability and his one-man fastbreak style make him an absolute game-changer and has positioned him in the talk of ACC Player of the Year. Duke will try to keep Lawson out of the lane and find their man when running back on defense to eliminate his fastbreak opportunities.
And despite what Duke players said after their first matchup, he’s no slouch from beyond the arc. Lawson is shooting over 49 percent from beyond the arc and has made clutch 3-pointers, just ask Miami.
Scheyer presents a defensive nightmare for Lawson — a 6-inch nightmare to be exact. Lawson’s defensive struggles against bigger guards is widely reported, but UNC’s team defense is entirely responsible not just Lawson.
Lawson’s speed and undefeated record against Duke makes this an easy pick but keep an eye on how Duke uses Scheyer’s height advantage on offense, especially if the Blue Devils focus on isolating Scheyer.