Previewing Round 1 of the UNC Basketball program's 2023-2024 rivalry series vs. Duke

The highly-anticipated first installment of this year's rivalry series between the UNC basketball program and Duke will take place in Chapel Hill on Saturday night.
North Carolina v Duke
North Carolina v Duke / Grant Halverson/GettyImages
2 of 6

Key Matchups

In this game, there are three key matchups that should play a major role in the outcome of this game.

Let's start with the battle in the post between Armando Bacot and Kyle Filipowski.

It will be interesting to see how both sides elect to go about this matchup. For Duke, they want to keep Filipowski out of foul trouble, as his presence on the court is a huge factor for them. We could see the sophomore big man guarding Bacot quite a bit, but it wouldn't be surprising to see Duke throw the likes of Ryan Young and potentially even Mark Mitchell at the Tar Heels big man.

For North Carolina, Filipowski's size and ability to stretch the floor could be an issue for them to defend. If the starters remain the same, Bacot could draw the assignment, but having him defend the perimeter is less than ideal. Harrison Ingram could also be tasked with slowing down Filipowski, but there is a bit of a size differential between the two players.

The key for both players will be to stay out of foul trouble, as their respective teams are much better when they are on the court.


Guard play will also be a huge factor in this one, as RJ Davis and Jeremy Roach will square off once again.

Not many players have been better than Davis this season, as he comes into this matchup leading the ACC in scoring. Roach is a pivotal player for the Blue Devils, as recent injuries have hampered him a bit.

Roach's health is a major storyline, even though he did play 29 minutes off the bench in Duke's last game. Both players are very familiar with this rivalry, as they'll look to use that veteran leadership to help guide their teams toward victory.

From experienced guards to newcomers to the rivalry, as former five-stars Elliot Cadeau and Jared McCain will get their first taste of it on Saturday night.

Cadeau has been really settling in as the operator of the Tar Heels' offensive attack, but foul trouble has really impacted him and his squad. When he's in foul trouble, North Carolina's offense has stalled a bit, as they are clearly better when he's on the court.

McCain has come into his own of late, as he's been playing at a high level. He isn't a player who will be rattled by the circumstances, so it will be important for the Tar Heels to make his opportunities offensively hard to come by.