The Zion-less No. Cam Johnson added 26 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
It was the first time since March 4, that North Carolina had beaten a No. Obama was a U. Griffey was still playing Major League Baseball. Former Maryland head coach Gary Williams is second on that list, with seven wins of that nature.
Williamson left the game at the mark after slipping and pushing his foot through the bottom of his shoe. While many people tuned in, the game was far from pretty. Joe Boozell tried to predict who would win.
Here's three factors he considered: Luke Maye will likely have to guard Zion Williamson Maye has plenty of strengths, but he's going to have an incredibly tough time staying in front of Williamson if left on an island.
Of course, most teams don't have anyone equipped to guard Williamson. And if North Carolina executes its game plan effectively, Maye won't be left on an island.
But that's part of what makes Williamson such a special player; he commands double, and sometimes triple-teams whenever he touches the ball. He often scores regardless. That's why Tre Jones, R. Barrett and Cam Reddish get so many open looks from 3. And even if Maye isn't a great candidate to guard Williamson, he's probably the Tar Heels' best shot.
Cam Johnson and Nassir Little would probably get bull rushed, even if they're both quicker than Maye. Maye isn't fleet of foot, but he's sturdy. He won't be expected to handle Williamson alone, but it's worth watching to see how much resistance Maye can provide. The less help North Carolina has to send, the better.
But that might be wishful thinking. North Carolina should have an offensive rebounding edge over Duke This is Duke's best defensive team in years, but it struggles with defensive rebounding. Opponents collect The Tar Heels aren't on par with the old Brice Johnson-Kennedy Meeks teams in terms of glass mashing, but UNC retrieves 35 percent of its own clanks, which ranks 20th in the land.
Maye and Garrison Brooks are both solid offensive rebounders. Marques Bolden has quietly had a nice year for Duke. He's a reliable rim protector, and his post game has improved.
But he's not spry enough to keep athletes away from the offensive glass, and outside of Williamson and Barrett, on occasion Duke can struggle here. The Blue Devils came back to beat Louisville on Tuesday, but the Cardinals won the rebounding battle.
It was part of the reason they built up an early lead. Of course, if North Carolina is too eager in attacking the glass and fails to convert, Duke will be off to the races. That's a scary proposition.
But it's one of the few areas in which UNC has a clear edge. Duke's three best defenders match up well against North Carolina's three best offensive players Williamson, Reddish and Jones are three of the best defenders in the country, and Maye, Johnson and Coby White are the Tar Heels' three most dangerous scorers.
All average at least 14 points per game. The challenge is on. Create your groups now.
Maye is a mismatch for a lot of defenses; he's not a mismatch for Williamson. White has been on a tear lately; Jones might be the best point guard defender in America. Johnson is quietly having a ridiculous shooting season; he's making 48 percent of his 3s on high volume. Reddish may lose focus at times, but when locked in, there's not a better guy to guard a tall, rangy sniper like Johnson.
Brooks is a nice player, but he's not breaking people down off the dribble.
It will be interesting to see if Roy Williams goes small and uses Nassir Little at the four, forcing Coach K to make a decision. Then again, Duke's lineups with Williamson at center have wrecked folks lately; just ask Louisville.
Williams might want to think twice before baiting Krzyzewski into that. Bottom line: Duke matches up ideally with North Carolina. Duke vs.
North Carolina history and notable moments Prediction: North Carolina has nights where it looks unstoppable, but it's hard to pick the Tar Heels at Cameron Indoor.
Duke is the most talented team in the country, and you'd expect the Blue Devils to bring maximum effort in a rivalry game like this. Yes, it's been a bit of a roller-coaster thus far.