College basketball’s most intense rivalry gets an ACC tournament re-installment for the third consecutive year, as No. 2 seed North Carolina takes on No. 3 Duke in the second semifinal on Friday night.
The game is scheduled to start around 9 p.m. ET (depending on when Virginia vs Florida State ends) and will be televised on ESPN. But if you don’t have cable, you can still watch a live stream of ESPN on your computer, phone or streaming device via one of the following live-TV streaming services:
You can start a free 5-day trial of PS Vue right here (select “Start Streaming” in the upper-right corner), and you can then watch a live stream of the game on your computer via the PS Vue website, or on your phone (Android and iPhone supported), tablet, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation (3 or 4), or other supported device via the PS Vue app.
Hulu With Live TV: In addition to a Netflix-like on-demand streaming library, Hulu also offers a bundle of 50-plus live TV channels, including ESPN.
You can sign up for “Hulu with Live TV” right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the game on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone (Android and iPhone supported), tablet, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Echo Show, or other streaming device via the Hulu app.
Sling TV: ESPN is included in the “Sling Orange” channel bundle.
You can start a free seven-day trial right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the game on your computer via the Sling TV website, or on your phone (Android and iPhone supported), tablet, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Xbox One, or other streaming device via the Sling TV app.
UNC vs Duke
UNC won the first two meetings against their heated in-state rivals this year, but those matchups lacked a certain tank with pogo-sticks for legs.
Zion Williamson–you may have heard of him–tore through his shoe and sprained his right knee within the first 30 seconds of the first Duke-UNC matchup and ultimately missed six games. Duke went just 3-3 in those contests, losing twice to Carolina, once to Virginia Tech and narrowly escaping a game at home against a Wake Forest team they had beaten by 22 earlier in the year.
On the year, Duke has an offensive efficiency (points per 100 possessions) of 113.8 and a defensive efficiency of 91.5. In those six games without Zion, those numbers dropped to 101.1 and 98.6, respectively.
So, yeah, it turns out the Blue Devils missed one of the most dominant college basketball players of the last decade.
Fortunately for Duke, he returned in their quarterfinal matchup against Syracuse, and it took Zion all of 120 seconds to start doing Zion things again:
He finished with one of the most absurd stat lines of the season, even when you don’t account for the fact he hadn’t played an actual game in nearly a month: 13-of-13 from the field (and 2-of-9 from the free-throw line), 29 points, 14 rebounds (seven offensive), two assists, five steals and one block.
“I’ve been in this game over 50 years, I’ve seen a lot of great players. I’m not going to say he’s better than them, but he’s a different player. There’s no one really like him,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said after the game.
All that said, UNC won those first two games for a reason. Zion’s absence obviously played a part, but the Heels have also been playing lights out during the last month. Since a 69-61 loss to Virginia on February 11, Carolina has won eight straight. They were pushed to the wire at Clemson, but every other one of those wins has been by at least eight points, and the average margin of victory during that stretch has been 14.63.
That includes a 13-point win over Louisville–the only other team besides Virginia to beat the Heels in ACC play–in the quarterfinals. Coby White and Luke Maye each chipped in 19 points in that one, while Cam Johnson and Garrison Brooks each tallied double-figures.
“They are as fast as any team I’ve coached against,” Louisville head coach Chris Mack said about UNC. “And you talk about it, you talk about it, but talking doesn’t prepare you sometimes. And you give those guys credit, they were shot out of a cannon, that ball was up the floor and in such a hurry and got to the rim.”
There’s a very real chance that this matchup could be for a No. 1 seed. UNC may still get one if they lose, while the Blue Devils–currently projected as a 2–need to win to have a shot of that top line.
For what it’s worth, the last single-season three-game sweep in this rivalry came in 2002, with Duke easily winning all three.