American sports have had many popular rivalries over the years: Muhammad Ali versus Joe Frazier, Boston Red Sox versus New York Yankees, and Michigan versus Ohio State. But one of the most heated American sports rivalries is the North Carolina Tar Heels versus the Duke Blue Devils.
Separated by just eight miles down “Tobacco Road”, Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are two of the nation’s premier academic institutions. Duke plays the role of the private, elite, “rich” school while UNC is the public, “university of the people”.
While the rivalry spreads to all sports, it is most intense in the men’s basketball program. Both teams are highly accomplished historically as two of the top five winningest teams in college basketball history. Both teams have had tremendously talented players throughout the years, such as Art Heyman, Christian Laettner, and Shane Battier at Duke and Phil Ford, James Worthy, and Michael Jordan in Chapel Hill.
The rivalry has seen tremendous comebacks, such as UNC’s 11 point comeback in just three minutes in 2005, and last second victories, such as Austin Rivers’ three pointer as time expired.
Both teams look to be strong again this coming season.