It’s one of the most popular rivalries in all of sports: UNC-Duke.
The Tobacco Road nemeses — whose campuses sit just eight miles apart — have been playing each other for almost 100 years. UNC sits at No. 3 on the all-time wins list. Duke is No. 4. The two schools have combined for 29 of the 65 ACC tournament titles and 51 regular-season crowns, made it to 36 Final Fours and claimed 11 national championships.
Every season, they meet at least twice in what are often some of the best games of the year, regardless of their rankings. Here’s everything you need to know about the rivalry, including stats from both schools and highlights from some of the most notable matchups:
North Carolina: 1789
North Carolina: Public
North Carolina: 29,469
Basketball program established
North Carolina: 1910
North Carolina: 6 (1957, 1982, 1993, 2005, 2009, 2017)
Duke: 5 (1991, 1992, 2001, 2010, 2015)
North Carolina: 20
North Carolina: 50 (32 regular season, 18 tournament)
Duke: 40 (19 regular season, 21 tournament)
Jan. 24, 1920 — UNC 38, Duke 25
UNC leads 138-111
Longest win streak:
UNC — 16 (1921-28)
Current head coaches:
North Carolina: Roy Williams (896-259 career record; 478-158 at North Carolina); through Feb. 3, 2021
Duke: Mike Krzyzewski (1164-356 career record; 1091-297 at Duke); through Feb. 3, 2021
From the 1949-50 season through the 2018-19 season, UNC scored 13,581 points against Duke and allowed 13,559. That's a difference of just 22 points over 179 games, or 0.1 per matchup.
March 2, 1974
No. 4 North Carolina 96, Duke 92 (OT)
With 17 seconds left, unranked Duke led No. 4 UNC 86-78 in Chapel Hill. Taking place before the advent of the three-point line, a comeback was near impossible. The upset was a lock. Or not. Two free throws. Then a stolen inbounds pass and a basket. A Duke turnover. Another basket. A Duke missed free throw. Three seconds left. Inbounds to Walter Davis. Davis, from 30 feet. Bang. Overtime. UNC would win 96-92 in extra time, but the win would pale in comparison to one of the most improbable comebacks in all of college sports that will forever be known by four words: eight points, 17 seconds.
March 10, 1984
No. 16 Duke 77, No. 1 North Carolina 75
The two teams met for a third time in the year for a semifinal matchup in the ACC tournament. UNC had won both of the regular season games, including a double-overtime thriller where Michael Jordan went off for 25 points to help UNC go undefeated in ACC play. But it was Duke that held the 40-32 lead at halftime in the tournament. The Tar Heels wouldn’t go away quietly, as they started on a 12-2 run to tie the game in the second half. Duke regained the lead, but with five seconds left, Jordan gathered an offensive rebound and put it back to cut Duke’s lead to 77-75. David Henderson would get fouled and miss his first free throw, and after the rebound, UNC called their final timeout with three seconds left. But an errant inbounds pass would give the Blue Devils the ball and the upset.
Feb. 2, 1995
No. 2 North Carolina 102, Duke 100 (2OT)
Mike Krzyzewski sat out most of the 1995 season, recovering from back surgery, and the Blue Devils suffered one of their worst seasons of the era, going 13-18, and 2-14 in the ACC. And when hosting the No. 2 Tar Heels, it looked like more of the same. Rasheed Wallace and Jerry Stackhouse put on a show with dunk after dunk, and UNC climbed to a 17-point lead. But Duke would rally to force overtime. At the end of the extra period, the Blue Devils were down three with three seconds to go. Enter: Jeff Capel. Capel drained a desperation shot from the logo to force double overtime and send Cameron Indoor into madness. UNC would win the game in double overtime, but Capel’s shot would live on.
March 6, 2005
No. 2 North Carolina 75, No. 6 Duke 73
UNC came into the game looking to claim its first outright ACC regular season crown since 1993. J.J. Redick, Shelden Williams and Duke stood in the way. Redick and Williams combined for 39 points, and after a Lee Melchionni three-pointer late in the game, Duke held a 73-64 lead with three minutes left. But a UNC rally had the Tar Heels down just 73-71 with less than a minute left as Duke’s Daniel Ewing began to bring the ball up court. That’s when UNC’s David Noel came from behind, forced a turnover, and the Tar Heels came up with possession. On the next play, Raymond Felton was fouled. He made the first, and missed the second, leaving UNC down 73-72. But Felton was able to tip the ball to Marvin Williams, who banked in a shot and drew a foul. Williams made the free throw, giving UNC the 75-73 lead, Duke missed two shots on the other end, and UNC students stormed the court.
Feb. 8, 2012
No. 9 Duke 85, No. 5 North Carolina 84
In Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels led by 10 with just over two minutes left, before back-to-back threes by the Blue Devils brought Duke to within four points. With 14 seconds left, UNC center Tyler Zeller accidentally tipped a Duke shot into the basket, giving the Blue Devils two points, and cutting UNC’s lead to one. Zeller was fouled on the next play, hit his first free throw, and then missed his second. Duke gathered the rebound, and guard Austin Rivers brought the ball up the court, holding it for one shot — a three-pointer that he drained at the buzzer to win the game.
Feb. 18, 2015
No. 4 Duke 92, No. 15 North Carolina 90 (OT)
Just 11 days after legendary UNC coach Dean Smith died, the Tar Heels traveled to Cameron Indoor to face the No. 4 Blue Devils. Before the game, players, coaches, and staff members from both teams gathered at center court for a moment of silence to honor Smith. The game itself would go back and forth, with UNC storming back from a halftime deficit to take a 10-point lead with four minutes left. But Duke would finish regulation on a 9-2 run to force overtime, where they would win, 92-90.