North Carolina leads the series 142-115. The Tar Heels won both the first-ever game between the two rivals in 1920, a 36-25 win when Duke was still known as Trinity College, and the latest contest, a convincing 94-81 victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium on the night Mike Krzyzewski coached his final home game for the Blue Devils. Neither team has played any other opponent more often.
(Two of Duke’s losses came during the 1994-’95 season, when Krzyzewski was not coaching due to back surgery.)
The Tar Heels have more Final Four appearances than Duke — a record 21, to Duke’s 17 — and have earned ACC regular season champion honors more often (32 to 20) but Duke has slightly more ACC tournament titles (21 to 18). Together, they have 39 of the 68 ACC tournament titles.
North Carolina has the edge in national championships with six to Duke’s five, although the two schools are tied since Krzyzewski took over as head coach in 1980. Duke also won back-to-back titles in 1991 and 1992. In the 41 Final Fours since 1981, including this year’s, at least one of the teams has been represented 25 times.
The longest winning streak between these two schools belongs to the Tar Heels in the 1920s (16 games), twice that of Duke’s most dominating stretch (eight games). North Carolina also has the largest margin of victory in a single contest, beating Duke by 37 points in 1921. The Blue Devils would get revenge four decades later with a 104-69 victory over the Tar Heels in 1964, their largest margin of victory over their bitter rival. North Carolina, meanwhile, has scored more total points in the rivalry, 16,759 to 16,466. Over the last 100 head-to-head games, their scoring totals are almost identical: Duke has 7,859 points and North Carolina 7,824.
Both programs have the edge at home. Duke is 55-51 against North Carolina in Durham — including 46-49 at Cameron Indoor Stadium — while the Tar Heels are 64-38 against the Blue Devils in Chapel Hill (and 20-17 in the Smith Center). They’ve had plenty of meetings on neutral courts, resulting in 27 wins for North Carolina and 22 for Duke.
A third of all games between the two programs have been decided by five points or less. More than half have ended with a final margin of 10 or less. The overall average scoring margin between the two schools is just 1.1 points in North Carolina’s favor. Fourteen of their games have required overtime; Duke has a 10-4 record in those games.
Duke has consistently fielded stronger teams than North Carolina over the past 26 seasons, according to analyst Ken Pomeroy’s ratings, which calculate how many net points per 100 possessions a team would score against an average squad. Duke’s Pomeroy rankings have ranged from No. 1 to No. 36 with a Top 10 ranking in 22 of the last 26 seasons. North Carolina has ranged from No. 1 to No. 137 with 14 appearances in the Top 10.
While the modern rivalry has been filled with stellar performances from star players — think of Michael Jordan’s 32 points for UNC in 1983, Hubert Davis’s 35 points for UNC in 1992, Jason Williams’s 37 points for Duke in 2002 and J.J. Redick’s 35 points for Duke in 2006 — some of the all-time scoring leaders may be less familiar to younger fans. Dick Groat had the highest scoring game for Duke in the rivalry, a 48-point performance in 1952 that capped off a 94-64 home victory. Groat, in fact, has the highest scoring average of any Duke player against North Carolina, followed by R.J. Barrett and Jabari Parker.
Sports Reference’s college basketball player database only goes back to the 2010-’11 season, but during that span Grayson Allen has scored the most points for Duke against North Carolina (158) followed by Seth Curry (111) and Quinn Cook (106). North Carolina’s leading scorers against Duke in that span include Joel Berry (116), Luke Maye (112) and Garrison Brooks (110).