UNC vs. Duke Final Score Prediction for Saturday, Mar. 9

The best rivalry in the country is back on with a high-stakes matchup for the ACC regular-season title on the line.
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

It is the game we all have been waiting for. The stakes are as high as they always are between these two sides, with the ACC regular season championship being on the line.

North Carolina has come out on top in the first matchup of the season, as they beat Duke 93-84 in Chapel Hill. The Blue Devils will now have revenge on their minds, as well as a share of the ACC regular season title after the Tar Heels already guaranteed their share of the title with their dominant win over Notre Dame.

UNC vs. Duke Prediction & Preview

That loss against North Carolina on February 3rd was the wake-up call Duke needed. Since then, the Blue Devils won eight of their nine games, all with at least an eight-point margin. Their defense has gone to another level, as they kept three straight opponents under 65 points while maintaining a top-ten offense in the country according to KenPom College Basketball Ratings.

North Carolina is similarly on a roll, having won five straight. When they are locked in, they continue to have one of the best defenses in the country, with the ability to completely shut teams down. Offensively, RJ Davis has been carrying the scoring burden for them and has been doing a remarkable job doing so, getting his season averages up to 21.5 points and 3.5 assists.

Whether Duke will be able to slow him down will be one of the key factors in the game. Same goes for North Carolina's defense on Kyle Filipowski. The sophomore star didn't have his best game against the Tar Heels in their earlier matchup and he certainly will want to get one over fellow big man Armando Bacot.

With both of these defenses having increased their intensity over the last few weeks, I expect a lower-scoring affair than the previous matchup. In what is surely to be a hard-fought battle between two of the best teams in the country, Duke has the slight edge with home-court advantage and overall better play in recent games.

My final score prediction: UNC 70 - Duke 76

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