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February 12, 2013North Carolina and Duke, the longtime Tobacco Road rivals and two of the most storied programs in the lore of college basketball, have played some of its greatest games in school history against one other.
The Tar Heels and Blue Devils have won every ACC regular season title going back over the last decade, along with seven of the last eight ACC Tournament titles, and three national championships (UNC in 2005 and 2009, Duke in 2010).
On Wednesday night the rivals return to action in Durham's Cameron Indoor Stadium. Take a look at our list of the top five games over the last decade that these programs have put on display---games that created happiness, sadness, and unforgettable memories depending on which shade of blue you wear.
#5 March 4, 2006: #13 North Carolina 83, #1 Duke 76
Duke came into this game ranked No. 1 and a prohibitive favorite to win the NCAA title. The Blue Devils were hosting senior night for National Player of the Year J.J. Redick, and for Sheldon Williams.
Everything seemed to be lined up in what should have been a great way to send two Blue Devil greats off in style with another win over the hated Tar Heels.
North Carolina had lost most of its players from the 2005 NCAA title team, and now relied on freshmen including Tyler Hansbrough, along with veterans Reyshawn Terry and David Noel.
Duke jumped out to an early double-digit lead, but the Tar Heels rallied to get back into the game, with the Blue Devils holding a one-point halftime advantage.
With a nationwide television audience watching, North Carolina shined in the second half in what would start the legacy of the 2005 signing class for Roy Williams.
Arguably the most memorable moment of that memorable game was when Hansbrough grabbed a loose ball at the end of the shot clock, stepping up and draining a three to beat the clock.
Duke never recovered, as Redick missed 15 of his last 16 shots at the end of the game, and North Carolina had its first win in Cameron Indoor since 2001, and the first of four straight that UNC would get in Durham.
#4 February 9, 2005: #7 Duke 71, #2 North Carolina 70
This was the year that North Carolina was supposed to win it all and contend for a National Championship, while finally defeating Duke. Despite its talent, UNC's shooting was poor during the game and had trouble holding onto the ball.
J.J. Redick and Duke led most of the way, as Redick scored 18 points for the Blue Devils, and Demarcus Nelson stepped up huge as a freshman, putting in 16 of his own.
Duke's defense caused 23 turnovers, but one of North Carolina's best big men, Sean May, didn't allow the Tar Heels to be blown out. May had 23 points and 18 rebounds, allowing the Tar Heels to come back from nine points with five minutes to go to pull within one point in the final minute.
After UNC decided to not foul, forcing an air ball, the Tar Heels had one chance to win the game.
Raymond Felton had the ball in his hands, looking to drive to the rim.
However, Duke was well prepared, forcing Felton to pick up his dribble with second left and no place to go. Felton tried to make a desperation pass to David Noel, but it was fumbled out of bounds as the horn went off.
#3 February 4, 2004: #1 Duke 83, #17 North Carolina 81 OT
The UNC-Duke rivalry had hit a bit of a snag, as Mike Krzyzewski's resurgence at the turn of the century collided with the Matt Doherty era in Chapel Hill and a reversal of Carolina's hardwood fortunes.
Duke had won 12 out of 14 against the Tar Heels when Roy Williams took the floor of the Smith Center for the first time to play Duke as head coach at UNC.
The game went back and forth, with North Carolina leading in the second half before Duke turned up the defense to go on a 10-0 run, taking a three point lead.
After UNC had called a timeout, Jawad Williams executed a pump-fake and hit a contested three-pointer with 18 seconds left to push the game into overtime.
In overtime, after Redick hit two free throws to push the score 81-78, Rashad McCants took a dribble around his opponent and hit a game tying three pointer. That is when Chris Duhon was able to set the stage for his quick counter.
With the crowd going wild, Duhon raced down the sideline, attacked the rim, and converted a reverse layup with 6.5 seconds left.
UNC had one last chance, but the Tar Heels were only able to heave up a desperation three that never made it to the rim and giving Duke its 13th victory since 2000.
#2 February 8, 2012: #10 Duke 85, #5 North Carolina 84
Left, Right, Left, Right. People could see as time was running down.
Tyler Zeller had switched his man and was guarding sharp shooter Austin Rivers, as Rivers had exactly what he wanted.
Then a crowd of 20,000 people just went completely silent. Duke wasn't expected to be in the game, as UNC was favored against a youthful Blue Devils squad.
UNC was cruising with a double digit lead with a little more than two minutes to play.
Then everything turned for the Tar Heels.
Tyler Thornton hit a three, while Seth Curry backed it up with a three of his own. Zeller even tipped in a shot by Ryan Kelly, pulling the game within one.
Zeller had a chance to push the lead to three, but was only able to convert 1 of 2 free throws. Rivers grabbed the ball, crossing from one side of the floor to the other, with the switch from Zeller.
Left, Right, Left, Right. Rivers rose up as time seemed to freeze.
Curry yelled at Rivers to shoot the ball, as it didn't seem like they were going to get a shot off.
But Rivers hit nothing but net, as Duke stormed the court and the crowd was in utter silence, shocked at what had just happened.
While that particular evening didn't go North Carolina's way, it was just another in a long history of fantastic finishes between these two noted rivals.
#1 March 6, 2005: #2 North Carolina 75, #6 Duke 73
It was one for the ages---a game where you remember where you were, and who you were with. It was Senior Day for UNC and the Tar Heels had a chance to win the ACC regular season outright for the first time since 1993 in front of a sellout crowd in the Smith Center.
But North Carolina was down by nine points with three minutes to play, and it looked as thought Duke was going to spoil yet another party in Chapel Hill.
And then the Tar Heels started to make their move, as they slowly chipped away with baskets from Jawad Williams and Sean May.
David Noel even got in the action, as he tipped the ball away from Duke into the hands of Raymond Felton, in almost the similar position the Tar Heels were in just one month before.
This time, Felton drew a foul and headed to the free throw line.
The first one went in the net, but the second rimmed off and the scrum for the loose ball was on.
Freshman Marvin Williams was able to grab the ball and go straight up with the shot, putting the ball in the basket while getting fouled.
It may very well have been the loudest moment in the history of the Smith Center.
J.J. Redick had a chance at the end to win it, but missed the shot.
May grabbed the loose ball and with all the marbles on the line, the Tar Heels had miraculously won.
This, of course, was just the beginning of what would be a special spring for the Tar Heels, culminating with the national championship won in St. Louis a few weeks later.
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