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6:00 PM PT7:00 PM MT8:00 PM CT9:00 PM ET2:00 PM GMT10:00 PM 北京时间7:00 PM MST9:00 PM EST, Feb 20, 2019
Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, North Carolina  Attendance: 9,314

Rivals ready for battle as No. 8 North Carolina visits No. 1 Duke

(AP Photo/Chris Seward)

Another big game ought to fit right in for top-ranked Duke and all its heralded freshmen.

No. 8 North Carolina knows this drill as well.

The rivals meet for the first time this season Wednesday night at Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium.

"Hopefully they play as well as they have in the other big games that we've had," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said of his players. "They're talented and they're very mature and they're all about 'team.'"

This is the 46th time the teams have met with both sides holding spots in the top 10. Duke leads those meetings 23-22.

This week, Duke (23-2, 11-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) moved back into the No. 1 spot in the country for the third time this season, most recently after then-No. 1 Tennessee lost on Saturday. The Blue Devils hold a one-game lead in the ACC on North Carolina (20-5, 10-2), with Virginia in between them.

"We have an opportunity to go over there and see how we stand up," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "In my opinion, we have to play our best basketball of the year to have a chance against Duke. This is a different kind of challenge than we've faced all year."

Duke freshman forward RJ Barrett posted a triple-double in Saturday's victory against North Carolina State. Barrett leads the ACC in scoring at 22.7 points per game, just ahead of classmate and teammate Zion Williamson (22.4).

Williams said he's impressed with the Duke freshmen, the only negative regarding Williamson being that "he chose not to come here." So, there's glowing praise.

"Zion Williamson is a different bird," Williams said. "There has never been anybody like that."

North Carolina has three seniors in the starting lineup, so there's a veteran element arriving with the visiting team.

"Not let the other stuff and hype around it get to us," Tar Heels guard Cameron Johnson said.

The Tar Heels are 6-0 in ACC road games this season.

"We have to come out and play as well as we can," North Carolina forward Luke Maye said. "It's a tough road game, but we've played well on the road this year."

For Duke freshmen, this might be the only home game against North Carolina in their careers if they leave for the NBA. While it's worth savoring, there's also an element of perspective.

"For us, it'll be pretty normal," Duke freshman point guard Tre Jones said of the preparation. "We still have some ACC games left, so it's not like this is the last game of the year."

But it's a matchup that receives so much attention that it's difficult to ignore.

"I'm pretty pumped," Barrett said. "It's a game, as a kid, I was watching all the time. Just to be a part of it is going to be a lot of fun."

North Carolina has a freshman factor as well with point guard Coby White, who has been dynamic at times.

"We're coming to compete," White said. "We're not going to back down from nobody."

Duke holds the No. 1 ranking for a matchup with the Tar Heels for the first time in 13 years. This is the 149th consecutive meeting with at least one of the teams ranked.

--Field Level Media

Updated February 20, 2019

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