By Cy Brown
You can always expect a good game whenever Duke and North Carolina meet on the hardwood, and this year was no exception.
The Blue Devils beat the Tar Heels, 92-90, in overtime Wednesday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium after a touching tribute by both teams to honor Dean Smith in a pre-game ceremony.
Duke trailed by 10 with under four minutes to go in regulation, but rallied to force OT and then imposed their will on the Tar Heels. The Blue Devils won the game by depending mostly on its starting five. They played just eight players and the bench only scored seven points, but the Duke starters were able to outdo the Heels thanks to 22 points (including six 3-pointers) from Quinn Cook and and 22 points from Tyus Jones.
Wednesday's game was a thriller for sure, but where does it rank among the best contests between these two powerhouse programs? We have it just sneaking into the pantheon.
5. Feb. 18, 2015 - Duke 92, UNC 90 (OT)
There may not have been a signature moment in this year's first edition of the rivalry, but there aren't too many better basketball games you'll see. Duke and UNC each commanded fairly significant leads at different points in the game, but still, no lead felt safe.
The teams continued swapping body blows in overtime, with Duke able to hold on just a bit longer than their counterpart. UNC had its chance to take over, but the Blue Devils were too much to handle.
4. March 6, 2005 - UNC 75, Duke 73
In March of 2005, UNC still hadn't won a championship since 1993, but that was all about to change. First, however, they had to put away the hated Blue Devils in their final home game of the season.
Trailing 73-71 with 20 second left, UNC's Marvin Williams was fouled. Williams hit the first of two shots, but missed the second. After a scrum for the ball, Williams found himself with in again on the low post and put it in for the tie, getting fouled in the process.
UNC won the game, and the national title.
3. Feb. 4, 2004 - Duke 83, UNC 81 (OT)
It was a different story the year before, in the first Duke-UNC game between Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams after Williams made the jump from Kansas to Carolina. Williams could've been introduced to the rivalry in winning fashion had it not been for Chris Duhon.
Trailing by three, UNC's Rashad McCants hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 81, but Duhon took the ball the length of the floor and put in a beautiful reverse layup that gave Duke the win.
2. Feb. 8, 2012 - Duke 85, UNC 84
The only thing you need to know about this game: Austin Rivers.
Trailing by two with time winding down, the freshman went next level and shot a deep 3-pointer with a man in his face. It hit nothing but net as time expired and left the Dean Dome stunned.
1. Feb. 2, 1995 - UNC 102, Duke 100 (2OT)
This Duke buzzer beater doesn't have the same happy ending for the Blue Devils as Rivers' shot. Coach K was on a leave of absence in 1995, one of the worst seasons in Duke basketball history. But Jeff Capel's half-court 3-pointer to force a second overtime was the definite high of that year.
The Blue Devils fought on and had a chance to win the game, but ultimately came up short to a better UNC team in the second overtime.
Cy Brown is a contributor at Sports on Earth. Follow him on Twitter @CEPBrown.