Duke-UNC showdown may be biggest sporting event in state’s history

Duke and North Carolina will renew their storied rivalry in one of sports' biggest stages, the Final Four. It marks the first time the schools have played each other in the NCAA Tournament.



March 31, 2022 - 2:14 PM

Armando Bacot (5) of the North Carolina Tar Heels and Mark Williams (15) of the Duke Blue Devils tip off to begin their game at the Dean E. Smith Center on Feb. 5, 2022, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Duke won 87-67. Photo by (Grant Halverson/Getty Images/TNS)

RALEIGH, N.C. — This is the Big One, some 70 years in the making, the unthinkable and the unimaginable.

When Duke and North Carolina unexpectedly resume their rivalry Saturday in the Final Four, that 258th game unavoidably and unquestionably becomes the biggest sporting event in the history of the state, inside or outside these borders.

Which is, given the sporting history of North Carolina, a high bar to clear.

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