CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- They have played for 74 years. They have met 190 times. But in what has become the most intense rivalry in college basketball, North Carolina and Duke have not faced each other as the No. 1 and 2 ranked teams in the country.
They will here tonight.
"It's kind of ironic, because we've had some huge games," said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, whose top-ranked Blue Devils have yet to lose on the road (5-0). "It's just a matter of timing."
Said North Carolina coach Dean Smith, whose No. 2 Tar Heels are 10-0 at the Smith Center, "They've been No. 1 a lot of times we've played them. I guess we were 1 and 3 when we played the first year here [1986 in the Dean Dome]. I don't think it's going to make a difference. It's always a great game."
Perhaps a more interesting aspect to the rankings are tonight's odds. "Not many teams are voted No. 1 and underdogs their next game," said Krzyzewski. "I'm not using that for psychological reasons."
No, these teams -- and coaches -- would never dare play mind games against each other.