CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina is a 1-point favorite over Duke tonight, according to Sportsbook.com. That means the Tar Heels are favored to be outright ACC champions, and who could've predicted this in early December?
When we woke up 13 Saturdays ago, Kyrie Irving was healthy, Duke was undefeated and North Carolina had played seven games and lost three of them -- to Minnesota, Vanderbilt and Illinois. So the two rivals were headed in different directions, it seemed. But on the same day (Dec. 4) the Tar Heels recorded their first notable victory (a 75-73 win over Kentucky), Irving suffered a toe injury that's sidelined him ever since.
The Blue Devils have been good subsequently.
But they've never been the same.
Meantime, UNC eventually benched Larry Drew II and inserted Kendall Marshall into the starting lineup, and the Tar Heels got better when Drew quit, which will forever serve as his Carolina legacy. Either way, the result is this: the team (Duke) ranked No. 1 on Dec. 4 is currently tied atop the ACC standings with a team (North Carolina) unranked on Dec. 4, and that unranked team is now a home favorite in tonight's regular-season finale here at the Dean Smith Center.
It's quite the turn of events, clearly.
Tipoff is at 8 ET.