The Tar Heels fell into a three-game losing streak before Saturday's victory against lowly Pitt. During that skid, UNC lost a stunner at home in overtime to cross-state foe NC State, but point guard Joel Berry, who recollected the heated in-state battle on Tuesday, says the Wolfpack aren't a rival. They're just a team UNC doesn't like.
"I don't necessarily treat that as a rivalry," said Berry of NC State. "When you talk about a rivalry, you always talk about Duke-North Carolina. That's the biggest one. I love being a part of the Duke-Carolina rivalry, but NC State, I just don't consider that being a rivalry — we just don't like them. But it's not a rivalry like Duke and North Carolina."
Berry might come off as harsh in his comments, but the sentiment I can respect. UNC-NC State isn't much of a rivalry. The Tar Heels have owned the series throughout the history between the two programs, with a 154-78 advantage. And it's especially not worthy of rivalry talk when discussing Duke-UNC in the same breath.
There's really no comparison.
That's not to take anything away from the Wolfpack though, who, after winning three straight highlighted by wins over Notre Dame and UNC, appear to be on track to make the NCAA Tournament in Year One of the Kevin Keatts era.
As for Berry and the Tar Heels, they'll get their shot at the only rival they acknowledge, Duke, on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.