When: Sat., March 3, 7 p.m. 2012
College hoops is the local religion around here, so yes, Virginia (or rather, North Carolina), of course there are basketball gods. This year they've arranged for a very special Judgment Day for fourth-ranked Duke and sixth-ranked North Carolina. On Feb. 8, in Chapel Hill, freshman Blue Devil sensation Austin Rivers' buzzer-beating three-pointer gave Duke a miraculous late-game comeback win, catapulting the then-wobbly Devils into a tie for first place in the ACC and triggering a veritable midrash of postgame exegesis, and spiritual ecstasy and agony.
Since then, neither team has lost (barring an epic fail after the Indy goes to press). Thus, Duke and UNC meet Saturday evening at Cameron Indoor Stadium for more than a rematch of last month's thriller: The winner earns the ACC regular season crown and perhaps a leg up on a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Plus, Duke and UNC (should) have identical records, 26–4, 13–2 in conference. This game goes well beyond Tobacco Road bragging rights, and deep into the realm of righteousness.
Where to watch this clash of the titans sequel? If you're in Chapel Hill, you might simply stand in the middle of Franklin Street—likely almost empty of traffic, just like on Sunday morning—and listen to the noise spilling out of the bars, which will tell you the score. If you're in the Bull City, where better to park yourself than at the aptly named Devine's, where town and gown commingle in dark blue bonhomie? Otherwise, tune your TV to ESPN at 7 p.m. —Adam Sobsey