How Much Do You Know About the Duke vs UNC Basketball Rivalry?



By: John Miller

6 Min Quiz

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

College basketball’s blue bloods dominate the hardwood and hang more banners than run-of-the mill squads. Down South, especially, a few teams tend to dunk all over the place once March Madness sets in and championships are on the line. That’s when the Duke and North Carolina basketball rivalry reaches a fevered pitch. Do you know anything about the storied rivalry between the Tar Heels and Blue Devils?

For nearly a century, these two teams have gone back and forth in their quest to rule the roost of their home state. Both squads recruit the best players in high school basketball year after year, wielding the finest shooters and toughest young men to play the game. Can you name any of the star players for UNC and Duke?

For decades, both teams have been led by legendary coaches. Do you know the men who find the best talent in the land and then mold it to their winning systems? You’ll surely recognize the names of their players – from Bobby Hurley to Tyler Hansbrough to J.J. Redick to Daniel Ewing, many of these standouts won titles and then went on to successful NBA careers.

Every year, these teams clash in hotly anticipated matchups. Many of those games are recorded permanently in the epic lore of the NCAA’s greatest games. Take our Duke-UNC rivalry quiz now! Maybe you’ll find yourself cutting down the nets, or perhaps this tough quiz will make you look more Dave Bliss than Dean Smith.

Duke and UNC both play college basketball in which conference?

Duke and UNC are both titans of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Their battles frequently determine that season's conference champ.


Both Duke and UNC are located in which U.S. state?

Both UNC and Duke are located in North Carolina. What's more, the two campuses are separated by only about 10 miles, one reason this rivalry is so intense.


Mike Krzyzewski is the head coach of which team?

Mike Krzyzewski, the man whose name no one can spell without Google, is the boyish-looking coach who's been flailing his arms on the Duke bench since 1980.


Duke and UNC played their first contest in which year?

On January 24, 1920, these legendary teams went at it for the first time. UNC dropped the Blue Devils 36-25, and since then, the squads have traded epic blows.


How is North Carolina University very different from Duke?

UNC is a public school, Duke is private. That element often sets the stage for a haves-vs-have nots contest, one that sometimes boils over on the court.


Which team leads the all-time series?

As of 2018, UNC has a solid lead in the all-time series, 137-111. Unless Mike Krzyzewski turns into a vampire and finds immortal life, it's unlikely that he'll be the Duke coach to turn the page on this statistic.


Who became UNC's head coach in 2003?

From 1988 to 2003, Roy Williams kept a powerhouse named Kansas at the top of the college basketball heap. But he jumped ship in 2003 when UNC -- his alma mater -- came calling, and hasn't looked back.


Which team has more national championships to its credit?

This one's very close. UNC has six titles, Duke has five. And in the 2018 NCAA tournament, UNC dropped out early, giving Duke an opportunity to even the score.


True or false, have UNC and Duke ever played one another in the NCAA tournament?

The storied programs have never battled in the NCAA tournament. But in 1991, both teams made the Final Four and very nearly faced off for the title, but UNC was cast out of the tournament by a Kansas team coached by, ironically, Roy Williams.


In one memorable 2012 game, UNC led by three points with 14 seconds remaining when what happened?

Whoops. UNC's Tyler Zeller accidentally tipped a Duke shot into the basket, cutting UNC's lead to 1. Then Zellner missed one of two free throws … and Duke nailed a three pointer for a single-digit victory.


The ACC was founded in 1953. Since then, either Duke or UNC has won the conference championship _____ of the time.

There are other teams in the ACC, we swear … but no one can name them. That's because more than 77% of the time, its either Duke or UNC that earns the ACC title.


In 2004, Roy Williams coached his first game against Duke as head coach of UNC. What happened?

In 2004, #1 Duke faced off against Williams' 17th-ranked Tarheels, and the game went to the wire. Duke's Chris Duhon slipped in a layup with 6.5 seconds remaining to seal the win.


Tyler Hansbrough was a star player for which team?

From 2005 to 2009, Tyler Hansbrough was a standout forward/center for UNC. He was a four-time All-American and 2008 ACC Player of the Year, and in 2009 he helped UNC win a national title.


In 1988, which Duke standout hit a free throw to win the game over UNC?

In 1988, the game was tied at 69 when Duke star Danny Ferry stepped to the line with less than a minute to play. He knocked down one free throw and Duke held on to win.


In 2017, the teams played twice in one week. Who won the games?

On March 4, UNC beat Duke by seven points. Just six days later, Duke won the rematch 93-83.


True or false, does UNC have more national titles than any other team?

At present, UNC is third all-time in titles, with six. That puts the Tar Heels in third place behind Kentucky and UCLA.


In February 2015, the two teams faced off following the death of legendary UNC coach Dean Smith. Which team won the emotional battle?

UNC couldn't pull off the victory for the late Smith … but it was a barnburner of a game, which went into overtime. Duke won the ugly OT period and held on, 92-90.


In March 2006, the teams collided in a highly anticipated match-up. UNC's was ranked #13. What was Duke's rank before the game?

UNC was ranked #13 … but Duke was #1 and playing at home, clearly giving a huge advantage to the Blue Devils. But Duke went cold at the end of the game, and UNC knocked off the Blue Devils 83-76.


Most UNC-Duke games are close affairs, but in 2010, Duke won by _____.

Let's just say that UNC had an off night. In one 2010 game, Duke destroyed the Tar Heels by a whopping 32 points.


At the end of a dramatic game in 2005, Duke was down by two and star J.J. Redick shot a long three pointer. What happened?

With time running out and his team down two, Redick fired up a three pointer … and it rimmed out. UNC held on to win by two.


Since Williams took the helm at UNC in 2003, what's the longest winning streak by either team (against one another)?

Since Williams' arrival, the UNC-Duke rivalry has mostly been a back-and-forth affair. But from 2014-2016, Duke did manage to log a four-game streak.


In March 2017, UNC lost to Duke in the ACC Tournament ... but then got revenge. How?

Sure, Duke won the ACC matchup. But UNC regained momentum in the NCAA tournament and then won the whole thing, redeeming themselves for the Duke loss.


In 1989, the Duke-UNC game was tense because of a sign displayed by Duke fans. What did the sign say?

Duke fans made a sign that played on UNC star J.R. Reid's name -- "J.R. Can't Reid." UNC coach Dean Smith took offense and made a public scene about it.


Dean Smith was offended by a Duke fan's sign that read "J.R. Can't Reid." How did he respond?

Smith was very angry about the "J.R. Can't Reid" placard and went so far as to publicly comparing players' grades, in spite of the privacy issues at stake. The ploy did not exactly endear Smith to Duke fans.


In February 2000, UNC was unranked and hoping to knock off #3 Duke. What happened in that game?

UNC gave Duke all it could handle, pushing the game into overtime. But Duke's Carlos Boozer went off in OT, scoring seven points to give the Blue Devils a four-point win.


In 2007, what did Duke player Gerald Henderson do to UNC star Tyler Hansbrough?

At the end of a heated game, Gerald Henderson swung his arms and smacked Hansbrough right in the face, breaking his nose and making a bloody mess. Both players maintained that it was an accident.


In February 1998, the Tar Heels were closing on Duke in the final seconds of the contest. How did UNC blow the game?

UNC sent two players to the line with a chance to seal the game, and both missed the front end of a one-and-one. Duke capitalized and won by two.


In 1995, UNC and Duke faced off in an epic confrontation, but Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was nowhere to be seen. Why?

In 1995, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was on a leave of absence for health reasons. It meant that his Blue Devils had to carry on without him against their rivals.


In 1995, Duke was without its head coach for the big game. What was Duke's season like that year?

Without Mike Krzyzewski at the helm, Duke was adrift, suffering through one of its worst seasons in memory. But Duke put on a show against UNC, pushing the Tar Heels to double overtime before finally falling by two.


In 1986, UNC played its very first game in the brand-new Dean Smith Center against -- you guessed it -- Duke. Who won the historic game?

Duke wanted to ruin opening night at Dean Smith Center. But UNC built a sizable lead and then held on to win by three.


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