The UNC-Duke rivalry and other games to watch this weekend

This weekend’s basketball game schedule includes matchups that will affect conference races and NCAA tournament settlements on Pick Sunday.

But North Carolina and Duke, the highlight duel of the weekend, boast the greatest rivalry in men’s college basketball. Their first meeting of the 2022/23 season will mark the first time in more than 60 years that the two teams have played on the touchlines without Mike Krzyzewski or Dean Smith. It’s a competition not to be missed. Here are the games to watch this weekend and why.


Saturday, 6:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Yes, Carolina and Duke have failed to live up to preseason expectations so far. The Tar Heels started the season as America’s No. 1 team before a rough patch cost them their national rankings. They have regrouped in league play and will go into action on Saturday with four wins in their last five games. Duke, meanwhile, continues to battle the injury bug. Jeremy Roach, last year’s NCAA tournament hero, recently returned after being sidelined with a toe injury, and Dariq Whitehead, the No. 2 recruit in the class of 2022 according to ESPN, has six games this season with foot and missed leg injuries.

While there’s no guarantee Duke-North Carolina will remain college basketball’s greatest rivalry under Jon Scheyer and Hubert Davis, both coaches have attracted elite recruiting classes for the upcoming season. Despite their challenges, every time Duke and North Carolina play, it’s pure entertainment. Sure, bragging rights is probably Saturday’s biggest prize for a pair of teams hoping to secure a big spot in the NCAA tournament, but it’s still the biggest game of the weekend.

Outcome Prediction: Duke 75, North Carolina 72

Other games that matter


Friday, 9 p.m. ET, FS1

In his latest bracketology, Joe Lunardi lists the Broncos among his last four byes. A win over the Aztecs — in which Matt Bradley averages 13.2 PPG — would not only improve Boise State’s resume, but give the Broncos sole possession of first place in Mountain West’s title race.

Outcome Prediction: State of San Diego 72, State of Boise 67


Saturday, noon ET, ESPN

In a matchup between Big 12 title contenders, the Jayhawks have bounced back from a three-game losing streak with wins over Kentucky and Kansas State. But the Cyclones, who came off the wrong end of Monday’s loss to Texas Tech in the biggest second-half comeback in Big 12 history, have lost four of their last six.

Outcome Prediction: Kansas 75, State of Iowa 72


Saturday, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN

In their first nine SEC games, the Tigers played three top-50 KenPom teams. But a matchup in Tennessee — which lost at the Florida Gators on Wednesday — is the start of a stretch that includes seven top-50 KenPom teams over the next nine games.

Outcome Prediction: Tennessee 70, Auburn 65


Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN

One of the greatest rivalries in college basketball is also a duel between the top contenders for the Wooden Award. While it’s difficult to envision a player catching Zach Edey (22.0 PPG, 13.0 RPG, 2.1 BPG), Trayce relies on Jackson-Davis (19.5 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 3.1 BPG) on it.

Outcome Prediction: Purdue 82, Indiana 77


Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN2

When Chris Beard was arrested and subsequently fired for a domestic violence felony in December, the Longhorns’ potential as a Final Four team seemed to be coming to an end. But acting head coach Rodney Terry has guided them to a first spot in the Big 12 – which they will retain if the Longhorns can win against a strong Wildcats roster on the road.

Outcome Prediction: State of Kansas 76, Texas 72


Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

The Zags have won the WCC regular-season championship since 2001, with the exception of 2012 when the Gaels won it instead. Aidan Mahaney (14.7 PPG, 43% of 3) and the Gaels could repeat that feat this season, especially if they can hand Gonzaga another WCC loss on Saturday.

Outcome Prediction: Saint Mary’s 74, Gonzaga 71 The UNC-Duke rivalry and other games to watch this weekend

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