As UNC and Duke have played more than 200 times, everyone has their favorite games. I've been lucky enough to cover maybe 20 of these contests over the years for a couple of different newspapers (mostly The Observer), and so these are my 2 favorite games from those I've seen in person:
1) March 2, 1986: Duke 82, UNC 74 in Cameron Indoor Stadium. This was my first trip ever to Cameron, and for basketball junkies, that's almost a religious experience. It's one of those places that doesn't disappoint you when you get there -- I'd put the Eiffel Tower, Lambeau Field and the Great Wall of China on that same list.
This was the game that UNC's Steve Hale sat out due to a collapsed lung, which led to one of the Cameron Crazies' more inspired chants ever as Hale watched the game in streetclothes:
"In-Hale! Ex-Hale! In-Hale! Ex-Hale!"
2) March 6, 2005: UNC 75, Duke 73 in the Smith Center. On the way to the national title, UNC scored the final 11 points of this game to edge the Blue Devils. Roy Williams has said since that the Smith Center never got louder than in this game, particularly, when Marvin Williams converted a 3-point play for the winning points. I'd agree with that.
Raymond Felton once told me about that game that it felt like the Smith Center floor was actually vibrating in the final minutes. "At the end, when we were taking the lead, I actually thought the wood was about to come up off the floor," Felton said.
4 months ago