The North Carolina vs. Duke rivalry continues to be one of the best in sports, but this year belongs to the Tar Heels. After beating Duke in Chapel Hill earlier this year, North Carolina rolled into Cameron Indoor Stadium Saturday night with a title-clinching win.

UNC opened the game with a 21-6 run over the first 7 minutes of the game before things settled in. Duke did wake up to avoid getting run out of its own building in a game that eventually went down to the wire.

Kyle Filipowski especially woke up after halftime as he led the Blue Devils with 23 points. However, this night belonged to Cormac Ryan, Harrison Ingram and UNC.

The Tar Heels eventually made enough shots late to pull off the 84-79 win, clinching the outright ACC title in the process. Here are the key takeaways from the dramatic regular season conclusion:


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Cormac Ryan’s career night

Ryan picked the perfect moment to have the game of his life against the Blue Devils. After averaging 10.8 points per game all year long, he exploded for a career-high 31 points in the hostile road environment.

At times, it appeared Ryan was incapable of missing while going 8-for-12 from the floor and an incredible 6-for-8 from 3-point range. By comparison, the rest of the Tar Heels went 1-for-7 from 3-point range.

Ryan’s outburst was also crucial with the rest of North Carolina struggling. Harrison Ingram was the only other player in double figures with 14 points and 10 rebounds in a double-double.

RJ Davis was held to just 9 points (4-for-12 shooting) while Armando Bacot also produced 9 points and 4-for-11 shooting.

If these two teams face off again in the ACC Basketball Tournament, the rest of the roster will need to step up, but tonight was indeed about Ryan. Fans can track the latest odds for the postseason and gear up for the live North Carolina betting launch with SDS’s DraftKings North Carolina links.

Hubert Davis’ first ACC title

Hubert Davis’ first 3 seasons at UNC have been the epitome of a roller coaster. Coming off a loss in the national title game his first season, the Tar Heels missed out on the NCAA Tournament altogether last season after entering the year as the preseason No. 1 team.

Now, that embarrassment is behind him with Davis leading North Carolina to its first ACC title (regular season or otherwise) under his watch. It’s also the first outright regular-season ACC title for the program since 2017.

The fact he had secured at least a share of the title already carried a lot of weight. Being able to claim it outright with another win over Duke is the ultimate cherry on top.

And speaking of Duke, Saturday’s win gives Davis and UNC a season sweep of the rivalry, pushing Davis’ head-to-head record against the Blue Devils back above .500 at 4-3.

ACC Seeding

With the win, UNC is now the top seed in the ACC Tournament that begins in Washington D.C. next week. The Tar Heels will be idle until Thursday and will face the winner of the 8-seed vs. 9-seed game to be played on Wednesday. Duke will also be back in action on Thursday as the 2-seed.