Three takeaways from No. 3 North Carolina’s sweep of No. 4 Duke

North Carolina secured an important win against Duke on Saturday.

The Tar Heels completed a regular season sweep of the Blue Devils with a 79-70 victory and earned a share of the ACC regular season title.

North Carolina is riding a seven-game winning streak and appears to be peaking at a great time. But Duke has been dealing with some serious bad luck.

Here are three takeaways from the Tar Heels’ latest triumph:

Duke’s offense lacks balance without Zion Williamson

Williamson went down less than a minute into the Blue Devils’ first matchup against the Tar Heels, and the team’s performance is clearly suffering.

Duke has lost three of its last six contests, and RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish are shooting in high volume.

Barrett and Reddish combined for 49 points on 50 shots in an inefficient showing and seemed too forceful at times. They were Duke’s only double-digit scorers.

North Carolina’s Kenny Williams drew four offensive fouls in the contest, three of which were committed by Barrett. 

If Williamson doesn’t return for postseason play, Duke’s top scorers will have to be much more efficient, or learn to share the sugar.

North Carolina can win in a multitude of ways

Duke entered the season as the favorite to win the national championship, yet the Tar Heels are 2-0 against the Blue Devils this year.

While North Carolina has benefited from game-ending injuries for the opposition’s starters in each of these victories, it has shown impressive versatility.

In the first matchup between these college basketball titans, the Tar Heels made just two of their 20 3-point attempts, but were dominant in the 88-72 victory.

In the second meeting, North Carolina shot 38.7 percent from range on 12-of-31 shooting.

Regardless of their shooting efficiency, the Tar Heels’ downhill basketball has proved to be difficult to deal with, especially for the Blue Devils.

Reserve contributions could prove to be valuable 

This heated rivalry has seen limited production from bench players, as reserves have combined for just 37 of the series’ 309 total points.

Nassir Little’s 9 points were all North Carolina’s bench could muster Saturday, while Duke’s managed to split 12 points between two players.

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The ACC tournament will bring out another level of competitiveness, and both teams could be tested if foul trouble or other factors force them to go to non-starters for valuable minutes.

North Carolina will be the No. 2 seed while Duke is set to receive the No. 3 slot in the ACC tournament. It is set to begin on March 12 in Charlotte, N.C.

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