Lance King/Getty Images

The greatest moments in the North Carolina-Duke rivalry

Duke-Carolina. Carolina-Duke. No matter how you say it, the blue blood programs separated by 8 miles of Tobacco Road form one of the greatest rivalries in sports.

Since 1950, these two storied programs have met 183 times. In 171 of those games, at least one of the teams was ranked...including a current streak of 154 games (as of their last meeting in Chapel Hill on Feb. 8). Both have been ranked in 85 of those meetings. To put that number into perspective, the second-most meetings of ranked rivals is 42, between North Carolina-NC State.

Over the last 107 meetings, North Carolina holds a 54-53 edge.

These two programs not only play well against each other, but they also have some of the most decorated histories in the sport. They are third and fourth all time in wins. Combined, they have won nine of the last 29 national championships and participated in 14 of the last 34 national championship games, and at least one of them has been in 22 of the last 34 Final Fours (with both making it in 1991). After Duke won back-to-back national championships in 1991 and 1992, North Carolina won it in 1993. When North Carolina won the national title in 2009, Duke followed with its own title in 2010.

Needless to say that when these two share a court together, it is event viewing. With the next chapter in the rivalry set to tip off, let's look back at the 20 greatest moments of Duke vs. North Carolina  — or North Carolina vs. Duke.

 
1 of 20

1961: The brawl

1961: The brawl
North Carolina/Collegiate Images/Getty Images

Many people feel it was this game that really began the rivalry. Art Heyman originally committed to North Carolina before backing out and going to Duke. When the two teams met in Durham in 1961, there was a ton of tension between the players, as Heyman and UNC's Doug Moe nearly got into a fight. (Heyman reportedly shoved a Carolina cheerleader down on his way to the locker room at halftime.) With Duke leading by five with 15 seconds left in the game, Heyman fouled Larry Brown (yes, that Larry Brown), which led to a bench-clearing brawl. Fans even went onto the court to fight. A rivalry was born. 

 
2 of 20

1968: Legend of Fred Lind

1968: Legend of Fred Lind
Bettmann/Getty Images

Duke head coach Vic Bubas (pictured) found a secret weapon in the Blue Devils season finale against the Tar Heels: Fred Lind. Lind had scored just 12 points all season long, but against UNC he scored 16 and also grabbed nine rebounds and blocked three shots. Among his exploits were a blocked shot at the end of regulation, hitting two free throws to send the game into double overtime and a buzzer-beater to take it into a third overtime. Duke won, 87-86, in triple overtime, and the students carried Lind off the court. 

 
3 of 20

1974: Eight points in 17 seconds

1974: Eight points in 17 seconds
Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images

North Carolina trailed Duke, 86-78, with just 17 seconds remaining in the game when the Tar Heels mounted one of college hoops' biggest comebacks. Bobby Jones made two free throws, and then a Walter Davis steal led to a basket by John Kuester. Jones would steal the inbound pass and lay in a basket to narrow the gap to just two points. Duke's Pete Kramer missed the first free throw of a one-and-one, and Davis banked a 30-foot shot at the buzzer to send the game into overtime. The Tar Heels would go on to win the game, 96-92.

 
4 of 20

1979: Four corners leads to stall ball

1979: Four corners leads to stall ball
Bettmann/Getty Images

No. 4 North Carolina headed into Cameron Indoor Stadium with a plan. Dean Smith used his famed four corners offense to stall the contest (there was no shot clock at the time), but it backfired — Duke took a 7-0 lead into halftime. In fact, Carolina's lone two shots in the first half missed everything, leading Duke fans to chant "air ball" (a basketball first). Duke would go on to win, 47-40, but it led to an aggravated head coach Bill Foster saying, "I thought it was Naismith who invented basketball, not Dean Smith."

 
5 of 20

1981: Gene Banks gives Krzyzewski his first rivalry win

1981: Gene Banks gives Krzyzewski his first rivalry win
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Mike Krzyzewski's first season at Duke wasn't the greatest (just 6-8 in ACC play), but the regular season ended in a big way. On senior night, Duke's Gene Banks wore a tuxedo and threw roses to the Cameron Crazies. In a thrilling back-and-forth affair, the Heels held a 58-56 lead with two seconds left. Banks took an inbounds pass and hit a jumper to send the game into overtime. Then Banks rebounded a Vince Taylor miss and banked home the game-winner with 19 seconds left. It was Coach K's first win (the first of many) in the rivalry.

 
6 of 20

1984: Jordan's last home game

1984: Jordan's last home game
Focus on Sport/Getty Images

This contest was the last home game for Tar Heels Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins and Matt Doherty. Down two late, Doherty hit a jumper to tie the game with a second left. The two teams played to a standstill in overtime, but Jordan and Perkins dominated in the second overtime period...leading to UNC winning the game, 96-83. A week later, Duke would get its revenge, beating top-ranked North Carolina, 77-75, in the ACC tournament semifinals. 

 
7 of 20

1986: Opening of the Dean Smith Center

1986: Opening of the Dean Smith Center
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The huge Dean Smith Center replaced the smaller Carmichael Auditorium in 1986, and the first game of the new venue was the No. 1 Tar Heels hosting the No. 3 Blue Devils. The black tie affair couldn't have asked for a better matchup, as both teams fought back and forth with Carolina coming out on top, 95-92.

 
8 of 20

1989: ACC championship game

1989: ACC championship game
Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

One of the most intense games in this rivalry didn't even happen in the state of North Carolina but instead was at the 1989 ACC tournament championship game in Atlanta. In their game in Durham a week before the ACC final, the Cameron Crazies mocked Heels star J.R. Reid with signs saying "J.R. Can't Reid." Dean Smith took exception to it and compared Reid's and Scott Williams' SAT scores with that of Duke's Danny Ferry and Christian Laettner, claiming his players' scores were higher. That set Mike Krzyzewski off, and both teams (and coaches) were primed for a physical battle. Reid scratched up Ferry's face. Williams shoved Laettner in the back, which led to Krzyzewski going after Williams...which led to Smith going after coach K. There were shoving matches, hard fouls and lots of hard feelings before UNC came out of the fracas with a 77-74 win and its first ACC championship since 1982.

 
9 of 20

1992: Bloody Montross

1992: Bloody Montross
ESPN via YouTube

Undefeated, top-ranked and defending national champion Duke rode into Chapel Hill for one of the most intense games in the rivalry. It was a scrappy contest in which Duke point guard Bobby Hurley broke his foot (yet stayed in the game), and Eric Montross got cuts on his face and the side of his head, causing a stream of blood. Montross, with blood on his head and uniform, led the Heels to the 75-73 win and gave the Blue Devils their first loss since...North Carolina beat them in the 1991 ACC championship game. 

 
10 of 20

1995: Stackhouse's dunk; Capel's shot

1995: Stackhouse's dunk; Capel's shot
Jamie Squire /Allsport/Getty Images

When people talk about the Duke-Carolina rivalry, the 1995 game is almost always brought up. ESPN put the game on its new, hipper network, ESPN2. Mike Krzyzewski was out for the season on a leave of absence, and the Blue Devils were having their worst season in over a decade. This game had everything: Jerry Stackhouse's dunk, the Cameron Crazies going at Rasheed Wallace and, of course, Jeff Capel's half-court shot to send the game into double overtime. While that shot is the iconic moment of this game (and maybe the entire rivalry), Duke didn't win. North Carolina's Donald Williams hit a huge jumper to take the lead with a minute left in double overtime, and Jeff McInnis stole the ensuing inbound pass and laid it in to give the Heels a four-point lead. UNC held on for a 102-100 win.  

 
11 of 20

2003: Matt Doherty and Chris Collins get in a fight

2003: Matt Doherty and Chris Collins get in a fight
Craig Jones /Allsport /Getty Images

It wasn't the best of times in Chapel Hill, as the Heels were coming off an 8-20 season and were in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament for a second straight year. Doherty played at North Carolina during the Michael Jordan era of the 1980s and took exception when Duke's Dahntay Jones hit UNC's Raymond Felton in the face. When Doherty went to tend to his player, who was lying in front of the Duke bench, he got into a shouting match with Duke assistant coach and former player Chris Collins. The two coaches and various players had to be separated. Carolina upset No. 9 Duke, 82-79.

 
12 of 20

2004: Chris Duhon's layup

2004: Chris Duhon's layup
Bob Leverone/Sporting News via Getty Images

The first matchup of the rivals in 2004 was also the first time Mike Krzyzewski faced Carolina in the Roy Williams era. Williams was tasked with turning Carolina back to its championship ways (spoiler alert: he would), and a win over top-ranked Duke would have been big. This matchup featured huge shots, as Sean May, J.J. Redick and Jawad Williams nailed key buckets late to send the game to overtime. The biggest basket of all was Chris Duhon's, who ran the length of the court and hit a reverse layup with 6.5 seconds left to give the Blue Devils the 83-81 lead. Carolina's desperation shots didn't find the net, and Duke escaped with the win.

 
13 of 20

2005: Marvin Williams' putback

2005: Marvin Williams' putback
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The early 2000s were a rough time for Carolina basketball, as it had lost 15 of 17 to the Blue Devils. Before a record crowd at the Dean Dome, the Tar Heels erased a nine-point deficit with just over three minutes left. Marvin Williams' putback of a Raymond Felton missed free throw with 17 seconds left gave Carolina the lead. The Heels won the game and their first outright regular-season ACC title since 1993. Sean May led the way with 26 points and 24 rebounds.

 
14 of 20

2006: Baby Heels upset Duke on Senior Night

2006: Baby Heels upset Duke on Senior Night
Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images

No. 1 Duke hosted North Carolina on J.J. Redick's and Sheldon Williams' senior night. Redick was the National Player of the Year, but it was Tyler Hansbrough — who would eventually win his own National Player of the Year Award and pass Redick as the ACC's all-time leading scorer — who would pull off the 83-76 upset. Hansbrough would go on to win all four of his trips to Cameron Indoor Stadium. 

 
15 of 20

2007: Hansbrough's broken nose

2007: Hansbrough's broken nose
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Tar Heels were cruising toward an 86-72 win when Gerald Henderson's elbow met Tyler Hansbrough's nose under the basket with 14 seconds left. Hansbrough leaped up off the court with blood flowing from his nose and looked as if he was going to attack Henderson, before teammates calmed him down. Hansbrough would wear a mask during the ACC and NCAA Tournaments. The two players have since become good friends, even hosting a podcast together. 

 
16 of 20

2008: Danny Green dunks on Greg Paulus

2008: Danny Green dunks on Greg Paulus
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Duke's Greg Paulus was known as much for his flopping as anything else, so it was with extra vigor that UNC fans cheered when Danny Green dunked all over Paulus during their 2008 meeting in Durham. In transition, Green caught a pass from Marcus Ginyard and went up for a dunk as Paulus attempted to take a charge. No. 1 North Carolina won the game, 76-68.

 
17 of 20

2012: Austin Rivers' shot

2012: Austin Rivers' shot
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

One of the most memorable shots in the rivalry's history is Duke's Austin Rivers' game-winning three at the buzzer to beat North Carolina, 85-84. Rivers was heavily recruited by both schools, and Heels fans booed him every chance they had. UNC led by 10 points with 2:09 left in the game. With 14 seconds remaining, Carolina center Tyler Zeller tipped the ball in Duke's basket to make it a one-point game. Zeller then missed the second of two free throws and was guarding Rivers when he hit the game-winner. 

 
18 of 20

2015: Remembering Dean Smith

2015: Remembering Dean Smith
Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS via Getty Images

Eleven days before Carolina and Duke met in Cameron Indoor Stadium, legendary head coach Dean Smith passed away at 83 years old. Players and coaches from both teams circled and knelt at halfcourt to honor one of the greatest and most influential coaches in sports. Coach Smith was Roy Williams' mentor and Mike Krzyzewski's rival and friend. Duke mounted a late comeback to send the game into overtime, and the Blue Devils ultimately won, 92-90.

 
19 of 20

2019: Zion blows out his shoe

2019: Zion blows out his shoe
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The buzz around Zion Williamson's first UNC-Duke game was palpable in Cameron Indoor Stadium (Barack Obama was there!). The buzz went to a hush as Williamson blew out his shoe and hurt his knee just over 30 seconds into the game. The legend of Zion grew as his shoe was left in tatters but the game went on and the Tar Heels spanked the Blue Devils, 88-72. Zion would miss the rematch in Chapel Hill (UNC won that game as well) but did get his revenge in their ACC tournament semifinal showdown. 

 
20 of 20

2020: Two epic buzzer-beaters by Duke

2020: Two epic buzzer-beaters by Duke
. Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Similar to their 1995 showdown, the two programs were going in opposite directions, as Duke was a top 10 program while UNC was in the midst of one of the worst seasons in program history. The Heels held a 13-point lead with less than four minutes left in regulation when Duke went on a 20-7 run to tie the game with the final points coming on an intentionally missed free throw by Tre Jones that he rebounded and putback a jumper. In overtime, Carolina held a five-point lead with :21 remaining but let it go after a couple of layups, turnovers and another missed Jones free throw that Duke rebounded...only this time Jones' shot missed the mark. Wendell Moore caught it in the air and laid it in at the buzzer for the 98-96 win. 

More must-reads:

Customize Your Newsletter

+

Get the latest news and rumors, customized to your favorite sports and teams. Emailed daily. Always free!

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.