North Carolina vs Duke Rivalry week
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North Carolina vs. Duke: The Battle For Tobacco Road

Editor’s Note: We are kicking off the D1 rivalries with the historic matchup between the UNC Tar Heels and the Duke Blue Devils. Each day we will highlight a different rivalry and why they are important to pay attention to. Welcome to Rivalry Week 2014!

Just 9.8 miles apart down “Tobacco Road,” driving from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill to Duke University takes about fifteen minutes in light traffic.

A rivalry made famous through the game of basketball, the Blue Devils have an old school disgust for the Tar Heels, and vice versa. Hatred, in it’s purest collegiate form.

unc-duke map

On campus in Chapel Hill, uttering the word “Duke” or “Durham” will send shivers up the spine of some and grab an immediate response from many. Tar Heels of Chapel Hill hate to confused with Blue Devils of Durham, and vice versa. Part of what makes this rivalry so great is how split the community is, making enemies out of next door neighbors.

The two first met in hoops back in 1920 with the Heels coming out on top. Since then, the two basketball teams have met over 230 times and has earned the title of “Hottest Rivalry” by ESPN On-Campus multiple times.

When the Blue Devils and Tar Heels square off, the whole State of North Carolina and basketball fans all over the world stop to watch. Fans and alumni don’t just attend this rivalry game, they bring their best smack talk with them – often times wearing it – and never quite down regardless of the score.

Love Thy Neighbor, Right?
Love Thy Neighbor, Right?

Former Esquire editor, and UNC grad, Will Blythe, put it like this…

To legions of otherwise reasonable adults, it is a conflict that surpasses sports; it is locals against outsiders, elitists against populists, even good against evil… The rivalry may be a way of aligning oneself with larger philosophic ideals — of choosing teams in life — a tradition of partisanship that reveals the pleasures and even the necessity of hatred.”

Duke’s head coach Mike Krzyzewski doesn’t see it much differently…

Our games against North Carolina over the decades have proven to stand that test of greatness and time and excellence. Whatever thing you want to check, whatever you need to have it be a great rivalry, Duke and Carolina check all the boxes.”

On the men’s lacrosse field, these two universities have met 70 times. The rivalry has existed for 52 years, beginning back in 1952. Carolina has the edge by 8 wins, although Duke closing in, going 14-2 since 2007.

John Danowski and Joe Breschi are two of the most respected coaches in the game of lacrosse and both have been with their schools for quite sometime. Last year, Duke took down UNC in the regular season, but the Heels found revenge knocking off Duke in the ACC tournament.

In 2014, when the two teams squared off, four quarters were not enough, and the Duke Blue Devils came out on top 9-8 in overtime.

This year’s victory pushed the Duke men’s lacrosse team to 31 wins over the Tar Heels, who boast 39 wins overall.

With such close proximity and a heated rivalry that crosses over to all sports, the North Carolina-Duke Rivalry stands out as one of the biggest and most exciting at the NCAA Division I level.