Imagine a classic battle between the #1 and #2 ranked teams in the country. Both are undefeated, and so firmly ahead of everyone else that they've both beaten the #3 team. The Bowl Championship Series? They wish. No, it's the college basketball game of the year, the ultimate clash between two hated rivals. Yes, it's Duke versus Carolina, but not the matchup you'd traditionally expect.
Tonight (ESPN, 9pm EST) the Duke men -- inexplicably ranked 16th in both Top 25 polls despite a 5-4 ACC mark -- host #5 UNC, coming off a recent loss to N.C. State. Yeah, whatever. This is the appetizer, the undercard. This year, the men are the junior varsity.
The real matchup -- the meal, the main event, the varsity game -- is Thursday night, when the #1 Duke women (24-0) visit #2 UNC (also 24-0). Nothing could make this a bigger regular season game. And while someone has to lose, revenge is likely; they clash again later this month, and could meet for a third and fourth time in the postseason. If you have any appreciation of basketball, your eyes should be fixed on ESPN2 at 7pm EST.
What more can I say? Here's something: win or lose tonight, I hope the Duke men watch their female counterparts tomorrow and take some notes. It's really nice to have one Duke team with a great point guard and great low post player.