CAMERON INDOOR STADIUM/DURHAM The seniors on the Duke women’s basketball team get one more shot at this tonight — at least during a regular season.
The game they may have been dreaming about is here, since they’re undefeated and ranked No. 2 in the nation heading into their battle with No. 1 and defending NCAA champion Connecticut in the Jimmy V Classic.
Connecticut has won six straight in the series and leads it 9-3. Duke’s best showing against UConn under seventh-year coach Joanne P. McCallie was a 61-45 loss here two seasons ago.
It’s the first time a No. 1 has visited a No. 2 since Connecticut’s 88-58 romp over UNC in 2009.
And once again it isn’t really close, as the Huskies are never challenged in the second half in rolling to an 83-61 win.
Tonight at Bank of America Stadium, the No. 20 Blue Devils (10-2) will take on No. 1 Florida State (12-0) for the ACC championship and a guaranteed spot in the Orange Bowl.
If FSU wins, of course, it will play either Ohio State or Auburn for the National Championship.
The Blue Devils have their best team since at least 1941 and David Cutcliffe has built a quality program, but they’re 0-for-Florida State lifetime and come into the contest as 30-point underdogs.
Only Boston College, which lost 48-34 at home on Sept. 28, has finished within 27 points of the Seminoles. And FSU will have starting quarterback Jameis Winston, who was cleared of possible rape l charges earlier in the week.
Game-time temperature will be in the upper 40s with a chance of rain.
Duke plays an awesome first quarter but it all goes downhill from there, as the Seminoles roll 45-7.
Carolina Hurricanes, 13-12-5, second place in the Metropolitan Division
Last week (3-1):
12/1: Vancouver 3, @Carolina 2
12/3: Carolina 4, @Washington 1
12/5: Carolina 5, @Nashville 2
12/6: @Carolina 5, San Jose 3
This week: 12/9 @Vancouver; 12/10 @Edmonton; 12/12 @Calgary; 12/14 @Phoenix
Wait… fourteen goals in three games? Second place in the division? Did someone fact-check all that?
Indeed, the Canes have been scoring and winning lately, taking a crucial divisional game in Washington before hanging five goals each on a pair of Western Conference teams. A three-game win streak puts them a point ahead of the Caps and Rangers in the standings.
I never heard anybody predict Duke was going to finish this regular season 10-2 and as ACC Coastal Division football champions.
Now, I knew the Blue Devils were going to be decent this year. Picked them fifth in the division with a 7-5 record after going 6-7 last season that ended in a close, painful loss in the Belk Bowl.
But an eight-game winning streak and the best season in school history since 1941?
But that’s the case as the No. 20 Blue Devils take on consensus No. 1 Florida State (12-0) for the ACC championship tonight at 8 (ABC. Yes, National) in Charlotte.
Mind-boggling, isn’t it?
But the last time the Blue Devils played a game this important was that Rose Bowl in Durham following the 1941 season.
With a win over traditional multiple arch-rival UNC today No. 24 Duke (9-2, 5-2 ACC) will have its first 10-win season in school history, earning a spot in the ACC Championship game against No. 2 Florida State on Dec. 7 in Charlotte with a shot at the automatic berth in the Orange Bowl.
All of which would make the annual battle for the Victory Bell a big game for the Tar Heels anyway. UNC (6-5, 4-3) earned a bowl berth with its 80-20 rout of Old Dominion last week, and although the tiebreakers allow the Tar Heels no chance to play in Charlotte next weekend they would be able to claim some share of the Coastal Division title for the second straight year with a victory.
The Tar Heels, who had won eight straight in the series until Duke broke the spell with a 33-30 result last year in Durham, are listed as three-point favorites. It’s of course Senior Day for UNC, and star junior tight end Eric Ebron — who has announced he’ll enter the NFL draft — will also be honored.
Regardless of today’s outcome UNC is a heavy favorite to play in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte on Dec. 28; the bowl’s executive director Will Webb said his group is scouting no other ACC games today.
Duke gets the historic victory, winning 27-25 on a late drive, field goal and interception.
Time was when the annual season-ending battle between Duke and UNC was the biggest football game of the year in the Triangle.
And this time, the “Battle of the Blues” for the coveted Victory Bell is back, although it has a little different twist.
This time it’s the Tar Heels’ turn to play spoiler.
No. 24 Duke (9-2, 5-2 ACC) is having its best season since the ACC was formed, and the Blue Devils will play No. 2 Florida State for the conference championship Dec. 7 in Charlotte if they win today.
Duke has won seven straight games, two more than the five-game streak of UNC (6-5, 4-3) since the Tar Heels’ snakebitten and disastrous-looking 1-5 start.
Game time is noon (ESPN2) at Kenan Stadium, which may end up being a hard sellout for the first time for a Duke game in a very long time.
There is one other game in the Triangle today, as N.C. State (3-8, 0-7) hosts Maryland (6-5, 2-5) at 12:30 (WRAL) at Carter-Finley Stadium. It’s the Terps’ final ACC conference football game before their move to the Big Ten next year.