Final Four against UNC is most important game in Duke basketball history

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Duke basketball team will be playing the most important game in program history. 

The stakes have never been higher for the Duke basketball program.

A Final Four game against North Carolina is the biggest game in the history of the storied program, and it might not be close.

The 1991 Final Four matchup against UNLV might be the only game comparable in terms of importance to the program, but no one thought prior to tipoff that the upset would hold the historical relevance for the Blue Devils that it does today.

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There was very little pressure on the Blue Devils to win in 1991, and Duke would have easily recovered with a loss to the powerful Rebels.

That is not the case in this year’s Final Four.

Saturday’s matchup alone against the Tar Heels in the National Semifinals does not make the game the biggest in Duke history, despite the past outcomes between the programs, but all of the storylines are what build this game up to the pinnacle of the sport.

Duke basketball has much more at risk than rivals

North Carolina handed the Blue Devils and Mike Krzyzewski a loss in his final game in Cameron Indoor Stadium, and now the Tar Heels can end the career of the Hall of Famer in its entirety.

Hubert Davis’ team has a chance to end any debate between the fanbases about the rivalry.

Could Duke ever truly recover from a loss?

All of the pressure is squarely on the Blue Devils.

Knowing that North Carolina ended the legendary career of Mike Krzyzewski would loom over the program until the two teams potentially met in a National Championship game, which appears extremely unlikely considering how long it took for the rivals to meet in the NCAA Tournament.

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North Carolina, on the other hand, could be knocked back with a loss to the Blue Devils, but the lingering aspects of the defeat are nowhere near as catastrophic as they would be for Duke.

The two programs split the regular-season matchups with each team winning on its opponent’s home floor.

The biggest rubber match in the history of college sports is scheduled to tipoff at 8:49 p.m. EST from the Caesar’s Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana on TBS.

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