North Carolina as The Center of College Basketball Universe

Ahead of Final Four, Governor Cooper Proclaims North Carolina as The Center of the College Basketball Universe

Eyes of the nation on North Carolina as UNC and Duke battle for first time in NCAA tournament with historic stakes

Raleigh, NC (STL.News) Ahead of Duke University and the University of North Carolina’s Final Four battle on Saturday, Governor Roy Cooper has proclaimed North Carolina as The Center of the College Basketball Universe.

“North Carolina is home to an unmatched tradition of college basketball excellence, including the greatest college basketball rivalry in the nation, the University of North Carolina Tar Heels versus the Duke University Blue Devils,” said Governor Cooper.  “The stakes are high on Saturday and fans across the nation will get a firsthand look at two programs that have for decades competed fiercely and divided the loyalty of family and friends, but made our state proud.”

Watch the Governor’s Video Here.

North Carolina has a long history of excellence in college basketball at every level.  From Coach Clarence “Big House” Gaines and Earl the Pearl Monroe’s powerhouse teams at Winston-Salem State to NC State’s magical tournament run in 1983 under Coach Jim Valvano, to this year’s CIAA tournament championship for Fayetteville State, North Carolina fanbases are accustomed to success and fierce rivalry.

But no rivalry is better known than Duke vs UNC, two of the premier programs across the country.  Separated by 8 miles, Duke University and the University of North Carolina have defined ‘success’ in college basketball for the last century.  The Tar Heels have participated in 52 NCAA tournaments, reached 21 Final Fours and won 7 National Championships.  The Blue Devils have reached 44 NCAA tournaments, 17 Final Fours and won 5 National Championships.

The Duke/UNC rivalry is known across the globe for its competitiveness and passion.  The rivals have faced each other in Men’s Basketball 257 times with UNC winning 142 times and Duke winning 115 times.  But Saturday will introduce higher stakes than ever before, as Duke and UNC will play for the first time in an NCAA tournament with a spot in the National Championship game on the line.

Adding to the already historic stakes is a coaching match-up between retiring Hall of Fame Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski and first year UNC Head Coach Hubert Davis.  The game is expected to be a tough ticket to get and is attracting unprecedented attention.

“Across the world, fans know the legend of tobacco road basketball.  This weekend, our state’s favorite pastime will be showcased on the biggest stage.  I’m a proud Tar Heel and I know firsthand that the state of North Carolina is the center of the college basketball universe,” said Governor Cooper.