Duke will have to contain North Carolina on the offensive glass.

Key three: Can Duke keep Carolina off the boards?

After a heartbreaking 63-64 loss to Virginia Tech Monday, Duke will take on its archrival North Carolina in the regular season finale on Saturday night. The Blue Zone gives three keys for the Blue Devils to defeat the Tar Heels: 

Stop Cameron Johnson

Cameron Johnson is a force to be reckoned with on both ends of the court. In the Tobacco Road rivalry’s last matchup, Johnson crashed the boards for a season high 13 rebounds—with 6 coming on offense and 7 on defense. Johnson also shot 50 percent from behind the arc, making 4-of-8 triples and contributing 18 points to the Tar Heels’ 82-78 defeat of the Blue Devils.

A zone defense will help the Blue Devils limit Johnson on offense—particularly his presence from deep— but Duke will have to be particularly diligent on boxing out the 6-foot-8. Stopping Johnson from giving the Tar Heels second chance point opportunities on offense will be vital. 

Limit turnovers and maintain zone

Duke's turnovers and inability to play consistent defense allowed the Hokies to come back from a late deficit to beat the Blue Devils on Monday. Duke has been utilizing a zone defense that has only allowed opponents an average of 57 points per game in the last six games—maintaining this elite-level defense will be imperative for the Blue Devils to stop one of the best offensive units in the country. 

Likewise, turnovers have caused issues for the Blue Devils this season. Opponents, such as Virginia Tech, have taken advantage of these easy scoring opportunities to build momentum against a young Duke team. Limiting turnovers against on a deeper and older team will be essential in coming away with a win.

Strong and efficient offense

Although their defense has stepped up big-time, Blue Devils have been in a rut on offense in the past few games.  From beyond the arc, the Blue Devils struggled in their last two games, shooting a combined 21.7 percent from the perimeter. The Blue Devils had similar problems in their inside game that contributed to them shooting close to 40 percent from the field in both games.

In their last matchup, the Tar Heels were able to lock down Bagley down low in the second half and cause Duke issues in the paint. The Blue Devils can't afford to be one-dimensional on offense—they need to get points inside from Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr. in the paint, as well as 3-pointers from Gary Trent Jr. and Grayson Allen. If the Blue Devils want a win against North Carolina, they are going to have to up their offense and come out ready to play.

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