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A look back at some of the uniforms worn in the Duke-North Carolina game over the years

Last season, the Blue Devils and Tar Heels suited up in commemorative jerseys for the 100th anniversary of the Tobacco Road rivalry.
Last season, the Blue Devils and Tar Heels suited up in commemorative jerseys for the 100th anniversary of the Tobacco Road rivalry.

From the start, the uniforms of Duke-UNC matchups were more or less defined by the colors—while the home team wears white, the visiting team is always dressed in blue. However, the designs of these uniforms have also changed over time, so let’s take a look at the uniforms from the memorable games of the rivalry matchup.

7-0 at half

Does this look antiquated? That’s right. Before the shot clock was adapted in college basketball, it was Dean Smith who used the extended possession tactic in the 1979 matchup in Cameron Indoor Stadium. While the score at halftime was truly stunning, the uniforms have also defined the early looks of college basketball—tight tops and short shorts. While being old-fashioned, the style of such uniforms had been the norm for decades, until roomier designs became popularized in the early 1990s.


The Duke of destiny season

Coming off of the program's first national championship with one of the greatest March Madness upsets of all time against the then-undefeated defending champions UNLV, the Blue Devils entered the 1991-92 season with high expectations. Alongside these expectations was a great amount of hatred among college basketball fans, as Duke was favored to defend its title. While the only two losses of the season came in February at the Dean Dome and at Wake Forest, the 1992 ACC Championship Game, which ended in a dominant 20-point rout against North Carolina, featured a new style of uniform with more length and room. This was thanks to the new trend brought on by Michigan’s Fab Five, whom Duke beat in the national championship game later that same year. 


Block from behind

Despite coming up short against North Carolina at home earlier in the season, entering March, the Blue Devils were primed for a deep run in 2001. A win over the Tar Heels at the Dean Dome on the final day of the regular season was one to remember from start to finish, but it was Shane Battier’s unbelievable block from behind that ignited the run that spurred the Blue Devils to a 95-81 win. What’s also memorable, however, was that the baggy uniforms were also at its peak during the 2000s, where shorts were below the knees and tops hung down loose. The colors have also reflected many of the 2000s games at the Dean Dome, as the Blue Devils were wearing black with blue trimming, a commonly-worn style at away games until the late 2010s.


“Oh, oh, unbelievable”

Before the double miracle last year, there was the three-point buzzer beater by Austin Rivers in 2012 that suddenly silenced the Chapel Hill crowd. The jerseys from this matchup more or less define the most commonly-worn design at the Dean Dome for much of the 2000s—blue tops with a black stripe and a white outline, paired with Duke's classic blue shorts which featured that same black stripe and white trim. 


Double miracle

On the 100th anniversary of the rivalry, last year's Duke-North Carolina matchup in Chapel Hill featured something that fans from both sides were not overly pleased with. While the color of the uniforms was just the respective blue from each side, the number in front of the jerseys was replaced by the logo for each team. While many have ridiculed this special edition as practice uniforms, this has truly been one of the most unique uniforms for the rivalry, as it has only been worn once and will be remembered as a part of this memorable game.

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