Rivalries increase the scope and scale of any matchup, and the rivalry between the Duke Blue Devils and the UNC Tar Heels will take center stage at the Final Four. Two of college basketball's biggest names will clash for a spot in the national championship game in a matchup fit for WrestleMania weekend.
Duke (32-6) will play North Carolina (28-9) in the second national semifinal on Saturday in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The rubber match between Duke and UNC in the Final 4 is one of the biggest matchups in college basketball history.
First, the two rivals from North Carolina will have their first NCAA Tournament meeting.
Second, the Final Four is the last for retiring Duke legend Mike Krzyzewski.
Third, the teams have traded blowouts this season. Duke cruised by UNC 87-67 on Feb. 5. But the unranked Tar Heels spoiled Coach K's last home game 94-81 on March 5.
The latest chapter in one of the greatest rivalries in sports is something befitting WrestleMania weekend. So, it makes sense that it is happening during this year's WrestleMania weekend. Given the teams' historical greatness, Jon Rothstein believes the Final Four meeting fits a specific WrestleMania main event.
Two of the top brands facing in professional wrestling history facing off is an apt comparison for Duke and UNC's Final Four clash. The only thing that prevents the comparison from being perfect is that Saturday's semifinal game is not for the national title.
Duke vs. UNC in the Final 4 goes beyond WrestleMania and championships
The magnitude of the game between the Blue Devils and the Tar Heels is enormous without it being a national championship game. The loser will not be able to live the loss down for a long time, if ever.
Duke and coach Mike Krzyzewski felt the loss to North Carolina in his last home game was unacceptable. But if UNC ends Coach K's career in a Final Four, that will be something the Tar Heels will always hold over the Blue Devils.
However, if Duke and its coach beat the Tar Heels en route to a national championship, it would be the ultimate response to losing Krzyzewski's last home game.
The winner will claim the biggest win in the rivalry's history, but it will still have to take out another blue blood for the national title.
The victor will still need to defeat either the Kansas Jayhawks (31-6) or the Villanova Wildcats (30-7) to claim the ultimate prize of another national championship.
Poll : Who will advance to the National Championship game?
Duke Blue Devils
North Carolina Tar Heels