The best pregame Duke-UNC links from around the web

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Ready for some more Duke-North Carolina reading?

I gave you plenty of time to digest the two links from earlier featuring our writers on tonight’s tip. So let’s see what the rest of the web has to say, mmm?

If you have time for one link, make it this story from Dan Wiederer of the Fayetteville Observer. He details how Duke transformed itself from a very good team to a national title contender the last two seasons by identifying the intangibles it values most in players. Great stuff.

Also from FayObserver.com – a position-by-position breakdown.

Four players in the spotlight tonight, per Mike DeCourcy: Mason Plumlee, John Henson, Nolan Smith, Kendall Marshall. You’ll notice Kyle Singler and Tyler Zeller aren’t on that list.

Roy Williams told the Raleigh News & Observer earlier this week that beating Duke would be a “monumental task.” Oddsmakers set the line at 10, so Roy could be right.

As ACC Insider points out, the Heels may be on a roll, but the atmosphere at Cameron may be a bit too much for a young team to handle.

Right on cue, Duke students say they “have a special welcome” ready for UNC freshman Harrison Barnes tonight. Barnes, however, doesn’t sound fazed.

The fans aren’t the only amped for this game. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski says his program is built on “the importance of” winning tonight’s game. The previous victories? Big whoop.

One problem the Heels might have is if Duke throws out a lot of traps or pressure their ballhandlers. Because right now, 6-10 forward John Henson is North Carolina’s third-best ballhandler.

That puts even more pressure on freshman point guard Kendall Marshall to thrive. The kid’s drawing comparisons to former Heels playmaker Derrick Phelps (who won an NCAA title), so maybe he can handle it.

One bright side for UNC? No Jon Scheyer. That guy was their ruin.

OK, then so who wins? Ken Tysiac of the News & Observer breaks down the 5 critical factors for the game. Seth Davis does the same, but adds a prediction. If you’re a betting man, Seth says take the Heels to cover.

Want more? I’m also on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.