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ESPN's BPI Predicts Winner Of Duke-North Carolina

Coach K and Jeff Capel react to a call.

DURHAM, NC - FEBRUARY 28: Assistant Jeff Capel and head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils react during their game against the Syracuse Orange at Cameron Indoor Stadium on February 28, 2015 in Durham, North Carolina. Duke won 73-54. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

The first match-up between Duke and North Carolina comes tomorrow night. Here's what ESPN's basketball power index thinks.

Duke, led by a cadre of former five-star recruits, is once against playing at the top of the ACC. The Blue Devils sit at 19-4, and 7-3 in the ACC.

Mike Krzyzewski's team is third in the conference, behind Virginia and Clemson. Duke could be in the middle of a bit of a slide though.

Back on January 27, Duke lost by two to Virginia, the league's top team. The Blue Devils rebounded with a comfortable win over a struggling Notre Dame squad.

However, this Saturday saw another huge setback. Duke traveled to Madison Square Garden to face St. John's, which was on an 11-game losing streak and winless in the Big East.

Shamorie Ponds and the Red Storm stunned Duke, 81-77. Ponds scored 33 in the huge win. Duke's defense has not been up to par in recent years, and that is the case again this winter. The struggling Johnnies shot over 46-percent from the field and 47-percent from three point range to pull the upset.

Now, the No. 9 Blue Devils will need to rebound with the first of two match-ups with hated rival North Carolina. UNC is 17-7 (6-5).

North Carolina has not been great either as of late, dropping three in a row before knocking off hapless Pitt in its last game. ESPN's BPI predicts a very close one tomorrow night, giving a slight edge to Duke.

ESPN probability prediction for Duke-UNC

The BPI projection is not far off from the early betting lines. OddsShark has the opening line at Duke -1.5, with a few sportsbooks having the Blue Devils laying just one point.

UNC is currently in a three-way tie for sixth in the ACC at 6-5 in conference, with Florida State and Louisville. Miami and NC State are just a half a game up from that group at 6-4, while Virginia Tech sits at 5-5.

The middle of the ACC is extremely bunched together. UNC could use a huge win here to separate itself, while the Blue Devils want to avoid falling into that group, and keep themselves in good shape for a double bye in the conference tournament.

Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. ET tomorrow night. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.

[ESPN]