Duke, UNC recruits handicap Round 1

February, 7, 2012
2/07/12
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If you're a college hoops fan, you probably have an opinion on who'll take Round 1 in the sport's most storied rivalry.

The future of the two programs have their opinions as well. So we caught up with every player from Duke and North Carolina’s 2012 recruiting classes and had them make predictions for Wednesday's Duke-UNC game (9 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Naturally, objectivity wasn’t their strong suit, so we added one 2013 player at the top of both schools’ wish lists, Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas) junior Julius Randle, to see who he thought would reign supreme on Tobacco Road.

Rasheed Sulaimon
Courtesy of Andrew ShurtleffRasheed Sulaimon said Duke will sweep UNC this season.
The Duke Recruit
Rasheed Sulaimon
Strake Jesuit (Houston), SG
Who gets the win?
“Duke absolutely wins this game. We’ve been a little inconsistent this year, but I spoke with Coach K recently and he told me he’s got the guys doing 5 a.m. workouts and [he's] really challenging them trying to wake them up to finish out the season strong. I just feel like we’re too talented on the perimeter for them, and I think we’ll get it done in the paint, too. I’m calling the sweep against North Carolina this year. You heard it here first.”

UNC wins if ...
“ ... Michael Jordan leaves the front office for the Bobcats, drives down and suits up for the Tar Heels. And when he does he’s playing like he was in his prime. I’m talking the 'dropping 63 on Boston' prime. That’s the only way.”


The UNC Recruits

J.P. Tokoto
Menomonee Falls (Wis.), SF
Who gets the win?
“I am definitely picking North Carolina in this one. This season we suffered a bad loss against Florida State, but other than that we’ve been playing really well. Our guys know exactly what to do in order to keep Duke off the boards and to guard the 3-point line.”

Duke wins if ...
“ ... The Carolina players drink laxative-laced water before the game.”

[+] EnlargeMarcus Paige
Chris Williams/Icon SMIMarcus Paige said UNC has too much inside for Duke to handle.
Marcus Paige
Linn-Mar (Marion, Iowa), PG
Who gets the win?
“Most definitely North Carolina all the way. I think we have too many weapons and too much versatility for Duke to be able to handle what we do offensively. Even though we don’t guard the 3-point line too well at times, I feel like our size will wind up getting to them.”

Duke wins if ...
“ ... They manage to find the special stuff in Bugs Bunny’s water bottle from 'Space Jam'!”

Brice Johnson
Edisto (Cordova, S.C.), PF
Who gets the win?
“No question that North Carolina will get the win in this game. I just think we’ve got too much for Duke to handle inside, and I think that’s the thing that will win the game for us. We’ve definitely got this one.”

Duke wins if ...
“ ... J.J. Redick comes back and plays for Duke and goes 20 of 20 from the 3-point line. He’s got to be 100 percent. Got to.”

Joel James
Dwyer (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), PF
Who gets the win?
“North Carolina. The reason I say that is because our players have the edge in experience. Our guards are bigger and stronger and we know how to handle that type of big stage. I also feel like our bigs will have good games against them, and I think Harrison Barnes will have a big game, too.”

Duke wins if ...
“ ... John Henson, Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller and Kendall Marshall all foul out in the first half. That’s the only way they get it done.”

The Objective Take

Julius Randle
Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas), PF, undeclared (class of 2013)
Who gets the win?
“Man, I’m being put on the spot with this one! Since they’re playing at home I’m gonna pick UNC in this one. Duke hasn’t been playing their best ball in the past couple of games, so I think this will wake them up and get them ready for the tournament. I do think Duke will win the next one, though.”

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN.

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