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NC is the center of the college basketball universe, Gov. Cooper proclaims ahead of Duke-UNC Final Four matchup

Joe Jurney

Now here's something that probably every Duke or North Carolina fan can agree on.

On Thursday, Gov. Roy Cooper proclaimed North Carolina (the whole state y'all, calm down Blue Devil fans) as the Center of the College Basketball Universe.

This proclamation came two days (about 56 hours and 40 minutes, but who's counting?) from when Duke and North Carolina square off in the NCAA Tournament Final Four in New Orleans. Or as we might forever know it as "The Great Wringing of the Hands."

This will be the first time that the neighboring schools will play one another in the tournament. The Tar Heels lead the all-time series 142-115.

"The stakes are high on Saturday and fans across the nation will get a firsthand look at two programs that have for decades competed fiercely and divided the loyalty of family and friends, but made our state proud," Cooper said.

Added to the already high stakes is the fact that this will be the third matchup between retiring Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski and first-year UNC Head Coach Hubert Davis. Each is 1-1 against the other.

Cooper also pointed out the greatness of other college basketball teams in North Carolina such as Coach Clarence “Big House” Gaines and Earl "The Pearl" Monroe’s teams at Winston-Salem Statein the 1960s, N.C. State’s magical tournament run in 1983 under Coach Jim Valvano, and this year’s CIAA tournament champions Fayetteville State.

"Across the world, fans know the legend of tobacco road basketball. This weekend, our state’s favorite pastime will be showcased on the biggest stage," Cooper said.

Game time is set for 8:49 p.m. on Saturday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

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