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Duke, UNC Basketball Recruits Make Predictions About Wednesday's Game



Jahlil Okafor's unbiased prediction for Wednesday's game? A Duke win. / AP

With No. 1 Duke set to host North Carolina in one of college basketball's most storied rivalries on Wednesday night, we caught up with every player from the schools' recruiting classes and asked them to make predictions about the game.

Naturally, objectivity wasn’t their strong suit, so we included the one uncommitted prospect at the top of both schools’ wish lists -- Whitney Young (Chicago) junior Jahlil Okafor, an American Family Insurance ALL-USA preseason selection and the top-ranked center in the ESPN 60.

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We also asked every player to give a scenario in which they could see the other team winning. That's where things got interesting.

The Duke Recruits

Matt Jones
DeSoto, Texas, SG 

The winning team will be… 
“Come on now, Duke. We're the better team by far, and we’ve got the better coach. We're definitely gonna win. That’s an easy pick.”

UNC wins if…
“Michael Jordan comes back and plays like he did when he won the national title at UNC. You know that shot he made at the end? He needs to make about 10 of those. At least 10.”

Semi Ojeleye
Ottawa, Kan., SF 

The winning team will be… 
“Easy, Duke. We’re just the better team overall and I think everyone knows that. We’re just playing too good. Mason (Plumlee) will be just too much for them. All of our guys are playing really well. It’ll be too much for UNC. We’ll win by a lot.”

UNC wins if…
“Vince Carter suits up and then finds a 7-foot Australian to jump over and dunk on. After that he takes the court and dominates. That’s the only chance they’ve got, so they might wanna give him a call.”

Jabari Parker 
Simeon, Chicago, SF 

The winning team will be… 
“Duke, of course. They’re the better team and that shows in the rankings. Definitely going with Duke in this one.”

UNC wins if…
“We don’t come out focused and aren’t prepared mentally. Also, if we aren’t shooting a good percentage, Carolina might get us. But I think we’ll be ready. I’ll hold off on saying anything too bad because I don’t have them as an enemy yet.”

The UNC Recruits

Nate Britt
Oak Hill Academy, Mouth of Wilson, Va., PG
 
The winning team will be… 
“North Carolina. I know we’ll win because we’re gonna run Duke off the 3-point line. We’re gonna make Seth (Curry) and Sheed (Sulaimon) drivers. I’m pretty sure we scouted them well on that. Then we’ll just try and keep Amile (Jefferson) off the boards and we’ll try and keep Mason (Plumlee) out of the paint as much as possible.”

Duke wins if... 
“Jay Williams sees them losing at halftime, then comes off the broadcast and goes up into the rafters and gets his jersey down and suits up to run the point for them. That’s the only prayer they’ve got to win this one.” 

Isaiah Hicks
Webb, Oxford, N.C., PF 

The winning team will be… 
“Definitely UNC, of course. I think that P.J. (Hairston) is gonna have a big game and, I’m not sure which one yet, but Marcus (Paige) or James (McAdoo) will have a really big game. I think like a career night.”

Duke wins if... 
“J.J. Redick flies down from Orlando and suits up, then hits the Duke record for threes in one game. If he doesn’t, they can’t win this game.”

Kennedy Meeks
West Charlotte, N.C., C

The winning team will be… 
“You shouldn’t even ask me that, but of course North Carolina. I think that tenacity we’ve got and the fact that we really want to beat Duke will help us pull it out. We’re definitely winning this game.”

Duke wins if... 
“J.J. Redick comes back and hits nine threes and ends up with 60 points. Other than that, they don’t have a prayer.”

The Objective Take

Jahlil Okafor
Whitney Young, Chicago, C

The winning team will be… 
“Duke. I mean, they’re at home and we all know their fans are crazy and loud and creative. The atmosphere there is just hard to even put into words. Plus, Quinn Cook has the edge over Marcus Paige because he’s more experienced and Mason Plumlee is just too much. He’s been killing everyone this year and I don’t think that will stop this game. Then, I’m a huge Seth Curry fan. I don’t think anyone can stop him. He just finds a way in every game. No disrespect to Carolina, but I’ve definitely got Duke winning this game.”

Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter @JayJayUSATODAY.

 

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