When is the soonest Duke and North Carolina could play in March Madness 2024?

Looking at the soonest two bitter rivals, Duke and North Carolina, could play against each other in March Madness 2024.

Mar 9, 2024; Durham, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard RJ Davis (4) drives to the
Mar 9, 2024; Durham, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard RJ Davis (4) drives to the / Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

One of the great rivalries not only in college basketball but in all of sports is one between the Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels. Not only are these schools conference opponents, but they're in-state rivals which can only add to the contention.

Games that feature these two blue bloods going up against each other are always must-see TV. They played against each other twice in the regular season, as they traditionally do. The Tar Heels won both games, but they were decided by single digits and played pretty close. The second matchup in particular was exciting.

Both teams unsurprisingly made it to the NCAA Tournament, and are both high seeds. UNC is the No. 1 seed in the West Region while Duke is the No. 4 seed in the South Region. What is the earliest they can feasibly face off?

The soonest Duke and North Carolina can play in March Madness 2024 is not so soon

Not only are these two teams in different regions, but they happen to be on opposite sides of the bracket. North Carolina would face the East Region winner in the Final Four, while Duke would play the Midwest Region winner. This means that the earliest that these two bitter rivals can play each other would be in the National Championship Game.

It wouldn't be a major shocker to see either of these two teams make it all the way to the National Championship Game, but it certainly is a lot to ask for.

North Carolina got off to a good start in the tournament with a dominant 90-62 win over No. 16 Wagner. Duke will begin their tournament on Friday with a matchup against No. 13 Vermont.

The Tar Heels should have a rather easy road to the Final Four with them being the No. 1 seed, but Duke being a No. 4 seed in their region makes their path extremely tough. It's not impossible for these two teams to clash with everything on the line, but a lot would have to go right for it to happen.