One way or the other, the illustrious career of Duke's men's college basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski will be coming to an end this weekend in New Orleans.

(Unless he pulls a Tom Brady and unretires in a month.)

(I'm kidding.)


Before Coach K rides off into the land of retirement, though, one final "boss battle" with archrival North Carolina awaits in the Final Four.

And that begs the two-part question: What are the greatest moments in the Coach K era of this sport's greatest rivalry, and where does Saturday's to-be-determined game rank on that list?

Well, spoiler alert, it's No. 1. Regular-season and conference-tournament showdowns have been plenty of fun over the years, but nothing can hold a candle to dueling in the Final Four.

As far as the rest of the list goes, however, please enjoy this trip down Tobacco Road Memory Lane.

Honorable Mentions

With nearly 100 games to choose from—37 of which were matchups between rivals ranked in the AP Top 10—just trimming the list to 20 was hard enough. Getting it down to 10 was darn near impossible. But here is our second top 10, presented in chronological order.

Feb. 28, 1981 (K's first win over UNC): You never forget your first, right? Mike Krzyzewski went 1-8 in his first nine games against North Carolina, and most of those losses were by double digits. But in the final regular-season game of his "rookie" year with the Blue Devils, he got a 66-65 overtime victory over the rivals from just up the road.

March 3, 1984 (MJ's last home game): At this point, North Carolina was the annual title contender and Duke was just a nuisance with a fourth-year coach who hadn't even made the NCAA tournament yet. But in the final regular-season game of Michael Jordan's career, the 15th-ranked Blue Devils waltzed into Carmichael Auditorium and darn near knocked off the 25-1, No. 1-ranked Tar Heels. It took two overtimes before UNC finally escaped.

Jan. 18, 1986 & March 2, 1986 (No. 1 vs. No. 3 x2): There have been six instances in the history of this rivalry in which both sides were ranked in the AP Top 3, so two such games in the same season is pretty remarkable. In both cases, the side ranked No. 3 was the road team and lost a close game to the No. 1 home team. (Although, when it came time for the NCAA tournament, No. 3 seed UNC and No. 1 seed Duke both got ousted by Louisville.)

Feb. 3, 1994 & Feb. 5, 1998 (No. 1 vs. No. 2 x2): In the past 30 years, there have only been 10 regular-season meetings between No. 1 and No. 2 in the AP poll. And, of course, Duke-UNC is responsible for two of them. Much like Gonzaga's 20-point thrashing of UCLA this past November, though, it was a lot of pre-game hype for exhibitions that were neither memorable nor competitive. In both cases, No. 1 Duke went on the road and lost by double digits to No. 2 North Carolina.

Feb. 2, 1995 (The Jeff Capel Shot): It's one of the greatest games in the history of this rivalry. I was only eight years old, and yet I can still remember watching this on a VHS tape while eating pizza at my aunt's house. Unranked Duke hosted No. 2 North Carolina, and Jeff Capel drained a runner from just inside half court to send the game to double overtime. (Duke ultimately lost the game by two.) But because Pete Gaudet was coaching in Krzyzewski's stead for this one while the latter recovered from back surgery, we opted to leave it in the honorable mentions.

March 2, 1997 (Final K vs. Dean Showdown): We didn't know at the time that this was Dean Smith's final game of this rivalry, because he didn't throw himself a yearlong goodbye party before retiring. But he went out in style with No. 8 North Carolina beating No. 7 Duke by a score of 91-85.

March 4, 2007 (Gerald Henderson vs. Psycho T): It was one of the more forgettable games of the rivalry for the first 39 minutes and 40 seconds. But near the end of North Carolina's 86-72 victory, Duke's Gerald Henderson hit North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough with one of the most ruthless flying elbows you'll ever see outside of a steel cage. The game was forgettable, but a bloodied Hansbrough needing to be restrained from going after Henderson was quite unforgettable.

Feb. 18, 2015 (OT in Honor of Dean Smith): The legendary UNC coach passed away less than two weeks before this game at Cameron Indoor Stadium, and before the game began, both teams knelt at half court in remembrance of him. And then they went out and played a game that Smith would've loved. Although, he wouldn't have loved the final score, as No. 4 Duke beat No. 15 North Carolina 92-90 in overtime.

10. Hasta La Vista, J.J.

Date: March 4, 2006

Venue: Cameron Indoor

Result: No. 13 UNC over No. 1 Duke 83-76

Led by a three-point launching senior by the name of J.J. Redick, Duke won 27 of its first 28 games, spending almost the entire 2005-06 season ranked No. 1 in the AP poll. By the time the Blue Devils welcomed the 13th-ranked Tar Heels into Durham to close out the regular season, two things seemed like foregone conclusions: Duke was going to be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament's Atlanta regional and Redick was going to finish ahead of Gonzaga's Adam Morrison for any and all NPOY honors.

As a result, that first Saturday in March 2006 was supposed to be something of a going-away party for Redick; one final night in which he would rain triples on the Tar Heels as Duke asserted its dominance over the ACC.

Instead, it turned into more of a welcoming party for UNC freshman Tyler Hansbrough.

While Redick couldn't buy a bucket (5-of-21 from the field), Hansbrough racked up 27 points and 10 rebounds, even making one of just 12 three-pointers in his four-year career with the Tar Heels. And North Carolina knocked off No. 1 Duke in the first of what would be four consecutive road victories by the Tar Heels in this rivalry.