The West will be wild, but in the end, Duke will win title

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              Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski celebrates Duke's win over Florida State after cutting down a net after the NCAA college basketball championship game of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, March 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)
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Think of the greatest rivalries in college sports. Michigan vs. Ohio State. Alabama vs. Auburn. Miami vs. Florida State. Everybody vs. Notre Dame.

Duke vs. North Carolina is as good as any, if not better.

They have met in basketball 251 times. They now have a combined 93 NCAA Tournament appearances. They’ve played a combined 318 NCAA Tournament games.

They have zero NCAA Tournament games against each other.

We devote this space every year to telling you how to win your NCAA bracket pool, and in each of the last two years we’ve made the pockets of millions, or thousands, or dozens, or possibly just three random people feel stuffed with all those well-earned $5 bills from the others in your office whose brackets were wrecked by roughly 2:51 p.m. on Day 1 of the tournament.

Two years ago, we gave you North Carolina.

Last year, we gave you Villanova. (We also gave you Virginia in the final. That was a misprint. We totally meant UMBC and strongly considered picking them again this year even though they’re not in the field.)

When you get to the end of this story, you will know this year’s NCAA champion. Do not scroll down yet. You must read the method to March Madness, though by teasing you with Duke vs. North Carolina you probably have a good idea where this is going. (If you don’t, perhaps you should save your money and not enter any pools this year, including swimming ones.)

But before we begin, a few guidelines …