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UNC star Joel Berry on N.C. State: ‘It’s not a rivalry’


GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 03: Joel Berry II #2 of the North Carolina Tar Heels speaks to media in the locker room after defeating the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the 2017 NCAA Men’s Final Four National Championship game at University of Phoenix Stadium on April 3, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. The Tar Heels defeated the Bulldogs 71-65. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Ronald Martinez

North Carolina, coming off of a national title, has been in a bit of a funk over the course of the last two weeks. They’ve lost three of their last four and are still trying to figure out what their backup point guard situation is going to be.

Oh, and they’ve doing all of that as they get ready to host Duke in Chapel Hill on Thursday night.

UNC needs to be as focused as possible. No distractions. No unnecessary media-driven dust-ups. Nothing like, you know, saying that N.C. State isn’t actually a rival.

Right, Joel Berry?

“I don’t necessarily treat that as a rivalry,” said Berry of the Wolfpack. “When you talk about a rivalry, you always talk about Duke-North Carolina. That’s the biggest one. I love being a part of the Duke-Carolina rivalry, but NC State, I just don’t consider that being a rivalry — we just don’t like them. But it’s not a rivalry like Duke and North Carolina.”

I’m sure N.C. State fans are going to take this well.

There’s no way that Berry is going to be bombarded on social media with reminders that the Wolfpack won in Chapel Hill just 10 days ago. And there is absolutely zero possibility of Wolfpack students unleashing a torrent of signs and vulgarities at Berry with the Tar Heels make their return trip to Raleigh this weekend.

This will probably all just be totally forgotten by dinner time tonight.