GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — They’re fighting words, but North Carolina is ready to defend them.

Gov. Roy Cooper has issued a proclamation declaring North Carolina “The Center of the College Basketball Universe” ahead of a historic NCAA men’s basketball Final Four matchup featuring an iconic North Carolina rivalry.

“North Carolina is home to an unmatched tradition of college basketball excellence, including the greatest college basketball rivalry in the nation, the University of North Carolina Tar Heels versus the Duke University Blue Devils,” said Cooper. “The stakes are high on Saturday and fans across the nation will get a firsthand look at two programs that have for decades competed fiercely and divided the loyalty of family and friends, but made our state proud.”

The stakes are at historic highs for both teams.

For Duke, Coach K is within arms reach of a storybook ending to his final season as a head coach. He already holds the record for the most wins in NCAA history, and he set the record for most Final Four appearances in a career with 13 following the Blue Devils’ 78-69 win over Arkansas on Saturday.

For UNC, the Tar Heels will be making the 21st Final Four appearance in the Final Four in program history. This adds one more Final Four appearance to the record already for the most earned by a single program. It also proves to fans that the team’s fighting spirit won’t be following Hall-of-Fame head coach Roy Williams out the door after his retirement last year.

The two titans will face off on April 2.

“Across the world, fans know the legend of tobacco road basketball,” Cooper said. “This weekend, our state’s favorite pastime will be showcased on the biggest stage. I’m a proud Tar Heel and I know firsthand that the state of North Carolina is the center of the college basketball universe.”

But it’s not just these two teams that earn North Carolina the title, according to Cooper.

The proclamation cites the state’s long history in college basketball, including the basketball legends who came out of North Carolina: Stephen Curry, Tim Duncan, Grant Hill, David Thompson, Chris Paul, Earl Monroe, James Worthy and Michael Jordan.

Cooper also boasts an excellent 2021-2022 season for the state. Fayetteville State University’s men’s team won the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Championship. North Carolina State University’s women’s team won its third consecutive ACC Tournament Championship and made it to the Elite 8 in the NCAA Tournament. The UNC women’s team made it into the sweet 16. And Wake Forest University’s men’s team included ACC Coach of the Year Steve Forbes and ACC Player of the Year Alondes Williams.