Wednesday, February 7th, 2007 at 3:12 pm  |  26 responses

Root For Duke?


by Ben Collins
Usually, at this point in the day each time this year, some obscure North Carolina newspaper tells us of some horror story that happened on the Duke campus in preparation for tonight’s matchup against UNC. Somebody wrote/drew something terrible/disgusting/hilarious on the football field. Cameron Indoor has increased security. Some kids are planning something really cool (like this) to make everyone’s day much harder. At the very least, the paper will run some tacky human interest story about how Blue Devil fans are wearing blue body paint to class that day.

This is the time-honored April Fools Day of basketball. The first time Duke and UNC face off signals mini Rivalry Day.

But this year? Nothing. The only thing that obscure newspaper — say, the Greensboro News-Record — has run is a reason why the women’s game is better than the men’s. Geez, that might be a harder shot than any hastily drawn nether-regions body part on the football field.

Weren’t these supposed to be the absolutely nutty, Philly-like Duke fans that merited that old Cameron Crazies nickname? And now you’re being out-insulted by a newspaper? This is Hansborough-McRoberts Part II and I haven’t seen any dirt on either of these guys.
Worse yet, UNC fans have yet to infiltrate the campus that is within walking distance of their own. Remember the Duke Lacrosse team, Tar Heels fans? Not to give you any ideas, but that’s a fastball down the middle in the Heckler’s Handbook.

All that, added to the Clemson clock massacre, some rehashed, year-old JJ Redick jokes, and the nation’s general distaste in the Duke, there should be enough collective vigor to at least know that the game is even on today.

But check the front page of The Four-Letter Word, unless you morally object to that sort of thing. For a network that was quick to promote Quite Frankly with Screamin’ A and ESPN Hollywood, there’s no mention of this thing.

So has this rivalry, at least for one year, officially jumped the shark? Is Duke so violently mediocre that the school has faded its way out of our public consciousness? Have the Dukies fallen so far that we officially feel bad sandbagging them? Is this the beginning of the end of this Duke hating era or just a yearlong aberration?

This rivalry day game may mean more than any midseason Duke-UNC matchup ever has. It’s not just for the superficial, hazing-ritual reasons listed above either. This game, especially if Dick Vitale and Brent Musberger pick up on how Duke will be a lackluster 5-5 in ACC play with a loss, could dissuade any potential recruit. This could make up his mind. Duke is on the downswing; teams like UNC and USC (playing UCLA tonight) are the future of college basketball.

And that, in and of itself, is bad for college basketball.

So root for Duke tonight. You may feel your soul burning a bit, but it’s a necessity. Cheer on the Joker to make sure there’s more Batman movies.

Root for the bad guy to save the rivalry.

Or at least let the Cameron Crazies do their thing. Let them make it so loud that Ty Lawson can’t call plays. Let them force Tyler Hansborough into a fit. Make one of their 100 freshman scream their way to a technical.

Then we’ll see if this UNC team is too young to figure out how crazy this arena can be. If only for the hope that the rivalry will still be there when they graduate.

Other than UNC-Duke, A college basketball fan would watch all of these tonight. Really, he would:

- USC-UCLA. I’ll have a USC Upset Special, hold the Mayo.

- Georgetown-Louisville. Pitino’s got this team in the Top 25 with a win tonight, even after that atrocious start.

- Kansas-Kansas State, Oklahoma-Oklahoma State. On the off-chance that they throw down the farming equipment and go all European rioty on us. I’ve always wanted to see that.

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  • http://slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    F*ck em. F*ck Krzskdkskoozki and everyone who looks like him. F*ck duke.

  • http://slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Nothing personal, Ben. I’m just saying, worrying about “the good of college basketball” is one of the horsesh*t reasons given by many for justifying the NBA age minimum. If you (I mean this as a general “you,” not you personally) really love the game, you shouldn’t need Kevin Durant to go to Texas for a year, and there are plenty of other worthwhile reasons to watch college hoops even if (please, God) Duke sucks. But that self-righteous hypocrite coach of theirs needs to be humbled; I saying this knowing it’s probably too late, and having no particularl love for UNC. I just like to watch duke lose, and I hope they lose tonight. By 40.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ben Collins

    No, Ryan, I definitely see your point. I hate those d-bags more than anybody you’ll know. But I hate bagging on the futile and they’re going to border on ACC irrelevance if they lose this and another in the next two weeks. That takes a whole bunch of fun out of the NCAA tournament, seeing them get a 9-seed and lose in the first round. I’m drooling just thinking about selection day.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    I think “Hansborough-McRoberts” neatly sums up why most people don’t care. Yeesh.

  • http://slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    The only thing more fun than Duke losing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament would be Duke losing in the first round of the NIT tournament. And that would be HILARIOUS.

  • Matthew

    Carolina will not lose 2 in a row. Period. Duke is mediocre this year and even though my horse (UK) isn’t in this race, I hope UNC pounds Duke at home. And one more thing, eff Christian Laettner.

  • H to the izzo

    The only thing more fun than watching Duke losing in the first round of the NIT is watching Duke lose in the National championship game by a point by a three point heave from the opposing free throw line-hasn’t happened yet but it better-and then watching Krzskdkskoozki cry

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    Oh yeah, and I wouldn’t root for Duke if they were playing the Nazis from “Raiders Of The Lost Ark.”

  • http://slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Thanks for spelling his name right, izzo.

  • http://slamonline.com Sam Rubenstein

    Duke vs. the Kentucky team from Glory Road?

  • H to the izzo

    Kentucky easily-they had Pat Riley and Adolph Rupp’s wife was nice wasn’t she and I don’t know about Krzskdkskoozki’s wife but go Kentucky and Ryan is there any other way to spell it? Coach K doesn’t deserve as many names as Wally Szcerbuhbrufgjsiak

  • Kene

    …dang…personally, i’ve never understood the rabid hate that possesses the average sports fan when it comes to Duke. They always play hard, and generally handle themselves well in spite of some pretty unwarranted hateration. The most annoying part is that most ppl don’t like Duke, not because they have any real grudge against the team, but simply because its cool not to like Duke. Its cool to root against Coach K. Well I say FRACK THAT! LOL..I’m prolly losing slamonline coolpoints right now, but I can’t help it. I like Duke…I like ‘em a lot. We’re feeling our way through right now, but we’ll be aight. Enjoy the slump while it lasts cause it won’t last long. It never does. GOOOOOO DUKE!!

  • H to the izzo

    Duke vs. Michael Richards?? no winner here really

  • Kene

    ..haters, haters…..everywhere,…haters.

  • H to the izzo

    I have a legit reason for hating Duke,I live in Ireland and just to get the channel that shows College I have to pay out an extra 20euro on top of the whatever crappy amount I’m already paying for satelite,and for this I get at least two Duke games a week no matter who else is playing at the same Ohio State v Florida who cares lets watch Duke v UNC-Greensboro in the louthsomely plain Cameron Indoor-even the name screams vanilla-all this makes me a sad panda so to say my hate for Duke is trying to be cool is insulting

  • jj redick

    go duke!

  • Kene

    ….dude, your crappy satellite network provider is more to blame for that than Duke though…i’m just saying

  • J R

    nc > duke tonight, duke choked, f duke, and f Krzskdkskoozki. and im a duke hater cause im a nc fan. if i wasnt i would get shot.

  • kevin

    Duke is AWESOME with a capital A BABY!

  • H to the izzo

    Anybody else notice that JJ Redick is getting a chance to play with the Magic recently and doing well?Its good to see-pity he went to Duke

  • Self Hating White Guy

    I hate white people.
    Like Slam magazine, I root against all white basketball players to make sure people know that I am not a racist (re: angelic black people) for PC reasons. God bless college campuses filled with self-hating people like myself.

  • Ben

    Something to laugh:


    …have fun!!!

  • http://www.slamonline.com j-frizo

    duke sucks this year what u mean vote for them vote for unc

  • iceman7215

    i live in north carolina so i like duke. ryan jones, you need to go screw yourself

  • Worm

    I just wanna say this. I hate duke and unc! Wisconsin Badgers all the way!

  • sl balla

    duke needs athletes(period)