February 7, 2006
Duke - UNC: The
The greatest rivalry in
college sports is renewed once again as the #2 Duke Blue Devils travel to
Chapel Hill to take on #23 North Carolina.
What makes it such a great
rivalry? Well, you have to have two storied programs, with a combined 27
Final Fours and 7 national titles. There are Hall of Fame coaches, legions
of great players – some of the greatest in basketball history. There are
thrilling, nail-biting games between the two that seems to happen on an
annual basis. But there’s one other reason that this rivalry towers above
These guys really hate each
There was Coach Dean Smith,
who responded to Duke fans holding up signs proclaiming “J.R. can’t Reid”,
by announcing the less-than stellar SAT scores of a couple of Duke players –
something that was not thought to be public information.
There was that epic game in
1984, when Coach Smith tried to sound the horn himself after not being
allowed to make a substitution. Except he pushed the wrong button, giving
North Carolina an extra twenty points on the scoreboard. Smith never
received a technical for his actions, and UNC went on to win – which led
Coach K to make his infamous “double standard” remark after the game.
Over the years, Duke (or “Dook”)
and Carolina fans would fight over everything from beer ads, the cleverness
of the Cameron Crazies, “wine and cheese” crowds at the Dean Dome,
academics, parties and everything in between.
Just the other night,
several football players from Duke and UNC were arrested for their role in a
bar brawl. Want to venture a guess as to what they were fighting about?
Throw in some all-time
classic games, and you know that this is a game not to be missed.
The amazing 8-0 comeback
with 17 seconds on the clock in 1974. The ACC Tournament semifinals in
1984, where Coach K exacted revenge on Dean Smith’s unique scoring method,
as well as a team with names like Jordan, Daugherty, and Perkins. A bloody
Eric Montross carrying his team to victory in 1992.
There was the ultimate
“throw-out-the-record books” game in 1995, when a Coach K-less Duke team
(due to back surgery) that was 0-7 in the ACC took the second-ranked Tar
Heels to double-overtime in a 102-100 thriller.
And of course, there were
the home and home games last season, that were decided by a combined 3
points (the home teams each won one).
North Carolina leads the
series 124-95, but Duke has won 15 of the last 18 contests, including 5 of
the past 7 at the Dean Dome.
Whether or not Coach K will
make it 6 of 8 remains to be seen. But the college basketball world will be
watching to find out.
Kevin McNeill's Poll
Position is a new weekly feature on CHN.