The boys in Durham are playing a new style of Duke basketball. They’re more athletic than I’ve seen them in years. This year the Blue Devils have rejuvenated the 2-3 zone and completed their destiny to pull-up 3s in fastbreak opprtunities. In other words, they have held their own this year. With the loss of Josh McRoberts [to the NBA], their post presence hasn’t approached a big problem. Yet.
Duke is set to renew its longstanding rivalry with North Carolina next Wednesday night. As far as the college basketball world knows, it’s Dick Vitale’s return to the announcing table for arguably the greatest rivalry in sports history, baby! With that said, is this the most exciting Duke/Carolina matchup since the 2004 season?
When you think of ACC basketball, I would bet you that you more than likely think of Duke and North Carolina before you think of any of the other teams from the conference. It’s just an impulsive mind act — nobody can help it. When you think of Duke and North Carolina, its rivalry in essence, it’s the light side (Carolina’s light baby blue) and the dark side (Duke’s provocative dark blue). People vie to hate Duke and Carolina. But fans of the two programs ignore the outside and look to within. When it’s all said and done, these teams are ACC brothers. But on the court, hatred is in existence more than ever.
The reason why this game could be the most exciting since 2004 is the fact that both teams have its stars. Following 2004 the Tar Heels lost Rashad McCants, Sean May, Raymond Felton and Marvin Williams. When 2005 passed by, Duke experienced the lost of J.J. Redick, Shelden Williams, Lee Melchionni and Sean Dockery.
With the 2007 season in effect, the Tar Heels have been anointed as the best team in the land, but are they really the best team? I haven’t paid a whole lot of attention to them this season as I have paid to Duke, but as far as I know they lack persistent play to keep them in a game entirely (speaking out of my ass). Duke, on the other hand, albeit second half letdowns, has played with moxie and speedy skill. They run, shoot basketballs and play in-your-face-brotha defense.
With all the sports talk being focused on the Super Bowl, I can’t blame anyone for not talking much about the upcoming Duke/Carolina matchup, but once Monday hits, people better be ready to digest that football crud and point to Wednesday because this game has the making to be one of the more exciting games of the year — which could be said about every Duke/Carolina game every year. But this year there’s something different.
Duke has a fire inside of them this season that North Carolina hates, and it’s beautiful.