This might be the greatest rivalry in all sports, not just college basketball. As Mike Krzyzewski once said about the uniqueness of the two school's geography, “Forget the Big Ten ... we share the same dry cleaners ... There is no other area like this. It produces things, situations, feelings that you can’t talk to other people about. Because they have no understanding of it.”
TV analyst Dick Vitale often talks about why Duke-Carolina is No. 1. As he told MSNBC.com, “Because of the great tradition of both schools, the fact that they are about eight miles apart, the great basketball environment on both campuses and the fact that every game is meaningful in their own conference and on the national scene.”
Carolina holds a 125-96 advantage in the competition that has been an annual even since 1920 — but Duke has won 16 of the last 20 games. Both teams are among the sport’s most accomplished, too. Duke has won three NCAA titles, including in 2001, and been in 12 Final Fours. North Carolina has won three national championships and appeared in 15 Final Fours.
And with former Kansas coach Roy Williams — a Tar Heel graduate and former assistant — taking over UNC before the 2003-04 season, the series took on a renewed vigor with Carolina’s national resurgence.
So many games, so little cyberspace. There’s three games long-time observers usually talk about and last year's instant classic.
In the 1984 ACC tournament semifinals, Mike Krzyzewski finally established himself as an ACC presence, guiding Duke to a 77-75 victory over a team that featured Michael Jordan, Brad Daugherty, Sam Perkins, Kenny Smith and Matt Doherty.
Before that, Carolina laid claim to a double-overtime thriller, winning a ’74 regular season game, 96-92.
Grant Halverson / AP
Roy Williams has brought a new dimension to the Heels-Devils rivalry.
The last is the newest of the bunch, but just as memorable. In Williams’ first rivalry game during the 2003-04 season, the Tar Heels had No. 1 Duke on the ropes, but Chris Duhon drove the length of the floor in the final seconds for an 83-81 overtime victory.
North Carolina provided a game that their fans could finally rave about after recent struggles. Ranked No. 2 in the 2004-05 ACC regular-season finale, the Heels needed to beat the Devils to clinch their first outright title since 1993. They got it once freshman Marvin Williams converted a three-point play in the final seconds of a 75-73 win.
“They hate us,” former North Carolina guard Joseph Forte once said. “Just like we hate them.”
No wonder the famed Cameron Crazies will break into chants of “Go to hell, Carolina, go to hell,” at any time. The Crazies are at their best when the Tar Heels are in the house. Among their most “creative” works: Waving tongue depressors to taunt Michael Jordan; holding signs that called Mike O’Koren, who had a skin problem, “OXY-1000 Poster Child;” wearing makeshift halos and chanting “We beg to differ,” instead of the usual two-syllable expletive, whenever they disagreed with a call. They had been asked to clean up their act for Carolina after throwing panties and condoms the week before at a Maryland player who had been accused of a sex crime.
Carolina fans are known more for being cocky and arrogant — especially during the glory years of Dean Smith — than for being boisterous or clever.
CBT: Turning the page on the Mike Rice scandal, Rutgers hired Louisville's Julie Hermann as athletic director on Wednesday. But, Hermann has a prior scandal of her own.
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