The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Blue vs. Blue: Carolina-Duke Rivalry

Yankees vs. Red Sox? Cowboys vs. Redskins? Try again. America’s best rivalry is a college affair: Duke vs. UNC Chapel Hill. For the second time this season, North Carolina and Duke renew a celebrated basketball rivalry on March 9 — this time at the Dean Dome.

“It’s a dream to have basketball loaded so heavily in the triangle,” Duke Women’s Basketball Head Coach Joanne McCallie told The Guilfordian during a phone interview. “It’s why I have come to Duke. The tradition and the history, you live it.”

While the competition from both sides of the rivalry is equally fierce, the two schools have very different backgrounds.

UNC intensely recruits blue-chip players who often skip multiple years of eligibility for the NBA draft.

“Duke recruits players who stay over the years,” said senior and Duke fan Lamar Cassell. “So you have to admire how the Blue Devils still remain extremely competitive, breaking in the top 10 year after year.”

Speaking of the Devil, Duke has turned up the heat on UNC in the last few decades, blowing out the Tar Heels by more than 20 points on nine occasions since 1988. Come March 9, nine occasions may just become 10.

Blowouts don’t make rivalries — the nail-biters and hair-raisers do. Here again, the Blue Devils show their horns, having defeated the Tar Heels in eight of the last 11 games decided by five points or fewer.

Remember Austin Rivers?

The Blue Devils took on a fifth-ranked Tar Heel team during the regular season last year. Up by 11 with five minutes remaining, the Tar Heels looked to be cruising to a sure win.

As if destiny itself interrupted, Duke staged an electrifying comeback, which culminated in Austin Rivers burying “The Shot.”

“During the game, we were constantly left behind by UNC’s offense,” said Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology Kenny Kuo. “But then we made the buzzer shot, and I just couldn’t believe my eyes.”

The Blue Devils tasted sweet victory again this season at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

“Tonight (Feb. 13), number 8 plays number 30,” said junior Duke student Daniel Wood. “Oh wait, those are academic rankings. My mistake. #3 Duke is going to crush an unranked ‘Tar Hole’ team.”

To the delight of Wood and Cameron Crazies, Duke outscored UNC 44–35 in the second half to secure a gritty five-point victory in their first meeting of the year.

Behind the thrill and flair of this rivalry is the enduring, but unmistakable hand of Duke’s legendary head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Many would argue that if basketball is religion, Coach K is nothing short of God.

“We quite literally worship Coach K at Duke,” said first-year Duke student Lily Zerihun in an email interview.

“There are a many great coaches out there, but Coach K’s character and dedication is unmatched,” said Pat Thompson, director of Duke basketball operations. “Duke basketball is like Coach’s family.”

While it often seems like everyone just loves to hate Duke, an unrivaled coach and fan base alike have propelled Duke into the spotlight of NCAA basketball.

“Cameron Crazies are very much like Coach K in the sense that they’re extremely dedicated,” said Thompson.

“The intense school spirit gives us a very strong sense of community,” said first-year Duke student Lily Huang. “Although I haven’t really been into sports, I’m so excited that we beat UNC.”

Beat UNC. Heck yes.

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