UNC vs. Duke: Again the Rivalry Shows Why its Second to None


UNC vs. Duke: Once again, the rivalry shows why the best college basketball is played in one state.

……………………… North Carolina

Besides the fact that UNC lost, the overall all game was an Instant Classic. Let’s not take away from the fact that the Heels let Duke finish the game on a 12-3 run to steal a win. As improbable as that win seemed with, around five minutes left, it still happened.  Shocked as many watching on television as appeared with their jaws dropped in the Smith Center. All I kept thinking was “don’t let this (expletive) kid win the game, don’t let his comments before the game come true, not in Chapel Hill, please no!” Austin Rivers always has plenty to say but prior to the game was telling those who would listen HE would impact this game.  Well, he sure did. Rivers may have forever etched his name in the rivalry book between the two teams. A book that now can define college basketball in the state of North Carolina.

It wasn’t until I moved here to North Carolina that I fully realized the impact the rivalry has not only on the state but nationally. Knowing how and where I grew up, UNC jerseys are worn with pride from Oregon to Maine (unfortunately Duke too). ESPN and major cable networks help by only featuring big name games, regardless of the opponent every chance they get. Not that it’s a bad thing for Tar Heel fans. It’s also obviously what the fans and the country overall want to see. In fact, most would say that major programs like Duke and UNC basketball are what drive up ratings on TV for networks. ACC basketball overall, and the basketball played in NC will always be a driving force nationally because of the tradition already built along with the continued success and future that seems brighter than ever.

Then in state, I love seeing that each and every team has a loyal following (at least in their eyes).  Everywhere you go you see families divided, or couples who obviously do not match in their college team outfits. It may be a UNC mother taking her Blue Devil student daughter back to Durham after the summer break loaded up in the Tar Heel Blue family van. Of course the daughter hates it, she can’t stand pulling up anywhere in that decked out “Psycho T” jersey trim fan-van.

This happens with NC State, Wake Forest, and pretty much any other major college sports program in North Carolina that has a loyal following.

That was also something that jumped out to me. The fact that there are so many prominent college basketball programs in one state. There is an in-state rivalry every way you look when it comes to college basketball in NC. Though the level of talent may be different at each school, each has still seen success at times. Whether it may be through one individual player (Tim Duncan, WF) or as a team, most in the state have a positive or two to their credit. Not to say that Wake has only had one successful player, that is far from the truth. I have been amazed that some of the teams mentioned have not been more successful, though now specifically Wake Forest and NC State appear to be headed in the right direction. That along with Syracuse and Pittsburgh coming to the ACC will only make the level of competition that much better. Without question this would make the ACC one of the best, if not the best, basketball conferences top to bottom.

Not only did the game played on Wednesday renew the always entertaining rivalry between the Heels and Blue Devils.  The game also showed me just how lucky the state of North Carolina is when it comes to College Hoops. Being a college basketball fan like myself, I couldn’t imagine a better place to live and constantly watch exciting games day after day. The fact that some say it’s a down year in the ACC just makes me laugh after watching that game last night.
Let’s not forget UNC will get a chance at redemption March 3 @ Duke to close out the regular season. Rematch will be at Cameron Indoor Stadium tip @ 7 pm EST.

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