10 Reasons Why UNC Duke is the Best Rivalry in Basketball

9 of 11

Jan 5, 2015; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels assistant coach Steve Robinson and head coach Roy Williams bow their heads during a moment of silence for former ESPN announcer and North Carolina Tar Heels alumni Stuart Scott before the game at Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Mutual Respect

This rivalry rocks because there is a great amount of mutual respect between the two teams. Duke fans have much more class than N.C. State fans, who had the nerve to vandalize the Smith Center last season. Duke fans may hate Tar Heels, but they do respect the Tar Heels.

The best example of this mutual respect is the initiative by a former Duke mascot for all Duke fans to wear a shirt with the words DEAN instead of DUKE across the front. I will let Luke DeCock of the News and Observer tell the story…

"Even after his blog post suggesting a Duke-themed T-shirt to honor Dean Smith received nearly 50,000 hits, there was a point where Aaron Kirschenfeld feared it would never come to fruition. The Duke graduate and North Carolina graduate student had a great idea, but he sensed it was going to fade into cyberspace. “The idea gained so much traction that I just assumed it would happen,” Kirschenfeld said Monday. “And I’ll admit to being naive in that regard, or perhaps hopeful that someone else would take it up.” When North Carolina visits Duke on Wednesday, hundreds of Duke fans will be wearing what at first glance might look like standard blue, block-letter Duke T-shirts. But instead of DUKE, the lettering will read DEAN. It’s a unique tribute to a man who helped elevate and define college basketball’s greatest rivalry, and it’s only happening because of an equally unique collaboration between someone who once wore the Blue Devils mascot costume and a pair of North Carolina grads whose Tar Heels apparel company, Thrill City, is backed, in part, by a former North Carolina player.”"

That is a really cool story and an example of the mutual respect between the two programs.

Next: Reason #9 -- Always a good matchup