Slump Sports Blogger
College basketball is one of the most exciting sports America has to offer. From heated conference rivalries, to rooting for the underdog in March Madness, the sport has a lot to offer fans of any age. The highlight of every college hoops season has to be filling out a bracket and watching as a few Cinderella stories singlehandedly ruin brackets across the nation and watching who comes out as the top dog among the field of 64. However, the greatest excitement comes during the regular season, in ACC conference play to be exact. Duke-UNC is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of college basketball; it’s always a spectacle of talent on the court, and a fight for bragging rights between the Cameron Crazies and the Chapel Hill faithful. This is a rivalry that can be enjoyed by a fan of any school, and it’s a shame we only get to experience it twice a year (but three if we’re lucky). Duke-UNC is the best rivalry across all sports, and here’s why:
In the last 91 meetings, Duke holds the edge at 46-45 over UNC. A measly twelve points separates the two teams over these 91 meetings. What other rivalry can you say that for?
-March Madness Presence
Thirteen years straight, Tobacco Road sent a team to the Final Four. From 1988 to 2001, either Duke or North Carolina were present in the Final Four, except in 1996. Among those appearances, Duke won three titles (with two more coming since), and North Carolina won once (also adding two more since). It’s clear to say both teams are elite, especially in the big dance.
-Hall of Fame Coaching
Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams are two of the best coaches to ever call the shots. Coach K boasts eleven Final Four appearances (four national titles) and Williams not far behind with seven (two national titles). The two coaches are also first and second in thirty-win seasons, first round draft picks, and NCAA tournament wins among active coaches. They not only get it done on the court, but off the court as they work to develop their players into better men. Two basketball geniuses dueling it out make this rivalry truly special.
-America’s Most Hated
It seems like Duke always has that one guy that just grinds your gears. From Christian Laettner to J.J. Reddick, and most recently Grayson Allen, Duke always has one of those guys on the roster. It brings an added hatred to college basketball’s most notable rivalry.
Ten miles separate these enemies and the two legendary arenas. Let’s start with UNC; located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the Dean Smith Center (named after the legendary coach) houses 21,750 rowdy Tar Heel fans, and the first game played in the stadium just happen to be top ranked UNC vs third ranked Duke. UNC won that game 95-92, keeping rivalry alive. Next, we go to Durham, North Carolina, where Cameron Indoor Stadium packs 9,314, including the greatest student section in the nation, the Cameron Crazies. The Camron Crazies are responsible for changing free throw distractions forever with the legend of the Speedo Guy which was put to use in 2003 and led to Jackie Manuel missing both free throws (Duke later won that game). It’s hard to beat the atmosphere in this rivalry.
Duke-UNC is the best rivalry sports has to offer. You just can’t beat the atmosphere, the coaching prowess, the post-season presence, and all of the close calls.