Good morning friendos, it’s that much-anticipated time for Duke vs. Carolina’s first matchup of the year. You can just smell it in the air - the rank stench of Devils coming to town. Over the course of the day we’ll be rolling out a bit more analysis from the Duke side about what they think the reasons behind UNC’s struggles are, as well as perspectives from both sides of the rivalry about what this game means to each team. But to whet your appetite until then, feast on this bevy rivalry-related links from across the blogosphere and beyond.
- The News & Observer’s nicely put-together Head-to-Head page has a lot of solid content, including remembering Duke’s top Tar Heel killers and vice-versa. I had forgotten how unbelievably good Jason Williams was against the Heels, scoring 32 or more three times against the Heels and averaging over 22 ppg and 5 apg versus UNC. Carolina’s usual suspects include Hansbrough and Jordan, naturally - anyone they’re leaving out?
- Bleacher Report has a few different takes on the game, including Justin McTeer positing that this game could signal a shift in the rivalry (I wouldn’t go that far - you’ve seen next year’s recruiting class, right?) and a nice piece by Barking Carnival on how Duke has changed up their defensive scheme to better fit this team’s personnel.
- The Daily Tar Heel, UNC’s student newspaper, also has a page dedicated exclusively to the rivalry, including Ian Williams’ oft-referenced column “Why I still hate Duke.” Still a fun read.
- Duke’s official athletic site has a rundown of the top Duke-UNC games that took place in Chapel Hill - and they were kind enough to admit that some of them were even Carolina wins!
- Duke’s news office brings us an interesting piece on how basketball fans watching Duke-Carolina matchups are helping research about emotional memory. Hopefully there’s a lot of crying to be done in the Duke research labs tomorrow.
- Carolina March has a nice response to Bart’s analysis of Coach K and Duke’s bench woes, noting that the pace Duke plays at isn’t quite enough to cover up their weaknesses inside that get exposed when Plumlee and Zoubek get extended minutes.
- The Rafters on one of the many reasons we hate Duke: flopping. And yeah, we know Tyler did it some, too. Shut it, Dookies.
- Our humble blog gets a little shout-out from the boys at the NY Times - thanks gentlemen, hope you come back and keep reading.
And finally, also from the Times, a little something for even you sports-haters out there (seriously, what are you doing reading this blog?): a great piece from David Brooks on extolling a few of the virtues of big-time college sports in our society, that while seem can seem like a crude Roman spectacle from afar, it’s one of the few large-scale community-building exercises we still have. And that’s why we’re all here, isn’t it? Joined together by a mutual love of college basketball and a mutual hatred for a team eight miles down the road. Good to have you all here - though slightly less so if you’re a Duke fan (I kid, I kid… sort of).