Preview: UNC at Hansbrough Indoor Stadium

It happens every time UNC and Duke meet. That true feeling of disgust and loathing that can only live in the depths of one’s being. Where it dwells before being conjured up two, sometimes even three, times a year no one knows. I don’t like to think that I hate anyone, but hating an idea, an institution, is another thing.

But this hate. It make you feel something. Truly feel…alive. To steal from Will Blythe’s wonderful eponymous memoir, to hate like this is to be happy forever.

Growing up in the middle of North Carolina, I never understood how people could align themselves with such a school. In the land where college sports rule, why choose to lend your support to a private university that hides behind faux gothic stylings and pretension. You don’t have to be a UNC fan, I never mean to act the collegiate missionary, I don’t mean to convert you, but in a state filled with PUBLIC universities, and very good public universities at that, how is that with no former affiliation would you decide to champion a university the like of Duke?

There’s reasons I hate Duke. My own. Not just because I was raised a Carolina fan either. It pains me to admit that I do respect Coach K. He has proven to be a good coach, both on the collegiate and Olympic level. Do I like the guy? Of course not. The level of hatred far surpasses the level of respect, but it’s there. For the rest of the program, I have no respect.

Just look at the current crop of Duke players. Turncoats. All of them. Not an ounce of honor between the bunch. Just a group of sellswords likely to drop their royal blue banners and pick up another at any time. [Sorry, I’ve been reading a lot of George R.R. Martin].

Austin Rivers – Previously committed to Florida. Reopened recruitment late to Duke, UNC and others. Everyone knew where he was going. Only Duke was right for someone like that. A spoiled coach’s son reneging his prior commitments in search of greener pastures. Please.

Seth Curry – Piggy-backing off his brother’s success. Recruited by small Liberty University. Has very good freshman season during brother Stephen similarly breakout year and instead of playing with chip on his shoulder at small school like brother jumps on first bandwagon to pull through. This is obviously K’s parade.

Plumlee brothers (all three, mostly the older two) – On father Perky’s advice (Yeah, their dad’s name is Perky. Would you take a grown man name Perky’s advice?) transfer to small Christ School in Arden, N.C. from their home in Warsaw, Ind. because father was upset with coach that older players were getting more playing time. Really? You pull three division-one recruits away from their home in high school and place them in the land of college basketball because you’re that mad that kids who have worked just as hard to earn a spot on the same basketball team are taking away some of your precious children’s minutes? This also feels not only desperate, but also like a ploy to stuff the stat sheet for potential college recruiters. Hell yeah these kids are going to look great in high school, look who they’re playing against? K seemed to fall for it.

Anyway, I hate Duke. I think they’re all awful. I don’t understand people who cheer for them. I don’t understand that on UNC’s ESPN Profile it has only 9,780 fans to Duke’s 12,730. I don’t understand how this team is ranked no. 3 in the nation. I don’t understand how the Plumlees and Ryan Kelly ever expect to compete with Tyler Zeller and John Henson. I won’t accept anything put pure destruction by the hand of Harrison Barnes. I need Kendall Marshall to give Duke a little of what he gave NC State.

If Duke somehow pulls another win out of its collective, gaping asshole, a small part of me will die, as it always seems to. When UNC smothers Duke in Hansbrough Indoor Stadium tonight though I will feel alive. And it will be glorious.

Prediction: UNC 82, Duke 78