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The Afterglow & The Best Devil We've Seen

After several days the glow from Saturday still hasn't worn off. No, we don't
mean the game, strictly speaking, but the Crazies and how they truly elevated
their performance.  After thinking about it, and very seriously, it ranks
up there with any Cameron afternoon we can remember.  Our benchmark is the
Maryland game of Jim Spanarkel's freshman year, when Maryland was sort of where
Duke is now and Duke was about where State has been lately, down for several
years, and not a force in the conference (that seems to be on the verge of changing, losing streak aside).  At the end of the game, little
used sub Terry Chili went to the line for critical free throws and put the game
away.

It was particularly dramatic for while it was clear early that year that
Spanarkel was a special player, he had leg cramps several times that year and
had them late in the Maryland game as well.

When the game was over, the students stormed the court, and there were people
climbing the rims and backboards, and there was a magnificent picture of the
Devil, sitting on the rim, with his pitchfork in the air in a moment of complete jubilation. No way
was Duke supposed to beat a John Lucas team.

Saturday's game lacked the sensational tension that that game had, but
nonetheless, the Crazies put on a performance the likes of which we haven't seen
in years. It was, we think, the equal of the Maryland game long ago, and will go
down in legend as one of the most inspired performances ever.  Absolutely
sensational.

Speaking of the earlier game, at that point, Duke had a humanoid Devil - the
head was simply a cloth mask. Somewhere along the way, it became a TV Devil,
with a Big Head, and while it's good for TV, it does to some extent limit the
physicality of what the Devil can do. There's no way in hell the Big Head Devils
is climbing up on the rim any time soon.

That said, we feel we should give heavy props to the current Devil. 
Whoever it is brings more personality, more charm, and a greater willingness to
engage the audience than anyone we can remember for a long time.  Whoever
you are, you have done a great, great job as the Devil. You've been superb.

As we said, the Crazies really rediscovered a vital part of their identity
Saturday. We hope that the University will allow them to be a big part of the
team in the ACC and beyond. There were a lot of complaints from students last
year - they felt they were put too far away from the court in the NCAAs. While
the value of the seats up close is clear, the value of binding student to alma
mater is equally worthy.  No one knows when the next Melinda Gates might
come along, or when a Dukie might start a brilliant business or cure cancer or
AIDS or something equally stunning, but the student body is wildly talented.
Only part of that is on display in Cameron.  We hope the University will
use basketball to cultivate relationships with these kids. Some of them are
going to do incredibly things, and there are your future donors and
contributors.