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More On Duke Bashing

We're not exactly neutral parties in this discussion, but the conversation
over Duke bashing or Duke hating, whatever you'd like to call it, is getting

First of all, it is a compliment. No one hates Virginia Tech
basketball. People hate Duke because they fear Duke, ultimately.
That's cool. It's really useful in fact to have a certain level of
animosity. It suggests a certain swagger.

But we'll say that Coach K is right, it has changed in some ways.

It gets a bit out of hand at times, like when Billy Packer, during the 2001
title game, said "the calls are going Duke's way!"

Only problem: this was after the second or third foul call. Not exactly
a trend.

Then there is the UVa radio announcer, who, after Coach K got his technical
in the ACC Tournament said "that's why Karl Hess is welcome in my golf
party!" That's not an exact quote, but it's pretty close. It's not
what you expect from a radio announcer, at least not an ACC announcer, but there
it is.

John Feinstein writes an article about this and is dismissed as a "Duke
apologist," but when Curry Kirkpatrick (father of, uh, film star Sage
Kirkpatrick) jobs Duke in a national magazine, no one points out he's a UNC man
through and through.

It's just different. There was a woman in Raleigh, a Seton Hall fan,
who stood up and yelled "That's why everybody hates Duke!" Krzyzewski, you have nothing to feel good
about! You didn't win this game! You stole it!"

Aside from the fact that most teams don't steal games by 30 points - you kind
of have to be really good anytime to win by 30 points - she kind of underscores
the nature of the beast.

The dislike has turned into a hatred, really beyond anything we can remember,
with the possible exception of Vegas in '91. When they came into the
Hoosier Dome, the distaste was just palpable. And their reaction, really,
wasn't that much different than that of Duke partisans today, other than the
contempt they had for the NCAA and the determination to be outlaws.

Is it unsettling at times? Yeah, it is. We get our share of it here at
times, with inarticulate rants from (mostly) Maryland and UNC fans.

But there's just nothing you can do about it. It's a byproduct of
immense success. At some point, people likely won't care about Duke
anymore, just like they didn't care in the mid-1970's. Until then, we
should enjoy it and, frankly, revel in it. It really puts Duke in a
separate category, and that's not the worst place to be, all things

Sure beats the alternative.