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The Big Game Approaches! (Updated)

Okay, the game is coming up fast, so let's just get down to it. Not to toot our own horn, but Julio did an audio interview with a major outlet which should be up at some point soon, along with Robbie Allen of Despite his blatant homerism and utter lack of rational objectivity (where does he get off thinking UNC is better than Duke!?) Robbie's not a bad sort, and he's a talented fellow, to boot. We're glad we've gotten to know him.

In other stuff relevant to the Really Big Shew coming up, WRAL has some teasers, including a sort of Top Ten list of Duke-UNC games. the best news: the 1974 game in Chapel Hill is so washed out you can't really see what happened, which is fine with us. We know someone who made the fatal mistake of not just watching that game with a UNC fan but urging him to come back in for the final seconds after he had given up on his team. We'll - uh- he'll - never live it down.

Needless to say, Gerald Henderson is going to get a thorough going-over from the fans after last year's run-in with Tyler Hansbrough's nose. And while we don't have a great desire to relive it, and you'll never convince UNC fans that he isn't Satan incarnate (usually they pin that on K, but for G they make a temporary exception) who did it on purpose, there are a few factual things we can all agree on, except for the severely deluded.

1) whether or not his fist was closed (it wasn't), or whether or not it was his elbow or forearm - again, it wasn't.

We were surprised when we looked it up on Youtube. It's not something that's fun to watch. Seeing a basketball player get up a bloody mess is disturbing, and you don't want to see your guys involved in it either.

But Zapruder time: check out this clip: if you look at the incident from the initial angle, it looks awful. And it looks bad from the 26 second mark, too. Shot from behind the collision, it looks like Henderson swings his elbow into Hansbrough's face.

But at the 31-34 second mark, you get a very different angle: Duke's Steve Johnson fouls Hansbrough from behind, pulling him to the right and turning his body towards Henderson, who is flying in from the right. The ball gets knocked loose and Hansbrough follows it as it heads towards Henderson, who jumps after Johnson has fouled and turned Hansbrough. It's pretty clear to see, from this angle and in slow-motion, that it wasn't a fist or an elbow that hit Hansbrough: it was fingers, an open hand. In fact, although it obviously wasn't, it almost looks like a glancing blow. The reality though is that a 6-4, 210 lb. guy who has leapt high into the air, if he's coming towards you, and down, that's a lot of mass and power focusing directly on your nose.

The other angles make it look much more vicious than it actually was. Was it a hard foul? Absolutely. Was it over the top? Yeah, probably so. But this angle makes it clear, at least to us, that it wasn't what it has been portrayed to be.

Not that it matters: Henderson/Hansbrough has become a Rorschach test and people see what they want to see and of course believe whatever they want, and UNC fans will always think the worst of Henderson. No one, though, can objectively watch this and claim it was a fist or an elbow.

So if any of your UNC friends, colleagues, neighbors, or, heaven help you, in-laws, want to focus on this, you can point these facts out to them. And when they ignore what the video shows and tell you that Henderson is a punk/thug/whatever, there are two words that can pretty quickly alter the conversation: Makhtar Ndaiye, or as we like to call him, The Living Last Word.

Laettner was a punk! Oh yeah? Well...Makhtar Ndiaye!

Duke lacrosse - something happened! Oh yeah? Well...Makhtar Ndiaye!

He's a really useful name to remember whenever a UNC fan gets out of control.

By the way, Ol' Roy Williams has made it really, really clear that it's a burden to talk to the ignorant yokels who call into his radio show, which raises the question: why bother? But bother he does, and heroically soldiers on. Here are some comments from Monday night's show, with lots on Duke of course, and a hilarious Bob Knight story:

"The first time they came in at Texas Tech, Wanda made some brownies and I took the brownies over to his hotel room and the next night he came into the game and said, ‘Where’s Wanda?’ I pointed over to her, and he said, ‘Where the blank is my ice cream?’ I’m dumbfounded."

As was poor Wanda, no doubt.