clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

George Karl, Dahntay Jones Woofin' Already!

As everyone knows, the Big Rumble is coming up Wednesday.  In Denver, George Karl and Dahntay Jones are having some fun with the buildup.  But a few points if we might:

  • Dahntay, who has a players eye for detail that most of us lack, makes an intriguing comment when he says this: "They're fighting among themselves. I'm not worried at all. We're at home."  If that's true, then you can cancel the title party now.
  • Karl says: "Carolina is a better institution, a better university and also a better basketball program. The reputation of Duke is old. It's dusty. It's antiquated. It's dinosauric."  Not from where we sit. Duke is younger and institutionally brasher than UNC, a school founded in 1789, and has done far more in far less time.  What a bizarre rant.
  • It's almost as stupid as his suggestion that academics are "a tossup at best" between the two schools. Not quite: as Jones points out, Duke is universally rated as a better school academically than UNC.
  • "Karl said North Carolina, which won national titles with three coaches, in 1957 (McGuire), 1982, 1993 (Smith) and 2005 (Williams), has a much longer history of excellence than Duke, which won crowns in 1991, 1992 and 2001 under Krzyzewski."  He has a point here, sort of, but obscures the larger point:  with the exception of a dip in the early '70s and the early '80s, Duke has been a tremendous program since 1960, and they weren't awful before that.  They didn't get to be the fourth-winningest program of all time by chance.  It's also worth pointing out that UNC had a significant dip in the early '60s, after the point shaving scandal of that era, and that Dean Smith was not well regarded at that time (Art Heyman: "Dean Smith? He was the biggest joke around"). The program, in fact, was nearly killed.  UNC matched Duke's two dips with that one  in the '60s and the decay under Bill Guthridge and the collapse under Matt Doherty at the turn of the century.   Both Karl and, regrettably, Jones, overlook the phenomenally brilliant career of Vic Bubas.  The Bubas era stacks up against anything this side of Wooden.
  • For what it's worth, we'll take Duke's dips over UNC's.  Duke didn't get caught up in the massive scandal of the late 50's and early '60s, and the full extent of what happened under Matt Doherty has never been revealed.  The fact that quite a few of his players were ready to leave if he returned speaks volumes of course and what little was revealed was shocking.
  • Karl somehow overlooked this, but Makhtar Ndiaye is the Last Word in the Duke-UNC argument.  No one even bothers to try to defend his outrageous behavior after losing to Utah in the Final Four, and his contradiction of his own press release just made it that much more ludicrous.

Obviously we're Duke-centric, and we know that those of the Diminished Blue Persuasion will have different arguments.  They have a great program too.  But consider:  Duke three times went outside their "family" and came back with Bubas (who was previously a State assistant, something UNC could never, ever consider), Bill Foster, and Mike Krzyzewski.  Where is UNC turning after Williams, when they try to keep it in the family again?  Jeff Lebo? John Kuester?  Phil Ford?  George Karl?  Buzz Peterson? A soiled and elderly Larry Brown?

The tree is thinning out.  That's when things will get interesting, as they nearly did when they had to drill down to Doherty's level when Guthridge retired.  He was their last family option.