In 1978, Duke was good but no favorite to win the ACC Tournament. They did that though and after surviving Rhode Island in the first game 63-62, got past Penn in the next game, 84-80.
Next up was Villanova and Wildcats coach Bob Weinhauer made a classic mistake: he insulted his opponent, calling Duke “lumbering elephants” and insinuated that Duke couldn’t run (correction: Weinhauer was Penn’s coach and after Duke beat the Quakers, he made his pachyderm comment which motivated Duke vs. Villanova. We should have checked. Villanova was coached by Jack Kraft).
Well they could run and ended up running Villanova out of the gym in a complete joy ride of a game.
The high point of that game was a Kenny Dennard dunk: he got loose on a break (what else?) and took it in for a backwards dunk. It was a moment of sheer freshman exuberance and a high point in the history of Duke basketball. In terms of exuberance, we’re not sure it was matched until the iconic dunks by Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett in which each leaped in excitement at what the other was about to do.