If you listen closely even now, you can tell that the Duke and Michigan teams from 1991-1993 really didn’t like each other.
Chris Webber was a big Duke target but chose Michigan and the Fab Five. He wasn’t too thrilled with Duke after losing to them twice in the previous season, once in Ann Arbor, when Michigan nearly got Duke, and again in the national championship when Duke blew the title game open in the second half. And Jalen Rose really disliked Duke for a number of reasons. He particularly disliked Grant Hill because Hill had the things that Rose didn’t: a stable, prosperous home and a loving mother and father.
Rose’s father, ‘60s star Jimmy Walker, abandoned his mother before Jalen was born and he never met him in person.
He didn’t think much of Christian Laettner or Bobby Hurley either, though he admitted that he thought they were soft until he played against them and found out otherwise.
For their part, Duke had respect for the talented young Michigan team, but not for their chippiness. There was a sense that Michigan had undeserved arrogance as opposed to say Laettner, who had more than earned his.
After losing to the Blue Devils in their unprecedented run to the 1992 title game, with five freshmen starting, the Fab Five talked smack about Duke’s “stealing their championship” and how they would get their payback in Cameron.
This did not go over well in Durham and over the summer, there was a sense of....well, Duke was ready. Cameron was ready. And when Michigan arrived, the Wolverines could not deal with it. Duke - and Cameron - ate them alive, winning 73-63.
This was one of the most fun, intense and best games ever in Basketball Paradise. We may have linked to it before but some things are worth bringing back up every now and then and this is one of them.