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Adam Gold

College basketball's only national rivalry

Posted February 13, 2013

DeLoss Dodds, the University of Texas director of athletics, recently undressed the sport of college basketball using the phrase "in shambles" to describe its current state. Dodds looked at stagnant (at best) television ratings, the perceived talent drain to the professional game and sagging attendance in general, and he aimed his barbs straight at the heart of college ball. Duke at UNC Inside the Rivalry: Duke vs. UNC Basketball

There are valid points to be made about the lack of upperclassmen in the sport. Five of the first 10 players selected in the most recent NBA draft were college freshmen. In all, 18 of the 30 selections last June had completed just one or two years of college, a record. In all, over the last five years, the college game has lost 33 of its best freshman players to the NBA, and if you don't think the quality of play has suffered at the top of the sport you haven't been paying attention.

Wednesday at 9 p.m. at Cameron Indoor Stadium, talk of the game in shambles, the decline in talent and sagging TV ratings and game attendance will garner nary a mention because the highlight of college basketball's regular season is here. Throw out all of those other classic match ups. Toss aside Michigan-Indiana, Louisville-Kentucky or Georgetown-Syracuse, great, traditional rivalries all. Duke versus North Carolina is the only national rivalry in college basketball.

The game airs at 9 p.m. on WRAL-TV and 620AM The Buzz. Stay tuned for postgame celebrations, coaches' press conferences and fan celebrations.

Of the five top-rated college basketball games since 1990 on ESPN, four of them are Duke-North Carolina match ups. When ESPN launched ESPN2, they did so by slotting this match up for the sister network, hoping to entice cable providers to make the new channel more available to basic subscribers. That Jeff Capel and Jerry Stackhouse provided two of the most memorable highlights in rivalry lore only adds to the mystique. Stackhouse authored the greatest dunk in series history, posterizing both Erik Meek and Cherokee Parks during a reverse, tomahawk, fast-break jam that has been shown on TV more than Duke games themselves. Capel's career highlight, for what it's worth, was in the same game, a running, 30-footer as the horn sounded that forced a second overtime. ncsuduke39 Rivalry picks: Duke hosts North Carolina

That the Blue Devils lost that game matters only to the participants. So too, may be the fact that those teams could not have been more different. Duke would win only two Atlantic Coast Conference games that season, the only sub-.500 conference mark for the Blue Devils in the last 30 years. Meanwhile, that North Carolina squad boasted two of the top four players selected in June's NBA draft and was headed for the Final Four. Still, Carolina's double-overtime win provided an indelible memory for anyone lucky enough to experience these games over decades of match ups.

No one needs to hold a benefit for college basketball. It isn't the NBA or the NFL or Major League Baseball, or even college football, which, due to the evil Bowl Championship Series, has become a national phenomenon.

Television ratings are lower because so many more games are available every night. Wednesday alone, there are 15 college basketball games available on my cable system. Fifteen!

More so than the professional behemoths and college football, college hoops is a regional game. The only exception to that rule is showcased when the Tar Heels and Blue Devils meet. And while it doesn't always produce the best game, it is always captivating and steeped with historical timestamps and everlasting memories.

Because it's more than just a game when two of the most decorated, most storied programs in the history of the sport, two programs separated by a mere eight miles of asphalt yet joined by decades of similarities, get together for the first time each year. It's an event: The unofficial start of bubble season, college basketball's version of a pennant race.

And best of all, it's ours. The rest of the nation is just lucky we're nice enough here in the south to share it with them. 

61 Comments

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  • Hokies94 Feb 14, 3:11 p.m.

    Every conference has its rivalries, but the Duke-UNC rivalry is probably tops. To say its the... View More

    — Posted by PanthersFan45

    I agree. Loads of rivalries all across the Country. Dean Smith began the run way back against Duke. Coach K has done the job to bring Duke to one of the top teams in America. These two schools recruit essentially the same players, and they have always banged heads. Look at the Nationl Championships between these two schools.

  • braves309 Feb 14, 7:50 a.m.

    I just want to say as a pack fan, we are on the rise and will continue to be. We are definitely... View More

    — Posted by braves309

    What exactly is "on the rise"? State is tied with UNC for 4th place in the ACC two... View More

    — Posted by rduguyhere

    Listen you, it takes time for a team that has sucked for 20 + years to get back to once they were the best in the ACC. But you don't know college basketball, your just some wal mart fan. But just so you know I know my basketball quite well. And I see this team only going to improve. You don't think improving from the last 20 years to now? Your a joke. It takes time for a team like us to improve, but you will see. Next year or two we win the national championship, TAKE IT TO THE BANK!!

  • Toddler10-21 Feb 14, 4:11 a.m.

    Glad its over. Didnt get my wish both teams didnt lose. Still love the shot by Rivers last year.

  • rduguyhere Feb 13, 11:33 p.m.

    I just want to say as a pack fan, we are on the rise and will continue to be. We are definitely... View More

    — Posted by braves309

    What exactly is "on the rise"? State is tied with UNC for 4th place in the ACC two thirds through the season. This is Moo U's best team in 30 years and UNC's worst team in 10 and 2nd worst in 30 years. Oh well, if that means you are on the rise, that's cool.

  • braves309 Feb 13, 7:47 p.m.

    I just want to say as a pack fan, we are on the rise and will continue to be. We are definitely better than the days under Sendek and Lowe. So just wait and I bet my life that in a year or two State will have their third national Championship. Maybe we get one this year who knows. But mark it down in the next year or two State will be national Champions.

  • ugottabkiddinme Feb 13, 7:30 p.m.

    Actually, in the 70s, it WAS UNC - State. Ask your daddy, Phil Ford, about it. K changed that. ... View More

    — Posted by Unc r Hypocrits

    i love hearing state and dook fans bickering back and forth about the rivalry. the common... View More

    — Posted by weakened back

    I would not say that you are the BEST program in America, but I can't argue that you are... View More

    — Posted by FatherofFour

    And don't forget the man that coached MJ:) I think Coach Dean Smith plays a part in this... View More

    — Posted by GunnyGoesArrrgh

    If it wasnt for Dean, Coach K would not even be a known coach....Dean owned him head to head and the players that couldn't play for Dean and the heels wanted to play against him ....enter K..in other words he got Deans sloppy seconds..lol but it worked out well for him

  • rfred16 Feb 13, 7:30 p.m.

    only reason it's national is TV...outside of that no one cares.

    — Posted by OGE

    ESPN, The Sporting News, and Sports Illustrated all disagree..Polls disagree, so I would just love to find out where you get your info from??

  • FatherofFour Feb 13, 7:25 p.m.

    i love hearing state and dook fans bickering back and forth about the rivalry. the common... View More

    — Posted by weakened back

    I would not say that you are the BEST program in America, but I can't argue that you are... View More

    — Posted by FatherofFour

    And don't forget the man that coached MJ:) I think Coach Dean Smith plays a part in this... View More

    — Posted by GunnyGoesArrrgh

    I will agree with that. I actually grew up a UNC fan until I attended NC State. It did not... View More

    — Posted by FatherofFour

    Actually, it was 1992, and the next night we got to see Jordan and the Bulls play a NBA game. It was considered his homecoming game and was also a highlight of our trip. For a good ole' country boy like myself, it was the trip of a lifetime.

  • FatherofFour Feb 13, 7:21 p.m.

    Actually, in the 70s, it WAS UNC - State. Ask your daddy, Phil Ford, about it. K changed that. ... View More

    — Posted by Unc r Hypocrits

    i love hearing state and dook fans bickering back and forth about the rivalry. the common... View More

    — Posted by weakened back

    I would not say that you are the BEST program in America, but I can't argue that you are... View More

    — Posted by FatherofFour

    And don't forget the man that coached MJ:) I think Coach Dean Smith plays a part in this... View More

    — Posted by GunnyGoesArrrgh

    I will agree with that. I actually grew up a UNC fan until I attended NC State. It did not take me long until my loyalty changed. When I was in high school though, my team attended a seminar at UNC where we got to see the team practice and afterwards, got to meet all of the players (1993 with King Rice, Eric Montrose, Rick Fox, etc.). I waited in line to get Dean's autograph. I asked him if I could have my picture taken with him. I was just going to be happy to be in the same frame, so I stood next to him and handed a friend my camera. To my surprise, he said "Sure, but let's go over here". He proceded to lead me to the fan seats on the sideline where he sat down, told me to sit beside him, and put his arm around my shoulder for the photo. I was in awe, and it is something that I will never forget. I have absolute respect for that man for doing such a thing for a young punk like myself when 100's of kids were waiting in line. I also have the ultimate respect for him as a person and as a coach. I was fortunate enough to see it first-hand, up-close and personal. Just thought you Heels fans might enjoy that story.

  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Feb 13, 7:09 p.m.

    Wouldn't State love to have a game like this. The third wheel they will always be.

    — Posted by FilPhord

    Actually, in the 70s, it WAS UNC - State. Ask your daddy, Phil Ford, about it. K changed that. ... View More

    — Posted by Unc r Hypocrits

    i love hearing state and dook fans bickering back and forth about the rivalry. the common... View More

    — Posted by weakened back

    I would not say that you are the BEST program in America, but I can't argue that you are... View More

    — Posted by FatherofFour

    And don't forget the man that coached MJ:) I think Coach Dean Smith plays a part in this storied rivalry.

More...

 

 

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Scoreboard
Local
4th
NCCU 21
NCA 14
 
Final
DAVID 72
UNC 90
 
1st
ECU 10
TULA 0
 
9:00pm Tonight
COL
CAR
9:30pm Tonight
DUKE
STAN
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
MIA
7:00pm Tonight
IND
PHO
7:30pm Tonight
NYK
PHI
7:30pm Tonight
CLE
TOR
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
DAL
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
SAC
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
BRK
8:30pm Tonight
MIL
WAS
9:00pm Tonight
UTA
NOP
Final
UGA 55
CHSO 9
 
Final
UF 52
EKU 3
 
Final
OSU 42
IND 27
 
4th
OKLA 41
KU 7
 
Final
UAB 18
MARS 23
 
Final
NEB 24
MINN 28
 
Final
PURD 14
NW 38
 
Final
ILL 16
PSU 14
 
Final
MSU 45
RUTG 3
 
Final
UCF 53
SMU 7
 
Final
SCAR 37
SALABAMA 12
 
Final
WKENT 45
TXSANANTO 7
 
Final
WAKE 6
VT 3
 
1st OT
ODU 24
LATU 24
 
4th
ARST 38
WASU 24
 
4th
CMICH 20
WMICH 32
 
4th
COLST 58
NMU 13
 
3rd
LALAF 13
APPST 21
 
3rd
BST 35
EMICH 13
 
Final
HOU 38
TULSA 28
 
2nd
UTAH 0
ARZ 7
 
2nd
FSU 10
BC 3
 
2nd
UNT 14
FIU 7
 
2nd
CLEM 14
GASTATE 0
 
1st
ND 3
LOU 14
 
1st
MICH 3
MD 0
 
1st
ARK 10
MISS 0
 
2nd
PITT 7
SYR 0
 
1st
ISU 7
TTU 14
 
1st
ECU 10
TULA 0
 
2nd
IOWA 3
WISC 3
 
1st
MEM 0
SFLA 0
 
1st
CAL 0
STAN 7
 
1st
NMST 0
LAMON 0
 
1st
ALA 0
WCAR 7
 
4:30pm Today
OREG
COL
7:00pm Tonight
MTST
FATL
7:00pm Tonight
UVA
MIAMI
7:00pm Tonight
AUB
SAMF
7:30pm Tonight
TENN
MIZZ
7:30pm Tonight
BAY
OKST
7:30pm Tonight
MSST
VANDY
8:00pm Tonight
UCONN
CIN
8:00pm Tonight
UCLA
USC
10:15pm Tonight
WYO
BSU
10:30pm Tonight
NEV
FRES
10:30pm Tonight
WASH
ORST
11:00pm Tonight
HAW
UNLV
Final
PRIN 68
INCWORD 79
 
Final
UMASS 68
ND 81
 
Final
GEOR 80
RMU 66
 
Final
LAS 59
PETE 50
 
Final
VT 63
APP 65
 
Final
IUPUI 71
BST 69
 
Final
WMICH 91
DRAK 75
 
Final
RICH 80
HIGH 56
 
Final
MSST 71
UTST 63
 
Final
CAMP 48
COL 53
 
Final
DAVID 72
UNC 90
 
Final
NIOWA 66
UNF 49
 
Final
CSNO 79
SAMF 72
 
Final
YALE 61
MLOWELL 63
 
2nd
NEV 50
CLEM 58
 
2nd
PROV 60
FSU 39
 
2nd
MARQ 68
NEOM 80
 
2nd
DET 40
SALA 23
 
2nd
TXSA 49
TXST 48
 
Half
CHIST 45
TRINCHRIS 25
 
1st
UMO 13
LIB 11
 
1st
BONA 10
CAN 9
 
1st
SAV 8
CLST 8
 
1st
NW 9
ELON 9
 
1st
RFLSH 7
MDES 6
 
1st
CARK 7
SEMIZ 16
 
1st
AFA 11
WSCO 5
 
4:30pm Today
YOUNG
LONG
4:30pm Today
MTST
SOUTH
 
4:30pm Today
ARKLR
UMKC
5:00pm Tonight
ABCHRIST
DUQ
 
5:00pm Tonight
WEBER
LSU
5:00pm Tonight
BUT
GHND
 
5:00pm Tonight
CSFU
SJST
5:00pm Tonight
WOFF
SD
5:00pm Tonight
NORST
TXSOU
 
5:00pm Tonight
COOK
TOWS
5:00pm Tonight
SILL
YALE
5:30pm Tonight
KNST
ALCOR
 
5:30pm Tonight
MAN
BING
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JVST
MILES
 
5:30pm Tonight
CSOU
WRST
 
6:00pm Tonight
CITA
BOBJONES
 
6:00pm Tonight
INDST
BRO
6:00pm Tonight
WYO
COL
6:00pm Tonight
GSOUT
FCCOL
 
6:00pm Tonight
CCAR
PIED
 
7:00pm Tonight
LATU
AMER
7:00pm Tonight
MAR
ARMY
 
7:00pm Tonight
TENT
CHAT
7:00pm Tonight
EKENT
CLERMONT
 
7:00pm Tonight
SMU
EWASH
7:00pm Tonight
NIAG
HART
 
7:00pm Tonight
PENN
LAF
 
7:00pm Tonight
UCSB
MASTERS
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUCK
MNTER
 
7:00pm Tonight
VMI
UNCW
7:00pm Tonight
RIU
NEB
7:00pm Tonight
NKENTUCKY
OHMWSTRN
 
7:00pm Tonight
GTDNS
QUIN
 
7:00pm Tonight
FAIR
SHSU
7:00pm Tonight
EMICH
UNCG
7:00pm Tonight
ETST
UNCA
 
7:00pm Tonight
TEMPL
UNLV
7:00pm Tonight
STJOE
VERM
 
7:30pm Tonight
MON
CCST
7:30pm Tonight
KSU
ILLCH
7:30pm Tonight
LIP
TRANSYLVAN
 
7:30pm Tonight
FUR
UCD
8:00pm Tonight
WKENT
BEL
8:00pm Tonight
NDST
HAMP
 
8:00pm Tonight
IND
LAM
 
8:00pm Tonight
TTU
MIZST
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
MRGST
 
8:00pm Tonight
NAVY
NE
8:00pm Tonight
ALAAM
OAKW
 
8:00pm Tonight
WILL
SELA
 
8:00pm Tonight
TULA
SONO
 
8:00pm Tonight
TXPA
A
 
8:00pm Tonight
RICE
WMARY
8:30pm Tonight
TXARL
HOUB
 
8:30pm Tonight
MINN
UMBC
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTEP
NMST
 
9:00pm Tonight
GONZ
STTHOM
9:00pm Tonight
SUTAH
WLVRN
 
9:30pm Tonight
PBY
MORE
9:30pm Tonight
DUKE
STAN
10:00pm Tonight
WISC
BSU
10:00pm Tonight
PORT
SIUE
2nd
OTT 1
STL 2
 
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
BUF
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
CLB
7:00pm Tonight
TOR
DET
7:00pm Tonight
TAM
MIN
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
MON
7:00pm Tonight
NYI
PIT
8:00pm Tonight
NAS
FLA
8:00pm Tonight
DAL
LOS
9:00pm Tonight
COL
CAR
10:00pm Tonight
EDM
CHI
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
NJD
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
ARI
4th
NCCU 21
NCA 14