banner
Adam Gold

Schedule change gives Duke-UNC matchup NCAA tourney feel

Posted February 20

It happens all the time. You're working on your laptop, and the small gray field appears in the center of the screen alerting you to an update of a program. This happens often with iTunes.

"Version 7.4.1 is now available for update." It also shows up on your smartphone when an update for one of your apps is ready.

This happened to me – and I certainly would hope to you, too – yesterday with both my WRAL News and WRAL SportsFan apps (available for iPhone and Android devices). Version 3.50 was ready. A few clicks later and the update was now part of my phone. Looks the same, but there was a glitch somewhere in the system that is now spackled over. Well, let me be the first to inform you that the update for Duke at North Carolina, version 1.02, is now ready. We've worked out the bugs that rendered the Blue Devils' luxury coach unable to download eight days ago and the game is now ready for launch.

A week ago, we were all set for the usual Duke-UNC first game madness. To me, it's always seemed to signify the official beginning of NCAA tournament bubble watch madness. Granted, it seems that every night in the college hoops world there's someone talking about the impact a certain win or loss will have on some team's tournament hopes, that's the power of the dance.  But I think it's the first meeting between the Devils and Heels that triggers the stretch drive, where every result matters just a little bit more.  However, that was a week ago, and that notion was left buried amid the rubble of another week of Wake County Public School snow days and the second winter storm in less than a month.

So what is different about version 1.02? Something HAS to be different, otherwise there wouldn't be any reason for the update. So, it's my job to figure out the difference, no matter how nuanced it may be. Here's what I've come up with.

Whether you agree or not, tonight doesn't seem to me to have the same energy, the same anticipation, the same vibe, as it did before the snow and ice paralyzed the region. The first meeting is always special. It's an event. Almost like when the (insert your favorite sports league) All Star Game comes to your town. We trot out all of the old guys who played back in the days of tube socks and Cons and wax nostalgic.

Doesn't have that feeling for me today. Yes, I know it's only eight days later. Yes, I'm aware that this is still the greatest rivalry since India vs. Pakistan. Yes, it's still going to be special. But I'm all out of glorious prose about the pomp, circumstance and general revelry regarding act one of this season's "Battle of the Blues."  That was left on the cutting room floor back on the Feb. 12.  However, that doesn't make this game any less exciting or important, just a little less romantic.

So what changes tonight?

Well, when you consider the timing of the week, with both the Tar Heels and Blue Devils having games on Saturday, this clearly has an NCAA Tournament feel to things. North Carolina is expected back at the Smith Center Saturday at noon to take on Wake Forest while Duke welcomes once-beaten Syracuse to Cameron that evening.

Regardless of the difference in opponent and game time, having just the one day off gives this stretch a bit of a regional feel. A Thursday night Sweet Sixteen match up followed two days – or nights – later with a shot at the Final Four on the line.

Obviously, the stakes for tonight's game aren't quite that steep. It's not survive and advance, and both teams are still trying to position themselves as well as possible for whatever lies ahead of them over the next six weeks. But there's no doubt that the coming 48 hours are going to go a long way to determining from where each is going to begin it's March, well, march.

College coaches like to simulate future situations, so when the time comes concepts aren't as foreign, or uncomfortable. That's one of the reasons why you play in preseason and holiday tournaments. You get rapid fire games against a high-caliber array of opponents with a short turnaround. That arrangement is very similar to what you'll face in March, in the NCAA Tournament. Game, catch your breath, get a coke and a hoagie and lace 'em up again. Negotiate that successfully on two different occasions and someone hands you a ladder and a pair of scissors.

That, to me, is what tonight and Saturday are all about. Maybe it's unfair to lump the weekend in with tonight's latest, weather-delayed chapter of Athens vs Sparta, but that's the way I see it. Doesn't make tonight any less fun and it certainly doesn't dampen the impact of the game. The circumstances surrounding it have just ever-so-slightly changed the meaning.

Of course, for some of you, the updates are barely detectable. Either way, enjoy the game.

5 Comments

This blogpost is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • scotterbrains Feb 20, 11:34 p.m.

    you two and jeff can ead... in the name of your demo. lol

  • KillswitchEngage Feb 20, 7:56 p.m.

    Duke by 20

  • Alex25 Feb 20, 6:50 p.m.

    Biggest Hype game nonsense EVER. Ugh...

    www.unccheats.com

  • heelsforever Feb 20, 4:57 p.m.

    huh?

  • GunnyGoesBaaaarf Feb 20, 4:44 p.m.

    Right now, the game does seem to have lost some of its luster and excitement, but I'm betting that come tip-off, the emotions will run high, the adrenalin will flow, and the excitement of a Duke/Carolina match-up will be palpable.

    BTW: Adam - you really dropped some serious LBS.

  • CBB: North Carolina vs. Ohio State

    Saturday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: UCLA vs Kentucky

    Saturday at 3:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: San Diego at San Francisco

    Saturday at 8:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Panthers vs. Cleveland

    Monday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NHL: Hurricanes vs. Toronto

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • CBB: Duke vs. UConn

    Tonight at 8:00 on 620am

  • WBB: Duke vs. UMass Lowell

    Tomorrow at 6:30 pm on 620am

Scoreboard
Local
Final
NCCU 108
BASC 52
 
Final
CHA 106
PHO 111
Final
NCSU 83
TENN 72
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
TOR
 
8:00pm Tonight
DUKE
UCONN
 
Final
CLE 98
ATL 127
Final
CHA 106
PHO 111
Final
DET 106
DAL 117
Final
BOS 109
ORL 92
Final
MIA 87
UTA 105
Final
TOR 105
BRK 89
Final
SAN 116
MEM 117
Final
POR 104
MIL 97
Final
DEN 111
HOU 115
Final
LAC 102
IND 100
8:00pm Tonight
CHI
NYK
 
8:30pm Tonight
HOU
NOP
 
10:00pm Tonight
SAC
MIL
 
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
OKC
 
Final
UNT 78
LANG 65
 
Final
Terriers 64
DELST 72
 
Final
MSST 55
ARKST 69
Final
NCCU 108
BASC 52
 
Final
GMAS 99
CATAWBA 69
 
Final
WOFF 64
CSOU 58
 
Final
HIGH 106
FERR 48
 
Final
JVU 68
GWEBB 65
 
Final
ILL 73
HAMP 55
 
Final
BST 52
JMU 72
 
Final
YOUNG 84
KNST 90
 
Final
UMO 71
LONG 60
 
Final
PITT 65
MAN 56
Final
OSU 97
NCAT 55
Final
FSU 93
UNF 77
 
Final
TOL 83
RMU 57
 
Final
CAMP 70
SIUE 65
 
Final
DUQ 52
RFLSH 67
 
Final
NCSU 83
TENN 72
Final
UCF 75
DET 70
Final
UNCW 73
LIB 70
 
Final
LOYC 83
ABCHRIST 44
 
Final
MURST 94
ALCOR 56
 
Final
HOU 56
ARKPB 61
 
Final
NW 67
CMICH 80
Final
WKENT 75
CHIST 60
 
Final
ODU 58
UGST 54
Final
SMU 67
ILLCH 46
Final
LALAF 115
MLGN 76
 
Final
TULSA 74
MIZST 70
Final
UWGB 66
MORE 50
 
Final
NEOM 92
NCOL 82
 
Final
TTU 101
SCST 39
 
Final
DEN 83
TAMCC 73
 
Final
STEPH 66
TXST 60
 
Final
STLU 75
TXPA 69
 
Final
MEM 83
USCU 73
 
Final
ILLST 64
TENNM 54
 
Final
MSU 66
EMICH 46
Final
GRCN 80
INCWORD 82
 
Final
STAN 67
LMU 58
Final
BAY 66
NMST 55
 
Final
CIN 71
SDST 62
Final
AUB 80
WINT 62
 
Final
NMU 76
CARK 55
 
Final
PEPP 53
HOW 45
 
Final
CPSL 60
NE 58
 
Final
UNLV 75
PORT 73
Final
OREG 79
CSNO 56
Final
WASH 86
GRAM 38
12:30pm Today
RICE
STTHOMASTX
 
7:00pm Tonight
UVA
CLST
 
7:00pm Tonight
LIU
FIU
 
7:00pm Tonight
STET
GSOUT
 
7:00pm Tonight
QUIN
LEH
 
7:00pm Tonight
SFLA
SHU
 
7:00pm Tonight
RICH
SALA
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAN
USB
 
7:00pm Tonight
DEL
TEMPL
 
7:00pm Tonight
WCU
WRST
 
7:00pm Tonight
VERM
YALE
 
7:30pm Tonight
SDKST
IDST
 
7:30pm Tonight
RIDE
MRGST
 
7:30pm Tonight
LATU
NICST
 
8:00pm Tonight
CHAR
APP
 
8:00pm Tonight
MISS
CCAR
 
8:00pm Tonight
DUKE
UCONN
 
8:00pm Tonight
BRAD
EUREK
 
8:00pm Tonight
PEAY
OAKC
 
8:00pm Tonight
JST
SMISS
 
8:30pm Tonight
SD
MNTST
 
9:00pm Tonight
UAB
LSU
 
9:05pm Tonight
EVAN
OHIO
 
10:00pm Tonight
CSFU
CSDH
 
10:00pm Tonight
ORST
DEP
 
10:00pm Tonight
PAC
NEV
 
10:00pm Tonight
USF
PORST
 
10:00pm Tonight
IDAHO
WALLA
 
10:05pm Tonight
UTST
CALST
 
Final
NJD 0
OTT 2
Final
MIN 2
BOS 3
Final
VAN 0
DAL 2
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
COL
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
FLA
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
TOR
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
WAS
 
7:30pm Tonight
MON
ANA
 
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
EDM
 
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
STL
 
8:25pm Tonight
JAC
TEN