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Jeff Gravley

Intensity rules in 1st Duke-UNC meeting

Posted February 14, 2013

— There were MANY times Wednesday night when I couldn't wipe the smile off of my face as I sat there engulfed by the atmosphere of the greatest rivalry in college basketball. Whether it's played in Durham or Chapel Hill, it is a privilege to witness it in person.

I was sandwiched between a wooden press row and a group of high-energy students who hopped and hollered the whole night. They left remnants of blue paint on my shirt (I always wear an old one and never a coat) and they deposited heavy doses of noise into my ears. I loved every decibel of it. 

Last night drew an audience at Cameron Indoor Stadium that included Gov. Pat McCrory, who sported a smile that looked like he had just won the election. Seated a couple of rows behind the home basket were former Oklahoma Sooners head coaches Barry Switzer and Billy Tubbs. 

But the main cast of characters were the Blues Brothers. One dressed in light blue, the other trimmed in dark blue. Two hall of fame coaches conducted their bands, and it took two TV networks to cover all of the angles.

What made this such a fantastic show was the effort put forth by both teams.

It has never been about a lack of talent for North Carolina this year. They have just had a difficult time of finding consistent effort and focus. The Tar Heels had both last night, and nothing proved that more than the defensive pressure they put on Duke in the first half. Bring it like that every game and there would be no questions about their postseason destination.

Effort is rarely an issue with Duke. If you don't have it, you don't play. The Blue Devils were punched in the mouth in the first half and responded in the second like a team trying to protect their turf. An exhausted Duke team sat in their locker room after the game explaining the energy needed to win a game like this. It's a good tired if you are on the winning end. 

Seth Curry had to change shoes three times in this game because he blew out two pair. He joked it was because of his explosiveness. But there would be no blow out in this game. Duke responded to the challenge Roy Williams had hoped his team would put forth. "I want somebody to put their stupid feet down on the floor and compete," Williams said about his players in his pregame press conference.

What a perfect setting for a 66th birthday celebration for Mike Krzyzewski. He left the court after a 5-point win serenaded by "Happy Birthday." The day before the game, Coach K summed up the Duke/Carolina game the best. "This is a priceless event," he said.

Both teams played like it and provided us with a hunger to see them play again on March 9 in Chapel Hill. 

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  • StunGunn Feb 15, 9:27 a.m.

    UNC at Cameron is always special. I'm spoiled because my parents have season tickets and give me... View More

    — Posted by 903 mens national championships

    Totally agree about the game not being the best. It wasn't that long ago - '08 and '09, when the games were played at such a high level by both teams, with more on the line than bragging rights. Wednesday's game may have been missing the high octane offense, but it was still a rival game, with a score a lot closer than I thought possible. You ARE lucky your parents give you and your brother those tickets - you must have had a great time. I'm looking forward to the Duke/Miami game as well as the Duke/Carolina game in the Smith Center.

  • 903 mens national championships Feb 14, 6:02 p.m.

    UNC at Cameron is always special. I'm spoiled because my parents have season tickets and give me one and my brother the other one every year. With 17-18 home games a year, they don't mind giving up their tickets to whatever games we want. State last Thursday was a nice warmup. Last night was good though not the best Duke/UNC game by any stretch. But I have a feeling Miami at Duke on March 2nd will be an absolute classic.

  • NCSU84 Feb 14, 4:49 p.m.

    I just saw a clip where Adam Pink said that was a unc moral victory last night. I wish he didn't... View More

    — Posted by early exit Roy

    UNC has to save face somehow!

  • early exit Roy Feb 14, 3:43 p.m.

    I just saw a clip where Adam Pink said that was a unc moral victory last night. I wish he didn't say that. There will be another banner going up in their outdated dome.

  • Hokies94 Feb 14, 1:29 p.m.

    Interesting article. The game changer was when Curry hit the 3 bomb when Cook tapped it out. The 1st lead for Duke then.

  • I am not who you think I am Feb 14, 11:21 a.m.

    I've been lucky enough to go to many "rivalry" games around the country Ala-Auburn, Ga-GT,FL-GA, TX-OK but this is still the best year after year

  • lanecc Feb 14, 11:12 a.m.

    Even if these two teams were ranked last in the world, this is always an entertaining game. Bad calls, no calls, coaches yelling, students doing stupid things, and celebrity sightings. Great for the game.

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Scoreboard
Local
2nd
CAR 10
CLE 3
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
CAR
3:30pm Today
TOR
NYK
4:30pm Today
CLE
MEM
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MIA
BOS
6:00pm Tonight
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LAL
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ORL
PHI
6:00pm Tonight
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PHO
7:00pm Tonight
MIN
IND
7:00pm Tonight
OKC
NOP
Final
UVA 76
HARV 27
2nd
BGU 40
FERST 52
 
2nd
ARMY 35
MAINE 32
 
2nd
QUIN 49
ORST 44
 
2nd
CLST 41
USF 43
 
Half
CARK 27
CCAR 26
 
1st
UWGB 17
ARKLR 16
 
1st
RAD 14
CORN 18
 
1st
UNT 14
CREI 5
 
1st
CAN 14
HC 7
 
1st
USB 7
GHND 8
 
1st
OKST 9
MD 13
 
1st
WINT 10
REIN 10
 
1st
UGST 20
SMISS 15
 
1st
NEOM 13
TXPA 13
 
1st
STLU 12
VERM 5
 
1st
UNCA 10
WCU 7
 
1st
EVAN 11
ALAST 9
 
2:30pm Today
HART
FIU
 
2:35pm Today
VALPO
GOSHEN
 
3:00pm Today
LIP
PEAY
 
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DEN
BRY
 
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MTST
TENST
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SAMF
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3:30pm Today
SCAR
COKR
 
4:00pm Today
HAMP
NARZ
 
4:00pm Today
SDU
SDCHR
 
4:00pm Today
BC
USC
4:30pm Today
NICST
TROY
 
4:30pm Today
BRAD
UCI
 
6:00pm Tonight
UGA
SHU
6:30pm Tonight
ALA
APP
7:00pm Tonight
KSU
NDST
 
7:00pm Tonight
WASU
SJST
9:00pm Tonight
UTEP
ALCOR
 
10:00pm Tonight
SEAT
SACST
 
6:00pm Tonight
DET
COL
6:00pm Tonight
EDM
DAL
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
BUF
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
CAR
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
TOR
9:00pm Tonight
WIN
PHI
2nd
NOS 7
ATL 6
 
2nd
HOU 9
BAL 0
 
2nd
CAR 10
CLE 3
 
2nd
CHI 7
DET 7
 
2nd
TAM 0
GBP 10
 
2nd
PIT 10
KAN 6
 
2nd
MIA 7
MIN 14
 
Half
NYJ 10
NEP 7
 
4:05pm Today
STL
NYG
4:25pm Today
OAK
BUF
4:25pm Today
DAL
IND
8:30pm Tonight
ARI
SEA