Ncaa, Duke-North Carolina: Because it’s the coolest rivalry in college

In the Final Four in New Orleans for the first time ahead of the tournament for two superpowers whose campuses are only 8 miles apart

They are only 13 kilometers away. Yet they represent two opposing worlds, they are Athens and the Sparta of American college sport. Blue-blooded collegiate basketball programs Duke and North Carolina will compete in the Final Four in New Orleans. For the first time in history, after 257 challenges, which made legendary America’s heartfelt rivalry at the NCAA level, they face the Tournament. For a whim of the scoreboard and above all of fate in Coach K’s final season on the Blue Devils bench before the abandonment and even with a place in the final on the line. The chance to play for the 2022 national title .

tobacco road

The campuses of Duke, Durham, and North Carolina, Chapel Hill, are about eight miles apart, on Tobacco Road. Duke is a private university, Carolina is public. They are both elite universities, although as a student body North Carolina is much larger. The Blue Devils have a national brand, fans all over America. Because the winning image, 5 national titles, 17 Final Four, associated with the legend of Mike Krzyzewski, the 42nd season at the head of the team, the 13th Final Four, maximum for a coach of all eras, has a charm extraordinary. They are like the Yankees (New York) in baseball and the Cowboys (Dallas) in football: adored by the “faithful”, sportingly hated by all the others, who always watch them, but to encourage them, if necessary. North Carolina is the college where Michael Jordan played – and triumphed -: the 6 national titles and above all the 20 Final Four, above all, have the added value of showcasing the most famous player in the history of the game. In Carolina North, college basketball is a religion: Duke and Carolina are the only opposites in the local galaxy, made up of a Division I college on every corner. The other most famous and competitive schools are North Carolina State, a less complicated public school in academic requirements and cost than Duke and UNC; Wake Forest, alma mater Tim Duncan and Chris Paul; Davidson, from whom Steph Curry was released; Charlotte, the university of Queen City, main city and NBA home of the Hornets, is however less followed than the protagonists of March Madness.

timeless challenge

Duke and North Carolina have no equal as “enemies”. The rivalry between Michigan and Ohio State is fierce in football, but we’re still talking about different states. Then, there is no comparison with professional sport: the emotions of the boys, of the students, are amplified by age, the passions are visceral and without profit. Tradition helps: they first met in 1920, North Carolina leads the series 142-115. The balance sheet, declined at levels of excellence by both, then helps: 51-49 the pro Duke swings in the last 100 challenges. Coach K won 50, lost 47 against UNC, which spoiled his last outing at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the Arena with the parquet floor that bears his name: a ruinous loss this season with all of America glued on TV. In North Carolina, losing in the regular season translates to a lifetime of teasing hell, digesting until the next challenge, for an entire year, at work, at school, let alone now that the biggest challenge important is to win. … Better not to qualify for the Final Four if it means losing to the most hated opponent.

paolo versus armando

The possibility of this being the last match of Coach K’s career makes the event even more anticipated, not to be missed. He is the most titled Coach at the NCAA level: 101 victories in the Tournament, including 1129 for Duke. His rival, Hubert Davis, a former UNC player, is a freshman, just succeeding guru Roy Williams, who retired in 2021. Duke is the No. 2 seed and the favorite. 4 points, for bettors. Because he has 5 NBA prospects: first of all Paolo Banchero, a long-time native of Seattle with an Italian passport, All American, point of reference for the attack and top 4 choice for the next NBA Draft. Then Williams, the great center stopper, Griffin, winger with extraordinary potential, veteran Moore, first-year guard Keels, with the physique of a footballer. Duke by talent is the team to beat in the Big Easy. But she is young, inexperienced. No. 8 seeded North Carolina has more veterans. In Armando Bacot, a phenomenal rebound, and Manek, a long white who shoots from the outside, the forces, And in Amour a promising goalkeeper, but very alternate, who knows how to exalt or despair. Difficult to make technical predictions for a match which will be decided above all on the emotional level. Duke against North Carolina. Athens against Sparta, for American basketball. There is nothing better…


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