By: Taren Vaughan
When you talk about college basketball match-ups, or any college sports match-ups period, the meetings between the Tar Heels of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Duke University Blue Devils, you are mentioning some of the most anticipated games in the history of the sport itself. And they are the ones that grab the attention of millions of fans every year. You could think of it as the Super Bowl of college basketball. Just that much hype is centered on these two clubs going in on each other on the court.
Not convinced at the seriousness of this game?
Put a Duke fan and a Carolina fan in the same room together while this game is on and see how well that turns out.
When I say this game between these two squads is intense beyond measure, I’m not even talking about the players. The fans for both teams can get quite rowdy themselves, shouting a few choice words here and there and let’s not forget those “welcoming” signs that they like to hold up in the stands, giving the opposing team a solid reminder as to how much they hate them. Think hate is too strong of a word to use? Not at all when it comes to the Battle of Blues.
So who is going to be the victor in this first meeting?
Since the start of the season, both teams have gone through their shaky moments. Duke’s star freshman Kyrie Irving suffered a severe toe injury, taking him out of the starting line up for potentially the reminder of the season. Sounds like a familiar story line that the Tar Heels faced back when the team’s former point guard Ty Lawson hurt his toe, by far the most talked about toe on any college athlete that season. As losing Irving was a tough break for Duke, they still managed to remain in good position as far as NCAA ranking is concerned.
The Heels don’t have any toe troubles to worry about this year. But they did however lose a player from their roster barely a week ago. Junior point guard Larry Drew II bid his farewell to Tar Heel Nation as he left the team. Whether his decision to leave was based on letting his ego get the best of him or if it was family driven is something that will always be questioned. Leaving in the middle of a season though? Couldn’t he have at least waited until Thursday?
With or without him, after coming off a 20 point win over Florida State and an outstanding performance from Kendall Marshall, who had 16 assists in the game this past Sunday, they proved themselves to be true competition.
Will the Heels emerge victorious in the sweat box also known as Cameron Indoor Stadium? Or will the Blue Devils give them a solid reminder of whose house they are playing in?
You better believe those “Cameron Crazies” are armed and dangerous and ready to stifle this young Carolina squad in any way possible, with new starting freshman point guard Kendall Marshall as their lead man.
The Plumlee brothers battlin’ Zeller and Henson in the paint, Nolan Smith trying to expose Kendall Marshall for the youngster that he is and of course the wild and crazy fans that will be bouncin’ up and down and screaming every minute of the game. It just doesn’t get any better than this.
Who takes Game 1? Better yet, how close will it be? A pure blow out or too close to call? Time will tell who is going to come out on top…9:00pm to be exact.