I had seen the games on TV, read about them in the newspaper, and listened to Dick Vitale rant and rave about how “there’s no better rivalry in college sports.” But I truly didn’t understand the magnitude of the Duke-North Carolina rivalry until I physically stepped foot in Chapel Hill.
These universities do not like each other, and these fans loathe each other – to the point I even had a journalism teacher tell my class last year that if we spelled Duke “Dook,” he wouldn’t take off points.
Another one of my professors last semester put a question on a test about Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski being struck dead.
A bit much? Perhaps.
But when you consider that these universities are separated by just eight miles, have been playing since 1920, are the third and fourth most-winningest programs in the sport, and have met 229 times, you begin to get a sense. Add on the fact that many of my peers here were rejected by Duke when they applied, and you get an even better idea of the absolute disdain they have for their Durham counterparts.
Unlike the Yankees and Red Sox – who play each other 17 times each season – Duke and North Carolina match up just twice. And though these schools don’t have nearly the number of opportunities, they have created just as many indelible moments – from the Art Heyman–Larry Brown brawl, to Stackhouse‘s reverse dunk, to Jeff Capel‘s buzzer-beating three, to Gerald Henderson‘s elbow to the face of Tyler Hansbrough.
In my opinion, Duke-North Carolina is not just the greatest rivalry in college sports, but in sports period.
What do you think?
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