Seen and heard last night at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C.:
AN HONEST DEVIL While Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has done everything to downplay a rivalry with Maryland, not even his players have bought the absurd spin. The Blue Devils’ Jason Williams said he had been has been looking forward to this matchup since Duke opened the season in the Maui Invitational in November.
“We were just looking at the schedule,” Williams told local reporters this week. “There can be 1,000 teams, and it always happens that the first team I’ll see is M-A-R-Y-L-A-N-D. I can’t wait to play them.
“It was kind of weird, because it used to be us and North Carolina, which it still is. Our fans are always going to make sure of that. But as far as the intensity of the rivalry now, I think it is the biggest in the country by far.”
Not according to his droll coach. “I don’t look at one school in our conference as our rival,” said Coach K, while snarling over what he seems to perceive as a ridiculous notion. “For us, every ACC game is the same because the conference is so good.”
WHERE IS DUKE? It’s hard to tell that the Blue Devils are from North Carolina judging by their roster. In fact, only one starter in the game was from the Tar Heel state. And that’s Maryland’s Chris Wilcox, who is from Raleigh. None of the Devils starters are even from bordering states with Jason Williams and Dahntay Jones (New Jersey), Chris Duhon (Louisiana), Mike Dunleavy (Oregon) and Carlos Boozer (Alaska). None of Duke’s top 10 scorers are from North Carolina. Seldom-used forward Reggie Love is the only state resident on the Blue Devils. The Charlotte sophomore got in only six games before last night, averaging 1.2 points.
STRIPED STUPID The usually creative Duke students must have spent too much time in one of the prestigious university’s more warped think tanks. Many wore striped referee shirts to go with the white and blue paint on the faces. One silly looking student passed out a release on press row saying the get-up wasn’t designed to mock officials, but to “satirize Maryland paranoia and call attention to the absurdity of the idea that the referees were biased in Duke’s favor” in last season’s Final Four win over Maryland. It is good to know their parents, who spend $34,000 a year to send their kids to the private school, are getting their money’s worth.