Previewing the South Region

I was on tenterhooks watching the CBS Selection Show Sunday evening. Several questions ran through my head: will we even get a one seed? will West Virginia or Kansas State loom as our 2 seed? will we have to travel across the country?

Duke does have the easiest path to the Final Four. Will the Devils take advantage?

When Duke was placed in the extremely weak South bracket, I kind of sat back in shock. Well, that was easy. Duke has a great opportunity to make a deep run this year—but will we take advantage and make Indianapolis for Coach K’s eleventh Final Four? Let’s find out, with Crazie-Talk’s preview of the “historically weak” South bracket.

Jacksonville, Fl. Pairing

First Round

#1 Duke v. #16 Arkansas-Pine Bluff: OK…Duke will win this one. Moving on.

#8 California v. #9 Louisville: This could be an interesting game. California won the Pac-10 regular season, but that doesn’t mean anything, as there were no elite teams playing anywhere on the West Coast, regardless of conference. But the Bears are no pushover, with several star players, including guard Jerome Randle and big man Patrick Christopher, plus former Duke forward Jamal Boykin contributing 12 points and 7 rebounds per game. Louisville has been an enigma this year, beating top seed Syracuse twice but losing by 20 to St. John’s and Marquette, as well as dropping early season games to Charlotte and Western Carolina. Louisville is a tough draw for the Bears, who just lost forward Omondi Amoke to suspension. Louisville forward Samardo Samuels will be able to take care of business down low, and the Cardinal guards will do enough to slow down Randle. I take Louisville in this game, although I desperately hope I’m wrong.

Second Round

#1 Duke v. #9 Louisville: This is a really scary early round matchup for the Blue Devils. Rick Pitino, adultery aside, is a fantastic motivator, and will get his boys up for a face-off with us. But when it comes down to it, our guard play is better than the Ville’s. Scheyer and Singler will have to take care of business, as the Cards have several quick guards to throw at Nolan. I think our bigs can contain the 6’9” Samuels, who gets frustrated if he can’t get push people around for easy layups. PG Edgar Sosa is very inconsistent, and Duke’s hard on ball pressure should get under his skin. K will win this battle of Hall-of-Fame coaches and Duke will advance to Houston.

Spokane, Wash. Pairing

First Round

#5 Texas A&M v. #12 Utah State: This battle of two Aggie squads could be very interesting. Texas A&M got a difficult draw in the first round after a solid Big

12 season. Utah State play great defense, just like A&M, and score few points, just like A&M. They also won 27 games, including a victory over seventh seeded BYU. They probably would have had a 10 or 9 seed had they not lost to New Mexico St. in the WAC tournament. Moreover,  Texas A&M has been riding the play of star guard Donald Sloan all year, and since Derrick Roland was injured in the fall, haven’t had too much offensive firepower. Still, Crazie-Talk favors playing in good major conferences, and the Big 12 is probably the second best conference in the country. Texas A&M wins a low-scoring game and advances out of this tough first round game.

#4 Purdue v. #13 Siena: Everyone has been railing on Purdue since Robbie Hummel went out with a season-ending ACL injury. But I’m not buying all the Siena hype here. The stars of the Saints’ near ’09 near Sweet 16 run, Kenny Hasbrouck, is gone. Edwin Ubiles and Clarence Jackson are a solid backcourt, but still don’t match up well with Purdue’s Keaton Grant, Chris Kramer, and E’Twaun Moore. Contrary to popular assumption, Purdue has just enough to win this game without Hummel.

Second Round

#5 Texas A&M v. #4 Purdue: Like I said—Purdue will have just enough to beat Siena in the first round. The Boiler gas will run out against A&M, who will stifle Purdue defensively. The Boilers scored just 11 points in the first half of a pitiful Big 10 tournament loss to Minnesota. Look for the same kind of stunted offensive output, and a double digit A&M victory.

New Orleans, La. Pairing

First Round

#6 Notre Dame v. #11 Old Dominion: First of all, the Fighting Irish are grossly overseeded. Although they played well without big man Luke Harangody, Notre Dame doesn’t deserve this position, in the weakest region no less. The Irish have been peaking without star player Luke Harangody, playing better defense and getting more players involved, such as Ben Hansbrough the Younger and veteran PG Tory Jackson. However, the committee didn’t do them any favors by matching them up with Old Dominion. The Monarchs took out Georgetown earlier this year at McDonough, proving their ability to play with tough Big East squads. Old Dominion will beat another Big East team in this game, and Notre Dame (and former Duke assistant Coach Mike Brey) goes home early.

#3 Baylor v. #14 Sam Houston State: Each of these teams would love to play in the Houston regional, but Baylor has too much talent. Baylor guards  Tweety Carter and LaceDarius Dunn complement forwards Quincy Acy and Ekpe Udoh. The Bears play high-octane offense, averaging nearly 80 points per game. Baylor advances here.

Second Round

#3 Baylor v. #11 Old Dominion: The Monarchs do not have the offensive potency to match up with the Bears. Forwards Gerald Lee and Frank Hassell meet the towering, athletic Udoh and Acy and are dominated on the blocks. Look for this to be a blowout, with Baylor advancing past ODU to the Sweet 16.

Providence, R.I. Pairing

First Round

#7 Richmond v. #10 St. Mary’s: Oh, we love the Richmond Spiders! St. Mary’s has to travel all the way across the country for this one, and no Patty Mills means no containing Spider guard Kevin Anderson, the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. Omar Samhan is a good player for the Gaels, but again, no respect for West Coast teams (as if beating Gonzaga is an accomplishment!). Richmond wins by 10 and moves on.

#2 Villanova v. #15 Robert Morris: The Wildcats haven’t been at their best of late, but Scottie Reynolds and Co. take care of business against Robert Morris and advance to face Richmond. ‘Nova by double digits.

Second Round

#2 Villanova v. #7 Richmond: Here’s the first big upset! Anderson and David Gonzalvez are good enough to match up with the ‘Nova guards Corey Stokes, Corey Fisher, and the aforementioned Reynolds. Villanova has tanked of late, and Richmond barely lost to fifth seeded Temple in the A-10 championship game. Richmond may be the Cinderella of the Tournament, and their first big victim will be Villanova. So long, Taylor King! Have fun chain-smoking all the way back to Philly. Richmond heads to Houston.

Houston Regional

#1 Duke v. #5 Texas A&M: The Aggies are close to home for this game, and their fans (and thousands of Duke haters) will be out in force rooting for an A&M victory. Donald Sloan is a star, and the strength of the Aggies lie on the defensive end. We have struggled against powerful and athletic teams like Georgia Tech and Georgetown this season, and the less-than-stellar run through the ACC Tournament does not inspire too much confidence for this type of opponent. I think Zoubek, LT, and the Plumtrees come up big. A&M doesn’t have too many bigs other than Bryan Davis, and if they can’t shoot the ball, they won’t be getting too many offensive boards over Zoubs. Duke takes this one by 5-10 points.

#3 Baylor v. #7 Richmond: It’s tantalizing to send Richmond to the Elite 8, but that’d be overdoing it. The Cinderella run ends here. Dunn and Carter are too quick and explosive for Richmond’s guards, and Udoh will take all comers on the glass. Anderson has a Steph Curry-like performance, but the Spiders fall short against Baylor in the Bears’ home state,  setting up…

The Regional Final: #1 Duke v. #3 Baylor

OK. Here we are, on the brink of our first Final Four (in six years). Baylor—a team with tremendous speed and athleticism—stands in our way. The Bears have all the elements of team we have sucked against: athletic guards in Dunn and Carter, a powerful 6’10” big man in Udoh, and an upstart young coach in Scott Drew. Sounds like Villanova circa last year? Just replace Dunn and Carter with Reynolds/Fisher/Stokes, and Udoh with Dante Cunningham.

This game will take every last ounce of Duke’s energy, but I believe we can win. And it will have to come on the defensive end. Baylor scores a lot of points, but their guards do not have tremendous size: Carter is 5’11” and Dunn 6’4”. If Nolan Smith can slow down Carter and Scheyer can neutralize Dunn’s scoring, we can win the battle on the perimeter. Duke will have to go deep in its bench—expect the quickness of Baylor to force a lot of early fouls. Dawkins must play and contribute positive minutes. Zoubek will have to play without fouling, as the Plumlees can’t control their hands of late and keep picking up silly touch fouls. Lance Thomas has to keep the ball in his hands and be able to finish on offensive putbacks.

Truth be told, Duke will have to play its best game of the season to get past Baylor. But I’m confident because of the man in the dark suit on the sideline. Coach K is 10-1 in Elite 8 games. Scott Drew coaches at a program that has never won an NCAA Tournament game, period. Advantage, Duke. We will squeak out a win, probably in the high 70s or low 80s.

Coach K will cut down the nets again, leading Duke to the Final Four for the eleventh time in his career. (courtesy of DukeBluePlanet.com)

See you in Indy.

Crazie-Talk will be tweeting throughout the Big Dance. Follow us on Twitter and on Facebook for more solid coverage of Duke’s run to the Final Four.

Section 17: Back to Back

After a good week that included thrashing those Tar Holes in Cameron and receiving a verbal commitment from a 2011 five-star recruit, the Blue Devils took to Greensboro to defend their ACC championship crown.

The Devils hoisted their second consecutive ACC Tournament trophy on Sunday. Photo courtesy of DukeBluePlanet.com

Even though none of their three performances was what you’d call pretty, Duke became back-to-back ACC champions for the first time since 2006. Watered-down ACC competition led to anarchy in the opening round and the quarterfinals, as lower seeded teams won three out of the four games in each round. As a result, Duke, as the only team not upset, did not need to face any team seeded higher than 7th to win their record 18th ACC tournament championship, half of which have come in the last 12 years. Let’s recap the ACC tournament and look ahead to this weekend’s 1st and 2nd round games.

– Allow me to play devil’s advocate for a bit. There were two things about our victories in the tournament bothered me. Let’s start with the team’s sluggish first half-performances against Virginia and against Miami. Tied at 27 against a Virginia team that has suspended its star player? And trailing to Miami, the worst team in the ACC? To take nothing away from the fight of an underdog, but there’s a reason Duke was the #1 seed.

– The other thing that scares me is the inability, in the tournament at least, to put teams away. While we stomped on and continued to stomp on UNC in that God-awesome blowout, the boys let double digit leads dwindle against three inferior teams over the weekend. Against UVA, Duke had a 46-35 lead that was cut to two before finally pulling away. Against Miami, a first-half surge led to a 30-18 lead before the Canes scored 17 of the last 19 points of the half. The Miami first-half comeback reminded me an awful lot of the Boston College game we lost in Chestnut Hill last year. In the second half, an explosive burst resulted in a 58-42 lead, and while the result was never really in doubt, it was only a 3-point win. Finally, let’s just say Jon Scheyer should have never had to hit that oh-so-clutch shot at the end of the Georgia Tech game.

– Speaking of our captain’s ability to shut the door, on to the good things: our experience in our lineup (three seniors and two juniors) was evident in the tournament. But Andre Dawkins had three excellent offensive possessions in the final against Georgia Tech. His driving dunk in traffic was a thing of beauty and something we’ve never seen before from him. In fact, the Yellow Jackets were probably so shocked he didn’t pull up for three that they let him go by. What a strong, aggressive play by the freshman. Here’s a great article about Dawkins’ roller coaster freshman season.

– The Plumlees had a good game against Miami, highlighted by a Miles-to-Mason alley-oop. They have been slowly getting less minutes as Brian Zoubek has been consistently able to play 25-30 minutes by staying (relatively) out of foul trouble, a problem for him in the past. Nonetheless, our backup bigs will be important to us if we want to make a run in the NCAAs.

– Kyle Singler. ACC Tournament MVP. That sounds right. Right there with Preseason ACC Player of the Year. Kyle is playing the best ball of his career and peaking at the right time (one more year!)

Tournament MVP Kyle Singler has been playing like a First-Team All American. (Photo courtesy of DukeBluePlanet.com)

– Nolan Smith only attempted 4 free throws all tournament. Nolan isn’t playing soft or unaggressive at all, as he was solid in all three tournament games. It’s just surprising he hasn’t been to the line more often.

– Coach K told the Crazies the night before the UNC game that how Jon Scheyer said he believed his “moment” at Duke hasn’t happened yet. After he drained the clutch three against the Jackets in the ACC finals, ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews suggested on the broadcast that this was the “moment” Scheyer was talking about. We hope, Jon, that it wasn’t and that your moment is still to come.

On Selection Sunday, Duke caught a break from the committee; that’s the truth. Somehow, Duke jumped Syracuse as the third No. 1 seed (seeding is based on a whole season’s work, is it not?). The fact is our region has the weakest No. 2 seed in Villanova, the weakest No. 4 seed in Purdue and the weakest No. 6 in Notre Dame, who was grossly overseeded. Some other musings about the South Regional:

– No excuses if Duke does not reach the Final Four. For those of you who remember the drubbing we took at the hands of the Wildcats last year in the Sweet 16, Villanova simply does not have the size to rebound with us this year. They might even be ripe for an upset at the hands of the Richmond-St. Mary’s winner.

The Blue Devil of War said it best. We're back! (Photo courtesy of DukeBluePlanet.com)

– Was Digger Phelps in the selection committee? HOW is Notre Dame a 6 seed? In the most recent Coaches poll, the Irish are not only unranked – they’re not even in the “others receiving votes” section (that’s one thing they share with our friends eight miles down the road).

– Should Louisville beat California in the first round, they will give the Blue Devils a fight. Rick Pitino is a master motivator and the Cardinals only get up for big games (ask Syracuse).

– The South Regional games take place in Houston, Texas. Duke could potentially face Texas A&M and Baylor in hostile road environment in the Sweet 16 and Elite 8, respectively. Something to think about.

– A little bit on our potential first-round opponents: Arkansas Pine-Bluff played quite a rough non-conference schedule that toughened them up for their conference games, but also left them 0-11 to start the season. They played on the road in their first 13 games of the season, including tilts at UTEP, at Oklahoma State, at Georgia Tech, at Missouri and at Kansas State, all tournament teams. Winthrop, a small school in South Carolina, upset Notre Dame as an 11 seed two years ago. Like AR Pine-Bluff, they started off the season rough as well at 5-9, but won the Big South conference tournament to earn a spot in the opening round.

–  Duke won the ACC regular season and tournament championships this year. Recruiting is on an upswing. All that’s missing is a deep run in the tournament to further cement the fact that Duke is back.

We’ll be back with some tournament predictions later in the week.

A Closer Look: Michael Gbinije

It sure seems like Coach K is doing his best impression of Kevin Garnett and preparing for war. Last week, his squad beat the living daylights out of “rival” North Carolina in Cameron. On Thursday night, victory came in the form of a verbal commitment from Michael Gbinije, a five star small forward prospect in the Class of 2011.

Among the other schools in consideration for the 14th ranked overall prospect and 4th ranked SF (from Scout.com) were North Carolina, Syracuse, Villanova, Virginia, and Wake Forest.

Gbinije is Duke’s best wing prospect since Kyle Singler pledged his allegiance to Pantone 287 back in 2006. He is the elite wing that Coach K and the staff have been looking to acquire ever since Prince Harry gesticulated his way to North Carolina. Armed with a polished offensive game, a pretty jumper, a penchant for getting into the lane, and an awesome last name to boot, Gbinije could very well be a prime time player at Duke.

Gbinije’s commitment came just days after he visited campus and attended the Carolina game in Cameron. He was also in Durham when the Devils played Maryland at home, which happened to be Coach K’s 1000th game and 63rd birthday. The raucous environment at both of those occasions may have been enough to get Gbinije to pull the trigger in favor of the Devils.

As a native of Richmond, VA, Gbinije joins commits Tyler Thornton and Josh Hairston as well as current players Andre Dawkins and Nolan Smith as Blue Devils from the D.C, Maryland, and Virginia area. This region has produced a plethora of talent in recent years, from Kevin Durant and Michael Beasley to Duke’s very own “Nasty” Nate James. So it’s not surprising in the least that Coach James, who has been on everywhere on the recruiting trail, landed his first official prospect in Gbinije.

It’s been a while since we’ve been able celebrate a commit, but we’ve got a feeling a few more are on the way. Stay with us as this month looks to be an exciting one for Duke basketball. Here’s to the Devils romping through the ACC Tournament and making this March one to remember.

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You can check out some of Gbinije’s highlights from last July at the Nike Peach Jam below.

Appetite for Destruction

Shortly following Duke’s 82-50 decimation of North Carolina on Saturday, injured Tar Heel big man Ed Davis tweeted a single word: “Unreal.” Unfortunately for Ed, Roy Williams and the silenced legions of sissy blue, the game was very real. And it was beautiful.

Dan Shulman noted in the ESPN broadcast that the game was a 2 hour party for the Cameron Crazies. We had a lot to celebrate: senior night for Jon, Brian and Lance, a share of the ACC Championship, recruits watching in the stands, and so much more. There’s a lot to talk about, so let’s get started.

A Fond Farewell on Senior Night

I think a lot of people teared up as Jon Scheyer was introduced before the game. For four years, Jon has been a consummate leader at Duke. An uncommonly intelligent player, Jon always has his game under control and is able to make the right decision. The fact that he was recruited as a shooting guard and is now a finalist for the Cousy Award, which honors the nation’s best point guard, speaks for itself. Jon is an extension of the coaching staff, a true team captain, and should be an All-American this season. I love the guy and wish Duke could keep him forever.

On Saturday night, Jon made his statement for ACC Player of the Year, finishing with 20 points and 7 assists (all of the helpers came in the first half). When he came out in the final minutes, his parents were emotional, particularly his mother. They are fan favorites and come to nearly every game. After three years of home losses to UNC, I’m glad the team gave Jim and Laury something to cheer for.

Lance and Brian played fewer minutes than Jon—with 16 and 20 respectively—but each made his presence felt. Zoubek is making me so sad; his play in the second half of the season has been such an improvement over the rest of his career. He had 8 points and 13 boards, and even had a little Dream Shake and jump hook on the baseline. Lance contributed two points and six rebounds before fouling out with about six minutes left to a rousing “LT! LT!” chant from the student section. His tough D, which earned him a spot on the All-ACC defensive squad, was once again stellar (although, what UNC player did he really have to shut down?) Lance may have the regal tattoo, but both he and Zoubs were Kings of New Jersey Saturday night.

ACC Champs!

In our ACC preview of the Tar Heels, we figured that it would be a race between UNC and Duke for the regular season title. Well, we were right about Duke at least. The victory put us at 13-3 and tied with Maryland for another regular season championship, our 12th. Although it’s tough to share anything—especially with the insane Turtle nation—it’s always good to hang a deserved banner.

Once again, the three (All-ACC) S’s led Duke to victory; Nolan, Kyle and Jon scored 65 combined points. So essentially, K could have thrown them out there with two mannequins and they would’ve beat the defenseless Holes by 15. (Also, Duke could have gone scoreless in the second half and still won 53-50.) Nolan crossed so many people that I lost count. In the first half, he left Larry Drew cemented to the floor and drove for a thunderous dunk. Kyle had 19 in the first half alone and was beating UNC by himself for several minutes. The Big Three came to play, and UNC was left cowering on the bench.

Having three legitimate 20 point scorers is a luxury that could translate to more postseason success. And as Coach K has repeatedly stated, even at the expense of a certain Chronicle sportswriter, our stars are not tiring out—and their continued dominance proves it. Earth, Wind and Scheyer (copyright!) will lead us deep into March.

The Crazies respond to Roy's equation (UNC's Season=Haiti Earthquake) with a little humor. (Courtesy DukeBluePlanet.com)

Coach K>Roy

With UNC’s season becoming more disastrous every game—even more so than Haiti, per Roy—attentive basketball fans have started to doubt Williams’ ability as a strategist. The guy can definitely recruit and is a great salesman of the powder blue program. And he has one great system predicated upon speedy point guards and forwards who can get up and down the floor. But this year, UNC has neither of these things. And Roy simply hasn’t adjusted.

Nor he has been particularly supportive of his players in this difficult season, a point this blog has made several times. Coach K, on the other hand, is still one of the game’s best in-game coaches and motivators. Early in the first half against UNC, he ripped into the Plumlee brothers for a poor defensive effort. After replacing them with Z and Lance, Coach K turned and told Miles and Mason—’that’s how you get a rebound!’ When Miles returned to the floor, he made a fantastic defensive play, stealing the ball and advancing it to Scheyer in transition. K rewarded him with more playing time. Miles came through again late in the game, when he flushed Duke’s final two points off a perfect alley-oop pass from Nolan. He nearly tore the rim off on that one—see the pictures for evidence.

The thing to take away from this exchange—no matter how ordinary it seems—is the way K uses anger and frustration to motivate his players. Instead of throwing them under the bus as Roy does, Coach K rewards his players for improvement and celebrates it with them when they perform better. Miles had a lot to say on this point after the game: see the video from WRAL here.

The Future Meets the Present

Several recruits and committed players witnessed our embarrassment of UNC. In addition to 2010 commits Kyrie Irving and Josh Hairston, several players visited to get a better look at Duke’s program. ’10 forward Michael Haynes, ’11 wing Michael Gbinjie and ’12 shooting guard Shabazz Muhammad took in the action from behind Duke’s bench. The latter two are both top 10 players in their classes, and Michael Haynes may be another option for next year along with JuCo recruit Carrick Felix. It’s too early to offer any judgments on our chances with Gbinjie or Muhammad, but Duke’s dominance surely made an impression.

Kyrie Irving, along with his St. Patrick’s classmate and Twitter stalwart blank908, had a great time in the first row. Irving and Hairston jumped up several times during exciting plays and cheered like mad. You can tell that these guys are itching to get to Duke next year and join this team. Kyrie had this to say after the game: “Hard to say goodbye…but I’ll be back in the summer…” We can’t wait to see what Irving, Hairston and Thornton bring to next year’s team, which has an opportunity to be one of Duke’s best in several years.

Tough Weekend for John Henson

John Henson was easily the best player on the floor for Carolina on Saturday night, finishing with 14 points on 5-10 shooting, including some improbable buckets in the post. However, Henson was the Crazies’ primary object of scorn, drawing catcalls like “Eat A Hamburger” and “Gumby! Gumby!” Nor did John improve his lot with his attitude; after dunking in the general vicinity of Miles Plumlee, Henson got a little too pumped up and talked trash while running back up the court. Perhaps he didn’t realize his team was still down by 30 points. Roy quickly pulled him out of the game and Henson was left looking like a sad version of Lil’ Twist from Young Money. (thanks to “bmorecity_bear” for the spot-on comparison).

But the weekend got worse for Henson, in a way. His sister Amber, a top-5 recruit in the class of 2011, committed to Joanne P. McCallie and the Duke Women’s basketball program on Sunday. Amber had considered joining her brother in Chapel Hill, but Duke’s medical program was too attractive. (Yes! Academic superiority is paying off!) Henson conceded his ‘defeat’ in having Amber choose Duke on his already legendary Twitter. I don’t mind him coming to “dook” to watch his sister, but I hope Cameron is always hostile to him when he suits up.

John Henson promises to be one of North Carolina’s better players for the years that he stays in Chapel Hill. Hopefully his sister is just as talented and can lead Duke Women’s basketball to its elusive first national championship to go with the conference tourney title they won on Sunday. What a great few days for Duke fans, and what an awful stretch for Gumby.

Nearly every bench on West Campus was burned in celebration of Duke's first home victory over UNC in five years. (property of Crazie-Talk)

Onward!

With all the joy following this weekend, it might seem alluring to curl up and watch the game replay over and over again on ESPN360. But as the seniors vehemently said in post-game speeches, this season is far from over. Duke has the tools to accomplish a lot more this year—an ACC tournament title, a number one seed, and a run at the Final Four.

And for once, I am more optimistic in March than in January. I can’t wait to see how high this team can fly.

Crazie-Talk was present for some serious pyromaniacs on Saturday night as benches burned on West Campus. One guy even tried to climb up on one of them! We do not suggest that, even if it was hilarious to see his buddies pull him off (“No, man, that’s a huge fire, not a jungle gym.”)

Check C-T later this week for our review of the ACC Tournament! Go Duke, and may UNC always lose by 30+.

Here’s a little video from the end of the game. Enjoy.


March to Victory

Jon Scheyer always seems to play well against the Tar Heels. We need another great shooting performance from Jonny on his senior night. (courtesy DukeBluePlanet.com)

Tonight is an opportunity. Duke can break a tie with Maryland for first place in the ACC and potentially grab the number 1 seed in the conference tournament. Jon Scheyer, Lance Thomas and Brian Zoubek can cap off their home careers with a victory. Coach K can move closer to 900 wins. Etc.

There are a million reasons why a win tonight is important for tangible and statistical reasons. But then there’s that creeping feeling, the weird tingle you get under your skin when the pale blue boys come out on Coach K Court. North Carolina has had our number for four years in Cameron. Last year, two of our most hated Tar Heels had their day: Ty Lawson sliced through our defense and Hansbrough completed the career sweep of Duke at Cameron. Regardless of Carolina’s record (16-14, 5-10 ACC, by the way) this game is outside of trends, ignorant of statistics. The bad guys will have swagger tonight, and they deserve to. It’s up to us to beat it out of them and leave them deflated and CBI-bound.

This game is personal for everyone involved. Last night Coach K urged the residents of K-Ville to bring two emotions to the game tonight: anger and fury. I, for one, will have no problem with that. With a few Red Bulls in me tonight, I can’t wait to scream all game, and hopefully burn benches all night.

Let’s do this for the seniors. Let’s win it and send Roy’s Boys back to Chapel Hill to hole up in their apartments. As Coach K said last night, we are all a family—the team, the coaches, the students, the University. Tonight we can remind the nation whose house this is.

Let’s Go Duke.

Enjoy this pre-game pump up video from DBP: