Shades Of Blue

If they created a “Who’s Who” for college basketball luminaries, a bevy would originate from two traditional powers that resume their wonderful rivalry on Wednesday night.

Duke and Carolina. Or Carolina and Duke. It depends on your shade of blue.

A New York Times article last week suggested that the once rowdy Cameron Crazies in Durham were less crazy this year. Old guys are blending in with co-eds now, painting their faces dark blue and letting their dignity fade away with every chant. It’s becoming your father’s student section.

Maybe that explains why the Devils couldn’t hit a free throw in overtime over the weekend against Miami – of all teams. The Hurricanes inexplicably beat Duke on Sunday to hand the Devils their second loss at Cameron Indoor this season and drop Duke below Murray State in both the AP and coaches poll this week.

It’s a little different in Chapel Hill. They sit tied for first place in the conference waiting for their nemesis to visit the land of light blue at the Dean E. Smith Center this week. Carolina leads the nation in points scored and rebounds per game. That’s an absolute lethal mix for an opponent. The Tar Heels are the only team to win indoor and outdoor basketball games this season, defeating Michigan State in November on a ship in San Diego.

There’s still plenty of concern at the Dean Dome. Carolina lost to a game UNLV team on an alleged neutral court in Las Vegas during the holidays. They fought hard but came up short in a marvelous basketball game in Lexington a week later. And then there’s the Florida State game. North Carolina lost by 33 points on the road on that Saturday afternoon. Head coach Roy Williams walked off the court while his walk-ons got lost in a sea of Seminoles that stormed the court.

We still don’t know what shade of blue looks better at the end of forty minutes.

In the inevitable year of the mid-major, the macro conference gets its spotlight game on Wednesday. The ACC is downright horrible this season. Let’s not include these teams in that murk. Duke and North Carolina play in a higher league.

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