Battle of the Bleeding Blue Bloods

By Eric D. Graham
Updated: March 10, 2008

NORTH CAROLINA — It is known as the greatest rivalry in college basketball: North Carolina vs Duke. Some have titled this game the “Battle of the Bleeding Blue Bloods.”

In last year’s Duke and Carolina game, Duke’s Gerald Henderson Jr. tomahawked Tyler Hansbrough with a flying elbow splitting his nose. But the blood oddly wasn’t blue, it was red.

Others simply refer to this inter-state rival as the “Battle of Tobacco Road.” Despite being only 8 ½ miles apart (Chapel Hill to Durham), however the two highly respected academic programs have two distinct personalities.

Carolina is a public school. Duke is a private school. The Tar Heels are considered “sophisticated” Southerners. The Blue Devils are considered “arrogant” Northerners.

UNC plays its home games at the luxurious Dean Dome while Duke plays in the hot and crowded Cameron Indoor Stadium. Former Flordia State basketball player Sam Cassell, said it best when he referred to the Carolina fans as a “cheese and wine crowd.”

Just the opposite, the Duke fans are notoriously known as the “Cameron Crazies” due to their some-times devilish, yet delightful antics. Some claim, it was the “crazies” who invented the popular chant “airball”.

The Cameron “Crazies”, in fact, created a cult-like following turning the game of basketball into a religion as they developed a place named Krzyzewskiville or “K-Ville” outside the Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Students in reminiscent of Woodstock even slept outside in tents bearing the “rain, sleet, and snow” in order to get tickets to the greatest rivalry in basketball: Carolina vs. Duke!!

According to Art Chansky’s 2005 book titled “Blue //<![CDATA[ //]]> Blood: Duke-Carolina: Inside the Most Storied Rivalry in College Hoops,” it was the Duke-Carolina game that actually legitimized ESPN2 as a network in 1994.

The two teams, in fact, meet each other twice a year during the regular season and hopefully a third time if they are lucky enough to advance in the ACC Tournament. This is known as the “Triple Crown.”

Duke and Carolina over the years have produced several NBA superstars.

UNC has Phil Ford, Michael Jordan, James Worthy, Sam Perkins, Jerry Stackhouse, Vince Carter, Kenny Smith, Brad Daugherty, and many, many more.

Duke, not to be out done has Johnny Dawkins, Danny Ferry, Christian Laetner, Grant Hill, Carlos Boozer, Shane Battier, J.J. Redick, Elton Brand and Jason Williams.

Along with the best players in the country, both teams have legendary coaches, who have won over 800 games. Duke has the military-minded Coach Kryzewski.

The Tar Heels, on the other have, have the second-winniniest coach of all-time in Dean Smith with 879 wins.After Smith’s retirement, UNC had to deal with three coaching changes (from Dean Smith to Bill Guthridge to Matt Doherty to Roy Williams).

From 1997-2003, Duke established its dominance in the Conference by winning 14 of 19 games against the Tar Heels. This past Saturday night on ESPN, the rivalry continued.

This time, the top-ranked Tar Heels were victorious over the fifth ranked Devils by the score of 76-68 claiming the ACC regular season championship and the top seed in the ACC Tournament.

In this game, there were no blows but plenty of elbows.

But the only question not answered in this thrilling contest was, which team does the North Carolina State Wolfpack HATE THE MOST!