In sports, there are some heated rivalries across the board. Celtics/Lakers, Cowboys/Redskins, Steelers/Ravens, however, no rivalry is as exciting or thrilling as Duke and Carolina in men’s college basketball. The Carolina/Duke rivalry goes back to the early 1920’s and today, it still has pure hatred and thrills amongst the fans and players. Usually, the schools meet at least twice, once in Chapel Hill and once in Durham. Sometimes fans get lucky and the teams meet for a third time in the ACC Tournament. This year is a little bit different in the series. Usually, both teams are extremely top heavy in the ACC and the national polls. Carolina is struggling massively this year. Battling injuries and a lesser recruit class than years before, the Heels are having an “off year”. Duke is soaring high and has been consistently in the top-10 of the NCAA national polls. However, no matter the record, these two teams will give the fans an instant classic.
This year, on February 8th, I had the pleasure of attending my first Carolina/Duke game in Chapel Hill. This was definitely a dream come true for me as this game has been on my bucket list my entire life. The game lived up to be worth every penny that the game cost. The excitement, the thrills, the energy and the intensity of the game was unmatched. 18,000 fans screaming the entire game for their respective team. In a sea of Carolina fans, my girlfriend and I were among 15 Duke fans who sat in our section. Duke trailed and struggled the entire game. Carolina was running and shooting like usual Carolina teams do. The Duke fans were upset thinking we were going to lose to our arch rivals on their floor. I personally just had to let everyone know around me the entire game “don’t panic, we’re going to win this game. Be patient”. At the end of the second half, Duke Sophomore standout guard Tre Jones led the Blue Devils to a massive comeback leading to overtime. Jones would outscore the Heels by himself in the last three minutes of the game. In overtime, Jones stole the show once again. He would go on to score 28 points and give the game winning assist to Freshman forward Wendell Moore. When Duke won at the buzzer, the Duke fans erupted while the Carolina fans stood in silence. This was one of the greatest feelings ever for me. Watching my team beat our arch rivals on their floor and be in attendance was literally the greatest thing ever.