Your “We Hate Duke” Weekend Primer…

It was only 14 months ago that I carried a quiet appreciation for Duke University.

I’d made my first journey to Cameron to see Lenny Bias and Lefty take on Johnny Dawkins and that crew. The Crazies were just earning their nickname and I clearly remember Bias being the biggest, most muscular basketball player I’d ever seen, and Dawkins being the smoothest. Perhaps Duke won by about 10 but it was a good game and I walked away smiling.

Since then I’d always appreciated the building and the fans and honestly the winning–I’m old school as in old man–and could even let Dick Vitale off the hook. Heck, I even had no problem with the public persona of Coach K being completely different than behind closed doors (think Alaa Abdelnaby).

I returned to Cameron last year for the George Mason game and actually enjoyed the cramped quarters along press row, complete with 20-year old college kids hands sticking out from my neck, their knees firmly in my middle back. Once again, the team I secretly wanted to win had lost, but I once again I enjoyed the trip.

The relationship has turned sour more quickly than Steinbrenner/Martin/Jackson, and it’s all on the head of Greg Paulus. I was fine with Paulus being the designated “punky white kid from Duke we hate.” It’s never real hate; it is more like the “what an idiot” condemnation you give the guy who gets verbally abusive and holds up the line when his beer isn’t filled to the rim. (You’ve got 11.94 ounces, sport, let it go. Media timeout is over.)

But Paulus proved himself Moronis Stupendous against VCU in last season’s NCAA tournament–you know the one where the CAA team beat the ACC team. I’ve never seen so much whinery, punkery, and (we normally don’t talk like this here) douche-baggery than I saw from Paulus. One guy!

It’s no wonder fans hundreds of miles away were cheering.

As I replayed my copy of that VCU/Duke game–probably 15 times since last March–the hatred grew. Total idiocy. There was nothing more satisfying than Lance Whatshisname’s Zombie Face after Maynor’s shot and Duke’s timeout. I’d like that framed for Christmas, please.

Mottram’s Mr. Irrelevant, a Recommended Read, took it farther.

But last night ended it all. I caught most of the first half of the Duke/NC State game and never made it past halftime. Bad flopping, incessant whining, more punkery in the form of cheap shots, and an overall disdain for anything remotely resembling respect were rampant. It was unwatchable.

It’s official: we hate Duke.

***

Duke is why I spend my time in Trask and not the YourBank Arena. I thank you for allowing me to get that off my chest–I lost sleep last night–before getting into what you need to look for this weekend:

Keep an eye on the two afternoon teevee games. Mason hosts JMU and ODU hosts Georgia State. In both, I don’t care who plays well or poorly individually. What’s important to me is the path to success.

Mason needs to avoid the letdown after its big win Tuesday over VCU. JMU is heading south awfully quickly but still has talent on the roster. Spies tell me Pierre Curtis is finally healthy, which is a Swanston-like key for the Dukes. Mason needs to blow them out. I mean a 91-68 shellacking. The Patriots need to prove their VCU win was more than big game emotion. Great teams take care of business no matter the opponent.

ODU just needs to win. That would be nice, but it isn’t the tonic. This is one of those games where the Monarchs need a big win, really, to make themselves feel better about their transition. That was a painful loss to UNCW Wednesday night. You don’t give up 19-point second half leads at home and shake it off.

We’re keeping an eye on Nor’Easter’s defense on the road at Drexel. Coen pleaded for it and he’s gotten it once. Repeatable? Plus, another road win would help vault Nor’Easter into contention for a top four seed. Lose, and they are probably thinking Friday.

As for VCU/Towson, again, keep an eye on the final score. Towson is quietly (everywhere except here) playing very good basketball and VCU needs to rebound from the Mason game. The Rams don’t ever strike me as an emotion team–they won’t punish Towson because they are mad. Rather, they are a focus team. They will punish Towson because Mason got their attention. Will they?

Delaware is at Hofstra in a game that means a great deal to Monte Ross. The Hens are tested, and road tested. A win gets them to 7-4 and keeps them in the thick of things.

The final game is the one everybody should watch. The Dub heads into Williamsburg with a share of second place on the line. The UNCW faithful are all over the map, from “still not convinced we’re any good” to “bring on Memphis.”

The Tribe is doing their part, having rallied from the days when “bring on Houston Baptist” was a scary proposition.

I see a low scoring, battle-royale, with UNCW coming up with the narrow victory.

***

Maybe a little more later. Today we’re catching up.

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~ by mglitos on February 1, 2008.

10 Responses to “Your “We Hate Duke” Weekend Primer…”

  1. I’m sweating the JayEhmYoo game Mike.
    Everything is pointing towards a jinx, sold out game, the win streak, JV’s double-digits streak and the rest against a team that will either be A. desperate B. playing w/nothing to lose or C. both

  2. Couldn’t have said it much better than that regarding Duke and the “commentary” of one Mike Patrick. I muted the TV after two minutes of garbage commentary in the waning moments of the Duke/FSU game (replay showed Paulus on the ground kicking at FSU players like the unaccountable, entitled piece of shit that he is).

    Meanwhile, the fair and balanced tandem of Bilas (who is great but shouldn’t be allowed to do Duke games) and Patrick (nuff said) never pointed that out. I regret having a degree from the same institution as Patrick.

  3. I am worried about a Mason letdown after Tues.’s emotional game, just like I was worried about looking ahead last Sat. night vs. UNCW. We’ll see what happens. It’s interesting that this group of seniors at Mason has NEVER lost to Madison. Madison have talent. It should be a good game in Fairfax…can’t wait to be there tomorrow to watch in person (especially since it’s a sellout crowd).

    And yes…I hate Duke and especially that punk Paulus as well. It’s the only time I’ve rooted hard for VCU, and I loved it when they took Duke down.

  4. Well, I was wrong…Mason makes it look easy again vs. Madison…wow. Wow. And more wow. This team is looking soooo good right now…

    Let’s see what happens on a key 3-game road trip.

  5. Speaking of woooooooow…take a look at what’s going on in Williamsburg. Unreal.

  6. TJ…you’re totally right. That’s awesome for Tribe grads and fans. They deserve a good b-ball team in W-burg. I’m looking fwd to Mason/W&M on 2/27, but that’s a loooong way away. It will be Thomas/Campbell/Carter’s last game at home as Patriots (unless there’s a NIT home game this season, and I hope we end up with something better).

  7. If there’s one thing the Tribe, be it the team or the fans, should never do it’s look ahead. But yeah, I have looked at the Green and Gold’s next few games and that Feb 27th tilt at the Patriot Center could very well be huge.

  8. Hey, Mr. Litos,

    I’m a long-time reader and fan of your column, and a Dub alum (go, teal and slightly less teal!) and first-time comment poster. The odd part is, I’m now a grad student at Duke, and a life-long Duke fan. I actually cheered for VCU last year because the Duke fans have gotten a little bit of a sense of entitlement, as well as the players, and I really hated McRoberts, even as a Duke fan. While I’ll admit there are some down points to Duke’s game like I mentioned just a few sentences ago (in addition to a dogged refusal to let bench players get minutes in junk time), is all that and some flopping (which is used liberally throughout the game, not just on one team) and one particular player (Paulus can be a bit of a douche at times, he picks too many fights) reason to hate liberally on a whole program? I mean, isn’t it bad enough that Duke gets hated on by the major press with “10 Most Hated Duke Players” lists and the like? I really love your in-depth coverage on the conference of my beloved undergrad (whom I’d cheer for any day over Duke, and really prefer the raw energy of Trask over the scripted spirit of Cameron), since I don’t get it from very many places on the net, but is this long Duke-hating column really necessary?

    However, more on topic, despite the loss to W&M, who’s playing really well, I’m very pleased at how the dub’s recovered this year. I’m hoping they can close out the season well, although I’m not sure how well a 4-3 conference finish will do them.

    If you kept a post this long, and read to the end, I appreciate it!

  9. Definitely not necessary, but when you think about it, neither is beer.

    Of course we made it to the end…CAA: LAMM cares.

  10. Thanks for the response! I hope I didn’t come off sounding like a spoiled brat Duke fan (as there are a large number of them around). But your point is taken, seeing as how this blog’s a space to express your opinion on a variety of topics of interest basketball-wise, and that is a topic of interest. Anyway, like I said, love your column and thanks again! 🙂

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