No. 1 Duke ruling college hoops with an iron hand

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 26, 2001

Sports Editor

Somebody just do it.


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Just knock them off, because I’m getting really, really tired of them.

They’ve ran off 20 straight wins since last season, been ranked No. 1 for all 10 games they’ve played this year, and they attract the nation’s best basketball talent like football fields in Cleveland attract beer bottles.

High school hoopsters are drawn to Durham, N.C., because the Blue Devils are a band-wagon fan’s back-up plan. If your own team, be it an SEC middle-of-the-pack squad like South Carolina or some upset minded A-Sun team like Georgia State, falls off and does poorly, you can always root for Duke.

Duke is nation wide. Duke is the ACC, now that North Carolina has put almost equal emphasis on football as well as basketball. Duke is currently No. 1 and the defending national champions.

But there is a dark side to the Blue Devils programs. You know there has to be. True, Coach "K" is one heck of a basketball coach, (I’ll concede that), but there’s something nasty going on here. While they may sometimes exhibit the choir boy image, these are no choir boys. They’re mean. They pummel other teams like Tyson used to pummel opposing boxers, long before he took up snacking on other people’s ears.

Maybe it’s not the Duke program as a whole that I dislike. Maybe it’s the fans. Not the died-in-the-wool true Duke fans, born and raised in North Carolina, but the self-proclaimed "Cameron Crazies", a majority of which who are students from around the nation. Smart students too, since Duke has one of the highest academic standards in the country. How smart are they? Depends on how they act when they’re not inside the basketball arena. They paint themselves blue and jump around like religious fanatics, awaiting a chance to drink arsenic-laced Kool-Aid from paper cups. They’re smug, condescending and act like they should be the focus of Duke University, not the team on the court.

The Blue Devils have been on top for too long. Enough already. Somebody stop this cancer before it spreads to March.

Where’s Jerry Tarkanian and the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels when you need them?


There is some cause to celebrate this early in the college basketball season. Tennessee is 5-5. Did you see that 73-72 meltdown the other night against Louisville? It was funnier then David Letterman’s late night monologue. At least "punk" guard Tony Harris has graduated, but crybaby Ron Slay is still there.


Troy State (5-3) is heading to Bozeman, Mon., for the Holiday Stores/Touch America Classic on Dec. 29. The last TSU team to make a trip to Montana got their lunch handed to them 70-7. That was the football squad back in a a 1996 Division I-AA semifinal playoff game against Montana. If junior guard Ben Fletcher stays hot (18.5 point average in last two games), taking some of the pressure off top scorers Lemayn Wilson and Robert Rushing, the Trojans could win the tournament and enter the new year on a hot streak. Which would be helpful considering they return to A-Sun play on Jan. 2, 2002, at defending league champ Georgia State.