Thursday, April 1, 2010

Everyone Hates Duke - Are They Really Different This Year?

Obviously the story lines for this year’s Final Four stink. There are not a ton of stories because of the lackluster teams and the lack of star players. Instead we started the week with a bogus story about Tom Izzo being offered the Oregon job (side note – Oregon hired the worst recruiter in the history of the world. They were hired to target coaches and they came up with…..drumroll……….Tom Izzo. Really? That’s what they got paid for? What did they do for research – open the newspaper and watch SportsCenter? Everyone knows Izzo is the best coach in the sport. Why not just throw Coach K, Jim Boeheim and Roy Williams out there as candidates?). In other breaking news……Katy Perry can fill out a bikini. And now we’re on to an even more ridiculous story about why people hate Duke and whether it’s warranted that people dislike them.

People dislike Duke for a multitude of reasons, including jealousy, rivalry, ignorance and stupidity. And at the end of the day, so what? I’m not going to go through the reasons and prove or debunk them because people are locked into their opinions. People are not going to change their minds because some sportswriter pens a diatribe about how this year’s Duke team is different than the past teams and their dislike is “an outdated cliché.” Dude, your article is a waste of time. Let people dislike teams like Duke or Notre Dame or the Yankees with absolutely no sane reason for it. That’s part of being a fan.

More interesting to me was the notion that this Duke team is really different than those previous teams that everyone disliked. Are they? They have a tough-nosed white point guard who can shoot from the outside, an athletic wing man, and a tweener white guy who is more athletic than he looks and can shoot or go inside and they are coached by a guy that looks like an owl. That was Bobby Hurley, Grant Hill, Christian Laettner and Coach K in the early ‘90’s. It was JJ Reddick, DeMarcus Nelson, Josh McRoberts and Coach K in the middle of the 2000’s. And now it is Jon Scheyer, Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler and Coach K. It is the exact same formula Coach K has always employed. And feel free to make your comparisons of Cherokee Parks to the Plumlee brothers or to Greg Zoubek.

So this year’s team is pretty much a clone of previous Blue Devil squads. Feel free to hate on them if you want, as long as you understand that disliking any team is almost always based on nothing rational. My guess is Duke doesn’t really care what you think of them and that your feelings about them will have less than no impact on whether they can get past the Mountaineers on Saturday night.

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