Excited for tonight's match up between Duke and UNC, I thought I'd revisit a blog I posted last year during rivalry week. Here's a revised version of Tobacco Road:
Once again it's rivalry week and in my opinion there is no better rivalry than the Battle of Tobacco Road. While Wake Forest and NC State both reside along Tobacco Road, it is the rivalry between the Duke Blue Devils and the University of North Carolina Tarheels that's unlike any other. I mean where else could you find students camped out for months in the tent city known as Krzyzewskiville!
The die hard devotion of the fans adds fuel to an already intense fire. Tobacco Road could be called The Great Blue Divide and the question is which blue do you bleed?
8 miles on US Highway 15-501 is all that separates these bitter rivals. Proximity explains some of the rivalry, but it's not just about the two schools being so close together, it's that two of the nation's premier basketball programs just happen to be miles apart.
UNC, a public school, plays in the Dean Smith Center, capacity 21,750, while private school Duke plays in Cameron Indoor Stadium (referred to by Coach K as the 6th man) which holds an intimate 9,314 including the raucous crowd simply known as the Cameron Crazies.
Between these two teams there are 9 national titles (UNC 5, Duke 4) and 33 Final Four appearances (UNC first all time with 18, Duke 3rd all time with 15). Plus they've combined for 47 ACC Regular season championships and 36 ACC tournament championships. In fact in the last 128 meetings at least one of these teams has been ranked in the top 25.
Even Crazier (pun intended), according to ESPN research in the last 75 UNC-Duke games the score is Duke 5,858, UNC 5,857!
The meetings between these two have provided some of college basketball's most memorable moments, like Jeff Capel's running 37 ft rainbow at the buzzer to send the game into overtime or Tyler Hansbrough's broken nose, courtesy of Duke's Gerald Henderson. Needless to say this fierce battle for supremacy does not disappoint.
These programs have introduced some of the games greatest names like Worthy, Perkins, Jordan, Reid, Montross, Laettner, Hurley, Hill, Wojo, Battier, Boozer, Brand, Wallace, Stackhouse, Carter, Smith, Reddick and the list goes on and on.
At least twice a year one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports takes center stage and hopefully tonight will deliver another stellar performance. After all it's tradition, it's for bragging rights, it's Duke-North Carolina.