Duke Basketball: Art Chansky’s ‘Blue Blood II’ examines sport’s top rivalry

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

Just in time for the season, there is a new book hitting shelves tomorrow that delves into the Duke basketball program’s rivalry with UNC — also known to those on Tobacco Road as the greatest rivalry on the planet.

Duke basketball fans have entire vaults in their memory banks reserved just for past victories over the University of North Carolina. Vice versa, fans of the Tar Heels enjoy nothing more than rehashing wins against their fiercest rival from eight miles down the road.

With so many nail-biting games between the two — seemingly at least one per season — Art Chansky has stepped in, time after time, to recap the rivalry.

The author of “Blue Blood II” — a follow-up to his “Blue Blood” published in 2005 — delivers an artful summary of not only the memorable contests between the two schools but also of the divergent paths the two head coaches of the programs have chosen to take in recent years.

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Whatever moment you best remember from the Duke-UNC rivalry since 2005, you will likely find it mentioned within the pages of Chansky’s latest work (available on Amazon and in bookstores on Oct. 30).

The book begins with a foreword, written by Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski and UNC head coach Roy Williams, that offers insight into how the two legends view one another, the rivalry, and the sport as a whole.

It also sets the tone for what this latest work is all about: in the words of Chansky, it highlights “the mortality of a rivalry.” There is no doubt that both Krzyzewski and Williams, who have combined to win eight ACC tournament titles and four national championships since the release of “Blue Blood,” are far closer to the end of their careers than to the beginning.

While they are still directing their squads from the bench, though, it’s fun to look at what they have accomplished while battling against one another and the way in which they have gone about it (Coach K has recently benefitted from one-and-done prospects while Ol’ Roy has taken a more traditional approach of developing players over four years).

Not only does Chansky tell the whole story — not shying away from controversies that have arisen since 2005, such as NCAA investigations in Chapel Hill — he precedes each chapter with collections of interesting stats and notes that perfectly lead into the pages of text.

Sure, fans of the Blue Devils may have a tough time stomaching the chapters that include in-depth looks at UNC’s title runs and the collegiate careers of former players such as Tyler Hansbrough (the topic of the first chapter); however, remember that Tar Heels have to suffer in a similar fashion when taking in those chapters that cover the successes of Duke (including Austin Rivers’ shot that left the Dean Dome in shock in 2012).

But that’s what the rivalry is all about: respecting one another’s accomplishments — and recognizing that the combined accomplishments are what brings so much worldwide attention to the rivalry — while being blunt about how painful it can be to do so.

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So, any followers of the Battle of the Blues, no matter which side they are on or in which generation they fall, should pick up their copy of “Blue Blood II” before the season starts and just enjoy the ride that Chansky — a UNC graduate and former editor of The Daily Tar Heel — takes his readers on.