Duke basketball lives for rare days exactly like this

Duke basketball fans (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Duke basketball fans (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

A season full of UNC losses is Duke basketball pleasure, especially on days after the Tar Heels fell while the Blue Devils passed another test with flying colors.

Understandably, Duke basketball enthusiasts typically steer clear of UNC Twitter accounts. Today, though, is an exception because of the sweet music those rival tweeters are making: Tar Heel born, Tar Heel bred, Tar Heel til…8-7.

Quality entertainment. The latest trainwreck in Chapel Hill, dropping the injury-depleted squad to 1-3 in ACC play, came on Wednesday night at the hands of a Duke basketball alum, Pitt head coach Jeff Capel.

Following the loss — and still going strong — busloads of UNC folks on social media began throwing Roy Williams under the bus. Others agree with the program’s 17th-year head coach that the right move is to throw the players under the bus (postgame, Williams doubled down on the blame game he played on his radio show Monday night, two days after a Dean Dome drubbing from Georgia Tech).

ALSO READ: Roy Williams is a gift to Duke recruiting

Admirable UNC loyalists are now throwing under the bus all those who have thrown anyone associated with the team under the bus. So doing the math, the entire UNC family is under the bus at the moment (Ball Durham is offering a reward to anyone who can find the key).

But the key reason Duke basketball groupies are able to delight in the Carolina blue sky falling today is the current success of their beloved Blue Devils, who rank No. 2 in the country at 14-1 overall and 4-0 against the conference — riding an eight-game winning streak and boasting wins over current No. 3 (Kansas) and No. 8 (Michigan St.).

Duke’s 73-64 win on Wednesday at Georgia Tech, which immediately followed UNC’s loss on the ACC Network, included a clutch performance from Tre Jones, Javin DeLaurier, & Co. down the stretch. In the first close-game test — with under five to play — since the overtime defeat by Stephen F. Austin inside Cameron Indoor Stadium way back on Nov. 26, the Blue Devils certainly came away with an A+ grade.


Leadership (see: DeLaurier), poise (see: Jones), grit (see: Jordan Goldwire), pure shooting (see: Matthew Hurt), strength (see: Vernon Carey Jr.), depth (see: Alex O’Connell, Jack White, Joey Baker), and unselfishness (see: all) have the Blue Devils flying high (see: Cassius Stanley) despite an injury of their own (see: the broken hand of Wendell Moore).

Undeniable pride due to Duke’s overall dominance. Uncontrollable laughter due to UNC’s overall disappointment. Just how special could the combined joyous feeling become for Duke fans? Two time periods come to mind:

  1. In terms of laughter, the feeling likely won’t top that from the Matt Doherty debacle (2000-03) — when most every UNC fan threw the former Tar Heel under the bus during his 53-43 stretch as head coach (including an 8-20 campaign), which coincided with a 92-15 record and one national title from Mike Krzyzewski‘s teams.
  2. In terms of pride, fans at least have the above reasons to hope this season will match 2009-10 — when Duke finished with a 35-5 record and April nets in tow after watching Williams’ 20-17 Heels flame out in the NIT.

As for witnessing a loss by UNC on the same day as a win by Duke during the past ten years — excluding the Blue Devils’ 15 victories in 24 meetings against the Tar Heels across that span — the Duke basketball faithful must embrace the latest occurrence due to its relative rarity (though suddenly common since Saturday):

  • 20 times total from 2010 thru 2019
  • Seven of those during the ACC regular season
  • Two such gamedays in a row right now, just nine days into the 2020s

ALSO READ: Duke’s top 10 ranking fires shot at UNC

The first game between the Tobacco Road enemies comes on Feb. 8 in Chapel Hill. Four weeks later on March 7, the Tar Heels will visit the Blue Devils, quite possibly with the former’s NIT berth on the line (not 100 percent sure since it hasn’t been relevant to Duke in the past 25 years, but fairly certain the requirement to make the field of the Not Important Teams is a .500 record).

Welp, time to head back to UNC Twitter. Word is some are throwing the program’s basketball tradition under the bus by embracing a title as a football school (note: the Blue Devils were one play away last season from making it four in a row over the Tar Heels on the gridiron).

The majority, though, are drawing from the renowned UNC Fan Playbook to combat times of distress: tasting the wine and cheese while scolding the distasteful Duke basketball Crazies who take pleasure in their reaction to pain.

ALSO READ: Duke’s top 10 game-winners of the Coach K era

Anyone figure out how to start that bus yet?

Related Story. Top 100 Duke basketball players under Coach K. light

Stay tuned to Ball Durham for more updates, analyses, and opinions regarding the 2019-20 Duke basketball season.