Battle of the Blues, Round 1


Tobacco Road. Battle of the Blues. 8 miles apart. An infamous rivalry with even more infamous games. Coaches, players, fans and "fans" can say "it's just another game" until their blue {pick your shade} in the face. And to a degree, it is. Last night did not mark the seasons end for either team. But in the state of North Carolina and the miles that separate these two powerhouses, it will always be be something more than "just another game".

There are many phrases, words and emotions that come to mind when I think about the rivalry that is Carolina and Duke. For 2 hours, at least twice a year, the rest of my world fades away. There are moments where I forget to breathe and lose myself in this insanity. I scream and make incoherent sounds while startling both my dogs and husband. All the while going back and forth on what I believe the outcome will be. I no doubt am always hopeful for a Tar Heel win, but being hopeful doesn’t always translate into victory. Especially when there are games like last night…


That was the score until the 17:10 mark of the first half. There was handful of seconds where my heart stopped as I waited for the Duke run to ensue…it never happened. Carolina was up by as much as 16 at one point and went into halftime up by 14. The Tar Heels shot almost 48% for the half and pulled down 27 rebounds {versus Duke’s 33% and 18}.


That’s what they became from the start of the 2nd. All the shots and passes that had so effortlessly gone our way in the beginning, were now going the other way. Carolina was outscored by 20 points in the 2nd half. And Duke fans and Carolina haters alike can thank Nolan Smith and Seth Curry, who combined, scored 40 of the 50 Blue Devil 2nd half points.


That’s what a loss is. No matter the opponent. No matter the margin. Anytime there is an ‘L’ instead of a ‘W’, it’s tough. With that said, the 5 guys clad in the lighter blue were incredible last night. Cameron Indoor is intimidating, small and viciously loud. And when ridiculous, I repeat, ridiculous looking people are screaming and jumping in such a manner that leads you to believe they're either being paid to act like that{hmm?}or they've lost their minds, it can make the even the biggest of big men want to climb back on the bus. So when the opposing team’s starting line up boasts of 2 freshmen, one of which publicly dissed chose Carolina over Duke, you have to wonder how much the pressure and volume would affect them. But the Tar Heels {both young and old} showed incredible poise and strength last night, and I believe that is something that they can be proud of. I’m certainly not trying to slide this into the “moral victory” column because like Coach Williams said,

"I don't want to hear anything about moral victories. We had them. We let them get away. I don't want to hear any of that moral victory stuff."

And John Henson,

"I don't put much value in a good effort. We have to win. We don't want to take any kind of moral victory. We're supposed to win that."

I couldn’t agree more. A loss is a loss, and that is a tough pill to swollow when the loss is delivered in Durham. However, the best thing about this rivalry is that it’s never one and done {which is what many of Duke’s trip to the basket were last night}. On March 5th, the same Blue Devils will step inside the Dean E. Smith Center and face a Tar Heel squad that will be very much the same, but something will be different.

They'll be ready.

"That's the reason they call it the rivalry. It's a four-times-in-a-lifetime experience to play here. Once a year, you're going to play in Cameron. And once you do it one time, you know what you have to bring to the table in terms of mental capacity to do it. Now we know."--Kendall Marshall

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