It’s Duke and North Carolina on the hardwood for the regular season title

Posted on 03/04/11 No Comments

To Hate Like This Is To Be Happy Forever by Will BlytheOkay. Are you ready for this weekend?

Oh, not sure what’s happening? Well, in the Triangle, there’s only one thing going on this weekend:

Duke vs. North Carolina. For the ACC men’s basketball regular season title.

Games like this are the reason why so many people live here. Quite literally, tens of thousands of native folks to the area have remained in place not just because of the great weather or cost of living, but because of their passion for their alma mater’s sports teams.

If you’re thinking about heading out Saturday night, you might want to leave early to get a table—like around 8:00 a.m. Bars are going to be packed. Radio call-in shows are going to be frantic. Car flags will be flying on I-40. (Subsequently, arguments will break out at traffic lights.)

Basically, the Triangle is going to be blanketed with two shades of blue. And you can’t help but love it.

We’re very lucky to live in a region that is such a national magnet for high profile sports. Despite the sometime unreasonable demeanor some fans take toward their rival, it’s for the most part a terrific atmosphere. Like we’ve mentioned in previous posts, game days like Saturday are tantamount to minor holidays. To many folks, major holidays.

The ACC is down a bit this year but remains stronger than most national pundits think. There is a good chance that the teams that do make it in to the NCAA Tournament are going to experience a deep run (watch for Boston College), especially the two that are going clash tomorrow night.

Duke, with exceptional senior leadership, entered the year as a favorite to repeat as national champions. However, Roy Williams, being the Hall of Fame coach that he is, managed to re-adjust after a couple of early season stumbles and sudden player departures to become a dark horse Final Four team. Well, it’s hard to say UNC is ever a dark horse. They are playing tough ball right now.

News & Observer sports columnist Caulton Tudor has a great write-up on the many times these two teams have met to decide the regular season title, which actually doesn’t formally “exist;” it is more of a bragging right really. (But a great one to have claim over.) The real hardware comes from the ACC Tournament Championship, which is just around the corner.

Both teams are 13-2 in the league. The game tomorrow is at 8:00 p.m. in Chapel Hill at the Dean E. Smith Center, the namesake of which just celebrated 80 years. It’s going to be quite loud. And if the Heels win, the celebration will quickly move to Franklin Street. If the victory heads to Durham, expect benches to be aflame.

Where ever the celebration ends up, it’s going to be a fun night in the Triangle. Game on.

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