Not Our Rivals

In his post yesterday, Nate touched upon the fact that UNC looks at NC State like an older brother looking at a little brother. NC State is jealous of their older brother and wants to beat him in every competition possible. At the moment, NC State only beats UNC at graduating farmers and engineers, but not much else. Nate also wrote briefly of how the relationship between Duke and Maryland is similar to the relationship between UNC and NC State. I wouldn’t state that Maryland envies Duke in everything they do (even though they should), but Maryland really, really wants to beat Duke every time they play basketball. Maryland fans go absolutely insane every time they play Duke. While Duke fans assume an aloofness while dismissing the Terrapins by yelling things at them like “Not our Rivals.”

The past 11 years have provided for some amazing contests between the two schools and also some extremely low points from Maryland fans.  We’ve been entertained by the likeness of Juan Dixon, Lonny Baxter, Chris Wilcox, Greivis Vasquez and many others. Steve Blake haunts my dreams like no other player because he had the ability to eternally frustrate Jason Williams. Steve Blake to Jason Williams is like Tyronn Lue to Allen Iverson. A vastly inferior player getting under the skin of a supremely skilled player and just interrupting him constantly. Somehow, someway, the fellow who penned this amazing piece about a “restaurant that brings people happiness” was able to disrupt one of the best players I’ve ever seen.

Steve Blake is the Devil. And Johnny Rockets is his hell.

My worst memory as a Duke fan actually occurred during one of the best moments in recent Blue Devil history. With Duke down by ten with approximately a minute left they staged an improbable comeback behind some amazing play by Jason Williams and beat Maryland in overtime. Why was it bad for me? I was a shitty sixteen year hold who couldn’t handle watching Duke lose and I left the room once they were down by ten with one minute to go. My dad came into my room after the Blue Devil comeback and overtime victory to inform me of what happened. I defiantly argued that it wasn’t possible and he was making it up, but then I checked the internet and felt like the biggest idiot in the world. That was the same game where Maryland fans threw bottles at the Duke bench and one happened to hit Carlos Boozer’s mother. Stay classy Maryland fans.

I don’t have complete and total enmity for Maryland because their games are some of the most entertaining games to watch. Maryland gets extremely hyped up, and while Duke fans insist that Maryland is not their rival, the Blue Devil players show a lot of emotion during the game. And in the past few years Maryland has fielded one of my favorite players in Greivis Vasquez. He has since gone to the NBA but I loved watching him. He played with fire, ability and with immeasurable amounts of swagger. On top of it all, Josh Hairston insists that he is a closet Duke fan. I would’ve loved to see him in a Duke uniform, but I think the universe may have exploded from all the hate directed towards Duke if that came to fruition. He would’ve brought more scorn on the team than even J.J. Redick.

Maryland-Duke games don’t bring the same type of intensity that Duke-UNC games bring. Duke-UNC games are usually nerve wracking and filled with inescapable amounts of tension. It’s a relief when a Duke-UNC game is over, and typically the best team has won. When I watch Duke-Maryland games I always have the thought, in the back of my mind that Maryland is not out rival, and has no chance at beating us. This is undoubtedly untrue, but it’s hard to shake the thought. Luckily Duke gets to play Maryland twice this year (I hate the unbalanced ACC schedule) so it will be interesting to see what the games are like now, since Gary Williams retired at the end of last year and Mark Turgeon has taken over.  I don’t know much about Turgeon and I doubt he’ll bring the verve and sweat that Gary Williams brought to the table and I hope the “rivalry” does not suffer from it. The Terrapins are supposed to be awful this year because they have so few scholarship players (from defection and injury) but they always bring it when they play Duke, even though they will inevitably lose.

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3 Responses to Not Our Rivals

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  1. Dr. K says:

    Whoa, whoa. Wait a minute! Carlos Boozer has a mother???

  2. Brian says:

    I just graduated from Duke this past year and am in school with a lot of Maryland fans, and it’s very hard to explain the “rivalry” between Duke and Maryland to them. When Maryland is good, the Maryland game is a huge deal among the Duke students because it’s a good game… but that’s it. That being said, I think that between Greivis (who I hated because of his arrogance, but I honestly like, a lot, looking back and respect if for nothing else than the fact that he just lived on the crap he got from us Crazies and loved the atmosphere) and Gary (who was the 2nd best coach in the ACC) there had been more to the Duke-Maryland series than any other series in the ACC over my time at Duke. They hate us a whole lot more than we hate them, and it shows when they destroy College Park when they beat us. I think that if State had been any good over the past few years, Duke-State would be the #2. Same with Wake. The geographic proximity is a big deal, like it or not.

    I personally hold Maryland as the clear #2 rival, but that’s because I’m a DC area native who grew up despising their fans, and now that I’m at law school in DC surrounded by Maryland fans, I’m remembering what it is that made me dislike them so much.

  3. Smoky says:

    Maryland is definitely the #2 rivalry. In the landscape of college sports its one of the biggest rivalries. In fact that a few years back Wilbon wrote that it was the best rivalry game in college basketball. The only thing that diminishes it is that Duke already is involved in the biggest rivalry in college sports. I appreciate the Maryland rivalry for what its worth, and I can understand how Maryland fans are pissed that Duke doesn’t really care about them, but at the same time their fans are so violent and riot-prone that you want to dismiss them as loons.

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