Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Duke: The Most Hated Team in College Basketball

I have a theory. That theory is that Duke is the most hated team in all of college basketball. They may in fact be the most hated team in all of college sports. Dare I say, they may be the most hated team in all of sports.

My theory makes assumptions, of course, and my facts are what one might call 'things I made up but sound pretty accurate.' Yet, I think I'm right. I usually do.

My theory begins by suggesting that a team becomes most hated when a team is involved in a bitter, famous rivalry. Rivalries make people pick sides, and it polarizes fans, even fans with no affiliation to either team.

In college basketball, it is the indisputed truth that the UNC-Duke rivarly is the creme of the crop. In fact, when websites go to poll fans about the top rivalries in the sport of college basketball, they somtimes pose in advance "besides UNC/Duke" right into the question. Other rivalries include Kentucky/Louisville, Cincinnati/Xavier, Kansas/Missouri, and Indiana/Purdue. Often rounding out the top 5 college basketball rivalries besides UNC/Duke, is UMD/Duke. What other team is hated so much by TWO state schools?? None.

The second element is that they have players nobody likes, not anywhere. JJ Redick, Steve Wojciechowski, Greg Paulus, Christian Laettner and Danny Ferry. Really, this team was built to be hated.

Lastly, the final element is the coach, and Coach K has just got to be the most hated coach in all of college basketball. And the fans! Those "Cameron crazies." How could I have forgotten about those abnoxious fans!?! And their biggest fan, announcer Dick Vitale!!! aaaghgdshjdfs!!!

This is all timely because TONIGHT the Terps play Duke in College Park. Now back in January, the Terps lost to Duke an astounding 85-44. So tonight, I will watch with low expectations.

And I fear the very worst - I always do. Perhaps I don't share Jason Heat's rarely paralleled paranoia towards flying planes and black holes, but when it comes to the University of Maryland Men's Basketball team, I basically prepare for collapse.

Why? Because I have another theory. That theory is that we suck.

Why do we suck? My theory is that Gary Williams sucks. In the four years that I attended the University of Maryland, this Terps team failed to make it to the NCAA tournament 3 out of those 4 years. That's embarrassing.
Another theory as to why we suck is that it's because of the players Gary Williams recruited. Yeah, they suck. We haven't had a single First Team All-ACC player (a really good player) since 2002 when Juan Dixon ruled the school. That's 7 years and running of not having a top ACC player. The last time Maryland went this long without an All-ACC player was the 1960's. Yeah, the 1960's.

But by far my favorite part about the Williams sucking routine is that, sometimes, we don't suck. Sometimes we're frustratingly good. Frustrating, because it only happens every once in a while, just enough to tease. In fact, if there's anything I expect more than a big loss, it's a big loss after a big win.

This season, things are no different.

On Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009, the Terrapins lost to the #3 ranked University of North Carolina Tar Heels 108-91. No one did this loss justice quite like our friends at The Only Schmucks Trying to Get In - click there to read one of my all-time favorite posts by them.

On Saturday, February 21st, 2009, the Terrapins beat the #3 ranked University of North Carolina Tar Heels in overtime 88-85.

There was a time once when this would have given me great hope. That the Terps might once again make the big tourney. Hope that the Terps will fulfill their potential. Hope that Gary Williams can once again do much with very little. But alas, I am hardened, I am jaded, I am learned, and I now know better.

So when the Terps play Duke tonight on ESPN, I know all of America will be rooting for the Terps. A win with all eyes on Maryland would ideally draw future college players to play for Gary Williams. A win tonight would all but guarantee the Terps get to go back to the NCAA Tournament.

But if you're interested in a Maryland win this week against Duke, I recommend you watch the Women's Basketball team play the Lady Blue Devils on Sunday.

5 comments:

B.Graham said...

I really, really think they do it (the waffling between being really good and really, really bad) on purpose. Just to hurt us.

Ozkirbas said...

Remember that time they were talking about replacing Gary Williams?

Ginsburg said...

Duke MIGHT be the most hated team in America, but don't discount the hordes of fans who come from Columbus and wear Yankee hats and Lakers jackets with their official New England Patriots hoodies. A lot of those guys love Duke. And those motherfuckers are absolutely everywhere.

Max Nova said...

None if this 5th grade essay stuff Adam. Duke ARE the most hated college basketball team in the country! At this point they are more despicable than the Notre Dame football team.

Daniel said...

there's always the acc tournament...