The 10 Worst Things About Duke Basketball
I guess the premise here is that we're listing 10 awful things about Duke basketball in advance of its Saturday showdown against North Carolina.
But we don't really need the excuse.
Every day is a day to celebrate Duke's stomach-churning awfulness. Every day is a day to live, to breath, to hate.
Every day is exactly the same.
Trent Reznor, away!
No fewer than 3,000 sexual euphemisms have been used to describe Dick Vitale's relationship to Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and the basketball program writ large.
I'm probably not allowed to use any of them, so instead, I'll say that Dick Vitale likes talking about Duke, bragging about Duke, pouting over Duke's failures as one would a fallen scoop of ice cream and giving every inch of his oily, lapdog self to the greater cause of promoting Blue Devils basketball.
Right now on Dick Vitale's personal website, you can find the following grammatically incorrect piece of tongue-bathery listed under a section called "Quote of the Week":
I was amazed by the performance of Ryan Kelly in his first game back since Jan. 8th. He scored 36 points, where would Duke have been without him against Miami.
No, Dick Vitale, where would you be without Duke? Where would you be?
Unrelated Bonus: Here's a clip of Dick Vitale and the late Jim Valvano making a guest appearance on The Cosby Show. Forget everything mean I ever said about the man.
Mike Krzyzewski's Face
Long ago, some person—nay, some hero—first pointed out that Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski resembles a rat.
Maybe it was an Indian soothsayer. Maybe it was a soot-covered street urchin whose only possessions in life were a dream and a song. Maybe it was Dick Vitale sobbing into his pillow.
We may never know.
Like the caveman who invented fire and the second caveman who punched the first caveman and stole it, the true identity of this perceptive (and presumably perfect) human being has been lost to the sands of time.
So it must be.
For someday, the unheard ticking of the clock calls all of us back to her inky abyss, our souls swallowed by the endless beyond.
Anyway, he or she was 100-percent right. Mike Krzyzewski has a rat face.
Related Bonus: Here's a link to the photo above.
Christian Laettner's Buzzer-Beater
No matter how many times you hit replay, it always goes in.
If you want to know what Christian Laettner is up to these days, the answer is pretty much what you'd expect:
That's the number of three-point shots Duke has attempted since the 1998-99 season. Probably half of them went in. I bet a few them were bankers and nobody called glass.
Hey, here's a fun game. Below, I list the Duke players over that same period that shot 40 percent or better from three in a season (minimum 50 attempts). Now you try to guess what percentage of them you'd like to drop-kick.
Shane Battier (Three times)
Seth Curry (Twice)
Daniel Ewing (Three times)
Ryan Kelly (Twice)
Greg Paulus (Twice)
J.J. Redick (Twice)
The Tent City
Every single time Duke plays a significant home game, the gasbags on television feel compelled to give us a precise account of just how long students have been camping outside the arena in order to gain entry.
It's probably supposed to make us think, "Oh, those kids. I remember all the skullduggery I used to be up to during my college days. And to think, back then there were no women!"
The entire thing is infinitely dumb.
For starters, you know that every kid in those tents is a spindly freshman from Teterboro, N.J., with a wispy, training-wheels mustache and the self-confidence of a squeezed lemon. Someone told this gullible stick that college was "all about" these kinds of "wild experiences" and that he "totally needed" to do the "tent thing."
These are the same people who do a cappella.
Of course, the stick will later tell you that it was "100 percent worth it" even though that can't possibly be. No two-hour sporting event is so precious that one would willfully live in a tent for months rather than watch the game on television.
Even people who live in tents will tell you this.
I don't care if we're camping out to watch Mike Tyson kickbox a space alien—it's never worth it.
We have HD technology, you boobs.
And speaking of people who actually live in tents, did you know there was a time in our nation's history when stuff was so bad that hundreds of thousands of people were forced to live in improvised housing settlements on the outskirts of town?
We called them Hoovervilles, and they were awful. Grandpa will tell you. He probably had to fend off a pack of wolves just to suck the last drops of juice from a rotting apple core. But that's just the way things were.
We got by. And we never had to live in tents again.
Got that, Duke? Every night you spend in your Coleman Bayside 8-Person Tent is an affront to Grandpa—and probably democracy.
Whatever this is, it's the least scary thing ever.
And I hope it never comes off.
I hope you have to walk into the Booz Allen Hamilton group interview and explain why the inside of your nose is ringed with glitter. I hope your favorite semiotics professor nicknames you Ole Blue Face. I hope your girlfriend leaves you for a townie named Carl Yarborough Jr. I hope you work on the 16th floor of a Houston skyscraper. I hope Sheila in accounts is buzzing you right now about the quarterly earnings report. I hope Sheila in accounts is always buzzing you about the quarterly earnings report.
I don't like you.
Rumor has it that Marshall is the last of three sons born to Perky and Leslie Plumlee.
Of course, to believe that, you have to assume the Plumlee clan isn't some Rockwellian front for a terrible farm genetics experiment gone awry. You have to believe that Miles, Mason and Marshall aren't the spawn of a mutant Indiana soybean patch.
You have to believe there aren't more coming.
Sure, they won't be named Plumlee, but there'll be more of them. Zoubeks. Randolphs. McRobertses.
They're coming. They're always coming.
The Cameron Crazies
No entity better represents the fart-sniffing smugness of Duke basketball than the Cameron Crazies (the floor slap being a close second).
The Crazies aren't the loudest, most outlandish or even best-coordinated student section in college basketball, but they are the student section that loves itself the most. You can say you're reaching toward the inbounder to intimidate him, but we really know you're just groping to get on camera.
On the following Duke Basketball Report online forum, you can find a bunch of ex-Crazies gleefully reminiscing about the awesome chants they used to dream up—about 55 percent of them reference the opponent's intellect.
Coach K's Persecution Complex
Coach K doesn't think of himself as a basketball coach. Coach K thinks of himself as a "leader who happens to coach basketball."
And as a leader, it's his job to summon every ounce of paranoia he inherited from noted mentor/crazy-person Bob Knight and feed it right back into his team.
The single most celebrated living basketball coach in America actually said this in a 2006 interview with Esquire:
Let's say at Ohio State that we did what we have done at Duke. There would be statues. There would never be anybody looking for anything wrong with what you did. It would be a different mind-set from the one we have within this community.
People don't understand the magnitude of the isolation here. We have to do without that support. And actually, there are eyes close on you, looking at you, not wanting you to do real well. It's toughened us up. We're never going to lose because we have too many people patting us on the back. Never.
And no, he wasn't standing on the court that literally bears his name when he said it, but oh, how delicious that would have been.
They Keep Winning
We can wrap our shared hatred for Duke in any number of guises—class, race, the Reagan '80s, bacon—but at the root of it all is jealousy.
Because Duke always wins. Always.
Always. Always. Always
Here is a list of Duke's win-loss records since Mike Krzyzewski became head coach.
13-18 (Yeah, Coach K was out with a bad back. It still counts.)
Alright, time to take a shower.