Duke Can Learn Valuable Lessons From UNC's Struggles

Mike KlineAnalyst IFebruary 18, 2010

CHAPEL HILL, NC - FEBRUARY 10:  North Carolina forward Deon Thompson #21 fights for a rebound against Duke forward Lance Thomas (42) during a men's college basketball game at Dean Smith Center on February 10, 2010 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Chris Keane/Getty Images)
Chris Keane/Getty Images

It isn't often when you hear someone in the Duke corner suggest that the Blue Devils look at their arch rivals for inspiration.

That, however, is exactly what I think they should do.

The North Carolina Tar Heels are in the midst of their worst season under Roy Williams. Consequently it is arguably Williams' worst season ever as a coach.

Duke too has found itself in a funk in recent years; not having been to the Final Four since 2004 and not having won a National Title since 2001. Since Williams' arrival the Tar Heels have won two titles.

Excluding the Matt Doherty 8-20 debacle, North Carolina fans in the modern era have not faced this type of adversity.

There is quite a bit of chicken little syndrome developing in and around Chapel Hill but they only need look at the 8-20 year before they decide to jump off the deep end.

No one stays on top forever.

Duke fans should take that to heart.

The Blue Devils despite their struggles and problems have never been as bad as 8-20. The can probably relate more to the 14 and 12 which is where the Tar Heels find themselves now.

Even in that 1995 season when Coach Mike Krzyzewski took a medical leave of absence, Duke still fought and was competitive.

So things could be far worse for Duke and for North Carolina.

Some are arguing that the Blue Devils will end up just like last years or the year before. Others feel they may be on their way back to elite status.

Either way, Duke can look back on the last three years and confidently say at least it isn't that bad; at least when they reference either one of the poorer North Carolina seasons.

The Blue Devils have at least made the NCAA Tournament in those years; something the Tar Heels aren't likely to do this season unless they win the ACC Tournament.

Tar Heel fans can consequently look at Duke and feel that it isn't likely that they will stay down very long.

Who knew such heated rivals could draw so much support and inspiration from one another. Perhaps we can all get along after all.

Well, then again, maybe not.