Duke Basketball: Why We Hate Duke and Why We Are Wrong

Paul SalmanSenior Analyst IMarch 29, 2010

DURHAM, NC - MARCH 06:  Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils yells to his team against the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on March 6, 2010 in Durham, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images



So the evil Dukies are in the final four. They are the only number 1 seed to get there and the emotions are running high and people can’t wait to see Duke go down.

What is it about Duke that people hate so much. If anything, they are a lot like these little guys who did well this year who develop solid teams because they don’t get the one and done guys. Duke is just that, but get the McDonald’s All Americans, who then stay all 4 years and develop into a TEAM rather than a team like Kentucky which obviously has more talented players, but was not a team the way Duke, Butler, Northern Iowa, Cornell (which graduates 9 seniors). The difference between teams like Northern Iowa and Cornell vs. Duke, is that given the fact that Duke brings in top tier talent out of high school, they are competitive every year. It may take Northern Iowa and Cornell another few years to get back as they now need to develop and rebuild into a team again.

Duke does not have its most talented team ever, but has a resilient defensive team that plays hard and dominates the boards. They were always a 3 point shooting team, and lived and died by the 3 the last several years. Well now they got big boys in the middle who can make sure they get second chances and don’t need to die by the three the days they aren’t going in.

In these “down” years since 2004 when they made their last Final Four appearance, Duke has lost to teams like UConn, Michigan State, LSU, West Virginia, and Villanova. Only in 2007, when they lost to VCU did Duke lose to a non-basketball powerhouse. They have not missed the tournament since 1995, which was the year Coach K took 12 games off due to health reasons, proving just how great a coach he is and how much he means to this program.

Speaking of Coach K, people hate on him as well, however he is the only Coach, with his way style of play, that was able to get a bunch of NBA superstars to finally learn how to play as a team and win the Gold Medal and bring American Basketball back to being known as the best! Why would anyone in America hate on him so much. We glamorize all other coaches for bringing teams success, and this is a man who brings his university success and helped restore success to the American Basketball program. Each of the players on that gold medal team had great things to say about Coach K and his style which helped them win.

Duke is a school of 6400 undergraduate students, which has a top 10 education of all National Universities, and has a tuition near $40K. This limits the pool of players that Coach K can pick from in an extraordinary fashion. He is not coaching at a school with 40,000 students that has mediocre standards and cost around $20K. He needs to really pick his players wisely and really coach them into his style which has proven to be a winning style.

Duke has never been accused of any cheating either. Other schools have coaches who have a history of cheating, yet they are glamorized and the media would be thrilled to have them in the final four.

At the end of the day, the hatred toward Duke is actually a self fulfilling prophecy. Duke is hated because they are elitist (which is pretty subjective) and the fact that they are on TV all the time and people feel networks give them preferential treatment. Well you know why they are on TV all the time, because all you people who hate them, can’t wait to tune in to root against them! There are more people who tune in to root against than those who root for them (don’t have actual numbers but just given that they are one school, which not a huge alumni base, it’s pretty obvious). What this means is all the people who hate, tune in and watch, driving up the ratings which is what the networks really care about at the end of the day.

Being polarizing is what makes us love/hate Duke and until that stops being the case, all you haters can keep complaining that Duke is everywhere.