Duke-North Carolina and the Top 20 Rivalries in College Basketball
Nothing gets a sports fans blood boiling faster than a rivalry game.
College Football is full of passionate fan bases and even more crazy rivalries. College basketball on the other hand isn't quite as intense, mainly because the length of the schedule and the increased opportunities to play ones rivals.
Still the fire that burns inside the players, coaches, and fans of these team takes on added meaning when they play their rivals.
Cause regardless how bad or good the season is going, a win against the rival can make or break the season and make for a long off season.
Here is a look at 20 of the top rivalries in college basketball.
While many look at the Ivy League like they are the nice kid that lives across the street, when it comes to the Penn-Princeton rivalry neither team is afraid to kick sand in the other's face.
This rivalry doesn't get the kind of publicity a Duke-North Carolina rivalry gets but it is an intense rivalry that neither team wants to lose.
An intense rivalry from out west on both the gridiron and the hardwood. These in state rivalries share the lime light with no other teams in the state of Utah.
BYU has had the upper hand thanks to the likes of Jimmer Ferdette, but it wasn't that long ago when the Utes under former coach Rick Majerus were playing in the Final Four.
This is a more modern rivalry thanks to a 1990's revival that have these two SEC foes routines sharing or competing for the conferences top spot.
Many not even realize that Florida has more National Championships recently than Kentucky who is one of the country's all-time great programs.
West Virginia- Pitt
Proximity battles always seem to lead to rivalries even if there is no other reason for it than how close they are.
West Virgina and Pitt have had some classic battles and some of them physical in nature. In a very competitive Big East neither team wants to give up ground especially when the two teams may only play once in the Super Conference.
Another case of keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
The seasonal battle for Ohio can be fierce and while Cincinnati appeared to have the upper hand for a long time, major improvements over the past decade from Xavier have re-energized this rivalry.
Kansas- Kansas State
In-state rivalries tend to be fiery and the last couple years have seen this match up heat up.
It has helped that Kansas State has upped its game under Bob Huggins and Frank Martin, though the 2010-2011 version is not turning out so good.
Kansas dominated for a long time, but if Martin can keep recruiting up it keeps the interest in the rivalry on a national scale.
Texas- Texas A&M
The Texas rivalry is one of many that was forged on the gridiron and had carried over to the hardwood.
While Texas has definitely been the better of the two programs for a while now, Texas A&M is improving and looking to get claim more bragging rights by garnering a few more wins over the Longhorns.
In the 1990s and part of the 2000s this match up was always one of the top 25 teams.
Both schools have fallen on hard times of late and the national attention, especially in the east does nothing to promote this clash of Pac 10 royalty.
Still despite the Pac 10 being down it remains a hotly contested game, where the winner has a good shot at claiming the conference title.
Another Big East grudge match makes the list and this time it includes two programs that are newer to the elite status.
The two may have been rivals prior to UConn's rise to national prominence and Pitts recent meteoric climb, but the rivalry has taken new meaning now. For starters both are routinely top 25, if not top 10, teams in the country.
They play in the nation's uber conference the Big East and the national attention is definitely there to help facilitate the match up.
The battle for the state of Wisconsin features two programs with opposing styles.
Marquette is a scrappy athletic team that likes to push and run a little and Wisconsin a big bruising team that plays deliberately on offense.
Still as this list shows us regardless of conference affiliation sometimes those in-state match ups make for the best rivalries.
This in-state rivalry has taken on more national importance as of late thanks to John Calipari.
The now Kentucky head coach made Memphis a national power for a year or two and with Tennessee's Bruce Pearl improving the Volunteers fortunes this battle has meant more than ever nationally.
Oklahoma- Oklahoma State
Another case where football hatred = basketball rivalry.
The two bitter rivals annually battle it on the football field in their Bedlam game but the basketball games especially in recent years have been just an entertaining.
Too bad neither team is great this year. It really makes you miss Blake Griffin as a college player until you see him dunking on half the NBA and think "nevermind."
This game lost a little luster over the years when both Syracuse and Georgetown had fallen off a bit in the 1990s.
Still you can't take away the classic 80s battles and with both teams trending upwards during the last decade this Big East battle give this rivalry a new twist.
Stanford vs. Cal on the hardwood may not be as memorable as that one football game the two played, but make no mistake this rivalry can get intense.
Both have routinely lived in the shadow of fellow Pac 10 and California school UCLA and the annual contests make the games more intense as the winner often has a chance to challenge for he conference title.
This game means an awful lot to Maryland fans who for one reason or another feel Duke is a natural rival.
The two teams have played some memorable games over the past few years but that still doesn't change the fact that to Duke fans don't feel this is a true rivalry.
Maryland fans are almost obsessive about Duke and go out of their way to show their disdain in sometimes violent and genuinely crass ways.
Michgian- Michigan State
Hands down the best rivalry in college basketball.
Not only do these two team loath one another, they are two traditional national powers who happen to be seperated by a meer eight mile stretch of pavement.
When one team loses that fan base as no where to hide for the remaining weeks and or 350 or so odd days between the next contest.
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