Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Day is Nigh

Hell's Bells, I am jacked. 9pm. 9pm until all the mercy in the world shrinks into shadow and the Dukies ride that river boat through the fiery gates. The College Park demons are ready. We're ready. It's holy war. We're going to Hades, baby, and we need to come out winners. I'll take any kind of victory. Blow-out, dramatic, Pyrrhic. It's all the same in the hardcourt jungle.

Because like it or not, UNC has made its case. They just scored 100 points in a road ACC game. Sure, BC is struggling, but they're still upper tier in the conference. And I don't need to remind you that even winning on the road in this conference is hard. Scoring 100 and winning by 32?


Henson and Zeller are two of the league's best big men. They were always going to give Duke fits. Barnes, who has scored 26 and 25 his last two games, was never going to stay below average. We knew from Ken Pomeroy that their defense is not just good, but elite. We knew Roy made the proper decision by replacing Drew with Marshall at point. But I personally took solace in the fact that supposedly they couldn't shoot threes. It was the glaring error that would doom them and keep true greatness at bay. Well, last night that went out the window too, to the tune of 11-21. It was a massacre, by far the most impressive win by any team in the ACC this season. And, I have to admit, it was good basketball. It was fun to watch.

Here's the reality: at 6-1 in conference, they are a legitimate threat to win the regular season title. If Duke loses tonight- and please prepare yourselves for this, because it's not pleasant- UNC becomes the favorite.

They've won 9 of 10. They seem like a fairly complete team. Even the attitude of the faithful is starting to change. I got a haircut yesterday, and the barber (a big Carolina fan) worried that they were about to lose 3 games in a row (BC, FSU, Duke). I told him that was highly unlikely, but he wouldn't budge. In class the day before, a couple students who follow the team obsessively scoffed when I suggested that Carolina might have a shot at the ACC title. Before last night, the fan base didn't quite believe. The memory of last year was too fresh, and the cynicism they brought with them this year was fueled by a rough start.

After last night, the cynicism is gone. UNC is back, and so is their swagger. The fans will start to believe again. Sunday's game against FSU will be a 10-point win. They might even be a top 10 team by the end of the season. That wouldn't surprise me a bit.

I know this is sounding like pure bad news. But the formula for the good guys is simple: win tonight, blow out N.C State this weekend, then beat Carolina in Cameron on Wednesday. That gives us a 1-game edge in conference with a pretty favorable schedule ahead of the season finale at the Dean Dome (the only obvious obstacle is 2/26 at Virginia Tech).

But make no mistake; these next few games are very, very important. If we go down in the lion's den tonight, the whole tenor of the season changes. After the St. John's game a lot of analysts and opposing fans thought they saw Duke exposed. I personally think it was a giant overreaction to a very unfortunate game, but a loss tonight would show that I'm wrong. The last thing you want is for the players themselves to lose confidence, but dropping two in a row to inferior teams could easily start the process.

It all begins tonight, and Maryland will be ready. They're coming off three straight wins, including a fairly impressive one at Georgia Tech. Jordan Williams could get 30 against the Plumlees. The entire team plays excellent defense, 2nd best in the country in overall efficiency (just behind the Texas juggernaut and ahead of Florida State). They have four guys who are capable of hitting threes and who, let's be honest with ourselves, probably will hit threes at home against Duke.

Vegas has Duke as a 3-point favorite, and Pomeroy taps us at 1. As I mentioned yesterday, our record in the past 5 games at Maryland is 5-5. Most of the time, our ranking was higher. The point of all this is basic: for such an important, potentially season-defining game, the larger world expects a crapshoot.


We need fight songs. This team lacks fight songs. America lacks fight songs. With fight songs, we will destroy Maryland. I'm stealing from soccer, life, old twitter posts, and my own imagination. Vamos:

(Tune: "The Battle Hymn of the Republic")

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the rippling of the twine
It has fluttered like the leaves upon the honeysuckle vine
From the grace of Nolan's jumper you would guess that he's divine
Your team is fucking screwed!
Glory Glory to old Nolan
Glory Glory to old Nolan
Glory Glory to old Nolan
The Terps are fucking screwed!

(Tune: "When Johnny Comes Marching Home")

When Kyle Singler's on the wing, a three! A three!
When Kyle Singler's on the wing, a three! A three!
When Kyle Singler's on the wing
The Turtle-Doves will fucking sing:
"Oh. Dear. God. It's. Another three for Duke."

(Tune: "Dixie")

He came down south as a transfer shooter
Seth Curry, the turtle tutor
Go to hell, Go to hell, Go to hell, Terrapins!
While College Park is scared and fretting
Curry's hot but Gary's sweating
Go to hell, Go to hell, Go to hell, Terrapins!

(Tune: "Do Your Ears Hang Low?")

Do you Terps play D?
Are you ever out to sea?
Can you get out on the three?
Can you stop a shooting spree?
If you ever leave the Dawk
for the baseline or the block
Then you're fucked, whoopee!

(Tune: "White Wedding" by Billy Idol)

Hey College Parkers, would you like a friend?
Hey College Parkers, he'll stay 'til the end
Hey College Parkers, don't try to defend
Hey College Parkers, watch the man ascend
Hey College Parkers....three ball!


By the way, the Hot Potato is: Nolan Smith. Make your picks by 9pm. Here are the current standings...Carrie is just killing this game:

Make no mistake, Moody Blues: These are our rivals. There will be times in your life when you should act like gentlemen and gentlewomen. THIS AIN'T ONE OF THEM. Get loud, get proud, fuck the Terps, Duke forever.


  1. Nolan. Updated in post above, no scores yet.


  2. Smith for 24.

    Also, incidentally, Smith for President:

    (Yeah, I do research...on how cute Nolan Smith looks in a suit! Bam.)

  3. Great pic of Knowlan, Carrie. I think we've all got a pretty good idea of where you'd go, consensually.

    Carrie's guy for 22 cause others are going to show up too for a change (why do I feel I should have said 32 in a blow out loss? sigh)

  4. Standings up! Man, nice kicks on Nolan in that pic, right?


  5. 23 for Nolan in the loss

  6. Jacob "The Destroyer"February 2, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    Nolan gets his 24th point as he has a buzzer beating dunk that smashes the backboard to win by 1.

  7. Nolan for 21.

    I would like to point out that I'm beating Shane in this game- Suck it, actual sports knowledge.

    The Girlfriend.

  8. Imma say 30 for NdotSmitty.

    I've been a Duke fan since the Bilas days ("Ugh, Bilas" is his name now because that's what I say every time he opens his mouth. God, I loathe him.) so my UNC-hate runs deep and strong, and has sustained me throughout the years.

    But Maryland? Oh, Maryland, you steaming pile of shit. From that little fucker Steve Blake to Gary Williams and his ass-face, I hate 'em all with the heat of a thousand burning suns. I never want to just beat them, I want to ANNIHILATE them. I want them left bloody and broken on the floor, while we step on their backs to cut down the nets. I WANT THEM DEAD. NO MERCY. NO QUARTER. DEAD DEAD DEAD.


  9. Nolan Smith goes for 23 tonite.

    -Craig J.

  10. 27 for Nolan

  11. 26 is just what the doctor ordered. If I am right on I plan on downing an entire bottle of scotch to celebrate. Come on Nolan!!!

    Dr. K

  12. A couple quick observations about the UNC-BC game last night, besides the fact that it took me 2.5 hrs to get home:

    -On TV, John Henson looks like a freakishly large 5-year-old with gangly arms and legs. In real life, he looks like a string bean with a baby face. I can't take him seriously as a basketball player.

    -UNC has the potential to be wicked good, and it wouldnt surprise me in the least if they challenge Duke for the ACC title. But they play like a bunch of random guys thrown on the court together. They just don't seem comfortable together out there. When BC started to make a little run in the first half, guys started going 1-on-3 or firing up 3s early in the clock. Guys don't know where their teammates are coming off picks, not a lot of talking on D (Which you could hear, since Conte forum wasnt even close to capacity. I could blame the weather, but its a fact that BC cares much more about its hockey team that basketball team). That being said, the fact that they put up 49 in the first half and 55 in the second is crazy.

    -Harrison Barnes might finally be learning how to play at the ACC level. He scored 26 pretty easily last night, despite the fact that he always looks a little too casual. Like he doesnt want to look not cool by hustling. But he showed he can be a legit offensive threat.

    -BC is not a good basketball team. They dont have the height to play inside and have to rely on Trapani firing up 10 threes a game. When Reggie Jackson is shut down, they dont have a guard who can consistently break down the defense. And they have a power forward who looks kinda like Ol' Dirty Bastard.

    -Craig J.

  13. 22 for nolan smith


  14. Im feelin good. 26 and a W.


  15. 26
    but i wouldn't care if he has 0 points if Duke gets the W. I don't think I've ever wanted a game so f-ing bad.

  16. 24 for nolan.
    please come out strong duke... spear the turtle...

  17. Craig, good stuff. I half agree about UNC and I half don't. Watching them live, I got the same complacent sense you had, and for a while it didn't surprise me that they barely won at home and struggled on the road. Part of it is, like you said, the wide variety in floor personalities on the team. Zeller plays like he's from 1950 and is real consistent, Henson is a hard-working crazy-long athlete, Bullock is a streaky guy who disappears for long stretches, and Barnes, as you mentioned, is very quiet.

    It makes sense that they don't appear to mesh. But sometimes, like last night, they'll appear not to mesh but actually be steamrolling a team.

    But you're right, it's hard to read too too much into that win last night, because BC has hit a wall and will probably end the season at or below .500 in conference. It's easy to overrate the UNC win and overrate the Duke loss, and I'm guilty of that somewhat myself, but perspective is good too.

    Barnes reminds me of college Ben Gordon just in the sense that you almost never know they're there, and at the end of the game they have 25 points. Of course Gordon was very different in the pros.

    Man I am getting psyched for this game.


  18. Lisa, Dr. K, and Dick, I am right the hell there with you.

    I'm going with 19 for Mr. Smith in the win.


  19. 21 for Nolan. Go Devils!

  20. Tom says 30.


  21. 24 points for Mr. Incredible.


  22. Nolan will score 24.

    - Craig B.

  23. Nolan drops 27 to go with 7 and 5, leading an angry Duke team to a win in hostile territory.

  24. I'll say 28 for Ndotsmitty! Thank goodness I am better at life than I am at this game.

  25. 22 for Nolan. It's not FMW. It's F M ALWAYS!! I echo Lisa and am now singing every fight song I can think of. Turtle soup made from Gary's sweat--GO DUKE!

  26. Spike says 25.



  27. OK bitches... it's D'agger Beast Dre. From now on. And PlumBeard - because any Moody Blue knows why. Thank you MD.