I'll admit it, I hate the Duke Blue Devils. The players, the assistant coaches, the head coach, the Cameron Crazies. All of them. In all of their floor-slapping, charge-taking, horrid-flopping, leg-humping, press-conference-crying, nose-picking, baby-whining, face-painting, Speedo-wearing Vitale-itarian misery, I hate them.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that I had to go out and purchase a new television this week after a stray projectile damaged my 50-inch flat screen in the middle of the Selection Sunday show on CBS. Coincidentally, said unnamed projectile collided with the screen right around the time the South bracket had been completely unveiled. It was at about that time that we found out that the theoretical third overall seed in the tournament, the Duke Blue Devils, had pulled a region whose overall strength fell somewhere far south of the difficulty facing the higher-ranked Kansas Jayhawks and Kentucky Wildcats, and somewhere just north of the Texas Class 4-A high school tournament.
I realize that in the process of analyzing the relatively less difficult path handed to the Blue Devils, in a way I may be angering some Baylor and Texas A&M alums out there (the three and five seeds, respectively, opposite the Dukies), but know that I intend no disrespect and that, in a way, I am getting off some friendly fire as my alma mater (Notre Dame) is also part of the group that comprises the South Region.
So isn't that just like the NCAA, paving the way for Duke to make a deep run into the tournament? The only thing missing is a chartered flight to Houston and a welcome party for the South Regional. Maybe I can get that shindig together if Duke handles its business.
That's where my bracket comes in. In a decision that was half analysis and half therapeutic, I decided to pick the Louisville Cardinals to upset the Blue Devils in the second round. Was it a well-reasoned, calculated decision? Probably not. It was more like the recovering surgery patient banging the morphine drip -- yeah, it feels better when I write down "Louisville" on that second-round line, but I realize there's a good chance the pain will return when Duke whacks them by 15.
Well, so the hell what? I can't stand Duke. I despise them. And you should too!
So, as the third part in my March Madness prep course here on Hair Balls, I'm taking you on the ride with me. If I can get your blood boiling to the 300-degree fever pitch mine is, then maybe you'll give the Blue Devils, led by Blue Satan himself Coach K, their ouster in Round 2.
So here you go -- I give to you a Visual Guide to Hating the Duke Blue Devils. Not much commentary is needed, the pictures and videos should speak for themselves. But I'll hold your hand; keep all arms and legs in the ride as we go....
Now, just know going in, that while ESPN is not carrying the games live on their network, the four-letter will be the place to go to get your most sound between-game and nightly analysis on the brackets as a whole, mostly Doug Gottlieb and Jay Bilas, the latter of whom will also be providing color for some of the games on CBS in the strangest talent-sharing deal since the Globetrotters split time between Wide World of Sports and Gilligan's Island.
(Ironically, Bilas is a Duke graduate, which inherently means we should hate him, and yet perhaps because he played at Duke before Christian Laettner and Bobby Hurley turned it into Saved By The Bell: The Dipshit Years, we forgive Bilas for his pedigree.)
Back to ESPN...a decent amount of what they will pass off as analysis will be provided by Dick Vitale. Vitale, once one of the great analysts and, to be fair, still a genuine enthusiast for the game, has become more a Duke-loving, catchphrase jukebox than anything else.
And it's been going on for a while, as this 1997 clip from a game not even involving Duke shows....
However, I think this video probably better captures the essence of the unadulterated love that Duke gets from Vitale and ESPN. Take a look, and then I have a few observations....
Okay, aside from this video clip being a heaping plate of Coach K's Rat Face a la mode, you will notice Vitale's go-to move when Coach K is giving his Ph.D in sniveling and douchebaggery -- reminding all of us how Coach K's whining is really just "passion" and reminding us how much work Coach K does with the V Foundation, as if his commitment to cancer research somehow legitimizes Coach K's complete disrespect for the officials.
(Underrated moment in the clip -- at about the 1:00 mark, Mike Patrick busts out with some solid analysis by saying that "if you're 6-10 in [the ACC], then you're pretty good." Mind you, this clip took place in 2004, but it's funny how times change. Virginia Tech was 10-6 in the ACC this season and got snubbed by the tourney, and even funnier that no one outside of Blacksburg even blinked about it. Admit it, ACC, you completely screwed the pooch by expanding for football reasons back in 2003. It's ok, you can admit it.)
One other thing about that clip -- how great is it that Coach K had the SAME assistant coaches in 2004 as he does in 2010? Johnny Dawkins has moved on to Stanford, but Wojo and Chris "Spaz Boy" Collins are still there, six years later, presumably picking up Coach K's dry cleaning and making sure his hair-dye supply is always intact.
Actually, to be fair, Collins is probably teaching the Dukies how to do what he did best....
And Wojo is probably conducting his daily drills on how to slap the floor to fire yourself up on defense.
Damn, every Duke game Vitale talks about what great head coaches Wojo and Collins are going to make -- well, will someone please hire them so we can watch them flame out? Hell, someone hire them so that Coach K can make room for Greg Paulus to be his next "point guard washout turned assistant rat." After all, if Collins is teaching them how to flop, and Wojo is teaching them how to floor-slap, someone needs to teach the fellas how to get teabagged....
I'll be honest, though, the longer that Collins and Wojo stay employed, that means the longer we go without J.J. Redick getting hired as an assistant, passing along the basics for his "special skill." I mean, do we really need to see a bench full of Duke Blue Devils doing this?
All right, I've spent enough time warning you about Vitale and Coach K's two little sidekicks on the bench. I'm actually a little fearful of making Coach K angry; as this clip indicates, the last thing you want to do as a media member is perturb the Rat....
Let's instead focus in on this year's team. First, meet the Thousand Faces of Jon Scheyer....
Not sure what else needs to be said regarding Scheyer. Let's move on...
Next, meet forward Kyle Singler. Yes, that's Kevin Love in the picture with him. You see, coming out of
the state of Oregon, both were considered NBA talents. There was only one problem -- Love actually was an NBA talent (leaving UCLA after his freshman year to become a lottery pick) and Singler went to Duke to become a shittier version of Mike Dunleavy, Jr., which would have been fine if Dunleavy's shittiness at the next level hadn't ruined it for all future slow, white Duke forwards who can knock down an occasional jump shot. Damn you, Dunleavy.
Finally, meet the Plumlees, Miles and Mason. They have a third brother in high school (you know, in case the Jonas Brothers ever challenge them to a street fight) and their names all start with the letter M. Cute.
Ok, I've had about enough. You all probably have, too. Just do yourselves a favor...pick Louisville in round two. You'll feel better about yourself, trust me. Now it's time for this blog post to end. It's sad, I know....it's making Josh McRoberts cry....
But I'll be back again tomorrow! Until then, Coach K says "good night, now!"
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