These are the two biggest games left on the schedule in the regular season this year, and I don't see either one as worth totally writing off given the way we've played both. Probable? No, but not out of the realm of possibility.
What I'm really thinking though is that given recent developments, the pieces are there for the UNC hate to bubble up and Duke hate to fade... a little bit, at least.
The history is there: Turge vs. Roy, student vs. teacher. UNC has hateable players like Henson... GOD I'm hoping for some vindication on that one when we get down to Chapel Hill. Preferably by Len, but I'll take just about anyone going HAM or teabagging Henson on the way to the hoop. We've also kept the series closer with UNC in recent years than we have with Duke. I could see that rivalry heating up.
On the Duke side, who knows how many years coach K will still be left? The future of Duke is in question once he retires, but even if they get a good coach it still won't be Gary vs. K. Sure they have dick players and an equally horrendous fanbase, but thinking back I think the whole rivalry might all stem from two HOF coaches with mutual respect looking for good competition as friends off the court. As mentioned before, Turge and Roy might already have that kind of a dynamic. On the same token, I bet Gary got more excited about Duke than Turge does.
Lastly, there's the Pitt thing. We no longer have Duke twice a year, so we'll be getting equal portions of Duke and UNC in the future. I can definitely see Pitt hate seething up as well, but I don't think we'll forget our other ACC rivals so easily. And don't forget: now that the Duke @ Comcast is not an automatic thing, the AD will probably stop trying to hype it up as much... who knows, they may even pump the same fervor into hyping the Pitt game in time.
Given the above, two questions:
- Of the two remaining games this year, which do you want worse, a Duke win or a UNC win? Which are you more hopeful for, and why?
- Moving forward past this season, which will be the bigger game? Alternately, will Pitt become more important than either?
For my answers, I want to beat UNC more than Duke at the moment, but see Duke as more likely. Our defense kept the Duke backcourt in check, and if Len plays better in the next match then Plumlee should have a tougher time of things. Neither will be easy by any stretch of the imagination, but the adrenaline will be pumping in both to be sure.
I see UNC as possibly surpassing Duke as the enemy within 4-5 years time, but I'm not sure what to think of Pitt yet.