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Friday, March 21, 2008

Duke Basketball

Had Belmont held on to upset Duke yesterday, college basketball nation would have rejoiced and ignorant fans everywhere would be overheard at the sports bar shouting "Duke sucks" in between gulps of draft beer and bites of chicken wings.

It turns out the latest research shows ... Duke does not suck. Coach K does not suck. I'm not a huge Duke fan, but I appreciate and respect anyone who maintains that level of success over a lengthy period.

Coack K has won three national championships. In the current era, that's pretty darn close to a dynasty. Not one title, or two. But three. He won two in a row, then waited nine years, and won a third. That's impressive and not at all easy to do.

When people rail against Duke, their argument includes flawed logic: "Yeah, they're good, but that's because they always get the best kids." So does that make their success any less respectable? Should we put an asterisk next to Duke's 1991, 1992 and 2001 national title years in the record books? No. Of course they get the best kids. Want to know why? It's because Duke is the best program out there and kids want to go there. Folks call Duke the Yankees of college basketball, but the playing field is obviously far more level in NCAA hoops than it is in baseball. There are far more teams and, oh yeah, college basketball doesn't pay its players tens of millions of dollars.

If your favorite team won the way Duke did, then maybe your coach would get the commercials that air every March. Survival of the fittest, yo.

Duke is successful indeed because it gets the best kids, which is a byproduct of its success, not an unfair advantage. There are no unfair advantages. Fair to me kind of means equal, balanced or level, and everyone is trying to get an advantage, so if you're winning more consistently than most of the other teams in your sport, you've achieved a fair advantage. Unless, of course, you're doing things illegally in recruiting or in other areas; only in such a case would we use the term unfair advantage.

When one program has an advantage over another, that program wins games and maybe championships. And last I checked, that's what every team is trying to do -- recruit the best players, win games and hopefully championships. Duke just does it better than everyone else. That should be respected, not ridiculed.

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3 Comments:

At 10:37 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Duke Sucks

 
At 8:11 PM EDT, Anonymous Duke Vitale said...

That's what I've been tryin' to say baaaaby

 
At 7:13 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Duke looked ...........not so good

 

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