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Duke and UNC in the SEC? Ugh.


I gave up trying to follow the conference realignment brouhaha months ago. You may think that’s a stupid decision for someone who makes a (part time) living off writing for a sports site, but honestly, it just doesn’t interest me that much. How do I feel about our new brothers, Texas A&M and Missouri? They’re cool, I guess. Maybe I’ll take a road trip to watch the Cats play the Aggies one day, or reminisce fondly about the gelled-up mess that was Quin Snyder’s hair with some Tiger alums before a basketball game. All in all, the newest members of the SEC seem pretty benign, and maybe it’s the pre-wedding Xanax talking, but I’m not too worried.

And then Florida State had to go mess everything up. In case you’ve been like me, content to keep your head stuck in the sand on this issue, here’s a brief recap: Florida State got upset with the ACC over it’s new TV contract and threatened to jump ship for the Big 12. Add in the death of the BCS and the new “Champions Bowl” between the SEC and the Big 12 set to start in 2014, and it seems more likely than ever that we’re headed towards the four major “super-conferences” that our own John Calipari predicted a few years ago. Now, the ACC doesn’t seem quite so sturdy, with several teams considering jumping ship for the SEC, Big 12, Big Ten, or Pac 12, which, if each were to expand to 16 teams, would create four super-conferences.

OK, cool…we just need to add two more teams. Time to start courting the ladies! And what would you know, the two teams some analysts see coming to the SEC? None other than Duke and North Carolina.

Well, there goes that whole “calm and collected” thing.

The move makes sense: it would make the SEC the dominant conference in both basketball and football (which it already was). But what would it mean for Kentucky? In football, it gives us two opponents we could potentially beat, or at the very least, compete with from year to year. In basketball? Oh, buddy. I think my blood pressure just rocketed. We’re used to playing North Carolina every year (despite the series’ unfortunate hiatus), but to me, Duke is a different animal Christian Laettener is going to have to wipe a lot more than the Rupp Arena floor to erase that memory. Gone is our “buffer zone” between conferences, our padding against memories of “the shot,” which we’re already forced to relive on in freaking UPS commercials, for goodness’ sake. Playing Duke in Atlanta in November is one thing, but in Rupp and Cameron each year? In the SEC Tournament? The couches in Lexington just shuddered. Is our emotional health worth the price of increased media exposure, big-time games, and more than our fair share of ESPN Classic appearances?

Does the thought of Duke and UNC joining the SEC make you want to barf or cheer? Or, would you rather the conference bring in someone a bit milder, like NC State and/or Virginia Tech?

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

73 Comments for Duke and UNC in the SEC? Ugh.

  1. Fat Ryan Lemond
    5:05 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    kind of like doritos and cream cheese. at first glance you wouldn’t think they’d be good together.
    but dang are they delicious.

  2. m
    5:06 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink


  3. m
    5:06 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    second 🙁

  4. KyBlue All the Way
    5:07 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    Bring it!

  5. kybigblue
    5:08 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    When the SEC adds two teams they need one from Va. and one from N.C, This way you are adding fans from two different states as the SEC did when they brought in Texas A & M and Missouri.

  6. That's what she said
    5:09 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    What doesn’t kill it, makes it stronger.

  7. Chris in LA
    5:10 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    Bring it. If they want to come play with the best, let them play with the best. We’ll make our own Laetner moments 10 times over.

  8. TampaCat
    5:10 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    dUKe is nothing without Coach K. He will be gone in 3-4 years! Bring in UNC and WVA baby!

  9. gr8ness
    5:10 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    Bring it.

  10. MarkHamilton
    5:11 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink


  11. kjanskdjan
    5:15 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    VTech might be a better fit. But playing UNC/Duke more often would add more of a buffer, not remove it.

  12. PJWB
    5:18 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    Mark Story from the H-L suggested Duke and UNC to the SEC; the link you cited for “some analysts” was suggesting Va. Tech and NC State (which is in the tarheel shadow of its more powerful in-state brethren).

  13. cats1068
    5:22 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    Cheer! I’m all for it!

  14. FlySoup
    5:24 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    v tech and nc state would be boring bring on unc and duke

  15. peoplewhowork
    5:24 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    True champions don’t duck competition. We are Kentucky, not Indiana, bring’em on.

  16. FlySoup
    5:24 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    unless u guys aren’t tired of everyone saying the sec is weak once basketball season rolls around

  17. peoplewhowork
    5:26 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    #5 Good point, definitely chose UNC over Duke and go for VA Tech.

  18. kes
    5:27 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    duck fuke! i hate them and old rat face. let them rot in the downtrodden acc

  19. Suffo-Cats
    5:30 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    I fear no of them… At least until Coach Cal leaves! haha

  20. Mudcreekmark
    5:30 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    Doesn’t matter to me either way. As for the four-sixteen team conferences then I am all for that. Only because of football.Make each conference have two divisions and the winner of each division would make up a 8 team playoff for the national championship.The winners of the different divisions of the conferences would not meet in the playoffs until a possible championship game. That way if the SEC has the best two teams, they wouldn’t beat each other out of the playoffs, they would get to meet in the NC like they did this year.I’m betting that the SEC would still have at least one in the NC game every year and in some years would have both there teams make the NC game.

  21. Dan Martin
    5:35 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    The author seems to be afraid and have a bad memory. Didn’t UK beat Duke in some pretty big games in 1978 and 1998? Didn’t UK just win the title? As a UK fan, I say bring in anybody to the SEC, and UK hoops will be fine.

  22. grilled-chez
    5:39 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    I can agree with a school from North Carolina, and a school from primarily Virginia or maybe West Virginia. I’d prefer to keep it Southeastern, you know the SEC. With that in my thoughts, my two teams would be North Carolina because they are the “flagship” program in their state and bring big basketball tradition. I think Duke will remain a top program in college after Coach K, simple because we stayed around after Rupp, and N.C. stayed around after dean smith. However In my conference North Carolina is the first in. West Virginia is my second school in because I’m more impressed with their basketball and football programs than I am any of the Virginia schools. Virginia Tech would be a close second, also I live 15 minutes from there so personally it would be more entertaining for me. I don’t mind stiffer competition in our conference, in fact I’d prefer it. Being a true Kentucky fan I still would want to dominate the SEC every year and have more conference titles and national championships than anyone. Playing and beating better teams within our conference can only make us stronger for the NCAA’s.

  23. FourThinInches
    5:40 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    UNC wants into the SEC; Mike Slive is going to say yes … UNC too big to turn down unless they have some insane demands. Duke would be a huge no. Their facilities are horrible and small, football team is trash, and are only good at basketball……

  24. Hartline
    5:43 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    I’d like it but I’m doubtful this will happen. The SEC wants to expand t.v. markets so I doubt they would take two NC schools. Virginia and Duke are destined for the Big Ten.for “academics” anyway.

  25. WildcatRX7
    5:47 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    Stupid idea. Never going to happen. SEC wouldn’t want UNC & Duke and Duke & UNC wouldn’t want the SEC.

  26. Ransmith
    5:48 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    Nothing at all wrong with NC State or Virginia Tech, but if given the choice, I would go with UNC and Duke.

    I do though agree that the SEC would prefer only one team from a state, so I am betting it will be one of:

    1) UNC, Duke or NC State


    2) Virginia Tech or Virginia

  27. Ron Paul Approves
    5:52 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    I love it.

  28. dave
    5:57 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    keeping duke & unc together only makes sense for duke & unc.
    wouldnt fsu & vt make more sense? or vt & unc? or unc & fsu? or maryland & fsu? or maryland & unc?
    and fsu should obviously leave the acc. they need more $$ for b-ball since their arena is terrible & why not get more $$ in sec or b12?

  29. Sid Bream's Leg
    5:59 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    Duke and UNC in the SEC would be awesome. A college basketball fan’s wet dream. You can’t win the biggest games unless you are in the biggest games. Seeing teams LSU, Auburn, and Georgia beat Duke and UNC would be sweet.

  30. Somervillain
    6:02 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    I would love it. I love our rivalry with UofL, and to a lesser extent with IU, but the conference rivalries are the best, and I am always a wee bit jealous of the UNC v. Duke tilts. I’d love to slug it out with both of them every year. Of course it will likely mean fewer conference titles, but it won’t mean fewer Cats teams contending for titles. The Auburn / Ole Miss type stuff is dull. We’re big boys. We can play against other big boys.

  31. jp7
    6:19 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    Makes me want to puke. Bad enough to have to watch Coach K whine, beg. stomp and scream obscenities all game long at the officials, only to see them give him every call down the stretch on TV without it being in Rupp or against the Cats in that dump they play in. Playing Huckleberry Hound once a year is enough, too. Let ’em stay in the ACC where they can continue to beat each other to death every year.

  32. Bob Day
    6:19 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    Not North Carolina and Duke but rather, North Carolina and Kansas. Those are the two teams we need in the SEC. That would sew up basketball royalty and solidify the SEC as the strongest collegiate sports conference in all three of the major sports and expand the SEC market, both east and west, with programs that are perfect academic and cultural fits.

  33. 3 fan
    6:31 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    SEC already screwed up not taking FSU. Take UNC for sure, and offer FSU. If not FSU, then go for Kansas. Great bball games and we might beat them in football. NO Clemson!

  34. Big Blue 66
    6:31 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    Get UNC and VT…..Duke football is terrible. Wait, maybe if they come in we wont be last

  35. nolablue
    6:43 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    ‘Makes me want to barf. Two more uppity-***ed schools like Vandy and Allbern in the conference. UGH.

  36. Jumpinthebluepool
    6:46 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    UNC/Duke. Just the best. It can only help us. And unrelated, but why are so many people clamoring for Tony Trocha to come to UK? Ever seen him play? Gawd, I must be missing something.

  37. SuperTroy
    6:58 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    With Coach Cal running the show, bring it on. We will consistently beat the best that college basketball has to offer. Now…twenty years down the road? Who knows. That being said, I would rather we brought in one of the two (preferably North Carolina since they are the state school like UK is, and Duke is an absolute mess in football and then it would make that rivalry even more heated since they’d likely only play once a year,) and one of either Virginia, West Virginia or Virginia Tech, (preferably Virginia since they are once again a state school and we would avoid the Morgantown mess each season. THAT could end up like the Hatfields and the McCoys if we aren’t careful.)

  38. Burger
    7:04 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    Just think of what Bruce Pearl could be missing.

    What a gimp

  39. @sircolbybrown
    7:14 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    I would love to see these teams in the SEC. You all talk about how DUKE and UNC are only good at basketball, have a look in the mirror. Also, those schools are great academics schools. College basketball would do nothing but improve with these schools in the SEC.

  40. UKGrad04
    7:15 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    Tyler, you’re usually great. But, I’m not even sure what your point is here. Of course, we want Duke and UNC in the SEC–you even named the reason. It would make the SEC the most dominant bball conference as well.

  41. Burger
    7:17 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    Kentucky basketball could benefit from the conference strengthening with the fall of Tennessee and the last decade of mediocrity of LSU/Georgia/USC. Add to that the retiring of Rick Stansbury at Miss St., the SEC is in serious need of some beef. Missouri adds immediately to that department as long as Haith stays ahead of the NCAA investigators.

    Adding Duke to the SEC is like adding a Vanderbilt. They are nothing without Coach K, and in 5 – 10 years will be Vandy (2 and out in the tourny in bball and the only team UK can beat in football).

    UNC on the other hand could be smart business (add the last logical southern state to the conference). Their football team is a NCAA violation removed from being a Georgia type opponent and their basketball could take the tiara as the queen of the SEC.

    Baby Blue and Little Brother, both eating at the childrens table for dinner. No wonder Pitino got a table all his own at some dark shadowy restaurant.

  42. Chrissy_Laettner
    7:21 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    It’s awesome. Invite in Kansas and IU (sorry UofL, you still suck); and the SEC conference tournament would be better the NCAA. Especially if they keep watering down the field by letting more and more teams in.

    7:28 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    Oh God let it happen. It would make conference play soooo much more intense. Not only that, the super-conferences would solve (in part) the NCAA Tournament seeding. You would have a pretty good argument for those that win their conference to be a 1 seed, and go from there. That said, Non-conference games would become a little more ordinary but I like the trade-off.

  44. Ethan James McCollum
    7:29 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    Well, if Duke continues how they have the past two years, and Kentucky continues how they have the past two years, I wouldn’t really be too worried. North Carolina seems like it would be a closer battle, but we’re already sort of used to that anyway. If anything, it would make SEC conference play a lot more exciting, and they would have much, much more credibility/respect as a conference.

  45. Jim Ross
    7:41 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    Make it happen.

  46. The rise
    7:50 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    It makes me want to cheer, I live in Indy and I hear all the time bout how freggin great the big ten is and if NC and puke come to the sec thn these so called hoosier fans can just eat it cause the sec will be the true college basketball powerhouse

  47. Rupp-will-kick-yo-a$$
    7:56 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    Let’s do ths!!!!!

  48. HackRichards
    8:02 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    DUKE 0r UNC are NOT a problem. I see us beating the crap out of them year after year.

  49. 2020
    8:17 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    I’d love seeing a 16-team SEC football format with 4 4-team divisions, with the winners playing on one Saturday to send 2 teams to the 8-team national tournament. Imagine Georgia vs LSU and Texas vs Alabama with the losers going home. That Saturday would be awesome.

  50. 2020
    8:20 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    And for everyone who thinks that IU fans acted retarded last December, you should immediately scratch WVU off your wish list. WVU fans (not the inbreds, just regular fans) hurl batteries into opposing fan sections.

  51. Curtis Blueblood
    8:35 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    If they joined now. And the way U.K. has been recruiting and dominatin’, Oh Yeah! It’s payback time baby!

  52. Duke sucks
    9:45 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    #21 Duke beat us the last time we played. I’m sick of people saying we got even in 98. No we didn’t that loss will sting for ever. We need them in the SEC to kick their ass regularly. but in no way will it erase 92. Anyone who says otherwise is A) to young to remember B) drinking too much blue koolaid and not telling the truth.

  53. TN Cat
    9:48 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    Bring in UNC and VT. Maybe then UT and VT would play at Bristol Motor Speedway like was talked about a few years ago.

  54. jimlowe7
    10:18 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    Why do people keep suggesting WVU? They already joined the Big 12…where has everyone been??

  55. Carl
    10:21 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    I say “bring it”…and since most of the people blogging on this site didn’t know what a basketball was 20 years ago will you please let the whole Laetner thing go. You’re beating a dead horse….geez.

  56. bigredbleedsblue
    10:33 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    If this happens they’ll get football schools because that’s where the money is. That’s why it’ll more than likely be va. Tech and maybe west virginia. Duke, kansas and yes I’ll say it unc bring nothing to offer on the grid iron.

  57. SERDI
    11:12 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    UK has played Duke a number of times in te regular season, regional, national semi finals and finals. Only 1 time, the Laetner game has Duke beat UK in a regional, national semifinal or national championship.

    I think it would be great for Duke and North Carolina to be in the SEC

  58. JustAThought
    11:51 pm May 22, 2012 Permalink

    The Big East is crumbling too…Why not add Louisville to the list? The rivalry is crazy as is, add same conference to the mix and its the best rivalry in college basketball bar none.

  59. redmoondog7eleven
    12:38 am May 23, 2012 Permalink

    “The couches in Lexington just shuddered!” That’s Tomlin brilliant. I’ll have to use that. Keep up the good work.

  60. Dave in Kabul
    2:27 am May 23, 2012 Permalink

    Why do so many fans have such a huge inferiority complex when it comes to Duke?

    1993 was payback for ’78. We, in turn, got them back in ’98.

    “The shot” can kiss my *ss! Kentucky has owned Duke with the exception of the mid-90s.

  61. Dave in Kabul
    2:31 am May 23, 2012 Permalink

    Date Game Result Score Notes
    12/18/2001 (#7) Kentucky vs. (#1) Duke L 92 – 95 OT Jimmy V Classic (at East Rutherford, NJ)
    12/22/1998 (#3) Kentucky vs. (#2) Duke L 60 – 71 Jimmy V Classic (at East Rutherford, NJ)
    3/22/1998 (#5) Kentucky vs. (#3) Duke W 86 – 84 NCAA South Regional Finals (at St. Petersburg, FL)
    3/28/1992 (#6) Kentucky vs. (#1) Duke L 103 – 104 OT NCAA East Regional Finals (at Philadelphia, PA)
    11/19/1988 Kentucky vs. (#1) Duke L 55 – 80 Tip-off Classic (at Springfield, MA)
    3/13/1980 (#4) Kentucky vs. (#14) Duke L 54 – 55 NCAA Mideast Regional Semifinals (at Lexington, KY)
    11/17/1979 (#2) Kentucky vs. (#3) Duke L 76 – 82 OT Tip-off Classic (at Springfield, MA)
    3/27/1978 (#1) Kentucky vs. (#7) Duke W 94 – 88 NCAA Championship (at St. Louis, MO)
    12/20/1969 Duke at (#1) Kentucky W 98 – 76 UKIT Championship
    3/18/1966 (#1) Kentucky vs. (#2) Duke W 83 – 79 NCAA Final Four (at College Park, MD)
    12/31/1963 (#2) Kentucky vs. (#8) Duke W 81 – 79 Sugar Bowl Championship (at New Orleans, LA)
    12/8/1958 Kentucky at Duke W 78 – 64 –
    12/2/1957 Duke at Kentucky W 78 – 74 –
    12/18/1956 (#3) Kentucky at Duke L 84 – 85 –
    2/1/1956 (#10) Duke at (#8) Kentucky W 81 – 76 –
    12/21/1953 (#13) Duke at (#2) Kentucky W 85 – 69 UKIT
    2/6/1932 Duke at Kentucky W 37 – 30 –
    2/28/1931 Kentucky vs. Duke W 35 – 30 Southern Conference Tournament (at Atlanta, GA)
    3/3/1930 Kentucky vs. Duke L 32 – 37 Southern Conference Tournament (at Atlanta, GA)

    Pitino and Tubby had a lot of trouble with Duke. As did Hall after 78. Rupp dominated them.

  62. Lol
    6:59 am May 23, 2012 Permalink

    Cannot believe so many UK fans and a writer for KRS would even think this is a possibility. Laughable. Not happening.

  63. NYCWildcat
    8:17 am May 23, 2012 Permalink

    If joining the SEC means it’ll benefit UNC and Duke, then I’m against it. I don’t want either of those programs to prosper. Ever.

  64. minton
    9:06 am May 23, 2012 Permalink

    I say bring it. We ain’t skurred.

  65. Will S.
    10:28 am May 23, 2012 Permalink

    NEWSFLASH: The power’s to be in the ACC are all Duke and UNC alumns. They would NEVER allow this to happen. The “Big 4” of Duke, UNC, NC State, and Wake Forest will never split up… too much history. Duke and UNC will never leave the ACC, we’ll just swallow up two more Big East teams like we’re about to with Syracuse and Pittsburgh. We will add Notre Dame and UCONN, and call it a day. As a Duke fan, I would love to play UK every season though.

  66. Will S.
    10:29 am May 23, 2012 Permalink

    61) Yes, I know us Blue Devils have beaten UK 6 of the last 7 times. Make it 7 of 8 after November 13th.

  67. Jeff Shelley
    10:54 am May 23, 2012 Permalink

    Bring on the dookies. Everyone except the tv analysts has known for years that dook plays a cupcake schedule except for the Mandatory UNC game. I would love to see them in the SEC.

  68. MonsterMash24
    10:54 am May 23, 2012 Permalink

    66. Wrong Will S….Dookies are going down!!! But i will say this…IF this happens,you know good and well that the tournament WONT be in North Carolina every season to help Duke or UNC help pad their record and egos!!! Get outta the state every once and awhile. You say you are an “elite program” with a huge fan base…come to Nashville, Atlanta, or New Orleans…gee whiz!!! Cat Nation rules all!!! I say bring Duke and UNC…

  69. theWilkman
    11:06 am May 23, 2012 Permalink

    Bring them on. Last year would have been even sweeter if we could have added a Duke beatdown on the resume.

  70. jmet80
    11:55 am May 23, 2012 Permalink

    Bring them on…. I think would be a great addition to the SEC. And would be dominate in Football and basketball for sure…

  71. Al D
    12:37 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    Adding both Duke and UNC makes sense. UNC/Duke pulls in the North Carolina market while Duke pulls in the northeast market + ESPN.

  72. Megan
    1:29 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    I’d love to play Duke and UNC every year. I like what we got going. Bring ’em on!

  73. Catlanta
    2:05 pm May 23, 2012 Permalink

    Love it! Anything that moves us up the ranks in football is a good thing. Not at all worried about basketball, and this would automatically resolve the issue of whether or not to play UNC and/or Duke on a regular basis.