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A Refresher Course On Why We Hate Duke

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Tomorrow night, Kentucky wall take on Duke in a primetime battle of the sport’s bluest bloods. It will be the 21st meeting between the two programs, a rivalry steeped in classic moments, the most famous of which we’re forced to relive every March. “The Shot” has been called the greatest moment in college basketball, but none of the players who will take the floor tomorrow were alive when it happened. Not even Miles Mason Marshall Plumlee, who is approximately 400 years old.

Imagining a world without “The Shot” is like imagining Oscar Combs with a British accent; it’s unfathomable. The moment that ball dropped into the net, I found out what it really meant to be a Kentucky fan. Seven years old on the floor of my parents’ den, heartache and hatred bloomed. Duke became Puke, Laettner became the devil, and every subsequent meeting between the two teams became an opportunity for revenge. “The Shot” shaped my fandom, which is why it’s so surreal that there are Kentucky fans and players alive who can’t say the same.

So, in order to educate our younger fans and the players who will take the floor in Chicago tomorrow night, here’s a refresher course in why we hate Duke.

The Stomp

Before we move on from ’92, the other big moment from that game needs to be addressed: The Stomp. Minutes before Laettner spun, shot, and slayed, he stomped on Aminu Timberlake’s chest, an act that would most certainly get him thrown out of the game today. The stomp was poor sportsmanship at its best, perfectly encapsulating Laettner, the sport’s ultimate villain. When UK fans say they still hate Laettner, it’s mostly for the shot, but the stomp is ten times more offensive. After the “30 for 30” on Laettner was released last spring, he apologized to Timberlake on social media and Timberlake accepted, but no matter how gamely Laettner sucks up to the Big Blue Nation, resentment will always smolder.

The court slapping

Is there anything more Duke than a 6-foot white guard slapping the floor? No. It’s not like Duke invented the act, but they’ve sure run it into the ground. In the book “Tales from the Duke Blue Devils Hardwood” (don’t everyone rush to buy it at once), former Dukie Mark Alarie gave some background on the iconic gesture:

“It was Coach K’s way of showing us that if we did what he said we would own the defensive floor, that no one would get by us.”

Gag. Court slapping is so Duke that opponents are now mocking them with it:

The flopping

Duke flops so often they make Italian soccer players look tough. During halftime of the 2012 showdown between Kentucky and Duke, John Calipari totally called them on it too.

“They’re flopping all over the place,” Calipari said. “In the NBA, they’d all be suspended. So we got to get to where we’re getting the ball by guys, and knowing that they’re going to take charges.”

During his career at Duke, Greg Paulus had more flops than Eddie Murphy.

The media bias

It’s probably a shock to those of you who read this site, but the sports media is supposed to be objective; however, over the years, Duke has earned a reputation as a media darling, especially when it comes to announcers like Dick Vitale (“You mean DUKE Vitale?!?! Amirite?!”). A few years back, The Wall Street Journal’s Ben Cohen actually went through and listened to five Duke games Vitale called to prove Dickie V was biased. Now, Dick’s heaped plenty of praise on Kentucky the past few years, so I don’t think that’s exactly fair, but the media’s lapping of Coach K and Duke over the years is pretty obnoxious.

Remember Billy Packer’s freakout when Jamal Magloire and Wojo got tangled up?

“What is he doing here? What is Magloire doing?!?!”

(Note: this bit of acting by Wojo could also be filed under flopping)

The Whining

Look, every fans thinks the officials are out to get their team, but every fan outside of Durham also thinks that Duke gets ALL the calls. Somehow, when refs step into Cameron Indoor Stadium, they’re sprinkled with fancy nerd dust and all the calls magically go in Duke’s favor. Coach K must carry that fancy nerd dust (pencil shavings?) around with him because they get more than their fair share of calls on the road too. And when they don’t, Coach K whines like Shannon the Dude during a Star Wars marathon.

The Success

As Kentucky fans, we know what it’s like to have people hate us cause they ain’t us. In the modern era, Kentucky and Duke have been the two most successful teams in college basketball, which, as you might imagine, makes people pretty jealous. And like it or not, Duke’s had Kentucky’s number lately. The Cats are 1-7 against the Dukies since 1978:

11/17/2015 Kentucky vs. Duke Champions Classic (at Chicago, IL)
11/13/2012 (#3) Kentucky vs. (#9) Duke L 68 – 75 Champions Classic (at Atlanta, GA)
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)

That one win was glorious, but, after seventeen years, Kentucky is due for another. So is Calipari, who is 0-2 vs. Coach K in his career.

There’s also the fact that Duke won what should have been Kentucky’s ninth national championship in April. The blame for that lies on Kentucky falling apart in the final four minutes vs. Wisconsin, but the fact that it was Duke up there in the blue and white confetti makes it all especially cruel. What should have been Kentucky’s crowning moment was another step forward for Duke, who’s been surging the past few years.

The double standards

Remember when Corey Maggette admitted to accepting thousands of dollars from his summer-league coach Myron Piggie, which one would think would make him ineligible and force the NCAA to vacate Duke’s 1999 Final Four appearance and runner-up status? Well, they didn’t, a fact I’m sure sits well with Calipari, whose 2008 Final Four appearance was stripped because of Derek Rose’s SAT scandal. The same goes for the Lance Thomas jewelry fiasco a few years back. Thomas was sued by a jeweler for defaulting on $70,000 of merchandise in 2009, the season Duke went on to win the national title. What college senior has that kind of money to throw down on jewelry?! When the scandal broke in 2013, it had “ruh roh” written all over it, but mysteriously, a week later, the lawsuit was settled and Thomas and Duke never received any punishment from the NCAA.

The hypocrisy

Okay, so the media’s hypocrisy regarding Coach K and Calipari isn’t Duke’s fault, but it doesn’t mean I don’t resent them a little bit for it. When Cal took the job at Kentucky in 2009, he took the one-and-done system mainstream. Even though the media painted Cal’s system as an evil NBA factory, it was one of the most fun seasons in Kentucky basketball history. (So fun our friend Aaron Torres wrote a book about it that you should buy!) When Kentucky won the national championship in 2012, the narrative became ‘sure, you can win with freshman, but only if you have veterans, too’. So, imagine our surprise when Coach K and Duke won the national championship with Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones, and Justise Winslow — all freshman who went to the NBA after one season — and the media praised Coach K for bravely “adapting” to the “harsh reality” of the one-and-done rule.

But wait, doesn’t that make Calipari a trail blazer? Haha. Like he would ever get that kind of credit. Instead, Cal’s haters said Coach K was beating Calipari at his own game, conveniently leaving out the fact that three years earlier, Kentucky won the title with three one-and-dones. But hey, don’t let that get in the way of an agenda, right?

The momentum

With four Final Fours in his six years at Kentucky, I think you can say John Calipari is doing alright; however, after their national championship and huge recruiting coups the last few years, the pendulum is swinging back towards the Blue Devils. A lot of this is due to Coach K’s status as head coach of Team USA. Calipari is a recruiting master, but Coach K gets access to the best recruits earlier than anyone, forming relationships that have brought Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones, Jayson Tatum and Harry Giles to Durham. A win tomorrow night wouldn’t reverse that momentum, but it would be a nice, very public reminder of Kentucky’s stature.

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.

17 Comments for A Refresher Course On Why We Hate Duke



  1. bluegrassstu
    9:38 pm November 16, 2015 Permalink

    Even though I hate Duke, I do admire how they are able to be as good as they are with such tough academic standards. Other than that screw Duke.



    • keiths
      6:16 am November 17, 2015 Permalink

      Those standards you speak of only apply to real students. Basketball and Football get in anyone they want to, dont kidd yourself



    • catdaddyd
      12:34 pm November 17, 2015 Permalink

      Pretty sure I read that as well. Athletes only have to qualify per conference and ncaa guidelines.



  2. mikeintn
    10:43 pm November 16, 2015 Permalink

    I think I would almost trade a NC to beat Puke, come on guys win this one you can lose the next five, or until we get to looserville.



  3. Dave Ball
    11:15 pm November 16, 2015 Permalink

    a true UK fan never needs a refresher course on how (or why) they hate Duke…it is inherent



    • symphonist41169
      8:56 am November 17, 2015 Permalink

      Hear hear!! Or, anyone old enough to remember the ’92 game doesn’t need a reminder.



  4. Suffering Fools
    11:20 pm November 16, 2015 Permalink

    The Duke-Kentucky history also runs older and deeper than basketball.

  5. Aaaaaaand the Bengals just lost. Crap! Oh well, go Cats and beat Duke!!!



  6. catdaddyd
    12:18 am November 17, 2015 Permalink

    Is there anything more Duke than a 6-foot white guard slapping the floor? The blacks slap the floor as well.



  7. CATandMONKEY
    7:31 am November 17, 2015 Permalink

    These are all great reasons to hate Duke. The great thing about Duke hatred: You can state your hatred for Duke, with no qualifiers attached and 95% of all Basketball fans will high-five you on the spot.



  8. kycats13
    8:06 am November 17, 2015 Permalink

    Some bars you might hit on the way to the United Center:
    The Beer Bistro, Third Rail Tavern, West End Bar, all on Madison, near the United Center.
    Grab a burger/dog before the game at Billy Goats — 700 E. Grand Avenue (this is the Cheezeborger, Cheezeborger, No Pepsi, Coke place from past skits on Saturday Night Live long ago, not the original but a second location)

    A place to hit after the game for late dining: Twisted Spoke — 501 N. Ogden Avenue (somewhat near the United Center)



  9. CATandMONKEY
    8:07 am November 17, 2015 Permalink

    Just watched that Wojo clip…He is still #1 on my “Most Despised Players” list. I teach my girls to not ever hate any human being but when they are a bit older they will learn that there are a couple exceptions.



  10. kycats13
    8:11 am November 17, 2015 Permalink

    Breakfast:
    The Palace Grill — 1408 W. Madison (my favorite breakfast spot)
    Lou Mitchell’s — 565 W. Jackson Blvd. (not sure it is open on weekends, a Chicago icon)

    Pizza:
    Lou Malnati’s — 439 N. Wells Street (cornbread crust pizza, this is the one we like)
    Gino’s East — 162 E. Superior Street (sausage is slab, some like and some don’t)

    Italian:
    Francesca’s on Taylor — 1400 W. Taylor Street
    RoSal’s Italian Kitchen — 1154 W. Taylor Street (a favorite on Taylor Street (Little Italy) when they are clicking, sometime they don’t with service)
    Ciao Amore — 1134 W. 18th Street (this is a BYOB, love this place, it is a little south of the loop, but doable)

    Other Restaurants:
    Del Friscos Double Eagle Steakhouse — 58 E. Oak Street
    Café Iberico — 739 N. LaSalle (Spanish Tapas)
    Zed 451 — 739 N Clark Street (Brazilian steakhouse)

    Chicago Hotdog:
    Portillo’s — 100 W. Ontario Street (a true Chicago hotdog, and they have lots of other stuff as well)

    Bars:
    Joe’s Bar — Sports Bar with live country music most weekends (I’ve seen Eric Church, Luke Bryan, Jake Owen in this venue. Check their calendar and if you see someone you like, get the tickets ahead of time as they sell out often.)
    The Pony (A UK and Texas A&M Bar)

    Other:
    Blue Man Group — If you’ve never seen this and have a chance I think you will like it.



  11. lexslamman
    8:12 am November 17, 2015 Permalink

    I’m not a violent man, but I would cross the street to knock Grayson Allen’s teeth out.



    • catdaddyd
      12:29 pm November 17, 2015 Permalink

      Why?



  12. TheNewOriginal
    12:48 pm November 17, 2015 Permalink

    Duke basketball players have to meet the same standards as UK. No more, no less.