Sunday, March 06, 2005

UNC 75, Duke 73. E-yeah!

It's 10:24 p.m. Sunday at the start of this most joyous blog session. I'm 14 minutes removed from returning to my palatial imitation apartment after a weekend on the Jersey Shore and in the poker room at the Borgata with Lawyer friend Steve and Fiancée friend Jamie. And 11 minutes removed from discovering that my beloved North Carolina Tar Heels obliterated Duke, 75-73.

But this story really began Friday afternoon.

I stopped off at my parents' house around 4 p.m. to mooch a ride to the train station so that I didn't have to risk leaving my car at the train station all weekend. There are heathens out there. Heathens, I say, heathens!

I checked my e-mail. Editor friend/Duke fanatic and alum LaRonda popped up in my inbox. She offered kind words of wisdom to a DVR newbie: Be sure to set the program manually and tape the extra half-hour in case the game goes long.

F-bomb!

Right there I knew it was a lost cause. I knew something absurd would happen in the final minutes and I'd miss it.

Jump ahead to Sunday. Something absurd happened. I missed it.

UNC goes on an 11-0 run in the final three minutes to smack Duke upside the head and win the ACC regular-season title outright for the first time since 1993. Oh by the way, that was the same year UNC won the national championship. (Gotta love C-Webb still. "Timeout. Timeout.")

I didn't know any of this until I did my research.

I checked my e-mail as soon as I got home and had 19 e-mails. None were from Editor friend/Duke fanatic and alum LaRonda. Ah ha! Clearly, UNC won. Or, she was slow-rolling me like some Doyle Brunson wannabe tried to do in the poker room early Sunday morning. I ain't no tourist, pal. Maybe it's in my bulk mail folder under some alias so I could walk right into an onslaught of anti-Heels propaganda. No such luck. All three e-mails in there were indeed spam. So I knew the answer. Duke lost. UNC won.

But to confirm, I went directly to ESPN.com. And there he was. The savior. Roy Williams holding scissors in one hand and a piece of the net in the other. You don't cut down the nets when you lose. Eeeeeeeeee-yeah!

It must have been an amazing run. ESPN.com said fans in the record crowd stormed the court at the Dean Dome. Beating Duke is always a treat, even if it has only happened four times in the last 19 games. OBJECTIVITY ALERT! OBJECTIVITY ALERT! Over the past 10 years, Duke has been a better program than UNC. I'd get kicked in the teeth, punched in the gut and kneecapped with a Kerrigan stick if I said that in Chapel Hill, but truth must always reign supreme regardless of geography.

But alas, I can revel in the revelry for today.

Too bad all I got to see of this glorious Carolinian glory was a three-pointer by Lee Melchionni to put Duke up 73-66, a Marvin Williams tip-in to pull UNC within 73-66, and a Shelden Williams foul one possession later with 2:03 left. Apparently, that occurred at 6 p.m. EST, which meant the end of my DVR session.

I can blame Cablevision for its narrow-mindedness in designing a product that goes based on pre-scheduled times. I can blame Florida coach Billy Donovan for not beating Kentucky earlier than he did and forcing a later start on CBS for the UNC game. I can blame CBS for not pulling a "Heidi." But that's all just misplaced anger at myself for DVR ineptitude.

Now for the happier side of life:

* Duke lost a game.
* UNC beat Duke.
* Duke fans had to sit through the ignominy of their team not scoring any points in the final three minutes.
* Cameron Crackheads must have thought the game was in the bag up nine with three minutes to go.
* An ACC title is always a wonderful thing.
* A No. 1 ranking awaits UNC in the new polls due out Monday afternoon. (No. 1 Illinois lost to Ohio State -- Did Teddy Ginn play for the Buckeyes? Clarett?)
* Didn't have to hear Billy Packer do color commentary on the game.
* A bit of revenge for losing to Duke, 71-70, earlier in the season.

Can't wait for this weekend's ACC tournament. It'll likely end with Duke beating UNC by two when J.J. Redick swishes a pull-up three-pointer from 42 feet. But UNC will get a No. 1 seed in March Madness and cruise to the national championship.

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