Currently, one of my favorite Internet memes is the “Haters Gon Hate” reply given pretty much anytime someone doesn’t like an event’s outcome. Bitching about the winners is the act of a hater, and with that in mind, allow the following pictorial to further demonstrate why I’m considered a Duke hater — and as such, it wouldn’t be prudent of me to not hate, given the outcome of the Duke/Butler final game.
(Why, oh, why, dear Basketball Gods, did you not allow Hayward’s final shot fall? Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?!?!?!) Now that I got that Jonathan Davis moment out of my system, let’s delve further into why hating Duke is just so awesome:
I’ll pose the same kinds of questions I asked about Brook and Robin Lopez: What happens to the basketball universe if Duke and North Carolina lose on the same night? Does the basketball universe cease to exist? Does ESPN pull the plug on their upcoming “the best rivalry in sports” love fest? Does Roy Williams start feeling heat as his team continues to disappoint? What about Duke? Do people start re-piling on Jon Scheyer, provider of one of the best sports faces, maybe ever? Or did they ever stop?
After last night’s failure — especially for the Tar Heels — it appears as if the college basketball world is still turning, although, I think non-fans are enjoying themselves a little more.
While Duke’s loss is a little less surprising (a road loss to a decent NC State team), there’s little doubt people still take joy in watching the Blue Devils fall. Carolina’s home beatdown at the hands of Wake Forest, on the other hand, is little more surprising. Nobody expected the Heels to be, well, this average. Because of their recent play (three straight losses, four out of five), the Tar Heels find themselves in an unfamiliar spot for a defending National Champion: directly on the bubble.
Currently, the Heels are 12-7 (1-3 in ACC play). In order to get invited, Roy’s boys are going to have to win at least nine conference games, meaning they need to go 8-4 over their last 12 games. Is that even possible with the all-of-a-sudden pedestrian Tar Heels? Considering just how “up” opposing teams are going to be for North Carolina — especially now that they smell baby-blue blood in the water — it’s going to be a hard road for them to travel, especially when they have problems shooting the ball. Fans, however, are not giving up on their Heels.
Now we get to see if they will have something the cheer for.
Say what you will about the Duke Blue Devils and vicariously, Gerald Henderson. While Coach K may not have the most liked team in America, they do pile up the wins; during the regular season, at least. The Blue Devils usually feature a talented guard/wing player and this year, said honor falls to Gerald Henderson. Henderson saved the Blue Devils’ bacon last night after a subpar first half that saw Duke trailing when they went back to the locker rooms. In the second half, it was all Henderson as he scored 17 of his 21 points, leading the Blue Devils to a 4-0 start in ACC play.
Say what you will about Duke’s head basketball coach because it’s probably already been said, be it good or bad. The media loves him and opposing fans hate him. Such is the life of a successful coach from a school that’s disliked so much, it causes people to do this. Of course, the one they call “Coach K” might have something to do with the level of hatred directed at the Duke Blue Devils, but that’s besides the point.
For one, it’s hard for even the most seasoned hater to deny his place in the college basketball world.
With that in mind and because tonight, Duke kicks off the 2008/09 college basketball season with the Coaches vs Cancer benefit against Presbyterian, here’s a little gallery of just some of the incredible facial expressions by the one, the only — Mike Krzyzewski.
There are times pictures speak louder than words. These are some of them. I think they were all taken during a Duke/North Carolina game — or perhaps a tax audit:
Grant Hill’s inaugural season in Phoenix would have to be considered a success. He’s averaging 13 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists on a team that doesn’t require him to be a take-over-the-game star. And he’s flourished in this roll. After having his ankle reconstructed — complete with a staph infection that almost killed — not to mention a number of leg issues related to recovery of his ankle issues, most people would have left the game of basketball forever.
I think it’s safe to say running and jumping for 48 minutes can put some excessive wear and tear on leg that’s had a number of surgical issues.
Nevertheless, Hill has persevered and is having one of his best seasons since his Detroit days for the Phoenix Suns — who just eliminated the Golden State Warriors from the playoffs last night (2-13 Baron? Really?). He has a career high in 3-point attempts by a large margin at 104. His previous high was 98 attempts in his last season with the Pistons. He’s also making them at a consistent rate, hitting 31%.
Of course, the one specter hanging over Hill’s head is a return of his leg issues (remember, basketball is a running and jumping sport) and when he left the game in the first quarter last night with a groin pull, the “Grant Hill’s hurt again” talk resurfaced. Hill left the game after just 13 minutes because of his groin.
Adding insult to injury was the fact Hill was off to a white-hot start, having already scored 12 points in the 13 minutes he was on the court. Fortunately for the Suns, the groin issue looks to be minor one. When asked about being held out of Phoenix’s next game, Hill informed the media of his plans:
“I’ll override that.”
Apparently, Hill’s groin muscles are fine and he seems bound and determined not to let his injury-riddled past catch up to him. Nevertheless, I don’t recall Grant Hill — even when he was playing in Orlando after his initial ankle reconstruction — getting dunked on so memorably. Not once, but twice.
I’m sure you all remember, but if not, here’s a refresher:
Merry Christmas from Trevor Ariza.
And then, Andre Iguodala decided he’d like to dunk over Grant Hill as well.
Perhaps he needs to stop trying to take charges.
Although, Grant did have a moment of his own. Just ask DeSagana Diop.
So while Hill was the victim of two posters and his groin injury could be potentially nagging, it’s fairly safe to say he’s completely bounced back; much more than a lot of people would ever expect, especially when you consider the amount of negative news surrounding his legs while he was in Orlando. For the season, Hill has played 70 games, the most since his last year in Detroit (99-00) and has been a valuable piece to the Phoenix Suns attack.
But man, I never thought I’d see him get dunked on like that — twice in one season. Didn’t Mike Krzyzewski teach you any better than that?
Duke missed 15 consecutive from behind the arc while going down — miserably — to the West Virgina Mountaineers, 73-67. The score is a lot closer than the game was, especially in the second half. Duke finished 5-22 from behind the arc, after starting 2 of 3.
Feel free to caption this…
Since making the Final Four in 2004, Duke hasn’t been past the Sweet 16. Is that an indictment of Coach Krzyzewski?
By all means, caption that image.
We’ll be back with an open thread for the Kansas/UNLV, Marquette/Stanford, Notre Dame/Washington State block. I, for one, am expecting a great evening of basketball.