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So it’s funny, after Duke beat Gonzaga last weekend, I decided to do a quick Twitter poll. I was thinking about doing this article — 15 Reasons Why It Was Still Ok To Hate Duke — but thought that the idea might be a little outdated.
I mean sure, everybody hates Duke, but was there a need to actually write about it? It seemed like something straight out of a 1994 “Hot Takes Playbook” right alongside “Is it ok for Ken Griffey Jr. to wear his hat backwards in the home run derby?” and “Why Andre Agassi’s long hair is ruining tennis!” Honestly, I liked the idea, but didn’t think anyone would want to read it.
So I decided to leave it up to my Twitter audience, and sent out a note to them: Would you actually want to read this article? Does everyone still hate Duke?
The answer surprised me. Yes, people hate Duke. A lot of them. And all of them wanted me to write about why, exactly we all hate Duke so much, with some even contributing their own reasons.
It’s safe to say that while the players change, and college basketball changes, one thing remains the same: Everybody hates Duke.
Here are 15 reasons why it’s still ok in 2015.
1. Coach K gets way too much credit for Team USA’s success:
I’m not saying that anyone could’ve coached Team USA to the Gold Medal at the last Olympics, but umm….wait, that’s exactly what I’m saying.
Ok, maybe not anyone, but aren’t we giving Coach K a little too much credit here? Do you seriously think that on a team with LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Anthony Davis, it was Coach K that was the key to victory? That it was his motivational tools that were the key to that 80 point win over Nigeria?
Give me a break. That’s a bigger fallacy than Coach K’s hair actually staying black through all these years.
Speaking of which….
2. What is up with Coach K’s hair?
It’s incredible, really. Coach K has been at Duke since 1980, a stretch which includes five different Presidents, six different iPhones, seven ‘Fast and the Furious’ movies, and the invention of… the internet! Yet through all that time, and all that change, there is one thing that has remained surprisingly the same: Coach K’s head of jet black hair. Seriously, there could be a nuclear holocaust tomorrow, and Coach K’s hair would remain as pristine as ever.
At the same time, nobody actually believes his hair has naturally been the same color all these years, right? I mean crap, I’m not even 30, and got my first grey hair last week (seriously, that happened. I damn near cried). Yet you mean to tell me that Coach K’s hair has stayed the same through all these years, without any, umm, enhancements?
As Cris Carter would say, ‘C’Mon, man!’
3. Coach K still gets way too much credit for being the “best” coach in the game:
Ask the average fan who the best coach in college basketball is, and you’d be surprised how many still say Coach K. Which would be an acceptable answer, you know, if this was 1993.
The problem is that it isn’t, and a lot has changed since then. And while I hate to say it (ok, I don’t hate to say it at all), Coach K is no longer the best coach in college hoops. He’s not even close.
Just for fun, let’s play a quick game. If I asked you, “how many Final Fours has Coach K been to since 2001,” what would your answer be? That’s 14 seasons, so it’s got to be what…seven? Eight?
How about three. THREE! And that includes this year.
That’s not necessarily bad, but it’s also certainly not the mark of the “best coach in the game.” Especially since John Calipari has been to four Final Fours….just since he got to Kentucky!
If you’re looking to compare it a different way, think about this: Jim Calhoun has been to three Final Fours since 2001, the same as Coach K…. And he retired three years ago!
But let’s get back to Calipari for a second…
4. Can you imagine if Duke was doing what Kentucky is right now?
The national media would literally be tripping over themselves to write the most gushing, glowing, over the top articles, all centered around how “Coach K just gets it” and how his kids “truly understand what being a part of a team is all about.”
Well you know who else “just gets it?” How about Kentucky? You know, that team with nine McDonald’s All-Americans, that also has no player averaging more than 25 minutes a game, and not a single player complaining about lack of touches, lack of stats or lack of minutes. But because it’s Kentucky nobody wants to write about it.
Now if it were Duke?
I’m pretty sure Congress would be pushing for Coach K’s birthday to become a national holiday.
5. Austin Rivers:
I mean seriously, does anyone like that guy?
No? So it’s not just me?
Cool, let’s just move on.
6. Tony Romo and Jason Garrett:
Is there a pair of more annoying celebrity fans anywhere in sports? Outside of that time that Penn and Teller started showing up at Auburn football games, I can’t think of any.
(Ok, I totally made that up. Penn and Teller aren’t Auburn football fans. But you almost Googled it, didn’t you?)
On a serious note though, when exactly did Tony Romo become such a huge Duke fan? I mean I know he has plenty of free time in January and February to watch basketball, but at the same time, can someone explain this to me? He didn’t go to Duke. He isn’t from North Carolina. And unlike Aaron Rodgers, he doesn’t even play in the same state as Duke.
But he still shows up at all their games, and cheers his little heart out. What’s next, are we going to find out Romo is a Notre Dame football fan too?
And while we’re on the subject, of all people in the world that Romo could bring with him to Duke games, why is he bringing his coach? Doesn’t he have friends his own age?
Even if he doesn’t, wouldn’t Jerry Jones be a more fun traveling partner than Jason Garrett?
7. Because J.J. Redick unquestionably won the “Morrison vs. Redick” debate:
Remember 10 years ago, when this was an actual debate?
Well fast-forward to 2015, and here are where things stand: Redick won. In a landslide. It’s not even close.
That’s because while Redick is living in LA, making millions, and hitting corner jumpers for an NBA playoff team, you know where Adam Morrison is right now? As we learned this weekend, he’s back at Gonzaga… as the team’s assistant video coordinator! Not even the head video coordinator. He’s that guy’s assistant!
Talk about a hard fall. And to make matters worse….DID YOU SEE THE GUY! Not only does Morrison look like the villain from every ‘Bond’ movie ever, but he turned into the punch-line of more jokes than Justin Bieber did in the past week.
Point being, it’s been a hard fall for Morrison. And I blame Redick. And Duke.
8. Coach K hasn’t done a halftime interview since sometime during the Clinton Administration:
What are you, better than us Coach K?
9. The Plumlee Brothers. All of them:
Basically, these guys are college basketball’s equivalent to the Kardashian family. They’re goofy. They’re talentless (well, except for the one that plays for the Nets. He’s actually pretty good). And their first names all start with the same later.
Not to mention that they just…won’t…stop….coming.
What are we on, our 11th Plumlee brother by now? Our 12th?
And at what point, if they are going to keep coming around, do we just give them their own spin-off series?
“Mason and Miles take the Hamptons” has a nice ring to it.
10. Because Grant Hill is already better at broadcasting than I’ll ever be at anything in my life:
As I continue to watch this basketball tournament, and I continue see Grant Hill get better and better every week at this whole “broadcasting” thing, I can’t help but think to myself, “Didn’t this guy just retire from the NBA like a week ago? Now he’s calling the Final Four?”
It also leads to another very important question: Where did I go wrong? What could I have done differently? How is this guy already better at broadcasting than I’ll ever be at anything?
I tell ya, sometimes life really isn’t fair.
11. One and dones:
It’s funny, remember how the narrative floating around college basketball for a while was that “one and dones were killing the sport?” And remember how that narrative pretty much stopped the second that Duke started signing one-and-dones?
Well I sure do.
And while we’re on the subject, ever notice how everyone always assumes that at other schools, one-and-done players don’t go to class (mainly Kentucky)?
Yet nobody says the same thing about Duke’s one-and-dones?
Yeah, I thought so.
Interesting, isn’t it?
12. Because they’ve lost in the first round of the tournament in two of the last four years, and nobody talks about it:
Again, I cannot emphasize this enough… Coach K really hasn’t been all that good of a tournament coach in the last decade.
Yet while everyone is tripping over themselves to call him the greatest to ever throw on a pair of swishy pants and sneakers at practice, am I the only one that remembers that Duke was on the wrong end of not just one, but two of the greatest upsets in the history of college basketball in the last four years?
How does that happen? Does Bucknell even offer scholarships? Is Mercer even a real college?
And why is nobody talking about it?
Every fan-base at every school has fans camp out for days, and sometimes weeks, before the big game.
Yet somehow, “Krzyzewski-ville” is the only one that ever gets talked about.
14. Christian Laettner:
Who, as we learned in a recent documentary about him, is a cat guy.
Of course Christian Laettner is a cat guy. I’m guessing he also rooted for the USSR at the 1980 Olympics and was hoping that the Joker defeated Batman in ‘The Dark Knight.’
That’s just the kind of guy Christian Laettner seems to be. Twenty-five years later, and I still don’t trust him.
15. Because nobody besides me remembers the 1995 season:
You know, when Coach K mysteriously got a “back ailment.”
And mysteriously decided to “sit out” the second half of the season after Duke started out 9-3?
And then, when Duke finished 13-18 overall, lobbied to have the losses removed from his resume?
And then, after having the losses removed from his resume, also removed the assistant coach who filled as an interim coach for him while he was gone?
Yeah, you know how nobody remembers that?
Well, I do.
It’s just one of many reasons why it’s still ok to hate Duke.