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Down With Duke

By Norman Chad
Monday, March 14, 2005; Page D02

Every year on Selection Sunday, I make my own choice: Anyone but Duke.

I am not alone in this growing anti-Duke sentiment. In fact, more Americans root against Duke in the NCAA tournament than rooted against the Soviet Union in the Cuban missile crisis.

Duke's J.J. Redick is only a junior, but it seems as if he's been playing for the Blue Devils (and tormenting Maryland fans) for quite some time. (Jonathan Newton -- The Washington Post)

Some might figure this is just a reaction to the Blue Devils' remarkable pattern of success. Actually, no. We just don't like the cut of their jib.

(When I stumbled upon a TV set last week and got to see North Carolina score the final 11 points to rally past Duke, 75-73, it nearly wiped out all the pain of several bad career moves, two marriages and one kidney stone.)

Let me be clear that I have no problem with Coach Mike Krzyzewski -- three national titles and 10 Final Fours -- whose comportment is impeccable.

In terms of criticism, Coach K is virtually off-limits; everyone else associated with Duke is open season.

(For instance, if you were briefly engaged to a Duke grad -- and, granted, you were savvy enough to break it off -- it still is guilt by association. Even if you just audited a single class at Duke one semester and are reading this column right now, I'm going to have to ask you to leave.)

Two acquaintances of mine went to Duke and routinely tout the school's pristine reputation. In fact, one of them likes to refer to his alma mater as "the Harvard of the South." To which I always respond: If there's a Stuckey's directly across from the entrance to your campus, you're not exactly Ivy League.*

(*In reality, there is no Stuckey's anywhere in the immediate vicinity of Duke. I'm simply using a little creative license here to embolden my argument.)

Uh, is it my imagination, or do Duke players seem to be there six or seven years? Junior guard J.J. Redick? Please. When he first enrolled, Rudy Vallee was still sitting on a flagpole singing fight songs through a megaphone.

Then, of course, there is the legendary, alleged officiating favoritism toward Duke.

Duke gets all the calls.

(Duke players don't get into foul trouble, they get into fellowship programs.)

Duke gets all the calls.

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