I’ll warn you ahead of time that this is not much more than a sleep-deprived rant. For the most part, I think hating teams that your favorite teams aren’t really rivals with is pretty lame. I don’t begrudge the Yankees – I’ll leave that to the Red Sox and Mets fans of the world that have a true understanding of what it means to deal with the Evil Empire on a daily basis. The Cowboys have never swayed me one way or the other, while I’d rather watch a decent Notre Dame team over the pathetic version that’s been trotted out this year (albeit I believe that Charlie Weis is a d-bag that’s getting his just desserts for letting everyone coronate him as some type of offensive genius for his first two seasons in South Bend while displaying a complete lack of any type of humility). Even as a White Sox fan, I don’t hate the Cubs since it’s akin to hating the kids on the short bus.
Yet, as I watched the Illini fall to Duke in the Maui Classic last night, I received another two-hour reaffirmation of how much I hate Coach K’s minions above all other teams in all other sports, whether college or pro. (In terms of the game itself, Illinois played fine overall, but it was clear that they weren’t up to par talent-wise at the end of the day.) This is despite the fact that Illinois-Duke is hardly a rivalry in the college basketball world. Still, while I certainly hold special vitriol for the Indiana Hoosiers (Satan’s Spawn is coming to Champaign February 7th – for a mental picture of how that crowd is going to be, think of the English soccer team visiting Northern Ireland in the mid-1980s) and Green Bay Packers (I respect Brett Favre, so I’d like for Tommie Harris or Brian Urlacher to put his retirement decision to bed by subtle means such as a one-last-straw-concussion as opposed to a truly serious injury), there are at least some circumstances where the Illini and Bears, respectively, would benefit from their rivals winning in terms of conference strength ratings or divisional tiebreakers. Yet, I can’t think of a single situation where something positive could possibly come out of Duke ever winning. I can’t help it – it’s as if they took the worst aspects of the Yankees and Notre Dame and then subsequently get praised during the entire college basketball season by, well, the entire population of Bristol, Connecticut for doing everything the “right way”. Gag me.
Besides, remember this guy? Well, at least you could give him some props for his shooting prowess. Only Duke could provide someone even worse with no redeeming value in Greg Paulus with some nice “charges”:
I’m not a UNC guy (while the pain from the 2005 National Championship Game probably won’t dull until the Illini finally win it all, I will always be grateful for the gift of MJ for the formative years of my life), but sometimes, you just need to hate a team just because. Duke makes it pretty easy to do just that.