I'm not entirely sure how I will come down off a win like this. How do you? For Tar Heel fans and Duke fans, the game on Saturday night was the most important in the history of the rivalry. Coach K was retiring either tonight or Monday (thankfully, it was tonight), the Tar Heels were extreme underdogs for the entirety of the season, and winning this game means Coach Hubert Davis will finish his career with a winning record against one of the greatest coaches of all time (yes, I know Carolina fans hate to admit it, but we have to give credit where credit is due). Facebook groups that I'm a member of are going nuts. It's like an online Franklin Street, and I'm here for it. It's making me feel like a kid again.
On a side note, if you are a member of one of these Facebook groups and read my articles, thank you so much! Oklistenhere.com hit a record number of visitors, thanks to Carolina Fans! I knew my family had picked the right team! I genuinely am grateful if you are reading this. Back to the blog...
I love Leaky Black. His mom and my mom were great friends before we were born, and he and I even had the same baby shower. I never really knew Leaky, but I knew of him and his ties to my mom. For that reason, I had always rooted for him. It's cool to know that our mothers went through their pregnancy together, and now he's competing for a National Title. I like to joke that our moms touched bellies at one point, and like in Space Jam, all my athletic ability transferred to Leaky, so you're welcome.
I do not want to speak for Leaky, but I have heard that the National Title will be Leaky's last game through the telephone. So take that how you will and appreciate his presence on the court while you can. We need to do that for every player in the starting five because it would not surprise me if at least one of them goes to the league as a direct result of this run.
Leaky will forever go down as my favorite Tar Heel, but before Leaky was Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, and Danny Green. That 2008-'09 team solidified my fandom for the Heels. I was ten at the time, and somewhere, I journaled what I thought of the team and that championship game. Once I find it, I'll have to scan it and put it on the website. It's incredible that certain seasons solidify your fandom, and I'm sure tonight's game did the same for many kids across North Carolina. Luckily, this Final Four matchup made more Carolina fans than Duke fans.
The game against Valparaiso in the 2009-'10 season was my first visit to the Dean Center. I don't remember much, but I do remember my first time meeting Rameses after buying a pack of M&Ms and how much of a nerd I thought Tyler Zeller was. Coming off a pivotal National Title game, I also remember the game being hype even though it was against a team that hadn't won ten games the previous season.
So, what does this win mean for the Carolina vs. Duke rivalry? I predict that since Coach K is gone and Coach Davis has had such a successful first season, the tide will start to turn in favor of the Heels in coming seasons. The Heels have lost ten of the last twenty matchups against Duke, which is ten too many. I do not think Duke will be able to replicate this "success" against Carolina for a very long time. Recruits will look at this game when deciding between Duke and Carolina. Jon Scheyer, or any first-year head coach, will have difficulty replicating what we all witnessed this postseason.
As for Coach Davis, Carolina made the right move. Roy Williams left what he built to someone he trusted, and the rest of Tar Heel Nation trusted. When Coach Davis wins on Monday, he will be Carolina's first first-year head coach to win the National Title. But, in his way is Roy Williams' first successor, Bill Self and his very powerful Kansas Jayhawks. The success we are seeing in this postseason is only the start for Coach Davis.
The Carolina vs. Duke Rivalry will forever be the greatest rivalry in sports. But, I think we will see Carolina dominate the series this next decade. Say what you will about the Rat Face, but as Charles Barkley said after the game, Coach K was good for Carolina Basketball. It kept the series competitive and gave Carolina fans much more reason to hate on the Blue Devils. Until this season, I've known nothing but Roy Williams vs. Coach K. It'll be interesting to see how these next few seasons pan out between the two programs.