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When Duke loses a game, the world comes to an end

Recently, the Duke Blue Devils took an L at the hands of Keith Tolbert’s Florida State Seminoles (something that must have conflicted him, since he’s an FSU grad, but a Duke fan), and judging by the reaction of people who don’t care for Duke, myself included, you would have thought they just got eliminated from the NCAA Tournament. Granted, it’s been like this for years, and maybe it’s just a case of not paying much attention before, but it blew my mind of the way Duke is viewed by fans of college basketball.

When it comes to how Duke is viewed at ETSF, there is a healthy dislike for the Blue Devils. This much is already documented. There are fewer joys we get than seeing Duke fail, but there’s still something about the way people go crazy when they lose that makes me scratch my head. The Cameron Crazies, while annoying as all hell, find ways to keep everything in perspective while those of us who don’t care for them have the propensity to blow things out of proportion.

There are four other undefeated teams left in college basketball, but let's be for real here; the uproar won’t be anywhere near what Duke gets when these other teams end up dropping a game. When Ohio State eventually drops a game, they’ll talk about it on ESPN for a few minutes, but the widespread reaction won't go too much beyond Columbus, and the reason is because it’s Ohio State basketball. Sure, they’ve had some good runs and quality players over the years, but the mainstream still doesn’t check for Ohio State like that, and they never will.

Syracuse dropped a game on Monday and folks aren’t even really talking about it much. You have San Diego State, but hey; it’s San Diego State, the home of Marshall Faulk and the recently departed Brady Hoke. Hell, I can’t even tell you who plays for San Diego State unless I go online.

The only undefeated team left that you can make a case for, in terms of people caring when they lose, is Kansas, but the Jayhawks are so bi-polar that fans are pretty much conditioned to wait for the other shoe to fall off anyway (case in point, last year’s brief tourney run).

So it all goes back to Duke. When they lose, it’s the end of days and the sky is falling. The only other team a case can be made for, in terms of over the years, is North Carolina, but they suck so bad right now that folks just want to see them worth a damn again. They’re simply trying to get back in the swing of things, in terms of putting something respectable out there, before they are afforded the attention and respect that comes with the college basketball world dangling at their feet.

It’s lonely at the top for Duke, but considering where they were just a few years ago, when they were bounced by VCU in the first round of March Madness and being the butt of jokes for lousy play, they’ll take this trade-off that comes with losing in January, if it still means they’re the odds-on favorite to be the last team standing in the end.

Be easy.
-K. Masenda
www.edthesportsfan.com
P.S. As a reminder, checkout the livest sports talk (and hopefully on the radio soon) show around, "The Unsportsmanlike Conduct Show" as we are live Wednesday's at 9pm Eastern at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/edthesportsfan! Download our podcasts if you missed the live show as well!

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