Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Basketball Mailbag

Here is my own person mailbag with things that have been interesting to me:

Why is Duke hated?

Read and then reread this great article from Devin Gordon: Why Everyone Hates Duke. After reading that listen to Gordon on the Dan Patrick show (hour 3 on Tuesday show’s) to talk about why everyone hates Duke. If you don’t want to put that much time into reading a two page article and/or listening to an hour long segment then I understand. Here is the summary. Duke wins, is on TV a lot, gets a lot of great college players (who aren’t good in the pros), is a private school, and has the media fawning over players like Redick, Laettner, Battier, and Paulus. Overall I think people hate Duke in college basketball for the same reason that they hate the Yankees in baseball. Both Duke and the Yankees win and for the most part America likes an underdog.

Is Duke like the Yankees?

No. They don’t buy the best players like the Yankees do. The Yankees can outspend most teams and get whoever they want (like Alex Rodriquez or Johnny Damon) without having to rely on scouting or developing players. Duke on the other hand has to recruit players that have no monetary incentive to pick Duke over UCLA, Kansas , UNC, etc. In fact if you are a star high school basketball player that is only concerned with going to the pros as quickly as possible then it might be better to go to a place other than Duke. You wouldn’t have to compete against as tough of competition in practice and you can be guaranteed ample playing time because no coach of a middle tier program is going to bench their star recruit. I think that it is a lot easier for Michael Beasley and OJ Mayo to go to Kansas St and USC because by going to those schools they get to literally and figurative call their own shots. It should be no surprise that both are projected top 10 picks in next year’s draft.

What about UNC?

UNC is for the most part not hated. They aren’t considered to be the Yankees. This makes absolutely no sense. From all metrics they are a winning program (2 titles compared to Duke’s 3 in the past 20 years), get top recruits (3 of rivals top 150 compared to Duke’s 2), and is on tv a lot.

What would be a good comparison for UNC?

If Duke were the Yankees then UNC would be the Red Sox.

Doesn't everyone like the Red Sox?



It seems like America hates the big corporate retailer (Wal-Mart), the top spending baseball team (the Yankees), etc without thinking about anyone else. In reality there isn’t much difference (who cares about wider aisles and better lighting) between Wal-Mart and Target or the Yankees and the Red Sox. For some reason it okay for the general public to pile it on Wal-Mart, Yankees, and Duke without giving any consideration to Target, the Red Sox, and UNC.

So basically, as long as you are not the worst offender (in whatever way offends the general public) than you are given a free pass?

It sure seems that way. People should like dislike UNC just as much as Duke. On the Dan Patrick show it was brought up that there were 10 miles that separated Tyler Hansbrough from being the most hated college basketball player in America. The implication was that Hansbrough would be hated if he went to Duke. Instead Hansbrough is the most loved athelte in America without getting the backlash that players like Redick received throughout their career.

Who is in your Final Four?

I have Tennessee, Kansas, Stanford, and Duke in the Final Four with Kansas beating Stanford for the championship.

What is the most amazing You Tube basketball shot you saw today?

A 90 foot shot in DII basketball.

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