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January 17, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments



The Morning Dish – Saturday, January 18th, 2003

by Brian Strong


Journalism teaches you to be objective, but I despise Duke. No amount of professors and their rah-rah-rah for “just the facts” could allow me to hide the truth on this point. Loved the Devils from age seven to age eighteen. Hated them from the minute I walked into Lewis Dorm in God’s Country (Chapel Hill). So that’s that.

But wait, I am an equal opportunity hater, and thanks to a yearlong stint at CBS sitting next to fellow Hoopville writer Bill Thayer, I also have a deep disdain for the Maryland Terrapins. Listen to that kid and Bonnie Bernstein (another annoying Terp) bark in your ear all the way to a championship and you’ll feel the same way – promise you.

However, you have to give these stiffs who call themselves ball players from both Durham and College Park, their just due. For the past two years, the best rivalry on the court in college basketball has belonged to them. They have played several pretty epic games in recent history. Notice, however, that I threw in that “on the court” as a little loophole that allows me to remind you that Carolina-Duke is still a superior rivalry. The type of rivalry that may or may not have allegedly, hypothetically invoked several fifteen minute late night trips on Highway 15-501 by several overzealous Chapel Hill undergrads to Durham for a few hours of ballyhoo and taunting whenever said scholars felt the need to remind said Dookies how inferior they may have been – allegedly. But I digress . . .

On to a preview of today’s game: Duke lost their three best players last year, they are overrated, less talented and they stand no chance this season with all those freshman and a converted shooting guard/”hustle guy” running the point. No chance. None. And somehow, I’ll be damned if they aren’t undefeated and ranked number one in the country.

Maryland lost Juan Dixon, who was the best player in the country last year. Additionally, they’re led by a point guard with no jumper and a pudgy poor man’s Lonny Baxter on the inside. Yet they’re ranked and can compete with anyone on a given night.

So, although all of this is admittedly killing me inside, it does mean that we’re gonna see some good basketball today at 1:30. The Devils are playing their first game in a great atmosphere at the ComCastle. I know it’s not Cole, but it’s surely just as loud, and the Maryland contingent will be obnoxious as usual, doing everything they can to get the guys in red to a win.

With that said, it has taken a lot out of me to write this. Praise for either one of these teams is not something you’ll get out of me easily, by any means. But admittedly, you should used to these two teams putting on a show. They’ve proven themselves several times. Just don’t get used to me giving these guys credit. ‘Cause in my book no matter what, no matter when, No. 1 Duke and No. 16 Maryland still plain suck.

Side Dishes

Tiger Suspended: Missouri guard Ricky Clemons has been suspended from the team following a second-degree domestic assault charge. The junior college transfer has been accused of choking a woman at his home and preventing her from leaving on Thursday night.
Clemons has denied any wrongdoing and was released on a $10,000 bond last night. “If it is ever satisfactorily proven,” said coach Quin Snyder, “that any of my players committed a felonious act of violence on another person, then appropriate and severe action will be taken.”

Phelan’s Replacement Selected: Mt. St. Mary’s’ long time coach Jim Phelan will retire at the end of the season and Milan Brown will replace him. Brown is the team’s associate head coach and has signed a three-year deal that takes effect July 1 of this year. “This is what I’ve been wokring towards,” said Brown. ” This place is like family, and I’m very comfortable.”

Tonight’s Menu

• No. 2 Arizona at UCLA, 6:00 PM ET.

• No. 7 Florida at South Carolina, 8:00 PM ET.

• No. 21Georgia at Arkansas, 6:00 PM ET.

That’s it for this Saturday. Enjoy!

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