Duke vs. North Carolina is one of the biggest rivalries in college basketball, and perhaps in all of sports. These teams battle it out twice a season. But these games aren’t just any regular events. These competitions determine the king of Tobacco Road.
Duke University was established in 1838. Its basketball program began in 1906. Although the teams met in 1920, the rivalry didn’t really come around until the 1960s. This rivalry reached unsurpassed heights in the 80s under coaches Dean Smith of North Carolina and a new coach named Mike Krzyzewski (Coach K for short) at Duke.
Coach K’s record is one of the best in college basketball history. Overall, he has about 850 wins and 275 losses, with 780 of those wins at Duke. Some important players Duke has had in its program over the years are Mike Gminski, Jay Williams, J.J. Redick and Christian Laettner.
The University of North Carolina (UNC) was created in 1789. The Tar Heels’ first game was in 1910. UNC holds many records in college hoops and seems to have had the upper hand in the rivalry in recent years. UNC leads the series 130-98. While UNC has won five national championships, the Blue Devils of Duke have won three. Some key players from UNC were Sam Perkins, Phil Ford, James Worthy and Michael Jordan.
This storied rivalry has created many new things at these schools. Krzyzewskiville or “K-Ville,” is a line of students wishing to gain access to a certain basketball game. This phenomenon occurs about twice a season. Months before a specific game (usually vs. UNC), students begin to pitch tents outside of Cameron Indoor Stadium. This process is taken so seriously that there are certain guidelines that have to be met in order to stay in “K-Ville.”
Another wild part of this rivalry are the fans. “Cameron Crazies” are supporters of the Duke basketball team (named for Cameron Indoor Stadium). In fact, the famous “air ball” chant was created by the Crazies in 1975, along with many other popular cheers.
Being that there are only eight miles between these two schools, and they are in North Carolina (a major tobacco producing part of the country), this rivalry is known as the Tobacco Road Rivalry. Although Duke has a die-hard fan base, UNC still has the winning record in the series. All of these things make the Tobacco Road Rivalry one of the greatest.
Coleman Reardon is an eighth-grader at Cohoes Middle School