A recent spat between rivals proves that no program can match Duke basketball.
There is very little debate over which rivalry is the best in college basketball, unless you live in the state of Kentucky.
If you are a fan of the Wildcats or Cardinals, you most likely think that your little once-a-year battle between Louisville and Kentucky is the best rivalry in college basketball, except for the fact that it’s just not, and recently that was proven by the pettiness of both coaches.
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As college basketball schedule-makers have been sent through the wringer trying to find games for each program this season, the “best rivalry in college basketball” is having trouble finding a date to play.
Louisville head coach Chris Mack and Kentucky head coach John Calipari recently sent corny messages to each other through the media and on Twitter, and it ultimately ended in the two schools landing on a date to play, December 26, pending approval by the ACC.
It was a cute display by both coaches and programs to try and get more people to watch their teams play this season.
As for reference, the Kentucky-Louisville game last season was not even one of the 10 most-watched games of the year, according to Sports Media Watch, but Duke and North Carolina had two of the six most-watched games.
If this rivalry was truly the best, maybe don’t play in the middle of the day, and in last year’s case, at the same time as the College Football Playoff Semifinal.
The same amount of people tuned in last year to watch Ohio State vs. Michigan State as they did for Kentucky vs. Louisville.
Some rivalry, huh?
More people watched St. John’s vs. Xavier and Michigan State vs. Purdue over Kentucky vs. Louisville, but they will keep telling you that their game is the best rivalry in college basketball.
Don’t listen to them.
To put this in perspective, Duke was involved in four of the 10 most-watched games, Kentucky three, and Louisville one, with the one game that the Cardinals were involved with coming against the Blue Devils.
Like it or not, and Kentucky fans will not admit it, the Duke Blue Devils are the kings of college basketball because you are either tuning in to cheer for them or against them, but you are certainly going to watch them.
When will the Duke basketball program take the court in the actual best rivalry in the sport?
Well, we don’t know when Duke will play North Carolina, as programs are still waiting for the ACC to finalize the conference’s schedule. But be assured that the Blue Devils and Tar Heels will be taking the floor against each other at least twice in 2020-21.
Fans or no fans…doesn’t matter.
Durham, Chapel Hill, Greensboro, or Brooklyn…doesn’t matter.
These two programs do not like each other, but enough respect for the game, rivalry, and programs is there not to do a dance around a possible matchup because we are in the midst of a global pandemic and because one coach doesn’t want to travel to the other team’s home arena since there might not be fans.
Duke and North Carolina fans do not agree on much, but it’ll be a pleasure when these two teams once again have the most-watched game of the college basketball regular season.