Also in Slate, Alan Siegel writes about the most likable player from the great 1991-92 Duke team, Ron Burt.
Hating Duke is as much a rite of March as marking up your bracket with a red pen. Some years it’s the Blue Devils’ excessive self-regard that’s loathsome. Other seasons it’s the faux purity of Coach K’s young charges that galls the most. And every year, without fail, there’s something profoundly annoying about the Blue Devils’ inability or unwillingness to maintain a dribble.
Lest you forget all the reasons why Duke is America’s favorite sports villain, we’ve assembled a list of the 18 most hateable moments in modern Blue Devils history—one cringe-inducing item for every flop in a typical Duke game. Scroll through the roundup below and prepare to be irritated anew by Christian Laettner, the Cameron Crazies, and all of those tiny point guards.
1986: The birth of Duke fan narcissism and self-congratulation. In Mike Krzyzewski’s sixth year as head coach, Duke students begin pitching tents in “Krzyzewskiville” before major games at Cameron Indoor Stadium. What started as a simple line has since devolved into a Byzantine three-color classification system with wait lists and line monitors. “At the end of Black Tenting, all remaining Black Tent groups will continue tenting under Blue Tenting rules,” the Krzyzewskiville site explains. Oh, however much fun!
1990: After Duke’s student newspaper gives the Blue Devils a B+ at the halfway point of the season, Coach K invites the paper’s sports staff in for a get-together with the team and his assistant coaches. "I'm not looking for puff pieces or anything like that,” Krzyzewski tells the student journalists, “but you're whacked out and you don't appreciate what the [bleep] is going on and it [bleeps] me off.” Coach K later apologizes, but only for using profanity. ''I haven't had too many experiences lately where what I said, the reason I said it, was misconstrued,'' he says to the New York Times. ''I've got to be clearer.'' If only Krzyzewski knew that a B+ is above-average for the typical Duke player.
1992: Sports Illustrated features coach and occasional student-press critic Mike Krzyzewski in a profile headlined "Blue Angel.” It gets worse from there. His “face looks as if someone has taken a diamond cutter's tools to a chunk of marble,” Alexander Woolf writes. “It is abruptly faceted, with sharp lines of nose, cheekbones and hairline, and it looks as if it has come from a faraway country or time.” Future North Carolina player Reggie Bullock would disagree with this aesthetic critique, noting in 2010 that the Duke coach “looks like a rat.”