Oh, goody goody goody! It’s been, what, 11 years since UK and Duke have played? That’s entirely too long, since this game is always one of the most exciting you’ll see. Granted, the stakes in this version of the rivalry aren’t as high, but I can guarantee the action will be every bit as intense as it usually is.
Of course, we all remember The Shot, unfortunately. Thankfully, we also all remember the rematch in ’98. Those were both instant classics, with the ’92 Unforgettables taking the heavily favored defending champion Blue Devils to overtime, before falling at the last second. The ’98 Comeback Cats evened the score, though, by overcoming a 17-point halftime deficit before rallying to win en route to the title.
The last time these teams met was 2001, when they again went to overtime before Duke won by three.
But these are entirely new teams in an entirely new era (at least for UK. Duke is still in the era of having a rat-faced prick for a coach). Kentucky has been the hottest team in college basketball since John Calipari came to town, winning an astounding 103 in the last three seasons and a smidge. Tonight, however, win-loss records go out the window, as do rankings, championships, Final Four appearances, and all that jazz.
Tonight, two blue blood programs will spend 40 minutes knocking the piss out of each other in what is sure to be an epic battle to find out who can go….2-0?
Yes, it’s early season, and again, this won’t count for much other than RPI when it’s all said and done, but that won’t stop one set of rabid fans from having bragging rights until the next matchup, whenever that may be.
So what of the actual game? What can we expect? For starters, expect lots of floor slapping, flopping, whining, and uglier-than-hell faces from the Blue Devils and their Satan-worshipping coach. From the Kentucky side, expect some turnovers, some bad shots, good defense, good shot blocking, and quite possibly piss-poor rebounding (although I’m willing to bet that Coach Cal more than got the point across in practice of how destitute the rebounding effort was against Maryland).
I’m gonna go with fairly common opinion regarding what UK has to do to win this one: shut down
Miles Marshall Millicent Matilda Myrtle Mason Plumlee. God, I hate the Plumlees. I hate the Plumlees more than I hate the Zellers. And I don’t really hate the Zellers, other than the fact that Tyler has a nose like an ice pick in a barn door that is annoying to look at. But the Plumlees! These guys are the O’Doyles of college basketball, since there has evidently been one born every six months (don’t ask) for the last 24 years. Stop it! Stop producing Plumlees!
But Mason (I think) Plumlee is the key for the Dukies tonight. If UK can get the Twin Towers to keep him at bay and allow the defensive backcourt to focus on Duke’s perimeter players, this win comes a whole lot easier. If Mason (I think) gets loose and controls the offensive glass, well, it’s gonna be a long night. Here’s to hoping that Nerlens Noel and Willie Cauley-Stein get happy-go-jacky on the big dumb white guy like a donkey eating a waffle.
Duke comes in to tonight’s game shooting 45% from outside, but UK comes in shooting 46%. However, on overall field goal percentage, Duke is at a 51% clip right now, while Kentucky managed 43% against Maryland. Rebounding is obviously a misleading stat, since UK got more than Duke in each team’s first game.
In my opinion, the biggest stat of the night is going to be turnovers. UK is obviously a young team, and turned the ball over 12 times Friday night (although Duke turned it over 15 times themselves). Since Duke is a much more veteran team, I expect them, at least early, to be the calmer group. After halftime, all bets are off, however.
Predictions? I’m gonna say UK jumps out to about a 7 point lead, then Duke takes control to go up 5 at the half, as Kentucky is plenty generous with the ball for the first 20. In the second half, not much changes until about 8 minutes left, when UK makes a bit of a run to go up by a couple baskets. At the endgame, free throws matter, and Big Blue (the good one) holds on for a 78-73 victory.
Since we’ve still got about a little over an hour till tipoff, here are some lame Duke jokes to hold you over:
What’s the difference between a porcupine and Cameron Indoor Stadium? A porcupine has the pricks on the outside.
A nice, humble, sensible Duke fan walks into a bar. Bartender says, “What is this, some kind of joke?”
Two Duke fans walk into a bar. The third one ducks. Actually, he was only 5’2″, but his heightened sense of entitlement made him 6’4″.
Four Duke fans are in a car, who’s driving? The police, because the four of them probably just date-raped some poor girl.
How many Duke fans does it take to change a light bulb? None. They’re entitled pricks who expect someone else to do it for them.
A Duke fan walks into a bar. Bartender says, “Why the long face?” Duke fan says, “This is my Mason Plumlee impression.”
And finally, a haiku:
Plumlee and Plumlee
Plumlee, Plumlee, and Plumlee
Too many Plumlees
May the good guys win.