Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Was Duke scared?

Official word to postpone tonight's 9 p.m. Carolina-Duke tilt came at 5:40 p.m. amid miserable winter weather conditions. Several initial reports incorrectly credited the weather as the sole reason for the postponement. Fortunately, Carolina Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham showed us a sliver of another reason.

"Duke's bus is not able to get to their campus to pick up the team in time to be able to make the trip to Chapel Hill, so we can't play this evening," he said. "The safety of the teams and officials is the number one priority, and this was the best decision to make at this time. Coach Williams, Coach Krzyzewski, (Duke AD) Kevin White and I will be on the phone with the ACC and will make a decision as to when to play the game as soon as possible."

ACC rules dictate that a game must be played if the officials and teams can get to the game safely. Fans are not considered in the rules, but it is true that upwards of 20,000 people will be safer without a game to attend tonight.

However, I can't not mention a few facts that, when paired with some reasonable assumptions, could tell an additional story.

Because driving was predicted to be dangerous around 8 p.m., Carolina planned to admit students to fill the empty seats of the ticket holders who would stay home. This happened twice before in the history of the Dean Dome, and the result was a student section so large that it filled pretty much the entire lower level and then some. Typically, alumni fill the seats that are closest to the court while students are dispersed in random sections throughout the arena. You can imagine the difference when you stack this deck with 10,000 wild cards. If I was an opposing player, I'd prefer the alumni in the front rows. I wonder which seating plan Duke prefers?

The officials were ready to go. ESPN had put its equipment in place more than 24 hours ahead of tip-off. Clearly, nearly everyone who was necessary to the execution and broadcast of the game was well aware of the conditions and planned accordingly. Everyone except, perhaps, the Blue Devils.

Duke's players had to attend their afternoon classes, you might say.

You'd be wrong. At 9:31 a.m. Duke canceled all classes effective at 12:50 p.m. The Duke athletic department had all morning to figure out how to get its team on the eight-mile ride to Chapel Hill eight hours before tip-off to avoid the expected weather complications. Instead, they either stuck with a departure time that was set last summer or were the victims of a lousy bus company. If they knew the bus would be late, they could have used any of a few hundred beat-up yellow school buses.

Cunningham got it right. Postponing the game was the best and only decision to make at the time of the decision. I just wonder what was going on over at Duke after 9:30 this morning.

From my comfortable couch in Asheville, it appeared that Duke was just plain scared.


  1. Spot on! I've personally driven cars and big rigs in MUCH worse storms through every mountain range in the US and Canada and weather is simply not a valid excuse here. Traffic, maybe, but not weather!

  2. Traffic isn't an excuse even if it wasnt moving. K refused to alter his routine when it was obvious the team should have driven over before things got bad, or at least started earlier. This was a calculated decision by K.

  3. All day long, UNC was chomping at the bit at the thought of 15,000 students in the Dean Dome -- to play Duke no less. Social Media was awash with "this will be the best and most energetic arena EVER in the history of Duke / Carolina. And UNC did everything they COULD to try to make it happen. What's lost is the word "safely" in all this. With the sleet and ice coming in between 7 and 10, even HAD Duke been able to GO to Chapel Hill, they would not have been able to do so safely. It REALLY is not Krzyzewski's responsibility to make his team sit on buses for hours on end or sit around in Chapel Hill for 8 hours with nothing to do, or to stay in Chapel Hill for another 2 days - just because UNC would prefer that they play their snow games. The fact that every hour from Noon to 5 UNC was announcing that the game was on, and simultaneously urging fans NOT to come -- this was an ambush waiting to happen -- and Duke had no obligation to go out of their way to make it so.

    1. This would have been a much easier game for Duke to make than what UNC went through to make the game in Atlanta against Georgia tech--in which the facility was opened to all comers. Duke had plenty of time to make the necessary arrangements, and certainly could afford to stay at a hotel for one night in Chapel Hill. This has K written all over it!

      Check out this video of this guy recording his drive from his home, to duke, to unc, and back to his home. He made the trip between campus' in around 27 minutes, starting at like 7 I think. The stop in Kville is hilarious.

    3. Today was K's birthday right?

    4. "ACC rules dictate that a game must be played if the officials and teams can get to the game safely." they certainly could have gotten there safely seeing as classes were cancelled earlier in the afternoon. UNC players went through some hardships to go play Ga Tech.. This was just lame and should be called out as such..

    5. The inventor of the game, Dr. James Naismith developed the game as an indoor option when the weather became inclement out of doors... in Massachusetts no less. They could have WALKED there.