Fans and the media alike have often referred to a “brotherhood” mentality surrounding the Duke Basketball program. That mentality was thrown out the door on Thursday night in Chapel Hill.
The Blue Devils rolled into the Smith Center with a highly touted group of freshmen, most (if not all) of whom likely departing for the NBA at season’s end. The term “brotherhood” has become synonymous with the Blue Devil program for whatever reason, even finding a place on Duke’s warmups.
Carolina had quite a few pieces from its 2017 NCAA Championship squad return, along with some fresh faces who are talented in their own right. This Tar Heel team played harder and played smarter than Duke and made crucial plays when it counted Thursday night. Joel Berry, Cameron Johnson, Luke Maye, Kenny Williams and Theo Pinson all made plays in the game that not just talent alone will allow one to make. Plays that win huge games such as the latest UNC/Duke classic require a little thing called experience.
When Carolina defeated Duke 82-78, one thing came to mind...
The Heels not only shut down Duke’s “brotherhood” mentality on Thursday night, they extinguished the voices of many who doubted whether they could even hold a candle to this Duke team (see what I did there 😉). Berry, Pinson, et. al. did not just compete with Duke, they outplayed and outsmarted the Blue Devils. Period. There’s no question a combo of experience and talent won out. Having talent is only half of the equation. You need experience as well to be successful in the college game.
You can love the “one and done” mentality or Duke’s “brotherhood” all you want. But I’ll take that oh so sweet combination of talent and experience over it any day. I’ll also take the ideal of family, which has become synonymous with Carolina Basketball, any day.