Thursday, February 9, 2017

Carolina Slaw Dog

Professional rivalries are fun. Steelers vs. Ravens. Lakers vs. Celtics. Red Sox vs. Yankees.

But I'll take a college rivalry any day. And when it comes to basketball, they don't get any better than North Carolina vs. Duke.

From last season's two classic games - when each team won on the other's home court - reaching all the way back to when I was a kid, when UNC knocked off #1, undefeated Duke (with Eric Montross shooting free throws at the end with blood running down his face), the rivalry has provided decades of great memories.

All my dystopian visions of college basketball disappear for a couple of hours when those two schools take the court.

NOTES ON THE FOOD: 
  • Bison hot dogs are a new favorite of mine - full of bison flavor and not much else. There is never any doubt about what you're eating, unlike most hot dogs. 
  • After grilling the hot dog and placing it in a soft, brioche bun, I ladled some homemade chili on top. 
  • Then a few squirts of yellow mustard.
  • Finally, some sweet cole slaw. I'm not the biggest fan of sweet slaws, I prefer them to be vinegary, however with all the bold flavors working here, the sweet slaw is a nice balance. 

NOTES ON THE GAME: 
  • Just as I am suspicious of people who hate beer and baseball, I am suspicious of people who don't hate Duke. Hating the whiny Duke players who come through the program on a consistent basis is as American as apple pie and Chevrolet. But none of them - not even Bobby Hurley - have ever been as unlikable as Grayson Allen. 
  • I mean, Jesus, it's almost like he was created from scratch to be annoying: throwing tantrums, flopping, refusing to shake opponents' hands, and, almost forgot, he likes to intentionally trip people. He also has the most punchable face I can remember seeing. He looks like a creepier version of Ted Cruz. (That's not a sentence you hear much.)
  • Penn State's home uniforms are my favorite football jerseys; UNC's road unis are my favorite in basketball. 
  • Crowd shot of Danny Ferry and Christian Laettner. I'll try to say something positive here... hmm... Okay, here we go: They seem like better guys than Grayson Allen. 
  • Back in 2002, I bet my friend Taylor (a UNC alum) $100 that UCLA would win a national championship before UNC. This was back when UCLA was constantly recruiting top-5 classes and UNC was 8-20 and missed March Madness for the first time since Nixon was president. Two years later, UNC hired Roy Williams and they have won two titles since.
  • I thought (and still think) that Allen is overrated, but he's been very good in the first half. 
  • The announcer just called Pauley Pavilion "the best arena in college basketball." He is wrong. 
  • With five minutes left, UNC is 6 of 12 from the free throw line. That's exactly what costs you games like this.
  • Duke made some good plays down the stretch, UNC made some awful plays (and missed a few more free throws). 
  • Duke wins by 8. UNC missed 8 free throws. I know you can't be perfect from the line, but they were only 55%. 
  • After the game, the cameras immediately switched to Pauley for the UCLA-Oregon game, and there were a LOT of empty seats. That's not something you see at the better arenas in college basketball. Just saying.  

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