Luke DeCock

Why UNC fans hate Duke and other facts of life being learned as the ACC invades Omaha

Kansas guard Devonte Graham, who is from Raleigh and played at Broughton, answers questions in the Jayhawks' locker room Thursday. Kansas plays Clemson in an NCAA tournament regional semifinal Friday night in Omaha, Neb.
Kansas guard Devonte Graham, who is from Raleigh and played at Broughton, answers questions in the Jayhawks' locker room Thursday. Kansas plays Clemson in an NCAA tournament regional semifinal Friday night in Omaha, Neb. ldecock@newsobserver.com

Just because there are three ACC teams in Omaha -- Duke, Clemson and Syracuse -- doesn't mean this has suddenly become an ACC town. The building will be full of Kansas fans on Friday night and even some of the most basic concepts of ACC fandom remain somewhat unfamiliar here.

For example: An Omaha columnist working on a "people hate Duke" column asked Raleigh's Devonte Graham about Duke and the following conversation ensued, with the Kansas guard increasingly baffled by the line of questioning.

Q: "How did you feel about Duke growing up?"

A: "I hated them. I was a UNC fan, so it was all Tar Heels."

Q: "But why did you hate Duke?"

A: "Because I was a UNC fan."

Q: "More specifically, why did you hate Duke?"

A: "Because I was a UNC fan."

Graham was laughing at that point, with no other way to answer the question, knowing some truths to be self-evident.

How else could someone who grew up a North Carolina fan in the Triangle answer that question?

Raleigh's Devonté Graham of Kansas practices with the Jayhawks on Thursday, March 22 2018, at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb. Kansas will face Clemson in the Sweet 16 Friday.

Sports columnist Luke DeCock: 919-829-8947, ldecock@newsobserver.com, @LukeDeCock

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