Sorry, I couldn't resist the headline but did you miss the gladiator finish to the Duke and North Carolina game? Tyler Hansbrough was on the receiving end of a forearm shiver by Duke's Gerald Henderson and started bleeding so profusely that he could have come right out of the final scene in the movie Carrie. Perhaps this marks the point at which the Duke and North Carolina rivalry turns from spirited to ugly. It may have been inevitable that once the clowns in Brtistol, Connecticut began hyping this rivalry as if the games were some apocalyptic showdown that the simmering loathing these two schools have for each other would escalate into blood sport.
Having seen the replay about 30 times now I'm not convinced that Henderson bloodied Hansbrough intentionally. Only Henderson knows for sure if he just let an elbow fly without concern if it connected with a Tarheel , but the reaction of the referees endorsed the worst possible interpretation of the incident before anyone had a chance to examine it. The ejection and suspension of Henderson was ridiculous and the way it was handled seems to indicate that the officials were too scared to make the right, and certainly unpopular decision, to call a foul, shoot the free throws and let the last 17 seconds get off the clock. Hopefully the ACC league office will review the decision and correct it before the ACC tournament.
Henderson has a floor game that is very similar to former Duke player Dahntay Jones (shown in photo), who was nicknamed "Tauntay" for his push up antics and dirty play. He once broke the jaw of Justin Gray when he set a crushing pick on the former Wake Forest star. Check out his jackass antics on You Tube here. Jones is the the one who does push ups after his dunk. Only time will tell if this was an isolated incident or if Henderson becomes known for the kind of cheap shot play that Jones was famous for during his time at Duke.
Another unpleasant fact in this controversy is that the Tarheels have a nasty habit of running the score up on opponents in the Dean Dome. Their fans seem to get bored with just winning the game and like to encourage their team to pour on the points when the opposing team is already beaten. Krzyzewski correctly questioned what Hansbrough, who isn't exactly a finesse player, was doing in the game with 20 seconds remaining and a double digit lead. Roy Williams offered some lame excuse about how he was going to substitute for "Psycho T", as Hansbrough is called by his teammates, but didn't get the player to the scorer's table in time. So why didn't he substitute for Hansbrough before he was fouled and shooting the free throws? It wouldn't be the first time that Williams made a dumb coaching move, in many ways he is the Marty Schottenhiemer of college basketball, but he got very lucky that Hansbrough didn't get his nose broken or worse. It appears he will be fine for the ACC and NCAA tournament.
In other news Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski admits, "Maryland, at this point, is better than us."
Everyone except the poll voters already knew that.