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Feb
01
2014

Syracuse 91 Duke 89 OT : The birth of a great ACC rivalry.

DukeSyracuse

Rarely do big games live up to their pre-game hype. Believe me there was a lot of hype for Saturday’s game between Syracuse and Duke. It was going to be played in front a record setting crowd in the Carrier Dome. Before the game started some on Twitter bristled that a regular season game was being treated like a Final 4. By the end most called it the best game that has played so far this year.

When Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and Notre Dame (in all sports but football) joined the ACC, this matchup between Syracuse and Duke was considered the crown jewel of expansion. Saturday it was a matchup of legendary coaches Jim Boeheim and Mike Krzyzewski with over 1900 wins, 5 National titles, and a boat load of Final 4s between them. There were two of the best freshman in the country in Syracuse’s Tyler Ennis and Duke’s Jabrai Parker. The Syracuse zone vs the Duke perimeter game. This game had it all.

This game went back and forth. Neither team could separate themselves from the other. Syracuse senior C.J. Fair seemed unstoppable going for 28. Duke getting getting 16 from Rasheed Sulaimon including a last second 3 that forced overtime. Jim Boeheim managing a lineup with bench that only gave him 4 points. Coach K, finding contributions from his bench when Jabari Parker and Amile Jefferson fouled out. In the end Syracuse prevailed by the thinnest of margins.

John Swofford couldn’t have dreamed up a better game. What made ACC basketball so great in the past were the rivalries, the competitive games between great teams, but the in the last few years outside of Duke\North Carolina there were good games, but a certain buzz was lacking. Other than Duke\UNC the last great rivalry the ACC had was Maryland\Duke in the early 2000s.

Compelling rivalries are born out of year in year out great games with great teams going at it with great players and coaches. Tonight we saw the future of a rivalry that simply seems so natural you wish they had been playing each other the last 15 years. It couldn’t have been better for the ACC.  It was a wonderful game, and already there’s excitement from people looking forward to the rematch in Cameron in 3 weeks.

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