Duke vs. Carolina

Why all the hype? Why all the money? Four letters: Z-I-O-N.

February 20, 2019 - 12:59 pm

Tonight. 9pm Eastern. #8 North Carolina v. #1 Duke at Cameron Indoor. Every time these two meet, it’s epic. You know the deal about how they are just down the street from one another... You know the history. Michael Jordan. Sam Perkins. James Worthy. Christian Laettner. Bobby Hurley. Grant Hill. 

Tyler Hansbrough going undefeated at Cameron and getting his face smashed by Gerald Henderson in the process. Austin Rivers killing the Tar Heels with a dagger in the Dean Dome. 

And now you get the latest installment and if you want to get into the building, you better have a stack of cash. Because it isn’t just the Super Bowl of college basketball, it’s the Super Bowl ticket price of college basketball.

You’re not getting into the building for under 2,700 bucks on the secondary market. And According to Vivid Seats, one ticket went for nearly 11 grand earlier this week. 11 grand? If you’re throwing down that kind of dough, you better not be behind the bench, you better be on the bench. And you better get at least ten minutes of playing time. 

Why all the hype? Why all the money? Four letters: Z-I-O-N.

RJ Barrett is awesome. Cam Reddish is incredible. And North Carolina is loaded. But this is all about one man and one man only: Zion Williamson. 

Because this will be his only game against the Tar Heels at Cameron Indoor. Yeah, they’ll meet again next month and in Chapel Hill, but that joint holds double what Cameron holds. So that will have a different feel. Twice as many tickets, a much bigger arena, a totally different atmosphere. Cameron Indoor Stadium isn’t a stadium. It’s a bandbox. And it’s awesome. That is why it’s so cool and so special, because it’s so packed. 

Seeing Zion there tonight in person is like seeing a band before they break out. Except, Zion has already broken out. You already know he’ll be legendary, it’s just a matter of when, not if. 

What kind of a game will he have? I don’t know. He hasn’t faced North Carolina yet. And they haven’t faced him, so it’s impossible to predict. BUT…I know this: the next time he lets us down will be the first. 

I know that sounds crazy to say about a freshman, but he’s coming off a game where he had 32 points on Saturday and it was kind of ho-hum. Last week, he sat with foul trouble and still had 27 and 12 in a 23-point comeback on the road. And then there was the block against Virginia. I still watch this at least 50 times a day.  Roll it.

I don’t know what you’re going to see tonight if you drop 3 grand, but I know you are going to see history. And that is something worth paying for. Hansbrough faced Duke numerous times. Laettner went up against the Tar Heels repeatedly. Zion is doing this once at home and that’s it. One and done. The ultimate one off. 

This is like the Rolling Stones at Wembley, if they only did one show there and never showed up again. It’s like Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden, if he only played MSG once. Actually, that’s a bad example.  He’s practically been there more than the Knicks.  No, that would be like sitting in your living room, minding your own business, the one-time bj. Jumped the curb and slammed his car into your house.  Would be like that! 

Even if Zion stinks up the joint, it’ll still be worth it to say you were there. 

Oh, and it’s like the Stones at Wembley or Joel at the Garden if they weren’t paid to do it. Because that kind of is the crazy thing about all of this.

Everyone is going to make money off tonight’s game, except the guy who’s making tonight’s game the moneymaker: Zion Williamson. Which is maybe the craziest thing about tonight. Everyone is paying to see a guy who’s playing for free. So you better enjoy it. Because it’s one night and one night only. Zion and Duke vs. UNC. And if you want to get in, don’t just bring your checkbook, bring your whole damn checking account.