$0.02: Blue Devils are No. 1, for now | SummitDaily.com

$0.02: Blue Devils are No. 1, for now

DEVON O'NEILsummit daily news
Devon O'Neil

There is something about Duke’s men’s basketball team that makes me a non-believer. I don’t always know what it is. The Blue Devils have the players, most notably this year J.J. Redick, the all-time leading scorer in the ACC – a.k.a. the league in which Michael Jordan played. They have the coach, in Mike Krzyzewski. And they have a nation-best 27-1 record and the No. 1 ranking in both the AP and coaches’ polls.But there is something about that program that makes me see it as soft. And for that reason, I have a hard time believing that Duke will be the last squad standing when the end arrives in early April.This gut feeling is nothing new. And on that note, when searching for a root the best I can do is point a finger at the school itself.

Duke is a rarity: It ranks among the nation’s top academic institutions and manages to compete year in and year out with the elite college hoops programs in the country. College basketball – that’s the one that seems to attract more thugs even than football.Duke’s goodie-goodie image (and success) gets it on ESPN about twice a week. The bobbing Cameron Crazies make for great television background, but you have to wonder how they’d fare in a parking lot against some of the Memphis faithful, for example.When it comes down to winning it all, I’ll take team toughness over Duke’s neverending talent and model image. I’ll take the intangible that is a team with thugs, even if many of the other players are honorable citizens.With the NCAA tournament little more than two weeks away, I’ll take UConn. …

So the International Olympic Committee has decided to do away with baseball after the 2008 Summer Games. Big deal. We never got to see the best go at each other, anyway; instead it was always a future star or a has-been – anyone who wasn’t yet good enough to play in the majors.What-could’ve-been arrives this weekend, with the inaugural World Baseball Classic. The opening-round format will play like a World Cup: four groups, top two nations in each group advance (and it’s pretty easy to see which teams will be the top two in each case). The U.S. opens Group B play on Tuesday when it meets Mexico in Phoenix. Canada and South Africa (good luck, guys) are also in Group B. …Shame on you, America’s television viewers. Or, to put it a different way, you are disgusting. The fact that “American Idol” and “Dancing With the Stars” were watched by more people than the Olympics is disheartening at best.

Reality TV has gotten out of control. Watching an Olympic performance is reality. Tuning in to see Jerry Rice dance, or a never-will-be singer get lambasted by a British idiot named Simon, well, let’s just say it’s embarrassing to be a minority in this argument. …In parting, 23 years ago today, Tamara McKinney became the first American female skier to win the overall World Cup crown. She is still the only one to do it. Hard to believe many people know her name, though.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13630, or at doneil@summitdaily.com.

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