COLUMN: In defense of Grayson Allen and the Duke Blue Devils

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Hold on a second. Give me a chance. Don’t turn the page or hit the back button. I don’t know how you’re reading this, but thanks for reading.

Duke lost March 19 to South Carolina, 88-81, in a single-elimination bracket. Thus, the Blue Devils will not make the Sweet Sixteen.

This is a bad thing.

I don’t like Duke — let me make myself clear. In fact, I despise Duke. All of you reading probably feel a similar way. Duke is the epitome of what we collectively hate about college basketball. They seemingly always “play the right way,” get all of the calls, and permanently have a white guy who draws the ire of the entire nation.

Duke sucks and that’s why we need them.

We need a villain. Who’s Harry Potter without Lord Voldemort? Who are Woodward and Bernstein without President Nixon? Who’s a columnist without an overbearing editor that takes out all of the witty writer’s ingenious puns?

Grayson Allen is this year’s poster boy for the Blue Devil that we most want to fall off a ledge. He looks eerily similar to Ted Cruz with the same charm and magnetism, trips opponents routinely and seems like he would dropkick a puppy if it meant he would win $5. Allen is unfortunately no longer around to hate, which is a shame.

The Gamecocks rightfully won. They were the better squad on Sunday night, and it’s fun, I guess, to see a team that never makes a run this late in the season make a run. But there’s no intrigue there. They’re just a team.

South Carolina has players that play, coaches that coach and fans that fan. Great breakdown, I know. They’re fine, but they’re not the Death Star. They’re not universally loathed in the same way that we look at ravenous dictators that punch babies.

I’m going to miss Duke, and you should too. The tournament is less fun without them. The bigger they are, the harder they fall, and losing a domino this large before the opening weekend of March Madness ends is a travesty.

You need Duke. I need Duke. We need Duke. Without them, we are just a group of individuals who want to watch basketball. With them, we are something stronger. We are a collective that thinks together. With every blown call and “accidental” elbow to the face, we become one.

And that’s what March Madness is supposed to be all about. Collectively hating something so much that we wish that every person who has been to Durham, North Carolina, will blow out their ACLs. That’s what makes March so special — detesting Duke.

I, for one, welcome our malevolent overlords with open arms. You should too. Hopefully, they’ll be back next year with some incoming freshmen with punchable faces and lose in the National Championship game in humiliating fashion as it should always be.

Duke is dead. Long live Duke.


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