LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Duke is without question the most hated college basketball program in the state of Kentucky. UK fans have their reasons, most tracing back to the 1992 Christian Laettner shot.
However, did you know that Duke is the only school that both UK and UofL have beaten in national championship games?
My lasting memory from the 1986 national championship, other than Danny Ferry clotheslining Jeff Hall at the buzzer, is Pervis Ellison's "Never Nervous" performance against a Blue Devil squad that started 4 seniors and had won 37 games that season.
In the final season before the three-point shot was added to college basketball, Milt Wagner went to the line in the final seconds, and announcer Brent Musburger said simply, "It'll be two free throws for the national championship." There is not a player in UofL history that the Cards would have been more comfortable at the line than the Iceman.
That star-studded class that helped lay the foundation for what Mike Krzyzewski has built in Durham, N.C., experienced two of the Blue Devils' four losses in the series. A Cards team led by Rodney and Scooter McCray had gone into Cameron Indoor Stadium in January 1983 and won by 15.
Three decades later came the NCAA Midwest Regional Final in Indianapolis, also known as was the Kevin Ware game. My seat was directly behind the Duke bench, and the compassion was evident from the initial shock of the injury to Krzyzewski's heartfelt postgame comments after what was an 85-63 season-ending loss for the Blue Devils.
Saturday's game has plenty of hype, being the first ACC meeting between the two schools, and even with Duke's back-to-back losses postponing Krzyzewski's quest for 1,000 wins, expect an electric atmosphere in the KFC Yum! Center. See you Saturday.