St. John’s Red Storm (10-15) will go to Durham to enjoy the warmer weather, Ivy, and "atmosphere" of Cameron Indoor Stadium when they take on the #4/5 ranked Duke Blue Devils (22-3), Saturday at 4PM ET. Do Mike Patrick and Dick Vitale work for CBS this one week so they can slurp on them throughout this game?
I purchased Direct TV so that, even though far from my original NYC, I could follow my major conference (with minor results) team. Unfortunately, Direct TV has moved Duke vs. St. John’s to some overflow channel that I do not receive to play Kansas vs. Oklahoma State. Regional, they say. Makes sense, I’m not too far from Kansas, and this is Big Ten, nearly Big Twelve country after all. And that will probably be a better game.
So I will go to a bar and prepare to be severely mocked; because east coast, west coast, or Midwest coast,there are Duke lovers, there are Duke fans and Duke haters everywhere one goes. Some are attracted to the intensity (see the Scheyer-face to the left) and atmosphere; others, to the tradition of winning basketball games; others, to the corporate manner and business teachings of Coach K.
Some just get into Duke for the JJ Poetry:
I couldn't help but stare at the distant moon
Waiting for a resolution to come at an instant soon
I asked the Lord, "What am I to do?"
He said, "Son, I made the sky blue
The rain falls because of me
Leaves change colors on a fall tree
I was the inspiration to Martin Luther King
I'm the reason Ray Charles could sing
I've changed others through and through
And my son, I'll do the same to you"
C-Lassic. It’s been years and the poetry never stops being funny.
For so many reasons, Duke is scary to have on the schedule at any time. When they’re a top 5 team, and coming off of two losses, and facing a team that is struggling to find its way or its offense… this isn’t a great matchup. Duke shoots phenomenally, doesn’t turn the ball over much, forces turnovers, plays fast, shoots from outside or on drives (and they draw fouls doing it) and they defend the outside arc.
The Cameron Crazies—close enough to touch a baller—will be in full rude throat. They’re probably scouting the St. John’s message boards for info on Norm and Justin Burrell. They probably know about how Sean Evans has that thing for "thick" women. That’s not true. As far as I know.
For my part, I think St. John's will learn something in this game, and it's not just how to get beaten even worse than they have been beaten. They will have to protect the ball better than they did against Marquette if they ever want a shot at taking a shot. They'll have to move the ball better and faster; and Malik Boothe will have lots of openings to exploit his speed and quickness. If this turns into an up and down game, Burrell might even be able to display his combination of quickness and strength. the Johnnies have nothing to lose, and the players have everything to gain—each one wants to show that they belong in the Big East, and in big-time college basketball.
A comment from a ST. JOHN’S GRAD with a Duke blog who calls his alma mater "pathetic".
Ken Pomeroy’s projection: 83-59, 2% chance of St. John’s winning the game.
Here is a solid (albeit Duke-written) history of the Duke/ St. John’s basketball series, from the Duke Basketball Report.
One Johnny fan’s reasons why he could never root for Duke.
And of course, the late Chris Farley as Christian Laettner.