Mar 31

A Hot Take for Every Possible Duke-Carolina Scenario

North Carolina, get ready to be flooded by real talk and truth bombs. Here's how to prepare for the spiciest of basketball takes after the Tar Heels and Blue Devils square off in the Final Four.

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A new podcast from the creator of "Away Message." Award-winning journalist Jeremy Markovich takes a deep dive into the important (and unimportant) minutiae of the country's greatest state: North Carolina.
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(Original photo by Hugo Fernandes)

As you may know, North Carolina and Duke are playing a basketball game on Saturday night. This in itself is not unusual—these guys meet at least twice a year, and sometimes play for a third time in the ACC Tournament. What is unusual is that, for the first time ever, the Tar Heels and Blue Devils are meeting in the NCAA Tournament. Also, they’re playing each other in the Final Four. This rivalry is already overheated. Saturday’s game is now approaching nuclear fission levels of hype.

Nobody can say for certain who is going to win. What everyone can say is that this game is going to generate an intolerable amount of hot takes. So, what EXACTLY is a hot take, you ask? “Giving an honest opinion that might not be popular, that's not a hot take,” says Joe Ovies of 99.9 The Fan in Raleigh. “Like, if I say ‘Carolina beating Duke on Saturday will completely redefine how the rivalry is discussed, because not only did they beat Coach K at home for his final game, they literally ended his career’? That's not a hot take. That is just an honest opinion. A hot take would be: ‘Well, if Carolina beats Duke again, and it happens to be the last game in Coach K's career and it happened twice, I think Duke has to shut down their program.’ That would be a hot take.

So, because we know a lot of people in North Carolina are going to become unhinged after the game, it’s best to plan ahead. That’s why, as a public service, Ovies agreed to help us stockpile some hot takes for every potential Duke-Carolina scenario. Now, to be fair, these are not the personal hot takes of Ovies himself, but rather the most outrageous hot take that each scenario would generate. As Ovies puts it: “What you want is, like, day four of the discourse on Twitter, where everybody gets to one up each other.” Since it’s going to get ridiculous after the game, why wait? Let’s jump ahead now, kick the tires, and light the hot take fires.

You can listen to our entire interview in podcast form by clicking on the player at the top, or you can read the takes below and file them away for next week. That way, you can calmly prepare to deliver an opinion that’ll generate as many “This guy’s havin’ a normal one” quote-tweets as possible.

A NOTE: These takes have been edited for brevity and clarity, but retain their spiciness.

RABBIT HOLE: Duke wins.

OVIES: Mike Krzyzewski gets his storybook ending. That loss to Carolina at Cameron Indoor Stadium was actually all part of the master motivational plan.

RABBIT HOLE: Carolina wins.

OVIES: [Former UNC coach] Roy Williams was the shadow puppet master behind the scenes the entire time. He knew in order to get this next national championship, to get to these players to finally fulfill their greatness? He had to fake his own retirement and actually coach through [current UNC coach] Hubert Davis to get to that title.

RABBIT HOLE: Duke wins by double digits.

OVIES: If Duke wins by double digits, I feel as though Carolina fans will say, “You know what? I was right about Hubert Davis all along. He couldn't win the big one. This is just only going to go downhill from here. Thank him for the Cameron indoor win. But let's go get Wes Miller right now because Wes Miller would have won that game.”

RABBIT HOLE: Carolina wins by double digits.

OVIES: Can I give you two?

RABBIT HOLE: Yes.

OVIES: Alright. So the first reaction is: Coach K is so embarrassed by losing at Cameron and then losing in the Final Four to Carolina that he actually tells Jon Scheyer, “Hey. Dude. I know we had this arrangement. You're supposed to be coaching next year, but let's be honest, I helped you get that recruiting class. I need to run this back. I can't let this be my last game, so you let's defer this one more year. You okay with that? Cool with that?” So that's that's number one.

The other option is that Coach K does come back, but he says, “Screw it, I can't come back to Duke.” So he goes to… I don't know… [St. Peter’s coach] Shaheen Holloway took the Seton Hall job, so [Coack K] is going to go coach St. Peter’s. He's going to really prove how great of a coach he is by taking a smaller school and going on a real Cinderella run.

RABBIT HOLE: Duke wins on a buzzer beater.

OVIES: That's probably the best self medicine that Carolina fans can have. You know, if it bounces out, you know what? It was still a close game. These guys fought really hard. It was all gravy. This team was playing with house money. They took this Duke team that was super talented with all these NBA guys on a farewell tour. They took them to the brink. We still beat you at home. I think there’ll be a lot of self-medication from Carolina fans on a buzzer beater.

RABBIT HOLE: Carolina wins on a buzzer beater.

OVIES: [There will be] some level of karmic balance for people who say, “You know what, Coach K? In 2010, man, you robbed one in 2010. There was no reason for you to win that [national championship]. Come on now. That's karma coming back to you in your last in your last Final Four appearance as a coach. The karma was due. The balance was due.” And Carolina's shot from the half court? That buzzer beater actually goes in, as opposed to the Butler one that bounced out.

RABBIT HOLE: Carolina's best player gets hurt, and Duke wins.

OVIES: I bet you they would say that Coach K called in the Code Red. [They’d say] he specifically said, “Go take this guy out.”

RABBIT HOLE: Duke's best player gets hurt. And Carolina wins.

OVIES: Zion jokes.

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RABBIT HOLE: The game goes to overtime.

OVIES: Everybody's gonna tweet in unison: “Free basketball! I hope this game goes on forever! The greatest rivalry! This is the best thing ever!”

RABBIT HOLE: The game goes to multiple overtimes.

OVIES: You will see me take the court, try to grab the microphone from Jim Nantz and say that this game is going to continue on until we get engulfed by the sun.

RABBIT HOLE: The game goes to so many overtimes that the NCAA changes its rules, declares a draw and names both teams national champions.

OVIES: No, I disagree. If the game goes to multiple overtimes to the point where the NCAA has to step in, it actually will result in former Duke players and former Carolina players who are in the building playing a three-on-three tournament until a winner is determined.

RABBIT HOLE: Coach K leaves the game early.

OVIES: The ultimate test of Jon Scheyer to see if he actually can be the next head coach at Duke. It was all planted, and if they don't win it, then they're going to find a new coach next year.

RABBIT HOLE: [North Carolina coach] Hubert Davis is ejected.

OVIES: That was actually something that was agreed to by Roy Williams and Hubert Davis ahead of the Final Four games. [Roy would say] “Look, you got us this far. Now I get to coach it.” It's kind of like the Stone Cold Steve Austin glass breaking thing. “Bah gawd! That's Roy Williams’s music!” I think that's what's going to happen. It's all part of the work.

RABBIT HOLE: Hubert Davis is ejected and the ghost of Dean Smith materializes on the sideline and starts to coach.

OVIES: Well, [the Final Four is in] New Orleans, so I think if that happens, Mike Krzyzewski is prepared to say, “Look, you don’t win five national titles without having a plan.” I bet you that Coach K thought about this. And before the game, he went to the French Quarter and he found himself some sort of spiritual advisor, a witch doctor of sorts. I think he's going to do a cord cutting. If I'm not mistaken, he'll actually have the two candles he had prepared for this, with a string between the two candles. And that will actually cord cut Dean Smith from this world and we'll get back into reality, and that's how he'll take care of that.

RABBIT HOLE: That was well thought out.

OVIES: He’s thought of everything.

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RABBIT HOLE: After the game, Coach K announces that he's not retiring.

OVIES: I would like Jon Scheyer to announce, in that situation, that he’s actually joining the Carolina staff. In that moment.

RABBIT HOLE: Coach K is spotted talking to Tom Brady before the game.

OVIES: I would check the basketball inflation.

RABBIT HOLE: Hubert Davis and Coach K do not shake hands after the game.

OVIES: I will not have to prep for my show for a week. It will be the easiest radio ever. I'll just take phone calls. Fingers crossed.

RABBIT HOLE: Hubert Davis and Coach K shake hands vigorously for 10 seconds after the game.

OVIES: A total test of manliness. The only thing that would be better is if Hubert Davis wins and smacks Coach K on the ass like [former NC State coach] Mark Gottfried did several years ago. That would also give me a week's worth of radio too.

RABBIT HOLE: Hubert Davis and Coach K perform an elaborately choreographed handshake after the game.

OVIES: Is Red Panda involved?

RABBIT HOLE: The one that performs at halftime? You know what? Yes.

OVIES: I would like to see Red Panda come out, and Hubert Davis and Coach K hand her the bowls.

RABBIT HOLE: Before the game, the ACC names this a “Loser Leaves Town” match and says the losing team is kicked out of the conference.

OVIES: See, I hope that doesn't happen because I’m gonna hear from ECU fans about how it's their turn to join the ACC. I don't want that. I don't want that, Jeremy. Don't put that in my timeline.

RABBIT HOLE: You’ve got to prepare. You’ve got to be ready for it.

OVIES: If it's a loser leaves town match, how do they get back in? In wrestling, they always find a way back in. So is it like the next ACC tournament?

RABBIT HOLE: See, I think the scenario is you have to beat Maryland in some way, shape, or form, and then you can come back in. You have to beat all of the former ACC teams.

OVIES: South Carolina and Maryland are involved in this.

RABBIT HOLE: Yeah, like some kind of unity belt.

OVIES: You know what? Ladder match. What you put at the top of the ladder is one of John Swofford’s old golf polos. The old commissioner. You do this in Greensboro. Do it at the Grandover, in one of the ballrooms.

RABBIT HOLE: It's like Starrcade. But for the ACC.

OVIES: Yes. I like this. So: Starrcade, ACC, Grandover ballroom, ladder match. And would you rather have a John Swofford polo or a Bojangles Bo Box hanging from the ceiling?

RABBIT HOLE: I think the polo descends from the ceiling in a Bojangles Bo Box.

OVIES: Whoever manages to get the polo on first gets to rejoin the ACC.

RABBIT HOLE: That sounds like either a Nickelodeon game show or a wrestling work.

OVIES: Instead of the Aggro Crag, it's a Food Lion gift card.

RABBIT HOLE: Next scenario: the game is played under Rock N’ Jock rules, and there's a 10-point pod.

OVIES: Now you got me thinking about who the Dan Cortese of each school would be. Serge Zwikker would come out for Carolina. Cherokee Parks on the other end.

RABBIT HOLE: Brady Manek shaves his beard and scores 30.

OVIES: I don't believe it. The beard gives him power. If he shaves and scores zero, that'll be more believable. It's a total Samson situation. If you shave the beard, Manek loses his powers easily.

File:Brady Manek North Carolina.jpg
Brady Manek and beard. (Photo by Marc-Grégor Campredon)

RABBIT HOLE: Wendell Moore discovers a P-Wing from Super Mario Brothers 3 behind his bench, is able to fly effortlessly, and scores 60 points.

OVIES: But does he does he find the flute in World 1 that actually gets him to the first round of the NBA draft? That's the question.

RABBIT HOLE: Before the game, Chapel Hill and Durham announce that they are merging.

OVIES: That's easy. Carrboro gets more obnoxious.

RABBIT HOLE: Every team in the tournament is declared to be ineligible and NC State is declared national champion.

OVIES: People would still want Kevin Keatts fired.

Did we miss something? Leave your potential Duke-Carolina scenarios and your hot takes in the comments.

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