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Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Roy Williams diplomatic, Ginyard less so

By Eamonn Brennan

As I'm not a card-carrying member of the powder blue faithful in Chapel Hill, N.C., I can't say for sure. But I suspect the only thing more painful for North Carolina fans than this season's rapid decent from the elite -- barely finishing .500, missing the tournament, and suffering one of the worst post-NCAA title seasons of all-time -- would be if Duke not only managed to get past the  Sweet 16 again but won the tournament. This is how fandom works, especially on Tobacco Road. The level of fervor with which you cheer on your own team is directly proportional to how much you root against your team's rival. Such is life.

Roy Williams, though, refuses to get caught up in the rivalry. Per the usual, on the subject of Duke, Williams is taking the high road:
"I think Duke is the favorite. They've proven that, they're the No. 1 seed, they deserved the No. 1 seed," Williams said Monday, calling West Virginia his second choice. "Duke is the favorite, there's no question in my mind about that, but it's the Final Four and anything can happen."

"I don't pick the team that I want to win, because I sit there -- really sit there -- and I watch the game," Williams said, "I don't get caught up in, 'I hope Duke wins, I hope Duke loses.' If Duke is successful it's important to North Carolina."

Well, that's one way of putting it. Roy Williams isn't going to get caught up in the petty squabbles of fandom. He's rooting for the common North Carolinian good. You have to respect that, even if it leaves out the whole part where a national title makes Duke an even tougher school to recruit against.

You also have to respect Marcus Ginyard's view, which couldn't be more different or more honest:
"Any time Duke is doing well," Ginyard said, "it hurts my heart."

A-ha! So that's how North Carolina fans really feel. I thought so.