Duke Blue Devils (30-3) Vs. Southern Jaguars (19-12)
When: Thursday, 9:40 p.m. ET
Where: Greensboro, N.C.
1. The Crazies Are Slipping. Real purists will say they haven't been the same since Terry Sanford's "Avuncular Letter", which stopped the days of say, coating a court in panties to greet sexual-assault accused Herman Veal. But campus debate about the Crazies' role has intensified in recent years, with increased restriction on tenting dates (and quiet but persistent talk of a points system for tickets), "cheersheets" (already anathema to hardcore fans) falling victim to a hustle by the hated Maryland fanbase and the revocation of bonfire permits after the 2005 UNC game. It's gotten to the point that nothing is sacred: A student was kicked from the Carolina tenting line this year for attempting to sell his spot on Craigslist.
2. Martynas Pocius Won't Be Flicking Anybody Off Anytime Soon. Or not with his left hand, at least. The Lithuanian freshman, who hasn't seen much playing time this season, only has four fingers on that hand, thus assuring that Inigo Montoya won't have any chance of mistaking him for the man who killed his father.
3. What Can You Do With A Duke Degree? OK, maybe writing is out of the question. Geno Auriemma has famously suggested waiting tables. But if you're former Duke captain, two-sport player and erstwhile non-drafted Packer/Cowboy Reggie Love, you move up the coast: He's currently serving as a staff assistant for Democratic senator and Presidential candidate Barack Obama. I guess they figure that if he can handle the shaming he famously got at a party in Chapel Hill, he can handle the rigors of the Capitol. Networking is everything, huh? — Matt DeTura
1. Desegregation Was The Worst Thing That Ever Happened To SWAC Basketball. The only losers in the great push to desegregate SEC basketball in the wake of the 1966 title game (won by the all-black Texas Western team against Adolph Rupp's all-white Kentucky team) were the Historically Black Colleges, where talented southern black players had taken refuge. Harold Blevins, a star in the 1960s at, and later coach of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, told The New York Times last week that "they didn't have a choice. But the era of big money basketball has stripped Southern and other HBCs of their basketball talent just as even bigger money football stole away the generation of football talent that would have followed in the footsteps of Walter Payton and Deacon Jones.
2. Southern Plays In the "Bayou Classic" Just For The Battle of The Bands. Southern's football team has battled Grambling every Thanskgiving Sunday in the Superdome since 1974 (um, except for last year). But the real action is at halftime, when the two schools' marching bands go at it in march-off so spectacular that they even made a movie about it. Southern takes its marching band so seriously, in fact, that it's not even part of the Department of Athletics. The school has a separate Department of Bands for members of the "Human Jukebox." Alas, they don't perform at basketball games.
3. Southern Is The Forgotten Kent State Of The South. In November 1972, during an on-campus protest by the student group "Students United," Louisiana State Police confronted the demonstrators near the school's auditorium, firing tear gas into the angry crowd. At least one patrolman was also carrying live ammunitition. As an inquiry by the state's Attorney General's office would later conclude, "Leonard Brown and Denver Smith were shot as they were running away from the entrance of the Administration Building. They were not under arrest and were not armed. They were shot as they ran along the escape route which the law enforcement agencies had planned in the event gas was used. There was no justification." The students' killer was never identified, and today a modest Smith & Brown Monument rests on the spot where they were murdered. — Greg Lindsay