Court rivalries

February 17, 2002|By Don Markus

A look at the top rivalries in college basketball:

North Carolina-Duke: The Atlantic Coast Conference schools are separated by eight miles and now seemingly light years in talent. The series, which dates to 1920, has been dominated by the Blue Devils recently and likely for the foreseeable future.

Maryland-Duke: The teams had some terrific games while Lefty Driesell was in College Park -- including the Terrapins' only ACC tournament championship -- but that era has been eclipsed in the past year.

Penn-Princeton: The level of play might not measure up to the ACC or Pac-10, but the emotion is every bit as good if not better. There's usually an NCAA tournament berth at stake.

Kentucky-Florida: This might be a mismatch on the football field, but Billy Donovan's arrival in Gainesville has fueled a passion for the sport that is fast approaching the frenzy in Lexington.

Arizona-Stanford: The floor shakes at Maples Pavilion and seems to bounce even more when Lute Olson brings his Wildcats to town. The McKale Center is only a little more sedate for the Cardinal.

Indiana-Kentucky: Perhaps not as high-profile an event as when Bobby Knight was in Bloomington and Rick Pitino was in Lexington, but this is as much a conflict between two clashing religions as it is a game.

Oklahoma-Oklahoma State: Called "The Bedlam Series," it's perhaps the most insignificant in-state rivalry in the country this season. The history goes back when the Cowboys were coached by the legendary Henry Iba.

Kansas-Missouri: The intensity of this border war hasn't waned since Quin Snyder took over for Stormin' Norman Stewart. The first game this year at Phog Allen Fieldhouse was a bit too overwhelming for the Tigers.

UCLA-USC: It's become more competitive since the Trojans returned to prominence under Henry Bibby, but most of the players facing off grew up in the tough Los Angeles city leagues.

Syracuse-Georgetown: Though it has paled in comparison to when John Thompson and Patrick Ewing towered over the Big East, it's the best this once great league has to offer.

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