They all want to beat Duke
Blue Devils take on Illinois tonight
New York Times News Service
ATLANTA -- No other program in college basketball seems to inspire as much jealousy and resentment as Duke.
The Duke players notice; their coach wants to shrug it off and move on -- to Friday's game against Illinois in the Round of 16. "Just from this year, there have been so many incidents from other teams' fans and from other players," the sophomore guard J.J. Redick said at a news conference on Thursday.
He cited hard fouls against Daniel Ewing in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament "or people trying to pick stuff with me right in front of the other team's bench, or other team's fans saying rude remarks to us."
"There is a great level of hatred of Duke," Redick added.
Ewing said: "It's something we have become accustomed to during the season. We're pretty much used to it now. Most times we feed off it more than anything and don't allow it to affect our game."
The Blue Devils are going for their 14th Final Four appearance. They have been to the NCAA tournament 20 times in the last 21 seasons.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski did not want to dwell on Duke's image, or on why so many teams were intent on beating the Blue Devils.
"What could we do or what would we want to do to change someone's opinion of us?" Krzyzewski said. "That doesn't bother me at all. What would bother me is if I didn't like what my kids were doing."