Sure, last night’s move wasn’t nearly as low-class as some of his greatest hits, but I can’t be alone in saying that whatever transpires over the next few weeks of tournament play, most can agree that no longer having to watch him play basketball will be a treat.
It’s sad, really, because at times his game has exhibited flashes of transcendence. He’s an undeniable shooter and a ferocious competitor, but college basketball’s ranks are full of ferocious competitors who don’t resort to hockey-style hip checks against an advancing opponent.
In a long and dubious lineage of hateable Dukies, Allen is arguably the most hateable because of moves like this on the court. Christian Laettner, Danny Ferry, Bobby Hurley, J.J. Reddick, Steve Wojciechowski (who I still can’t stand to look at whenever Marquette is on), Gerald Henderson, Greg Paulus, et al. were all heels, no doubt. But all of them pale in comparison to what Grayson Allen has brought to Duke over the last four years, which is a product on the court that goes beyond typical heeldom, venturing past unsportsmanlike and into often dangerous play. And it’s a product that the university should frankly be ashamed of.
Anyway, about that game.
Trip after trip up the court, the Heels kept tossing the ball away, succumbing to Duke’s quarter press and taking absolutely awful shots.
Duke, however, had been exposed all night. Their flaws, which are many, were all on display throughout the game as they lacked communication, rhythm, and anything resembling intensity—and I find it hard to fathom that the Blue Devils are anything beyond a Sweet 16 squad.
Over the course of the season, pundits have been desperately grasping at straws to keep Duke in the top-five, thanks to their undeniable on-court talent. They are without question the best group of players in the country. But perhaps Duke just isn’t as good a basketball team as they should be.
The Heels, on the other hand, now find themselves somehow on the precipice of an amazing tournament seed despite carrying nine losses into tonight’s game.
Should they beat the Cavaliers (and some might argue even if they don’t), Carolina will likely land the final one-seed on Selection Sunday, which, given their sloppy play of late, will be a hard pill for most of America to swallow.