HBO SPORTS DOCUMENTARY
BATTLE FOR TOBACCO ROAD: DUKE VS. CAROLINA,
EXAMINING COLLEGE BASKETBALL’S
FIERCEST RIVALRY, DEBUTS MONDAY
The HBO Sports documentary BATTLE FOR TOBACCO ROAD: DUKE VS. CAROLINA, chronicling what many hardwood observers consider college basketball’s fiercest rivalry, as well as examining the different cultures and characteristics of the programs in Durham and Chapel Hill, debuts MONDAY, FEB. 23 (9:00 p.m. ET/PT & 8:00 p.m. CT) on HBO.
Other HBO playdates: Feb. 26 (1:00 p.m., 12:30 a.m.) and 28 (10:30 a.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT), and March 3 (10:30 a.m., 10:00 p.m.), 8 (8:15 a.m.), 11 (6:30 p.m., 1:35 a.m.), 16 (5:30 a.m.) and 19 (4:30 p.m.)
HBO2 playdates: Feb. 27 (noon, 8:00 p.m.) and March 5 (10:30 p.m.), 10 (3:30 p.m.), 14 (8:30 a.m.), 20 (11:30 a.m.), 24 (11:30 p.m.) and 29 (noon)
HBO On Demand availability: Feb. 24-March 24
Separated by fewer than ten miles, the two schools have been going at it on the hardwood since 1920. But over the past 25 years, their heated competition has steadily grown in intensity, with Duke and North Carolina gearing up each season to reach a common goal: to beat their archrival twice in the regular season, regardless of rankings or won-loss records. These two Atlantic Coast Conference powerhouses frequently dominate the conference standings, and routinely compete for the top spot in the national polls. Remarkably, since the NCAA Tournament expanded to its current configuration in 1985, these two schools alone have combined for more national titles (five) and made more Final Four appearances (18), than any other entire conference.
The high-profile list of interviewees from the Blue Devils and Tar Heels programs weighing in on the intense rivalry in BATTLE FOR TOBACCO ROAD: DUKE VS. CAROLINA includes: Hall of Fame coaches Dean Smith and Mike Krzyzewski; players Michael Jordan, James Worthy, Charlie Scott, Larry Brown, Art Heyman, Kenny Smith, Phil Ford, Eric Montross, Mitch Kupchak, Chris Collins, Grant Hill, Alaa Abdlenaby, Jay Bilas, Mike Gminski, Johnny Dawkins, Brian Davis, J.J. Redick, Jeff Capel and Christian Laettner; commentators Jim Lampley and Seth Davis; former Duke athletic director Tom Butters; and current Tar Heels coach Roy Williams.
Alaa Abdlenaby, who played for Duke, on the intensity of the rivalry: “I would catch myself hyperventilating in lay-up lines.”
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski: “There’s no rivalry like this one. And that’s the way it will be unless they decide to move – because we’re not.”
Lakers executive Mitch Kupchak, who played for North Carolina: “My freshman year, I had a Duke t-shirt that I had gotten on a recruiting trip, and it must have been the end of my laundry cycle. So I wore the Duke t-shirt one day on campus. And at the end of class, I was back in my room. There was a bang at my door, and the next thing I knew, there were ten Carolina basketball players carrying me down the stairway and into the pool out in front of the dormitory. At that point I realized – there’s something different going on here.”
Michael Jordan, who played for North Carolina: “When we look at it, we always say Duke is a great college school, you know? None of their guys come out and become great players in the pros, because they don’t have that in their blood. So there was no love lost at all – and even to this day, that is still ingrained in all Carolina guys, there’s no way you’re going to like anything about Duke.”
Mike Krzyzewski: “You have two of the storied basketball programs in the history of our sport, and then you place them eight miles apart. Something crazy’s going to happen.”
Raleigh-Durham radio host Bomani Jones on Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke’s home court: “It is the best place to watch a basketball game. So good that the old-timers on press row, and even young-timers on press row, don’t even think about the fact that there is a blue kid sweating over you and staining your shirt.”
Eric Montross, who played for North Carolina: “We were playing at Duke and one of the Cameron Crazies had dressed up as Frankenstein. He had bolts on the side of his neck, blood coming out of his eye, and he had a jersey that said ‘OO Montross’ on the back. He was walking around with his arms straight out and his hands down – and my Dad got a little irked by that.”
Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer: “The Cameron Crazies are the best thing that’s happened to the rivalry, other than Krzyzewski and Dean Smith.”
Maryland fan Peter Rosenberg: “The Cameron Crazies are maybe the most annoying thing about Duke. The dedicated level of cheering is so nerdy. And I know they’re smart, they’re probably going to make more money than me, and they’re doing really well for themselves. But for four years, they are effing dorks.”
Bomani Jones on Duke’s appeal as a national TV draw: “The college basketball season for ESPN could often be described as a reality series starring Mike Krzyzewski and Duke.”
Sports Illustrated’s Seth Davis, who attended Duke: “We’re good-looking, we know it. And we can back it up. If Justin Timberlake were 6’10” and had a jump shot, and a pissy attitude, he’d be Christian Laettner.”
Phoenix Suns star Grant Hill, who played for Duke: “You can win the national championship, but if you lose the head-to-head matchup, the national championship doesn’t mean anything down there in the Raleigh-Durham area.”
ESPN commentator Jay Bilas, who played for Duke: “How lucky are we that we’ve got this down the road to go against? Duke and Carolina are pretty damn lucky to have each other. It’s made us all better.”