In the state of Kentucky, fans of the state’s major basketball schools (UofL and UK) don’t agree on much. They disagree so much that many fans argue Louisville and Kentucky are two completely different geographical locations with no relationship. One thing the entire state can agree on, however; everybody hates Duke.
Duke is an all-time top-5 basketball program. That alone is cause for all other fan bases to despise a program. Add in all the easily unlikeable personalities like Christian Laettner, JJ Reddick, every Plumlee brother, Greg Paulus, this post would be too long to name them all, but you get my point. Duke has the stereotypical mold for the most hated player in college basketball, year in and year out. Crazily, we may be looking at the most hated player in Duke history between the two fan bases of the Bluegrass State, Grayson Allen.
Allen is notorious for his in-game antics of tripping, whining, and even punching. No one remembers him for the monster performance he had in the National Championship Game against Wisconsin. Instead, the only buzz that’s ever around his name typically comes with an extended leg. Last year, Allen tripped Ray Spalding (no punishment) and he elbowed then punched Jaylen Johnson in the head in a scrum during a loose ball (again, no punishment).
You see, it’s not the actions that have everyone upset with his play. It’s the lack of consequences, it’s the fact that Duke seemingly gets away with whatever it wants that makes the program so easy to hate. Allen received a suspension this season after tripping an Elon player (Elon..since when does Duke really need that much of a “leg up” (no pun intended) against Elon?). It was termed “indefinite” but we all knew how long it would last, but we all hoped something would change. Duke lost their next game to Virginia Tech by 14, and Grayson Allen’s name was once again inserted into the Starting 5.
You may think that was an unnecessary tangent, but it wasn’t. Duke comes into the Yum! Center today ranked 7th, coming off a loss to FSU, without Coach K, and needing a big win for their résumé. No one wants to see the Blue Devils win. Everyone wants to see another Grayson Allen meltdown (without injuries of course). Most importantly, the Cards want to get a win against a top-10 opponent with the most disliked player in recent history.
The game tips off at Noon and can be watched on ESPN. Senior forward Amile Jefferson is out today, he leads Duke in rebounds and also averages 13.6 PPG. Sharpshooting lefty, Luke Kennard averages 20.4 PPG, slowing him down will be crucial. The most important part of the game in my opinion, frustrate Grayson Allen. It’s not hard to do, he’s got the fuse of a bottle rocket. Last year, he had his way with the Cards and poured in the points before halftime. The second half, Allen got called for his 5th foul on a charge (Jaylen Johnson, poetic justice) then proceeded to yell at the official obscenities and picked up his 6th personal foul which would’ve ended his night in an NBA game as well. Once Allen was out of the game, mentally not physically Duke struggled. Cut off the head of the snake and the body dies, it’s a lot easier to cut it off when tries biting you. The Cards will get to Grayson Allen today, Luke Kennard will still have a good day and keep the Blue Devils into it for the first half but the Cards fluster Duke with their defense and pull away in the second half to win 76-64.