Duke Held a Touching Dean Smith Tribute Before Their Game Against North Carolina (Pics + Video)

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Every year, college basketball fans everywhere look forward to Duke-North Carolina. The Tobacco Road Rivalry is the best in college hoops, and one of the best rivalries in sports, period. Both programs have rich histories, with a combined nine championships, and both have been led by Hall of Fame coaches in Mike Krzyzewski and Dean Smith.

On Wednesday, Duke hosted North Carolina at the Cameron Indoor Stadium in the first of the teams’ two annual meetings. However, this instalment of the Tobacco Road Rivalry was different than any other in recent memory. It was the first since the aforementioned Dean Smith passed away on February 7 at the age of 83. So instead of the typical chants and taunts, this game began with a touching Dean Smith tribute and a moment of silence.

Check it out:

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Classy stuff from the Blue Devils. I’ve always thought that one of the most important ingredients for a good sports rivalry is respect, because beating a team is meaningless if you don’t think they are a worthy opponent. That’s why even Red Sox fans tipped their hats to Yankees great Derek Jeter last year—because they understood he was worthy of their contempt.

As heated as the Tobacco Road Rivalry gets at times, it’s obvious that, at the end of the day, Duke and North Carolina respect each other. And it was fitting that, after a moment like that, these two teams played one hell of a basketball game.

Duke won in overtime, 92-90.

Hat Tip – [Bleacher Report]

Tags: college Basketball, Dean Smith, Duke, Mike Krzyzewski, Ncaa Basketball, North Carolina,