Teams Will Be Saying "This is the Year We Need to Give it to Duke"
ACC Network analyst Dalen Cuff disagreed with colleague and former Blue Devil Carlos Boozer on the impact of Duke not allowing fans in Cameron Indoor Stadium this season. While Boozer thought Duke could take steps to simulate the usual environment at Cameron, Cuff said it would be a huge difference and teams would no longer be scared to play there.
Fellow ACC Network analyst, and former Louisville Cardinal player, Luke Hancock agreed with Cuff, telling Boozer, “Duke’s going down. Don’t downplay the Duke advantage. They don’t have it this year.”
Hancock said that other coaches in the ACC have told him it will be a very different environment.
“All of them were just kind of perplexed,” he said. “It’s going to be such a weird year, not having fans in a venue like that. I think it’s substantial. I think teams are going to go in there with an extra level of confidence knowing the Cameron Crazies are not there.”
Duke’s history and the rabid student section make it an overwhelming experience for visitors.
“The fraternity that comes back for those games in the ACC when they have it rolling,” Hancock said. “When we went back for Duke-UNC, I’m sitting next to Carlos Boozer, and he’s small potatoes, because I’m behind Christian Laettner, Grant Hill, Shane Battier and 25 other Duke legends. When you’re playing against that, and you’re trying to throw the ball in, and all those fingers are waving at ou, it’s an absolutely incredible environment.”
It’s an environment that will be missing this season.
“I guarantee you, not having that fan base there, not having it be that loud, it’s going to be substantial,” he said. “Teams are going to go in there with a chip on their shoulders, saying, ‘This is the year we need to give it to Duke.’ It’s going to be a different environment.”
Cuff added that no fans will made it easier for teams to prepare to play Duke as well.
“The amount of energy coaches go into talking about, ‘We have to handle the (Duke) run. We can’t think about the crowd.’ The hand signals. There’s so much time spent talking about, thinking about how to handle different really difficult environments,” he said. “When you take that away, it’s just about scouting reports, knowing personal, playing the game. That just makes it way easier.”