I'm not objective. When I write off a game, I always cheer internally. I cheer for a story line, something to write, something thrilling, whether it's a player accomplishing the spectacular or landing a needless elbow that ensures his team won't win.
But at this juncture I don't care who wins tonight's Duke-North Carolina game. And I didn't list Duke first because I like the Blue Devils more. Alphabetical order. Plus, they're a 9 1/2 point favorite. Also they're at home.
Some readers assume that because North Carolina-Duke (I listed North Carolina first because Duke went first last time) is a huge part of their lives it is a huge part of mine. One guy emailed after Duke's loss to St. John's and smugly asked what I thought of my beloved Blue Devils now.
I didn't know the Blue Devils lost. I didn't know they played. I didn't know they were beloved. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon. If it's not the NFL, I'm rarely tethered to the TV or computer on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.
I'm not writing off the game tonight. But I will watch. Despite the point spread, I think it will be competitive. Last season the rivalry was less basketball than wanton destruction.
This season you have an established team, Duke, playing a young North Carolina team that suddenly has figured it out.
I don't know who I want to win.
When I'm in doubt I often think of fans. Are the fans of one team more obnoxious than fans of the other? I think of specific people who cheer for the Tar Heels or Blue Devils. Do I want them to be happy?
But when I do that, I tend to cheer against both teams.
I'll think what I'll do is cheer the fact that there's a great college basketball match-up on TV, and for the first time in a long time it involves not the Big Ten or the Big East but the ACC.