Although North Carolina lost Sunday and Duke lost Friday, the head coaches went out in style.
Duke's Mike Krzykzewski walked past me in a Raleigh hallway en route to a news conference after his team was upset by Mercer. Krzyzewski didn't look sideways and he didn't look back. He looked consumed. You work all season for one moment and the moment passes and the season ends.
Krzyzewski is an ambassor not only for his school, but for his sport. As emotional as he appeared to be, he took time to walk to the Mercer locker room to congradulate the Bears. That's class.
North Carolina's Roy Williams could have blamed officials for clock mismanagement after his team lost to Iowa State. He didn't. He pointedly didn't. Lesser people find an excuse or manufacture one; we lost so it has to be somebody's fault so let's blame officials. That Williams refused is a class move.
Lastly, last week I blamed Krzyzewski for criticizing the N.C. media. The media did not stick up for Duke after the Blue Devils were called for so many fouls in their ACC championship loss to Virginia it was as if they collected them.
I heard from readers who thanked me for criticizing K because K is evil and I head from readers that said I must be a North Carolina fan.
A lot of adults cling to that rivalry. Because it's a major part of their sporting lives, or lives, they assume it's an important part of mine.
It's not. I didn't attend North Carolina or Duke. I don't own any Duke or UNC shirts. My greyhound is not named Roy or K, Blue or Tar Heel Blue, Christian or Michael or James Michael.
There are certain players I love to watch, North Carolina's Marcus Paige among them. But that's about the player, not the school. I like K. He's a natural leader. I also like N.C. State associate head coach Bobby Lutz. Wake Forest? I forget about them.
I'm an ACC agnostic. I don't see things through a North Carolina or Duke lens. Some of you don't want to be believe that.
But it's not terribly complicated.