Hot Dates: Week of Feb. 16
Best sports rivalry? Wednesday, Duke-UNC Round 1
Wednesday: Duke versus North Carolina. 9 p.m. on ESPN, ACC Network.
Enough said? Never.
ESPN’s college basketball sportscaster Dick Vitale: “I believe it is the best rivalry in all of sports, not just college basketball. I know that fans in New York and Boston will argue about Red Sox-Yankees. Ohio State and Michigan in football, and Alabama-Auburn are right up there, but not numero uno, baby!”
If you quibble with Dickie V, take a look at ticket prices on Stubhub to get into Duke University’s Cameron Indoor Stadium for the 239th round of the twice-a-season basketball clash between the Blue Devils and Tar Heels. As of Friday they range from $824.25 to a buck shy of $4,500 – per ticket.
Best to watch on ESPN. You can bet Dickie V ( Dookie V to UNC fans) will be at his best, or worst. Or the ACC Network if you don’t want to hear any verbal “Vitalesthenics.”
Duke fans (the ones we reached out to) say there’s no designated “Duke bar” in Charlotte. “We always watch with friends (they must be Duke fans) and it’s always in a controlled environment where we don’t have to carefully choose our words,” said Charlotte lawyer and Duke grad Chris Lam, class of ‘98. He’s also a 2002 UNC Chapel Hill law school graduate, but Wednesday he and wife Anne (Duke ‘99 and UNC law ‘02) will be wearing their “Go To Hell Carolina” T shirts to watch the game.
Duke fans, if there’s a designated gathering spot to watch the game add your comment.
Just to raise your pulse, two game-winners – both at the Dean Dome – illustrate just how important winning or losing is to fans who hold the rivalry dear.
The first came in 2005, when freshman Tar Heel reserve forward Marvin Williams, now a Charlotte Hornet, tipped in a last-second shot to beat Duke 75-73.
The second came seven years later. Freshman Duke guard Austin Rivers hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat North Carolina 85-84.
The past 20 games have done little to settle the constant debate over who has the better program. The record: 10 wins for the Tar Heels, 10 wins for the Blue Devils.
No matter who wins Wednesday, the debate will ramp up again when the rivalry moves eight miles to Chapel Hill on March 7.
Sleeper of the week
A unique mash-up event Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. when McColl + Response presents “Chops and Chopped”, an evening of poetic expression and food creations. Robert Karimi, Knight artist-in-residence, will lead – and referee – a discussion and competition between poets and chefs. At McColl Center for Art + Innovation, 721 N. Tryon Street. Free. To register, 704-332-5535, or click here.
Where are our schools headed?
Once again, Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools are in a state of transition. This week, there are two opportunities to hear about where the district is headed.
Monday, WFAE host Mike Collins is scheduled to lead a discussion on education on Charlotte Talks, airing at 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. His panel includes CMS chief Ann Clark, state education board William Cobey and Eric Guckian, Gov. Pat McCrory’s education advisor.
Then Thursday, the school board is set to talk for the first time about how they intend to find a long-term superintendent to replace Clark, who plans to retire in 2016. It will be the first talks since the board named Clark superintendent after the abrupt firing of former schools head Heath Morrison. Time: 4:30 p.m. Place: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, room 527/528.
Still singing after all these years
It’s a sell-out, but worth mentioning that crooner Harry Connick Jr. will be in town Tuesday to perform in Belk Theater at uptown’s Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. On Thursday, tickets are still available to hear 76-year-old folk singer Gordon Lightfoot at Knight Theater, 430 S. Tryon Street. Thursday, 8 p.m. Details: 704-377-1000, www.blumenthalarts.org.
Feel-good Costner movie opens
You’ve seen the ads on TV. Now Disney’s “McFarland USA” opens Friday at Charlotte theaters and elsewhere. True story about a Kevin Costner as a cross country coach in a small California town who transforms a bunch of mostly Latino students – who farm when they’re not in school – into a team of championship contenders. Trailer:
Fight for her life
On Monday, Nancy Writebol, a missionary who made international news after contracting Ebola in West Africa last summer, will appear with her missionary husband, David, and Dr. Debbie Eisenhut, a SIM USA surgeon, at a 6:30 p.m. forum at UNC Charlotte’s Center City campus, 320 E. Ninth St. The forum’s title: “Fighting Ebola in West Africa: The Charlotte Connection.” The event is free, but reservations are requested by clicking here.
Got any Hot Dates coming up? Send them to reporter David Perlmutt at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter: @dperlmutt.