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Duke and Flopping

The above video purports to show 10 cases of Duke Blue Devils taking dives in a recent game with Clemson. Now, in theory, I'm all for making fun of Duke, but this video rubs me the wrong way. For one thing, several of these don't seem like flagrant dives to my eyes. For another, one clip begins with a Clemson player taking an obvious dive. Furthermore, I don't think any of these compare to some of the dives I've seen offensive linemen take in recent NFL weekends, trying to draw a personal foul.

It might not be seemly, but if you fool the ref you fool the ref. Good on you. A friend who frequently visits Argentina reports that futbol fans down there would consider a player a moron if he did not attempt to manipulate the officiating in his favor, with embellishments if necessary. Not any different than attempting to make it seem like you caught a pass you didn't really catch, but no one says that's immoral.

"Little Boy Blue, come, blow your horn!" (Getty Images)

Anyhow, if you do want a reason to make fun of Duke heading into this weekend's showdown with Maryland, you could look at this headline of a recent story about Bobby Hurley: "Ex-Duke hoops star, now a horse farm owner, sues Marion County."

Or read this bizarre homage to the Clemson cheer sheet, with the author starting with this gem--"One line says it all: "Keep cheers clever, witty and classy. If you want to use profanity, go to Maryland."--and then approvingly noting the following:

The details astound. For example, the Crazies chant "Boing!" when an opponent dribbles.

"Make sure your arms are going straight up and down for the boings," the sheet reads, "so we don't look like Nazis."

Taunts directed at Clemson players are just as meticulous.

Each of the Tigers' top seven players had explicit personality traits and features laid out for the Crazies to mock.

For example, Clemson freshman guard Terrence Oglesby was quoted in a newspaper article as saying the Crazies were "just noise, and after a while, I don't think it'll have any effect," and that he visualized a curtain going around the court to block out the atmosphere.

"ARE YOU SERIOUS??" the sheet read. "This kid is a freshman who shot 2-for-11 on 3-pointers with five turnovers in his high school team's playoff loss to Maryville (Tenn.). When he inevitably struggles, try chanting 'Mar-ry-ville' or 'Where's your cur-tain?' "

Gack. Someone write an essay on the declining academic standards at our nation's centers of higher learning. Or read this entreaty from the student paper to add more singing in the stands:

One possibility is to come up with a "theme" song to which the crowd can sing along-think Liverpool's "You'll Never Walk Alone" or the Red Sox "Sweet Caroline."

Although one could argue that "Hey Baby" has already cornered that niche, a lot of other schools use it and it's not peppy enough. Looking over a series of "Best of" lists, I circled AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long," Whitesnake's "Here We Go Again" and Real McCoy "Another Night." Or, in honor of all of our carpetbaggers who cheered "Let's Go Giants" last Sunday, "New York, New York."

As for players' anthems, I've got a couple ideas. And, yes, I am a huge tool:

To the chorus of "Take On Me": Taylor King (hit a three!), Taylor King! He is on!

To the tune of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat": Greg, Greg, Greg Paulus, driving down the lane! Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, throw it down the drain.

So what I'm saying is, it's cool if the players attempt to draw whistles by falling backward in the lane. It's somewhat less cool if their fans attempt to encourage them by singing nursery rhymes. It's admirable that Duke's fans have chosen not to look like Nazis. It's somewhat less admirable that the sharpest barb they could find for an opposing player involved a poor performance of his in high school. And it's a huge sign of respect that Duke fans chose to single Maryland out as what they don't want to be. If anything could help the Terps' national reputation more than that, I'd like to hear it.

PS: Maryland has won an astounding 10 11 straight games against schools from the state of North Carolina, a streak that includes High Point, Wake Forest (twice), Duke (twice), N.C. State (twice), North Carolina (twice), Davidson and Charlotte.

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 23, 2008; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  College Basketball  
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Next: Thuc Phan, and More Atlantic 11 Pith


I am very happy that none of the Dookies want to come to Maryland. We have achieved our goal.

Posted by: Lindemann | January 23, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Sometime I'm going to figure out exactly why Movable Type Type occasionally duplicates a word at the line breaks in my comments comments. Then I'm going to hack into the Post server and fix the problem so that, in the future, I don't look more like a moron moron than I already do.

Posted by: Lindemann | January 23, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Maryland's cheer sheet:

newspapers during warm ups
wear f duke shirt
ashley's easy-clap clap
f you JJ-clap clap
chuck water bottles

Posted by: go terps | January 23, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I like the hockey solution to flopping: it's a penalty, AND the refs are allowed to call the foul and the flop on the same incident.

That would eliminate most of the incentive to take a dive--even if the opponent really fouled you, you still know that if you overreact you may be penalized as well.

Posted by: Dirty Davey | January 23, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I dont know whats worse, Duke's flopping or ESPN's suspension of Dana jacobson...

This just in... Rev. Al Sharpton demands apology for Touchdown Jesus and $5,000 donation to his charity

Posted by: hurtingskinsfan | January 23, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Dan, you forgot the game against the 49's that the Terps won this season.

Wow, I feel so honored to be want the Cameron Lazies don't want to be, spontaneous!

Posted by: EricS | January 23, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

stupid dookies ... not our rivals my arse ...

Posted by: littles | January 23, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Don't cross out my comment, bro.

Posted by: | January 23, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I want this comment struck from the record!

Posted by: sjf | January 23, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Anonymous | January 23, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | January 23, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I think I saw footage of Duke fans and Clemson fans cheering for Maryland vs UNC the other night before their game. I'm puzzled why they would cheer for their rivals. Anybody have any old couches? I'm going to need some for Sunday night.

Posted by: go terps | January 23, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget Duke plays at VT tomorrow night!

Posted by: Fairfax | January 23, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Clemson and Duke fans were applauding the fact that Carolina lost.

Posted by: weegipup | January 23, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Is that
Tobias Fünke, famous analrapist and would-be member of Blue Man Group, in the middle of that photo?

Posted by: EdTheRed | January 23, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

No Maryland men's basketball player who enrolled between 1997 and 2000 graduated within six years. This is commonly called a "zero percent graduation rate," and it ranked us last among the nation's 321 Division I programs -- in other words, we finished 321st out of 321 schools.

Geez, what happened to the academic legacy once created by Lefty Driesell?

Only one other men's basketball program in the ACC -- Clemson, 31 percent -- had a graduation rate below 40 percent. We can't do better than Clemson? Clemson? That's a Stuckey's with a student union.

The NCAA uses a formula called the "Graduation Success Rate" -- actually, in College Park, we call it the "Graduation Failure Rate" -- and this indicates that, uh, absolutely nobody on the basketball team gets out of Maryland alive with a degree.

Well, at least we're not cheating on exams!

I repeat: We're talking a "zero percent graduation rate."

By the way, Maryland plays its games at Comcast Center; coincidentally, between 1997 and 2000, Comcast had a "zero percent response rate" to its customer's cable problems.

I understand that Coach Gary Williams is simply recruiting basketball players to win games. He has shown no intent in recruiting students who also play basketball well. But somewhere along the line, can't he find just one 6-foot-3 fella who will sit at the end of the bench with a strong interest in, say, metallurgical sciences?

He did not recruit a single player between 1997 and 2000 -- and that includes all the starters and top reserves on the 2002 national championship team -- who graduated at College Park within six years. None.

"I've graduated 42 players in 18 years," Williams said.

Wow, 42 in 18 years? Heck, MIT's rowing team graduates 42 people every two weeks.

A single woman of 38 is more likely to find a husband at a Daughters of the American Revolution rally than a Maryland basketball player is to graduate within six years.

Now, if you ask most Terp alums if they would trade the 2002 national title for a 33 percent graduation rate or a better English Lit department, they'd likely choose the championship. Then again, that doesn't surprise me -- after all, they went to Maryland, so how smart could they be?

Posted by: Jack of Speed | January 23, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

The above is courtesy of Norman Chad.

Posted by: Jack of Speed | January 23, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

most of these are blatant dives. you're basically saying its ok to cheat. i would not use argentinian soccer players, notorious cheats, as the definition of what constitutes fair play.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 23, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

...Norman Chad, Norman Chad...doesn't he write a syndicated column on sports gambling (and sometimes poker, too!), which last time I checked was illegal in 49 or so states and the District of Columbia?

His ex-wives must be very proud.

Posted by: EdTheRed | January 23, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

It may be strategic, but nobody likes flopping in soccer. That's always a top reason Americans cite for hating the sport. The best way to solve it is to remove the strategic advantage by refusing to blow the whistle.

And there's a difference between trying to look like you caught a pass and flopping, because it implies the other player/team did something wrong and should be punished.

You can object to flopping without bringing morality or integrity into the equation. College basketball games are already too chippy, people falling all over the place drawing fake fouls ruins the rhythm and flow of the game.

Posted by: danj | January 23, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

His ex-wives are very wealthy, unlike yours.

Posted by: Jack of Speed | January 23, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Dan, you should a find a tape of my Outside the Lines show where I name Maryland the worst fans in the country because in a previous game against Duke, F**K Duke chants were easily heard by fans at home and the cameramen could not show crowd shots becasue all of the explitive laced shirts. It really was one of my finer episodes and I think fans of the Bog would agree.

Posted by: Bob Ley | January 23, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

"6-foot-3 fella who will sit at the end of the bench with a strong interest in, say, metallurgical sciences?"

Darien Henry was a computer engineering major. Graduated in 2005 and took a job with Price Waterhouse Coopers after graduation. But he was 6-6.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 23, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

like I care if Bambale Osby graduates. Just win baby.

Posted by: Greivis Vasquez is classy | January 23, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Umm, Jack, The Terps played at Cole Field House from 1947 untill 2002. The Comcastle didn't open till the 2002-2003 season.

Posted by: EricS | January 23, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Boom doesn't need a college degree. If basketball doesn't pan out for him he's going to open a car shop and just work on cars. But Lincoln Tech didn't have a basktball team so he decided to go to Maryland instead. Good move.

Posted by: Laura | January 23, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Norman Chad is the newspaper columnist equivalent to Kenny Bania.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | January 23, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Yo Eric S.

Read the sentence again. I didn't state that Maryland played at Comcast from 1997-2000.

S = simpleton?

Posted by: Norman Chad | January 23, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Hell, Jack, my wife's the one with the money. I'm just a trophy husband. ;-)

Posted by: EdTheRed | January 23, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Go terps.

Posted by: JDP | January 23, 2008 9:05 PM | Report abuse

If you wanna talk about Duke players flopping you have to at least mention Greg Paulus in their first round loss to VCU last year.

lets go rams!!!

Posted by: bryan | January 24, 2008 2:40 AM | Report abuse

Shocking! Terps fans whining about the refs!

Why, I should think pigs would fly before I saw this!

Posted by: KC in DC | January 24, 2008 4:44 AM | Report abuse

Duke uses the flop more than Phil Mickelson.

Why the national media can't see the hypocrisy that is Coach K and Duke basketball is just laughable.

Posted by: Please... | January 24, 2008 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Finally, someone brings some attention to Duke flopping all the time. No one ever talks about this. They do it like every play! And it's only them, too. No one one my favorite team does it. In fact I don't think anyone on my favorite team has ever done it. I think that because I like them and because I throw logic out the window when talking about Dook!

Posted by: J | January 24, 2008 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone mentioned the real problem- the quality of officiating in the game? These are some terrible calls.

Clemson did some flopping as well in those clips, but come on, no one flops like duke.

Posted by: CarolinaRefs | January 25, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Duke was clearly outflopped in their game against VA Tech last night. Then again, maybe that was because there was so much contact in that game that flopping was redundant.

"[W]hat happened to the academic legacy once created by Lefty Driesell?"
It's a matter of priorities. Lefty was a Duke grad.

Posted by: DMoore | January 25, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Flopping should be frowned upon for more than just unsportsmanlike behaviors such as attempting to deceive the officials (aka lying, which inevitably is where they end up, and the real cause of the problem). You see, floppers are dangerous. Often, there may be three or more 6'+, 200lbs+ men arriving to the ground expecting the court to be as flat as it always is, when a flopper's body gets in the way. The guy who thought it was a good idea to try to draw a foul is now the recipient of multiple blunt force traumas to his body, and the poor saps who are getting dicked by the refs are at a great risk of twisting an ankle, popping a knee, or tearing an ACL when they land on the liar.

Floppers in soccer are usually not very close to many other players, and those players (if close) usually have time to change their trajectories to avoid the liar. The players on a crowded basketball court don't have this luxury.

Posted by: Jacob | January 27, 2008 2:49 AM | Report abuse

dook is quickly disgracing the beloved sport of college basketball. they have perfected the art of flopping and on-court theatrics in ways that make it 'appear' they are being punched, pushed, or barreled into. this year's squad illustrates it more than any team i've ever seen. all led by paulus. someone who came into dook a pretty decent player but has since improved on just one thing
- cheating

the worst part of all of it is that he was taught to play this way by K. he's digging his own grave. dook was once a program that unc fans reveered simply b/c of the long standing rivalry of of quality competition. no more. a rising number of articles have been written over the last 5 years exposing dook's cheating philosophy of play. they are quickly losing any ounce of respect they once had.

Posted by: ethics | February 1, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

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