Friday, October 22, 2010

Even Roy Williams acknowledges Duke is at a 'different level'

Only a year ago, it seemed like North Carolina had gained the high ground in its epic struggle for basketball supremacy with Duke. The Tar Heels won the 2009 national title, their second with Roy Williams, and pulled off a stunning recruiting coup when Harrison Barnes went on Skype and snubbed Duke for Carolina. Williams even had a popular book out on his life.

The ACC media picked UNC as the co-preseason favor with the Blue Devils, despite Carolina's lack of experience. Duke, of course, went on to win its fourth NCAA title under Krzyzewski and the Duke coach is now within reach of passing Dean Smith in all-time wins.

Duke got all but one vote as the ACC preseason favorite and had two players, Kyle Singler and  Nolan Smith, on the preseason all-conference team. No wonder, then, that Williams downplayed any suggestion that this could be a special year in the Triangle, with UNC and now N.C. State fielding strong teams.

"I don't think either one of us is at the level Duke is. I don't think anybody in the country is at the level Duke is. How many times do you have the MVP in the Final Four come back?" Williams said.

He noted that he really wanted to sign Ryan Kelly of Raleigh, but Kelly went to Duke and barely played as a freshman.

"To me, Duke is at a completely different level than North Carolina or North Carolina State," Williams said.

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