Carolina And Duke Honor Dean Smith Tonight

Feb 17, 2015

Credit UNC-TV

North Carolina and Duke continue their storied rivalry in men's basketball tonight.

But tonight's match-up in Durham comes 11 days after the passing of legendary UNC coach Dean Smith.  Many Duke fans are expected to wear dark blue t-shirts with the name "Dean" in the place of "Duke."

Aaron Kirschenfeld first spread the idea on his blog. The UNC grad student has been embedded in the rivalry since receiving his bachelor's degree from Duke in 2007. He still cheers for Duke, but he respects the rivalry.

"It has persisted for so long. It really is greater than the sum of its parts," Kirschenfeld says.

"As far as I was concerned, it struck me as an appropriate time to show respect for a man who helped build the rivalry."

The apparel store Thrill City wrote up the design and has sold hundreds of shirts. All proceeds are going to the Inter-Faith Council in Carrboro.

"I hope that people see this as a living rivalry and not just a reason to hate another school or anything like that. Two rivals with mutual respect; I think that's what makes it live," Kirschenfeld says.

The game will mark the 239th time the schools have played each other. It tips off at Cameron Indoor Stadium at 9:00 p.m.