Ranked No. 2 in the East Regional of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, Duke headed into Sunday night’s game favored to advance to the next round.
But the Blue Devils — the college basketball team everyone loves to hate — couldn’t make it past the No. 7 University of South Carolina Gamecocks.
Duke’s 88-81 loss Sunday night that demolished everyone’s brackets has been blamed on a myriad of reasons — the hatred Duke has mustered from other teams, the number of turnovers by the Blue Devils, guard Luke Kennard’s less-than-stellar performance, and more.
But some Duke fans have placed the blame on someone outside of the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina, and outside of the Duke University team.
Thanks to North Carolina’s controversial “bathroom bill,” the NCAA announced in September that it would move tournament games to other arenas outside of the state. So while Duke could have played Sunday night’s game in Greensboro, N.C., a mere 45 minutes away from its campus, instead it had to play in Greenville, less than two hours away from the University of South Carolina’s campus.
Therefore, for some heartbroken fans, there was no one to blame but former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) for the loss of what could have essentially been a home game for the Blue Devils — and subsequently, the loss of the tournament game.
Duke is playing a road game against a 7 seed because the NC legislature and Pat McCrory decided it was important to legislate bathrooms.
— Shawn Milrad (@shawnmilrad) March 20, 2017
Duke played in hostile Greenville, SC instead of favorable Greensboro, NC … because of HB2. Thanks dumbass Pat McCrory.
— Nick Hutson (@NickHut) March 20, 2017
Pat McCrory beat Duke.
— Anthony Bruton (@tonybruton) March 20, 2017
— UrFavAsh's FavAsh (@OhGeeAsh) March 20, 2017
South Carolina outplayed us but we shouldnt have had to play them in the first place. Thanks selection committee and HB2.
— Duke Basketball (@bluedevils5x) March 20, 2017
Seriously. Duke played an away game literally because of Pat McCrory. I couldn't hate that man any more. https://t.co/P2FCMG9XpY
— Lucas Tompkins (@Lucas_Tompkins) March 20, 2017
In addition to generally being trash, Pat McCrory was a huge part of Duke losing last night. https://t.co/5pnNSmVAnZ
— Kevin McCauley (@kevinmccauley) March 20, 2017
CBS Sports reporter Matt Norlander also opined that the location of Saturday night’s game played a role in Duke’s unexpected loss.
“Duke didn’t lose because of where it played, but the NCAA’s moving the tourney out of North Carolina unquestionably had some impact on what happened Sunday night,” Norlander wrote.
According to reports, the Bon Secours Wellness Arena was crowded with not only Gamecock fans, but supporters of Duke’s rival, the University of North Carolina, as well.