Durham college basketball fans are known for going a little mad in March (last year was no exception). But with two NCAA Division I basketball programs located in Durham, who can blame them? The Duke University Blue Devils and the North Carolina Central University (NCCU) Eagles have made a name for themselves at the big dance, with the Duke University men’s basketball team appearing in 11 championship games (winning five NCAA championships), and the NCCU men’s basketball team appearing twice in the tournament. The Duke University women’s basketball team has logged four trips to the NCAA Tournament Final Four, and the NCCU women’s basketball team is ranked 8th heading into the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament, while enjoying the most wins since 2013 this season.
What you need to know
The Duke University Blue Devils basketball team is one of the most polarizing in the country. You’re either a huge fan or… you’re the opposite. The Blue Devils often take one of the top seeds in the NCAA Tournament. Fans are loyal to Coach Mike Krzyzewski, (pronounced sha-chef-ski), also known as “Coach K.” Duke basketball fans are often called the “Cameron Crazies,” named after Cameron Indoor Stadium, where home games are held. The arena only holds about 9,000 seats, which makes tickets a highly sought-after commodity. As a rite of passage, student fans camp outside in “Krzyzewskiville” hoping to get tickets for games. The crazies often paint their bodies and scream their voices hoarse taunting the visiting teams. Regardless of your team affiliation, attending a home game in Cameron Indoor Stadium should be on everyone’s bucket list!
NCCU basketball fans have been thrilled by the competitiveness of the Eagles’ men’s basketball team under head coach LeVelle Moton. Upon entering the NCAA in 2011, the Eagles have already appeared in the NCAA Tournament twice. The Eagles fly under gray and maroon colors and fans make a swooping cross motion with their hands to encourage the team to fly sky high.
This year’s NCAA Selection Sunday will take place on March 11 and will determine which teams will play for tournament glory.
What’s the best way to experience the best of March Madness in Durham? Read on.
Where to watch March Madness
Durham sports bars, restaurants, and breweries are all great places to watch NCAA tournament games. Head to the Ninth Street orBrightleaf districts to watch Duke games at locations like Dain’s Place, Devine’s, Satisfaction, or head downtown to visit places like Tobacco Road Sports Café and Fullsteam Brewery. Don’t worry if you favor a local rival team; you’ll probably still find friends in enemy territory.
Shop for team swag
Show off your team colors with pride! For Duke Blue Devils apparel and accessories, head to the Duck Shop in Durham’s Ninth Street Shopping district or the Duke University Store on Duke’s campus. NCCU Eagles gear can be purchased at the NCCU bookstore on campus.
See where the basketball magic happens
Visit the storied Cameron Indoor Stadium where Duke University basketball teams play home games, and the Duke University Basketball Museum and Sports Hall of Fame to see trophies, memorabilia, and videos from past games. You can also visit McDougald-Mclendon Arena, which is home to the NCCU Eagles basketball teams.
There you have it – everything you need to enjoy the NCAA Tournament in the Bull City. No matter who you root for, we wish you the best of luck with your bracket.