COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Welcome to Cole Field House, home of the biggest unreciprocated rivalry in college sports.
To Maryland, Duke is public enemy No. 1. And the Terrapins fans aren't exactly subtle about it.
Shane Battier needed only to look up and see the "I Hate Shane Battier" sign to get the message. Other players could interpret what they wished from the "Breathe If You Hate Duke" sign or the numerous projectiles heaved toward the Duke bench.
Maryland fans hate the cheering rich kids. They hate the privileges that come with the Duke name. They hate Wojo. But most of all, they hate the fact that Duke just keeps on winning in Cole.
"This is just one of those places where you hate the fans and they hate you," said Nate James. "You just have to let the ball talk."
The only problem with this huge rivalry is that someone forgot to tell the Duke fans, who are generally too preoccupied with UNC to notice those pesky Terrapins.
You just don't see Duke fans putting in the same intensity that Terps fans do, which includes printing "F--k Duke" T-shirts and devising a "Duke is Puke" slogan.
"I don't think the Crazies fully understand how much we're hated," Battier said. "I don't think you can understand until you've played in Cole and been pelted with batteries, ice and been called every name in the book. There's nothing like 15,000 people screaming about your mom, your dad, your dog, nothing like it."
The Maryland fans aim to rattle the players, to throw them off their game by any possible distraction.
"I know if I was a Duke player, I'd be peeing in my pants," said Maryland sophomore Chris Dugan.
But the screaming and the insults have had the opposite effects on the Blue Devils. Two years ago, the Blue Devils opened their game at Cole with four straight three pointers. Last season Duke blew Maryland out 82-64 after a tie score at halftime.
"I like playing here. Maybe it's everyone telling me that I suck, but I really like playing against Maryland," Battier said. "Because we're so hated, so despised that it's ridiculous. We've learned to enjoy it, turn it into positive energy for us."
It was after last season's blowout that the rivalry turned truly ugly. Immediately after the game, a physical fight broke out between fans and Nate James' vocal friends and family, who had been pelted with ice and soda throughout the game. After that incident, coach Mike Krzyzewski announced that he would no longer take his family to Cole Field House.
An ACC commission then looked into Maryland fan behavior. Many Maryland fans saw this as another sign of unfair treatment, citing Cameron Indoor Stadium's often hostile environment.
For Maryland fans, the "rivalry" will go on with or without Duke's participation. In fact, the Duke fans' nonchalant attitude might fuel the Maryland fans even further.