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Battle for Tobacco Road Airs Tonight

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HBO is airing i's documentary on the UNC-Duke rivalry tonight, at nine. (And then again another thirty times through March. It is, after all, HBO.) Since my roommate has shackled me to an excessively large cable plan, I'll be able to see it, and since I've had such a lousy day at work, I'm eager to tear into something. Hence I'll be liveblogging something that isn't remotely live. Come back at nine for well, the same babbling you always get here.

The trailer, to whet your appetite:

9:01 pm Woo-hoo! Adult content and language!

9:03 pm N.C. State is referred to as "perennial tackling dummies." Gratuitous State insults are always warranted, and I don't begrudge Everett Case his props.

9:06 pm UNC has a championship before Duke's basketball team gets a mention, as is proper.

9:08 pm Seeing tiny Larry Brown just haul off and punch Art Heyman is possibly the greatest bit of film footage I've ever seen. Also, take everything Heyman says with a grain of salt. He has a different story on how he started the rivalry for every reporter.

9:11 pm Didn't know Seth Davis was a Duke grad.

9:12 pm Kenny Smith and Bomani Jones make a good point - UNC fans will always outnumber Duke fans.

9:14 pm Suck it, Georgia.

9:19 pm Bob Bennett has a great line about the first Four Corners game. "Yeah, I got a couple of baskets when the guy guarding me fell asleep."

9:22 pm This may be the most Charlie Scott footage I've ever seen in one place. It's incredible.

9:23 pm I used to wander into Carmichael and try to pick out the spot where Walter Davis beat Duke in 1974. I was a very weird kid.

9:25 pm The miscellaneous N.C. State fans are yelling at the TV right now. And getting rewarded with David Thompson footage. We'll ignore that whole "nine straight wins" thing, Wolfpack.

9:27 pm Huh. They skip right through the late seventies with no mention of the air ball chant.

9:28 pm Michael Jordan and James Worthy have hijacked this documentary.

9:30 pm Jordan's grin when talking about getting the green light in New Orleans is pure awesome.

9:31 pm Jordan: "It wasn't a rivalry because we just killed them."

9:33 pm I can't decide what is scarier - the hypnotic effect of early-'80s Kryzyewski hair or the Mark Alarie as a rentboy photo.

9:35 pm Jay Bilas: "Matt Doherty hit a shot out of his ass to send the game into overtime."

9:41 pm Approximate time fellating the Cameron Crazies: 6. And yet they had to bring a Maryland student into discuss the opposing veiwpoint because 

9:42 pm The SAT score thing - first of all, Christian Laettner playing the wounded ingenue is absolutely hilarious. Second, pointing out the double standard between the white Duke players and the black UNC ones is definitely inbounds, and you can keep your backhanded criticizing without criticizing comments, Kryzyewski. 

9:46 pm Seth Davis: If Justin Timberlake was 6'10" and had a jumpshot and a pissy attitude, he'd be Christian Laettner."

9:47 pm Laettner is still a disingenuous dick in ways that J.J. Redick can only hope to be, by the way.

9:48 pm Why do we keep cutting to the Maryland grad?

9:50 pm Skipping from the 1993 championship to Dean Smith's retirement was... odd. But at least it spare us the 1995 double overtime game. Oh wait, no it doesn't.

9:51 pm Jeff Capel: "A lot of people think that shot won the game. I don't correct them."

9:52 pm Matt Doherty gets more mentions as a player than a coach. We skip from 1995 to 2005 with an offhand mention of the 2001 championship.

9:54 pm Sean May and the 2005 crew gets the appropriate airtime, however.

9:55 pm Random UNC grad just rips Kryzyewski for his comments about Henderson. Great. And we segue from that to bucolic barns and closing statements?

9:57 pm Nice Eve Carson moment.

9:58 pm Kryzyewski: "Dignity and class are always there." Has he ever been to a game at Cameron?

Overall, it's a good little flick. They got some really good interviews on both sides of the ball. (Alaa Abdelnaby is damn entertaining - who knew?) I really enjoyed that the footage after 1971 almost always had Woody Durham's voice behind it. It couldn't avoid descending into the sentimental a little too often - enough of that damn barn - but otherwise worthy of an hour of your time. I wouldn't subscribe to HBO for it, but I'm sure it'll show up on iTunes or your more illicit websites, so feel to grab it if you come across it.