Kevin Burge is a sportswriter from North Carolina who frequently covers the Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Hornets, and the UNC Hoops. North Carolina sports are getting hot this time of year and below Kevin Burge gives a breakdown of what’s happening at a stadium near you.
College basketball’s most-heated — and often most-nail-bitingly exciting — rivalry added a significant chapter to its legendary status earlier this month.
Kevin Burge of North Carolina explains that when Duke University arrived at UNC-Chapel Hill to play the first of the teams’ two-a-year games, the fanfare was in full force — for good and bad. Duke, ranked No. 7 going into the game, is having a very good season, while UNC’s has been slightly below average (they entered the game unranked.
But this time, the game was more about the coach than his players.
The Feb. 5 game marked legendary Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski’s 36th and final last game at UNC’s Dean Dome. It was a blowout — Duke defeated UNC by 20 points — and UNC greeted Coach K with boos.
That’s not something new, but at this game Kevin Burge of North Carolina explains the boos were a bit louder, and the UNC fans were more than happy to rub the uncertain future of Duke men’s basketball in the faces of the coach, his team, and their fans.
Then, what a difference a few days make. Kevin Burge of North Carolina reports that Duke, at home, was stunned by Virginia, losing at the last-minute by 1 point. The game may put Virginia in a better position during the upcoming ACC tournament than Duke. Duke meets Carolina for the final time this ACC season at home on March 5.
Place Your Bets on N.C. Sports Betting
Sports fans have likely made — and lost — some money over the decades by placing some friendly wagers on Duke-Carolina matches. Those wagers may soon be officially legal.
Kevin Burge of North Carolina reports that legal sports betting in the state, hotly debated over the years but gaining significant steam over the past year, received a big endorsement recently.
N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper went all-in (sorry) recently on pushing sports betting through the state legislature, urging lawmakers to “step up” and finalize Senate Bill 688 and have North Carolina join nearly 20 states who have OK’d online sports gambling over the past four years in the wake of the United States Supreme Court overturning a nationwide ban on sports gambling.
Senate Bill 688 was passed by the North Carolina Senate in 2021, and the House may vote on the bill this year. The bill outlines an 8% tax rate on revenue from gambling in the state. If a vote happens this year, supporters are confident the votes are there to pass the bill.
North Carolina currently allows sports betting at two locations owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, but online betting is not allowed anywhere according to Kevin Burge of North Carolina.
Are there over/under odds on when betting itself will be legal in N.C.?
Ready For Some Soccer
Speaking of changes, Kevin Burge of North Carolina notes that renovations have been going on for about a year over at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium, home to NFL’s Carolina Panthers. The upgrades now appear to be good to go as the stadium prepares to host the inaugural Major League Soccer season of the Charlotte Football Club.
The Charlotte FC season starts at home on March 5, and soccer fans will see multiple renovations as part of the $50 million upgrades. There will be a new 11-foot-by 211-foot LED display greeting fans as they walk into Bank of America Stadium.
Kevin Burge says there will also be an upgrade concourse area and new club space for those holding premium tickets. Players will also make their way onto the field through a new central player tunnel.
Charlotte FC is owned by billionaire David Tepper, who also owns the Carolina Panthers. He paid between $300 and $325 million for the expansion team in 2019, a record fee.
You can check out some of the stadium upgrades here.
Hall of Famers Announced
Congrats to the latest 10 inductees into the North Carolina Sports Hall of fame, a veritable who’s who of North Carolina-native athletes.
Kevin Burge of North Carolina explains that this year’s class includes the MLB’s Luke Appling; Missouri Alredge, the first black woman to earn All-American Honors in women’s basketball; football athletic trainer Ronnie Barnes; the NBA’s Henry Bibby; Duke women’s golf head coach Dan Brooks; the NFL’s Torry Holt, Sam Mills, and Timmy Newsome; NCAA basketball coach Dave Robbins; and sportscaster Tom Suiter.
The group will be added to the Raleigh-based Hall of Fame during a banquet at the Raleigh Convention Center on April 22. The Hall’s president of the Board of Directors, Jerry McGee said this year’s inductees reflect North Carolina’s rich sports heritage.
You can visit the NC Sports Hall of Fame whenever you’re in the Tar Heel State. Kevin Burge reports that there’s a permanent gallery on view on the third floor of Raleigh’s NC Museum of History. Head over this spring to pay respects to the latest bunch of North Carolina legends.