The Duke-North Carolina game is flogged on a national level more than just about any rivalry. If Red Sox-Yankees or Colts-Patriots get more attention, it's because of their sports or the number of times they play.
In terms of college hoops, it's probably the only rivalry with consistent national interest every season. Part of that's because ESPN's builds its "rivalry week" TV schedule around it – usually leaving out games like Kentucky-Louisville, Indiana-Purdue and Kansas-Missouri – and because the two teams are usually on the shortlist of title contenders.
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|Bruce Pearl and his pastel jacket are just one reason to elevate the Tennessee-Kentucky rivalry.
But does that make the Devils-Heels the best? After all, a person's favorite rivalry depend on where you live.
The list of rivalries here is a good place to start, but when there are more than 300 D-I teams, it's hard to spotlight all showdowns fans like. Sometimes it's hard enough to hit on every good one.
Take Cincinnati vs. Xavier. It's one of my favorites because it's probably the most heated local rivalry. This year's 83-79 double overtime win by Musketeers featured a couple of near-brawls, rowdy fans – and some excellent basketball.
And that's what local rivalries are: heated, entertaining and usually great games. By local, I don't mean schools in the same town or located near each other, but a rivalry that the fans of both schools know and love, but perhaps the rest of the country doesn't know enough about.
Kentucky-Tennessee is a good example. Two neighboring states, die-hard fans and good hoops, but because they're in football country, it doesn't get a ton of national attention. (It should, though. Calipari and Pearl alone are worth extra attention.)
More on my shortlist include: Cal-Stanford, 'Nova-Pitt, Virginia-Virginia-Tech, BYU-Utah, ODU-VCU and when any of the Big 5 schools play. All of 'em are either heightened by proximity or recent results. And all of 'em are worth watching. But that's hardly all of them worth mentioning.
So what's your favorite rivalry?
Mike Miller's also on Twitter, usually talkin' hoops.