Last week, McCants seemed to issue an open invitation to the full Crazies treatment when he pulled his throat-slash gesture against N.C. State. Wouldn't the heyday Crazies have been all over that? Thursday night, it wasn't mentioned.

Maybe they're too busy with their future-CEO classes to actually care about basketball anymore -- or at least care as much about the hoops as they seem to care about amusing each other. Now they appear to be too smug to realize, much less admit, that their mere presence alone isn't worth the 20 points they seem to think it is.

They're too in love with themselves.

CHEER SHEET
Curious about what the Cameron Crazies' cheer sheet for the Duke-Carolina game looked like? We've got it right here.
There were problem signs this season even before the UNC game. A cheer sheet for the Virginia game (including such gems as "You killed Abel," to be directed at the Cavs' Jason Cain) was circulated on the Internet, complete with an Instant Messenger screen name to submit ideas. An enterprising Duke hater used this information to dupe the Crazies into self-deprecating taunts during the Maryland game.

And on a more serious note, Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg claimed his eye was nearly poked by fans as he walked off Coach K Court, and he rightfully complained publicly about the lack of security at Cameron Indoor.

Now, don't get me wrong. The atmosphere at Cameron still dwarfs most other arenas.

But these days, it's more a product of the building than the students. They've been living off their reputation for years. Duke's student fans aren't even the cleverest in the ACC anymore. Wake Forest has snatched that title.

Where did the Crazies go wrong? Maybe it isn't so much that they've jumped the shark. (And besides, hasn't the phrase "jumped the shark" jumped the shark by this point?) Maybe it's that the Cameron Crazies have, shall we say, adopted Cousin Oliver. The Bradys added Oliver in the final season when the Bunch wasn't so cute anymore. "Growing Pains" (Chrissy and Luke) and "The Cosby Show" (Olivia) tried to compensate the same way as those shows matured.

Now, the Crazies are peopled with young blood, the freshmen. That seems to be what it's come to in Durham -- the student section has been taken over by frosh in recent years. And get this: There is a significant sentiment even on campus that regards the once-revered Crazies with embarrassment, that looks down on them. They don't seem clever, and they don't seem spontaneous.

They rely on lame attempts at biting humor, body paint and capes. And that isn't enough anymore, because at the end of the day, at the end of the game ... it's only Carrot Top material.

Mike Ogle is a freelance writer for ESPN The Magazine. Contact him at Mike.X.Ogle.-ND@espn3.com or mogle23@hotmail.com.



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