When Duke lost its final regular-season game to North Carolina at Cameron, Krzyzewski made an impromptu comment to the crowd that grabbed my attention.
“Today was unacceptable, but the season has been very acceptable," he said. "And I’ll tell you, this season isn’t over.”
I texted Scottie at the time and told him something along the lines of that felt like Tim Tebow’s post-game speech against Ole Miss the year Florida won the football championship. There was something about the tone in his voice that let you know that loss had lit a fire inside of him.
I’ve watched quite a bit of the tournament and I think Duke is the best team left. I think they will win their Final Four matchup, either because they will overwhelm Saint Peter’s or get revenge against UNC.
Maybe Kansas or Villanova can beat Duke (I’d be surprised if Miami made it that far), but I get the sense Arkansas might have lost an Elite Eight game to the national champion again.
Have seen Miami some and very little of Villanova and Kansas. But have seen almost every game UNC has played, and Duke a lot. Is it fair to think that Duke is the best team left in the Tournament? Probably yes. But only probably. And if Duke plays UNC? Duke overwhelmed UNC in Chapel Hill. But UNC overwhelmed Duke in Cameron. Bacot and Manek for UNC are a good counter for Banchero and Williams for Duke, foul trouble permitting. If Duke’s guards play great as they did in Chapel Hill, they win. If UNC’s guards play great as they did in Cameron, they win. Sure, Duke has motivation to revenge the game in Cameron, but if they are better than UNC, it’s not by much, and you don’t think the greatest rivalry in college sports and the opportunity to send Coach K packing is not motivation enough for UNC? Plus it is the frickin’ (to quote Roy Williams) NCAA Semifinals. My only concern for either winner is getting over the emotional high of beating your big rival in such a crucial game. Good thing the next game is for the National Championship, hard to not get excited about that.
But this is all academic if UNC does not beat St. Peter’s.
Coach K was saying it was on him, they were distracted by the last game farewell tour. Jimmy and Joes beat you and Duke has serious talent and more on bench. Coach K used zone twice in last two games at the right time. Very well coached team. He adjusted well after the first five minutes of game on their shot selection and continued to during the game. No offense to our small guard but when he had to go in due to foul trouble , I knew that it would only take one possession before Duke was attacking him without abandon. That is what good coaches and teams do. Jalin matched their Jimmy and Joes and you as coach have to live with that outcome but it takes more than two or three to win in the tournament. I think Duke will be motivated for North Carolina if that happens again. My $ would be on Coach K.
I pretty much agree with all of your very interesting and well informed comments. And I know if Duke plays UNC, the Blue Devils will be very motivated by the thrashing the Tar Heels gave them in Durham at Coach K’s final game in Cameron. Nevertheless, I think UNC matches up well with Duke, and although I am not a betting man, I would take that bet, Duke is hardly a cinch.
I said all along we did not match up well with Duke, we do not have two big men, and either Banchero or their Williams would hurt us. And as great as Coach M is, and he doesn’t take a back seat to Coach K or anyone IMHO, just one day to prepare for a team like Duke is a little much to ask. Unfortunately I was right. But we played hard, Jaylin played phenomenal, and regardless of that outcome we are an excellent team. Beat the top #1 seed, beat #1 Auburn, beat Kentucky, beat Tennessee. We’re really good. It took awhile for Coach K to win his first National Championship. A long time to reach a Final Four, and many times reaching the Final Four before he won the whole thing. Same wIth Dean Smith. Neither supposedly could win the big one. It will happen.
Last night was not the end but the beginning for the Hogs. We have a national brand again and Muss will refine and define the talent upward like he has since getting here. We will own the SEC and push deeper into the tourney as long as he is our coach. Great days ahead for our team and fans.