Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

March Madness

Coach K deflects spotlight as Duke preps for Texas Tech

Coach K deflects spotlight as Duke preps for Texas Tech

Every contest is potentially the final time Mike Krzyzewski coaches a basketball game.

The second-seeded Blue Devils will look to extend his career while third-seeded Texas Tech will seek to get Coach K started on his retirement when the teams meet in the West Regional semifinals on Thursday night in San Francisco.

Duke (30-6) is in the Sweet 16 for the 28th time as a program and Krzyzewski is looking for his 100th NCAA Tournament victory. He has won a record 1,200 overall games in 47 seasons (42 at Duke) as he heads down the home stretch of his career.

“The 1,200 wins is substantial,” Krzyzewski said. “Obviously, it’s a lot of wins. But it’s a lot of wins against quality competition, and that’s what I’m most proud of. It’s not just the number of wins, it’s the competition that we’ve had in order to win.”

Krzyzewski, 75, is attempting to downplay the focus on himself, though he fully understands the situation. He is looking to go out in style with his sixth national championship and his first since 2015.

He is also two victories away from reaching his 13th Final Four.

“I’m not playing games,” Krzyzewski said. “But I’m proud of the fact that we’ve been there for four decades, that we’re at least knocking on the door. Five times the door let us completely in.

“I got guys who want to win, and our goal is to win the whole thing all the time, even if we’re young. So it says a lot for the caliber of player that I’ve coached. Like these guys, they’re good players, but they’re really good guys.”

First-year Texas Tech coach Mark Adams gets the opportunity to be the spoiler and become the answer to a trivia question: “Which coach beat Duke in Coach K’s final game?”

It’s an interesting situation for Adams, who has long admired Krzyzewski.

“He’s always been a mentor of mine, someone I looked up to,” Adams said. “Not only is he a great coach, but a great person. Just done so much for basketball and he’s built a program which we all admire and respect.”

Adams became Red Raiders coach after Chris Beard took the Texas gig and Texas Tech (27-9) didn’t miss a beat.

The Red Raiders routed Montana State and rallied to beat Notre Dame to reach the Sweet 16 for the fifth time, three of them coming since 2018. In fact, Texas Tech is a stellar 11-3 over the past four NCAA Tournaments.

The Red Raiders displayed their resiliency against Notre Dame by closing the game with a 10-1 run over the final 1:56.

“We want to be the hardest playing team out there always,” Texas Tech guard Kevin McCullar said. “We’re glad to be still playing in the Sweet 16. I know at the beginning of the year no one even picked us or ranked us. We’re trying to prove people wrong and keep advancing as a family.”

McCullar and Bryson Williams each scored 14 against Notre Dame, while Kevin Obanor stood out with 15 points and 15 rebounds.

After allowing an average of 57.5 points in its two NCAA wins, Texas Tech will need another stellar showing against Duke, which defeated Cal State Fullerton and Michigan State to reach this stage.

Freshman star Paolo Banchero had 19 points and seven rebounds in the win over Michigan State. Mark Williams added 15 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots.

Williams, who has 104 blocks on the season, is the first player in Duke history to have five rejections in back-to-back NCAA tourney games. He also had five against Cal State Fullerton.

The Blue Devils average 80.3 points per game on the season.

Duke won the lone previous meeting, 69-58 on Dec. 20, 2018, at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

PlayAction Podcast

SGPN | The Propcast | Week 4 NFL Player Props

NFL

Munaf Manji (@SportsNerd824) & Rod Villagomez (@rjvillagomez) of @TheSGPNetwork offer 5 player props each for Week 4.

SGPN | NFL Week 4 Afternoon Games & SNF Betting Preview
SGPN | NFL Week 4 Afternoon Games & SNF Betting Preview

NFL

The @SGPNNFL Pod covers the Week 4 late games as @SportsNerd824 & @ReichelRadio break down all four, including Tampa Bay & Kansas City.

SGPN | NFL Week 4 Picks
SGPN | NFL Week 4 Picks

NFL

The @GamblingPodcast guys pick every week 4 NFL game against the spread, including two locks, a ML dog and a three-team teaser

JetNation | Zach to Return vs Steelers
JetNation | Zach to Return vs Steelers

NFL

This week, @JetNation hosts Dylan Tereman & Glenn Naughton break down the Bengals loss, the return of QB Zach Wilson & the Steelers game.

SGPN | Diehard Eagles | Jaguars-Eagles Predictions
SGPN | Diehard Eagles | Jaguars-Eagles Predictions

NFL

The @DiehardEagles52 guys talk Philly's win over Wentz & WAS, Hurts' domination, rising expectations, 2nd half struggles,& picks vs JAX

Inside Pack Sports Live | NC State-Clemson Preview
Inside Pack Sports Live | NC State-Clemson Preview

NCAAF

The @InsidePackSport staff looks at tonight's NC State-Clemson showdown, matchups on both sides of the ball, key players & much more!

Buckeye Huddle | Is Michigan Football On Upset Alert & More
Buckeye Huddle | Is Michigan Football On Upset Alert & More

NCAAF

Tony Gerdeman of @BuckeyeHuddle joins host Tom Orr to break down Michigan-Iowa and the rest of this week’s biggest college football games.

SGPN | College Football Experience | Navy-Air Force Preview
SGPN | College Football Experience | Navy-Air Force Preview

NCAAF

SGPN's @TCEonSGPN previews Navy & Air Force. @TheColbyD is joined by AFA specialist @Falcon8fan of @HistoryFalcon to break it down.

SGPN | College Football Experience | Washington-UCLA Preview
SGPN | College Football Experience | Washington-UCLA Preview

NCAAF

SGPN's @TCEonSGPN previews Friday's Washington-UCLA game. @TheColbyD & @Scott_Bowser discuss whether Chip Kelly and UCLA will move to 5-0.