“I Just Feel So Good About My Guys”| Coach K Continues Fairytale Ending, Reaches Record 13th Final Four

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

When Mike Krzyzewski announced the 2021 season would be his final one stalking the sidelines in Durham, many in the basketball community wondered if his Blue Devils could send him out the way the UCLA Bruins sent the “Wizard of Westwood,” aka John Wooden, out to end his illustrious coaching career — with a championship.

Throughout the season, the young Blue Devils showed the talent to do so, but also the immaturity that made folks question the team’s ability to make a run to New Orleans.

The Blue Devils won what many considered a watered-down ACC, and because of that, ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg said he didn’t expect Coach K’s final NCAA tourney run to end well. These comments came following Duke being blown out in the ACC championship game by underdog Virginia Tech.

‘I Don’t See It Going Well’ |Seth Greenberg Doesn’t Think Duke Can Retire Coach K With NCAA Title

Fast forward to March 26 in San Francisco, California, and the Blue Devils are just two wins away from a fairytale ending for the winningest college coach in hoops history.
With their Elite Eight win over Arkansas, Duke punched its ticket to its 13th Final Four under Coach K, as he surpassed Wooden for most appearances in the Final Four all-time. Coach K has been ecstatic about his young team’s growth and maturity throughout the tourney. You can see how he’s reveling in the moment and the basketball gods seem to be giving him the ending you only see in movies.
“I just feel so good about my guys,” said Coach K after Saturday’s victory over the Razorbacks. “In this tournament my team has just played such good basketball, and in pressure situations. I mean, they were a close team before the NCAAs, but during these last four games they have been terrific. I’m so proud of you guys and happy for you. You crossed the bridge, man, and we beat an outstanding team.
Arkansas plays outstanding defense. At the start of the game they knocked us back. We responded pretty well. Then in the start of the second half, I thought they took control of the game, and we were not playing well, but they were making us not play well, and it got down to five.
At that timeout our guys really organized offensively. We scored on four or five straight.”

The Blue Devils began to really gel in their last three games. They trailed by five points to Michigan State but finished the game on a 18-6 run to win 83-76. In that game they used the bruising but nimble Banchero on every late-game possession, and he paid dividends. He either exploited the mismatch or found an open teammate when they doubled.

Duke then proceeded to knock off two of the best defensive teams in the nation in No. 1 Texas Tech and No. 9 Arkansas. They did it with crisp passing, shot-making, and a concerted effort to play through Banchero, who’s likely to be the No.1 overall pick in the upcoming NBA draft.

He and junior center Mark Williams, the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, have given Coach K a real defensive wall around the rim.

The Blue Devils have the look to cut down the nets in New Orleans. Their roster has its roles defined, and with their size, talent and leadership they have a great shot at winning it all. Coach K couldn’t ask for a better ending so far and regardless of the outcome he’s gotten a chance to coach at the highest level in the sport at least one more game. His fashionable farewell has already been solidified.