Duke makes sure Coach K’s farewell tour starts off on a high note with impressive opening win vs. Kentucky

NEW YORK — At every other sport, in every other yr, followers who come to an area to look at Duke play would not lay eyes on Mike Krzyzewski till a couple of minutes earlier than the beginning lineups had been introduced. That is customary. However at this sport, on this yr, the winningest coach in Division I historical past really walked to mid-court right here inside Madison Sq. Backyard 90 minutes sooner than regular in order that he may very well be publicly honored by ESPN at halftime of the Champions Traditional opener between Kansas and Michigan State.

That was the primary signal this was a special deal,.

Coach Ok has spent principally each week since he introduced his plan to retire on the finish of this season explaining how he would not waste a lot time specializing in the tip of his legendary profession. And I am positive that is his intention. But it surely’s been clear for months, and it was plain Tuesday evening, that Krzyzewski’s so-called “Farewell Tour” would be the dominant storyline of this season no matter whether or not he needs it to be or not. It is unavoidable and in your face — a lot in order that at halftime of Duke’s eventual 79-71 season-opening victory over Kentucky, the in-house televisions at MSG aired what amounted to a pre-taped Zoom name of John Calipari, Tom Izzo and Invoice Self casually discussing Krzyzewski’s affect on the game.

It appeared to go on without end.

When it was lastly over, Duke took over.

The Blue Devils opened the second half on a 30-19 run and constructed a 15-point lead that they by no means utterly relinquished, partially as a result of their most high-profile freshman, Paolo Banchero, regarded each bit the a part of anyone who looks as if the main candidate to be the primary general decide of the 2022 NBA Draft. The 6-foot-10, 250-pound ahead did things men his size don’t normally do (as a result of they can not). He took 11 pictures, made seven of them and completed with 22 factors, seven rebounds and two steals.

“I believe an enormous factor for Paolo is how robust and comfy he’s with the ball,” Krzyzewski stated. “To have his dimension and [and skill], it is simply distinctive. And he is obtained a great head. He is obtained good mother and father. They raised him onerous.”

I wrote a column that published Monday night wherein I made the purpose that there is nothing loopy about pondering Krzyzewski’s ultimate sport on the sideline may are available New Orleans within the Last 4, and what occurred Tuesday evening solely strengthened that perception. Duke regarded larger, extra gifted, and simply usually higher than Kentucky, and it is a Kentucky workforce that was lately picked to win the SEC. Kentucky just isn’t dangerous as a lot as Duke is simply actually good, a preseason top-10 which may’ve been underrated. Sure, the nation’s top-ranked recruiting class, based on 247Sports, belonged to a different faculty (Memphis), and the nation’s top-ranked prospect (Chet Holmgren), based on 247Sports, enrolled at one other faculty (Gonzaga). However Duke was nonetheless the one program, based on 247Sports, to enroll three five-star prospects.

That confirmed up towards UK.

5-star freshman AJ Griffin, who was sidelined for a part of the preseason with a knee harm, solely performed 10 minutes. However Duke’s different five-star freshman, Trevor Keels, completed with a game-high 25 factors due to a 10-of-18 capturing efficiency in 34 minutes on the courtroom. If Banchero lived as much as the hype, it was Keels who exceeded all cheap expectations.

“Trevor is a superb participant,” Krzyzewski stated. “He weighs 230 kilos and if he was a operating again he would know the way to decide holes like. … He would not cost very a lot as a result of he is so low and has nice physique management. For 3 straight years, he was most likely the perfect participant within the DC space.”

Subsequent up for Duke is six straight whatever-games it’s going to use to develop chemistry and get Griffin extra comfy upfront of a showdown with top-ranked Gonzaga that is scheduled for the day after Thanksgiving. So we should not see the Blue Devils get examined for the following couple of weeks. However on Tuesday evening, right here on the opening evening of Coach Ok’s ultimate season, they had been examined they usually aced it.

They weren’t good. However they had been spectacular. They usually confirmed, fairly clearly, that they are ok to compete for what could be the sixth title of their coach’s Corridor of Fame profession.

“We’re an incredible workforce,” Banchero stated. “We’ll play collectively. We’ll play onerous all 40 minutes. And, yeah, I imply, we will play like Duke.”

https://www.cbssports.com/college-basketball/information/duke-makes-sure-coach-ks-farewell-tour-starts-off-on-a-high-note-with-impressive-opening-win-vs-kentucky/ | Duke makes positive Coach Ok’s farewell tour begins off on a excessive observe with spectacular opening win vs. Kentucky


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