Duke, Louisville to give preview of ACC's future
Posted March 30, 2013
Rick Pitino on the opposite bench from Mike Krzyzewski in a battle of Louisville and Duke.
It's a look into the future of the ACC, as the Cards are set to join the league in 2014. Krzyzewski said when all of the new teams join the ACC, "It makes us the most powerful basketball conference, I think, ever."
Duke and Louisville met in November in the championship game of the Battle for Atlantis. The Blue Devils won 76-71, finding a way to solve the Cards all-out pressure. Louisville's shot blocking machine, Gorgui Dieng, didn't play in that game.
"The fact that we won I don't think is significant," Krzyzewski said. "The fact that we have some familiarity with them helps."
In the short time to prepare to play Louisville here in Indianapolis, having that in-person scouting report will help both teams. Duke guard Quinn Cook said it is beneficial that he was able to see how Cardinal guards Russ Smith and Peyton Siva like to come off of ball screens and to experience how hostile and aggressive Louisville's pressure is.
Krzyzewski had high praise for the Louisville back court, but said they were different than the Miami duo of Shane Larkin and Durand Scott. Miami's guards play more of a half court game. He said Siva and Smith "put incredible pressure on you, the whole court, both offensively and defensively."
"There's not a better transition guard in the country as Smith," Krzyzewski added.
Poise was a word used quite a bit by the Blue Devils when asked about facing Louisville's pressing defense. Duke has enough guys who can handle the ball, and Ryan Kelly is a smart inbounder.
But there's not one second that they can relax. When you do, that's when the Cardinals get one of their 18.8 turnovers they produce per game. Friday night against Louisville, Oregon turned it over only 12 times, which prompted Pitino to say," We didn't play a stitch of defense last night, so we're well rested."
Sunday's regional final matchup will be the first NCAA tournament game that Pitino and Krzyzewski have faced each other since Christian Laettner's shot beat Kentucky in the 1992 NCAA regional finals in Philadelphia. That game is one of Mike Krzyzewski's 11 regional final wins against just one loss.
A win over Louisville would put Coach K in his 12th Final Four, which would tie the NCAA record held by the great John Wooden.
"Coach Wooden, I felt, was the greatest teacher of any sport of any game," Pitino said. "And Coach K is the modern-day John Wooden."
High praise and mutual respect from two programs that will see a lot of each other in the coming years.