Duke basketball: Ad puts added pressure on Coach K

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

‘Tis the season for the Duke basketball program’s seasoned overseer to fill millions of TV screens during timeouts of every NCAA Tournament game, but will the exposure this year just wind up as fodder for wisecracks?

Judging from past March Madness viewing experiences, the latest Capital One commercial featuring Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (as seen below) is likely to air somewhere in the order of five krzyzillion times across the next five weeks.

Don’t blame the advertiser. Look, whether your lenses view it as that of a rat or that of a demigod — there seems to be no in-between — Krzyzewski’s face has long been the most recognizable in college hoops.

Besides, the fact that, per Sports Media Watch, Duke’s past three National Championship Game appearances (2001, 2010, 2015) account for the three most-watched this century is evidence that Coach K’s players and teams typically blow away the competition in terms of intrigue.

Of course, being the game’s all-time wins leader and a five-time net-cutter in April — as you’re about to find out, that’s a count even the most casual of fans across America shall soon have no choice but to know by heart — brings gobs of scrutiny from all sides.

ALSO READ: Revolving door to Coach K’s doghouse impedes individual growth

While Coach K is obviously accustomed to the excess amounts of love and hate hurled his way, depending on what transpires this month, he could break a personal record for received attention in light of his latest endorsement gig:

Win or lose, that five-time “five times” reminder from Coach K in the above clip, which some will immediately interpret as an arrogant 73-year-old living in the past and which others will describe as a charming bit by an icon, stands to trend on social media and might become the source of countless memes.

Unfortunately for Duke basketball faithful, entering the month that the ad will primarily air, the Blue Devils (23-6, 13-5 ACC) are on the heels of Saturday night’s 52-50 loss at Virginia, marking the third defeat in four games, all to unranked teams.

ALSO READ: Coach K did what Virginia needed him to do

In other words, if the recent shortcomings are indeed telling of what’s to come, then the jokesters are likely to derive one-liners about the commercial from what would conveniently be some timely material: five times in a row a Coach K squad with five or so five-stars failed to reach the Final Four.

But will the 40th-year Duke basketball legend even feel the weight of the added pressure that the ad is sure to create? Probably not (though he does seem a touch more sensitive to fan-chatter these days). How about his current players? Considering their relative youth, maybe a little.

ALSO READ: The 100 greatest Blue Devils under Coach K

Meanwhile, Duke basketball supporters must be thinking that should the Blue Devils fall in the Big Dance’s first weekend — a legit possibility, to say the least — the incessant sight of this commercial and the resulting jabs from haters would sting like the dickens.

On the other hand, should the team somehow manage to right the ship just in time for a title run, some folks will no doubt start bickering about the “ratface” gaining an unfair recruiting advantage from the 30-second spot, in which case tears from these rivals would be easy pickings.

No in-between with this one.

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