Ex-rival praises Duke basketball leader Mike Krzyzewski for unique idea

Duke basketball (Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball (Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports) /

A former rival of Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke basketball program recently praised the head coach.

When you do not have to compete against Mike Krzyzewski and his Duke basketball program, you can praise the Blue Devils all you want.

Considered as the voice of college basketball by many, Krzyzewski and the rest of the ACC men’s basketball head coaches voiced their opinion that all Division I college basketball teams should make the 2021 NCAA Tournament given the uncertainty of the season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Many met the announcement with criticism, but one former rival of Krzyzewski thinks the Hall of Famer put together a great idea.

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“You really can’t prepare for disruptions. I thought Coach K and the ACC coaches came out with something really creative with every team making the tournament. I think that would be a tremendous shot in the arm for college basketball going into March,” new Iona head coach Rick Pitino said during his video press conference at MAAC media day.

“It was shot down immediately, and I think that was a big mistake. I think we really missed the boat on that one.”

Pitino last coached against Krzyzewski in 2017 prior to his termination from the University of Louisville, where he had been the head coach since the 2001-02 season.

Duke basketball head coach knows what is at stake

One of the main reasons why Mike Krzyzewski advocated for an all-inclusive NCAA Tournament is because he knows the NCAA, its schools, and programs cannot afford to miss another March Madness, like what happened in 2020.

The NCAA shortened the college basketball season, and teams only have to play in 13 regular season games to be under consideration for the 68-team field in March.

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Putting all 346 eligible teams in the NCAA Tournament would have been one of the most exciting and unique experiences for each program, and it would give the teams that did not have the chance to compete in the tournament in 2020 the chance to redeem themselves in 2021 despite losing its senior core.

Duke opens its season on November 25 at Cameron Indoor Stadium against Gardner-Webb as the Blue Devils look to win the program’s sixth National Championship.

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