Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski comes under fire after loss

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Getty Images)
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Getty Images) /

Following the Duke basketball loss against Illinois, head coach Mike Krzyzewski came under scrutiny.

Through four games, the Duke basketball program is sitting at .500 on the season with two losses coming against Top-10 programs at home.

The most recent defeat came at the hands of No. 6 Illinois, 83-68, and the postgame press conference has Mike Krzyzewski in the crosshairs of many college basketball fans and Duke haters.

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When asked about playing college basketball amid the raging pandemic, the Hall of Famer gave a detailed response on how he thinks the situation needs to be “reassessed”:

This comes months after Krzyzewski said on Keyshawn, JWIll & Zubin via ESPN Radio that “the thing that the NCAA is most concerned about because men’s college basketball and the tournament pays for something like…it produces 98% or more of the money for the NCAA. We need to have the tournament. We can’t have it two years in a row you don’t have the NCAA Tournament.”

Krzyzewski also spearheaded a group of ACC coaches hoping the NCAA would allow all eligible Division I teams in the 2020-21 NCAA Tournament, given the anticipated stoppages and pauses throughout the season.

What to make of the Duke basketball head coach’s comments

Many people are chalking this up to, “oh well, Duke is 2-2 and isn’t good this season, and Coach K wants to cancel the season.”

And while that is fair, it should be known that Krzyzewski was asked about this topic in his postgame press conference and did not go on a self-induced tangent.

Is anything Krzyzewski said in his five-minute statement wrong? No.

Does he give the same answer if Duke is 4-0 instead of 2-2? Probably not.

It’s a catch-22 wherever you land on Mike Krzyzewski’s statement and try and defend, or criticize, his comments.

It’s the same way college football, college basketball, and the NFL are operating as the NCAA and National Football League are worried about how much money they can make during these seasons rather than the health, mental and physical, and safety of the players and coaches.

Every time Mike Krzyzewski steps out of his home and travels to Duke this season, he’s risking his life.

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Coach K, 73, is at an age where he is at risk for a serious illness if he contracts the virus.

Now, CBS Sports insider Jon Rothstein will tell you how almost 90 percent of men’s college basketball programs are up and running in the midst of a pandemic. And Fox Sports contributor Clay Travis will spew some nonsense about the survival rate of contracting the coronavirus and how Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim, 76, and Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, 65, have returned to coaching after testing positive with the virus.

Both are factual statements, and it’s great that college basketball is taking place. It’s a blessing that Boeheim and Izzo have recovered and are back to work.

But what about the stories you do not hear, like Seton Hall women’s head coach Tony Bozzella, 55, being hospitalized with the virus as his team began its season on Tuesday afternoon.

Instead of being a decisive nation, where fans love to rip and criticize Coach K, we need to show compassion to a head coach responsible for the health and well-being of 14 players who cannot return home to be with their families during the Christmas holiday.

Duke University has been at the forefront of an excellent response to the pandemic with no positive tests within its athletic program to date.

The Blue Devils and Mike Krzyzewski will continue to “plow through” just like the NCAA wants them to do.

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