Duke basketball players defy head coach Mike Krzyzewski

Duke basketball (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports) /

Duke basketball players defied their head coach on Monday night. 

Mike Krzyzewski knew his Duke basketball team wasn’t good enough just to show up to the Watsco Center and defeat the Miami Hurricanes (7-10, 3-9 ACC) on Monday night.

He told his team that much. The Hall of Famer explained that the Blue Devils (7-6, 5-4 ACC) needed to play better than they did against Georgia Tech and Clemson.

But the team thought it knew better than the Hall of Famer, did not listen, and suffered a potentially unrepairable loss against the ‘Canes.

Following the 77-75 defeat, Wendell Moore virtually spoke to the media and had this to say about why the team struggled offensively:

“Coach [Krzyzewski] was really on us from the jump about how important this game was to us and about how important the game was to our program. I feel like just the whole team, we didn’t approach it the way we should. As a team, when you don’t approach it like that, outcomes like this happen.”

Duke bought into the hype.

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The Blue Devils thought they were back to a National Championship contender, as many thought they were before opening night, and they could not have been more wrong.

But Moore doubled-down on the team’s mentality entering the game and how the players didn’t listen to the coaching staff:

“Coach [Krzyzewski] was on us all week about it, making sure that this wouldn’t happen, and exactly what he said shouldn’t happen is what happened today.”

And the sophomore forward tripled-down on his criticism of the team after the crushing loss and what Krzyzewski said to the team after the game:

“His message was really that we didn’t listen to him, and he was right. As a team, we didn’t listen to the scouting report that they came in for us. Not just [from] a personnel standpoint, but from a standpoint where we needed to be hungry.”

Duke basketball head coach upset with his team, and rightly so

The Blue Devils lost five games to respectable teams, Michigan State (at the time of the game), Illinois, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh, and Louisville.

All those teams were trending toward the NCAA Tournament at one point.

Miami was not a respectable team, and that can be said on social media among fans, but it shouldn’t be the mentality of a team who cannot afford a loss trying to make the NCAA Tournament.

Krzyzewski knew what was going to happen, he tried to warn his team, and after a loss where he was fired up on the sidelines and in the locker room, he threw his team under the bus, as he should.

“I’m disappointed in our team. It was a quick turnaround. We had two really good games, and we acted like a really young team,” the disappointed head coach said in speaking to the media postgame.

Coach K quickly caught himself when he was about to say that Miami wasn’t that great of a team but then praised head coach Jim Larranaga by calling his team “talented.”

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“I didn’t think we competed. I thought we were soft, and I saw it in practice yesterday and tried to take steps to change that, and we were not able to change it. I’m really disappointed in our team. They did not play like a Duke basketball team tonight, and obviously, I’m responsible for that,” Krzyzewski said.

But he shouldn’t be responsible. He cannot go out on the court and play the game. He cannot send Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith out there.

This loss is on the players and not the coaches, but the 73-year-old continued to scrutinize his team.

“We were very soft and just extremely disappointed, extremely disappointed,” a distant difference from Krzyzewski’s upbeat, positive, encouraging self after Duke’s previous losses.

Time is running out for the Blue Devils as Duke is on the outside looking in of the Big Dance.

Hopefully, Mike Krzyzewski’s players will listen to him in preparation for Saturday’s rivalry game against the North Carolina Tar Heels (11-5, 6-3 ACC) inside Cameron Indoor Stadium.

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