Coach K breaks down Duke basketball loss to NC State in Elite 8

The legendary Blue Devil head coach didn't have many answers for the end of the season
North Carolina v Duke; Former Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski and point guard Jeremy Roach
North Carolina v Duke; Former Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski and point guard Jeremy Roach / Grant Halverson/GettyImages

Mike Krzyzewski, the greatest coach in college basketball, didn't have many answers when trying to break down the Duke basketball loss to NC State in the Elite 8 of the NCAA Tournament.

"I felt we should've been up more [at halftime]. I felt we were playing better, we were 9-for-9 from the free throw line," he said on his SiriusXM radio show, Basketball & Beyond with Coach K, this week.

The Hall of Famer said the Blue Devils should have been up double figures instead of just six points, 27-21. Duke's largest lead of the first half was nine, but it could not find a way to make baskets and extend its advantage before halftime.

That was the biggest warning sign to Krzyzewski that the outcome might not be in the favor of his former team.

"The thing I worried about was [DJ] Horne. He's been a hot player and he didn't hit anything in the first half -- he hit a bank shot," he explained. "A bank shot 3-pointer, but then in the second half, they continued to play really good defense and their offense exploded."

The Wolfpack would score 55 points in the second half, making 73-percent of its shots, compared to just 26-percent in the first half while Duke continued to struggle, shooting 31-percent in the first half and 33-percent in the second half.

"To say we were just not hitting [shots], you're just not giving credit to State's defense," Coach K said. "State has improved so much defensively."

It was the second time during the postseason that NC State defeated Duke, eliminating the Blue Devils from the ACC Tournament with an upset victory in the quarterfinals.

Duke won the only matchup between the two local rivals during the regular season, which was held in early March, in Raleigh.

"They outplayed us in the second half...[Jared] McCain was our only offense. For our perimeter not to hit, that hurts us."

McCain had 32 points in the loss while Tyrese Proctor was scoreless on nine shot attempts and Jeremy Roach had 13 points on just 5-of-13 shooting.

"We had a great year to get to the Elite 8," Krzyzewski concluded.

Duke has won an ACC Tournament Championship and advanced to an Elite 8 in the first two seasons under Jon Scheyer and will have National Championship aspirations again next season with the top ranked freshmen class entering Durham, led by the country's top prospect Cooper Flagg.