Duke’s victory over Kentucky kicks off Coach K’s farewell tour

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Will it point the way to a sixth and final title?

Will it point the way to a sixth and final title?
Image: Getty Images

College basketball is back in all its shocking glory. The opening night saw n. 17 Ohio state that THIS comes close to dropping one in Akron, the Navy beats the No. 25 Virginia out of nowhere, and a fun Top-10 matchup between No. 10 Kentucky and No. 9 Duke kicks off the biggest story of this season:

The Coach Krzyzewski-palooza Farewell Tour Extravaganza On Wheels.

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski announced earlier this year that the 2021-22 season will be his last with the Blue Devils, having coached the team at five NCAA and 15 ACC championships. It would not be an exaggeration to say that he is the best known and currently active figure in the world of college basketball, and will be treated as such as the NCAA and Duke prepare to greet with what is shaping up to be a season-long tribute to his contributions. to sport. If all goes according to plan, it will end up on the guidelines in New Orleans in March. The college basketball gods are a fickle bunch with an excellent sense of humor, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

Freshmen Trevor Keels and Paolo Banchero were the stars of the camp last night, beacons of hope after a disastrous 13-11 season that left the Blue Devils watching the Big Dance from their couches – not quite their usual spot, let alone say more. But obviously they were not, and will not be, the main story of the evening, despite Banchero being screened as the no. 1 NBA draft pick for 2022.

No, the man of the moment was given a plaque honoring his achievements at Madison Square Garden center court before Duke broke the news at the Champions Classic with a convincing win over John Calipari’s Wildcats. At half-time at Madison Square Garden, the screens lit up with the faces of legendary coaches including Calipari and Tom Izzo arguing Krzyzewski’s impact.

The spotlight will no doubt be on Duke this year, with narration centered around the main character in his latest attempt to find that ever-elusive March glory. John Wooden was able to come out in a championship, but he didn’t even announce to his UCLA squad that he would be retiring until they made their way to the finals. One wonders if the latest race craze and pressure for a storybook ending will affect this team’s performance in the future. Coach K is a sports legend either way (as he’ll be slammed in our faces during nearly every Duke’s televised game this season), but the concept of a farewell tour with such a precarious ending , especially after the Blue Devils’ performance last year, it looks like it could, only possibly, be fit for disaster.

Assistant coach Jon Scheyer, whom Coach K has designated as his successor to reign over the Duke basketball realm, has already taken on recruiting responsibilities for the team. While 75-year-old Krzyzewski has attempted to keep the team’s media coverage away from him, it will be next to impossible, as his name has become synonymous with the Blue Devils basketball success. It’s the beginning of the end of an era here, and if they can continue playing like they did last night, this team might be able to knock Coach K out with six.

Meanwhile, the fun never stops in college circles. Several other Top 25 teams are still playing against each other this week. On Friday we will have another top 10 matchup between No. 4 Villanova and n. 2 UCLA, and Saturday n. 1 Gonzaga faces n. 5 Texas. We leave for the races.

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