As Duke continues to improve after a rough start to their ACC play, the spotlight turns from Jabari Parker and the players to their head coach, the true star of this program for over 30 years, Mike Krzyzewski, presiding over the 900th win for the program since he took over.
Duke beat Florida State 78-56, improving to 5-2 in the ACC this season, winning four consecutive games (none of them coming against ranked teams). At the moment #18 in the nation despite only one high-profile win all season and a few losses some might consider embarrassing, their next two road games against Pitt and Syracuse are going to be very telling of just how overrated or underrated (there’s also an in between people like to ignore) this team really is.
Krzyzewski joins Jim Boeheim (Syracuse) as the only head coach in D-I men’s basketball with 900 wins or more with the same school. Boeheim is 19-0 this season with Syracuse, improving his all-time record to 939–314 (winning 74.9% of his games with the Orange). He’s been coaching Syracuse since 1976. Krzyzewski has been the Duke head coach since 1980, and has a 900-242 record, winning 78.8% of his games.
That’s a lot of wins. I thank Duke for keeping me. I’ve been blessed with being at one of the greatest schools in the world. Great schools don’t necessarily always have great people in command. This school has. We have a good thing going here and I’ve been blessed to be here for over three decades and take advantage of that.
Duke have won four national championships with Krzyzewski at the helm (1991, 1992, 2001, 2010), making the NCAA tournament for the last 18 consecutive seasons. They’ve lost more than 10 regular season games only twice since 1984, and haven’t been defeated more than five times in the conference since 2007.
Rodney Hood come off the bench to score 18 points and lead Duke, followed by Parker with 14 points and 14 rebounds on only 3-of-13 from the field. Andre Dawkins scored 11 points in 11 minutes while Rasheed Sulaimon added 11 more off the bench in a comfortable win that didn’t expose Duke’s biggest problem: stopping teams from scoring on them in the paint.
They’ve allowed 33.7 paint points per game, most in the ACC and sixth most among major conference teams; their opponents score 50% of their points in the paint, the second-highest percentage among major conference teams. However, despite their rebounding problems this season, against Florida State they turned a new leaf (or maybe it was just a one time thing), grabbing 26 offensive rebounds, which is the most a Duke team has pulled off since Nov. 20, 2004.
Is this a season that goes down in history for Coach K and his players for more than just his incredible milestone? Up until now we haven’t seen anything too special from a team that might be as talented as anyone else in the nation but has a couple of major flaws that usually get in the way of real success. But good teams and good coaches get over these issues, learning from them as the season progresses. Playing five of the next seven games on the road – two ranked teams and UNC in that mix, is going to be the best indicator of where all of this is going.