From the beginning of the season Mike Krzyzewski has been laying the groundwork for an early NCAA Tournament exit. It didn’t Duke losing to Oregon any less joyful to people making memes.
Duke looked bad as they ran into a number one seed and a team from an actually good conference, compared to not too impressive wins against UNC Wilmington and Yale. Suddenly Brandon Ingram isn’t enough and Grayson Allen isn’t that special. The Ducks might be the only Pac-12 team left, but they got the number one seed for a reason, and looked like the deserving team for the Elite Eight spot from the first moment they took the floor.
This was a tough season by Duke standards. They weren’t close to competing in the ACC (7 conference losses) and the burden of being defending NCAA champions was a bit much. Krzyzewski himself seemed a bit strung out in the press conference before the game, letting a question he didn’t like get to him. He has too good of a record for anyone to question him, but he is also to blame for this disappointing season, although it’s only natural a basketball team will go through some underachieving stretches.
The two most hated teams in college basketball, Duke and Kentucky, are out of the picture earlier than expected. Someone knew what he was doing by giving them a #4 seed and nothing more, even though their head coaches expect that their history alone, and not their regular season, should count for a better seed. In Duke’s case, a very limited team on both ends of the floor, it would have only made the exit more painful.
Dillon Brooks, the Oregon sophomore who also led the team in scoring, said that after the game Coach K told him he’s too good of a player to be showing off like he did, although Krzyzewski denied ever saying that to him. Brooks engaged in some trash talking with Duke players during the game, and it appeared like some of the things he said frustrated Coach K. The video shows Brooks saying “I’m sorry, my bad” during the handshakes, so Krzyzewski’s denial doesn’t really seem too strong of an argument.