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Mar
28
2015

Mike Krzyzewski and Rick Pitino on the verge of reaching another Final 4.

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Mike Krzyzewski and Duke were expected to reach the Elite 8, but that doesn’t make their run through the NCAAs any less meaningful. Ask top 2 seeds Kansas and Villanova if a high seed guarantees an Elite 8. Duke was in no position to assume they’d make the Elite 8 either, after getting bounced in the NCAA tournament before Elite 8 the  three out of the last four years.

Now after beating Utah in the Sweet 16, Mike Krzyzewski has the opportunity to reach his mind-boggling 12th Final 4.

The Blue Devils face a very dangerous Gonzaga squad. Mark Few’s Gonzaga team was the only team in Duke’s region that I felt was capable of beating the Blue Devils. Here is what should be an encouraging  thought for Duke fans. Duke beat Utah 63-57 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicated. The Blue Devils were in control most of the way, and defeated the Utes with often Jahlil Okafor struggling to get open.

Duke definitely did not play anywhere near their best. Gonzaga won’t be as fortunate to get an uneven performance against Duke. Krzyzewski has managed to get his team to play it’s best defense of the year in March. I told you before the tournament started that Duke was Final 4 bound, and I still believe that.

When you look at Louisville, they were not supposed reach the Elite 8. Rick Pitino has been a magician during this tournament coaxing a team that many thought could be out the first weekend to the Elite 8. Louisville knocked off NC State Friday 75-65, and like Krzyzewski got his to play some of it’s best basketball of the season. Coach K did it on Defense for his team, and Pitino has the Cardinals playing their best offense since the departure of guard Chris Jones. That’s what Hall of Fame coaches do though, and that’s what these 2 coaches are.

Pitino is now looking possibly at his 8th Final Four, and that’s with multiple stints in the NBA. Now Louisville faces another March Madness wizard Michigan State’s Tom Izzo. There aren’t two better March coaches in the country. Rick Pitino is looking at his fourth straight season with at least a Sweet 16 appearance, and this could be his 3rd Final 4 in the last 4 years.

Izzo has 7 Sweet 16s or better in the last 8 years. Who has the edge here? This is an absolute toss-up. Two elite coaches, two teams that got hot at the right time. Your guess is as good mine on this one, but I do think Louisville can do some things inside against a bit undersized Spartan team.

Mike Krzyzewski and Rick Pitino have 17 Final 4s and 6 National Titles between each other, and they are one game from adding to their Final Four count and both could have  shot an yet another national title.

Oh by the way Notre Dame made the Elite 8 field, along with Louisville and Duke giving the ACC 3 Elite 8 teams. That’s the most of any conference and nearly half the remaining field. The ACC is an absurd 14-3 in the NCAAs. Now the ACC needs a Final 4 team…

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