With the college football season now complete, I know a lot of you have turned your attention to hoops. Allow me to bring you up to speed by taking a look at the college basketball teams and players that have made the most noise so far.
As much as I was looking forward to a Kentucky-Duke final, Wisconsin absolutely deserves its spot in tonight’s national championship. The Badgers have one of the best offenses of all time and proved it against Kentucky’s historically dominant defense. In Saturday’s other game, Michigan State cooled down after a hot start and couldn’t stop Duke. I recapped the action in my Five Things column for CBS Local.
Tom Izzo, the pride of Iron Mountain, Michigan, has somehow taken Michigan State to another Final Four. Don’t get me wrong, this team has some good players, but at no point in the season did it look like it was capable of this kind of run. How do these Spartans compare to the previous six teams Izzo has brought to the Final Four? Check out my story for CBS Local to find out.
The Final Four is set: undefeated Kentucky takes on another No. 1 seed, Wisconsin, and Duke plays the surprise team in Indianapolis, Michigan State. To learn more about the keys to each team winning this past weekend, check out my latest for CBS Local.
Even Tom Izzo had to admit the top of the Big Ten isn’t all that strong. “This year, there’s no question that it’s been Wisconsin and the rest,” he told me yesterday. “Maryland is now proving to be in that class. But the strength at the top isn’t as good as last year or some of the other conferences.” For that reason, the conference as a whole has dipped considerably this season.
For a more in-depth look at the league’s struggles, read my latest for CBS Local.
You can find my column for CBS Charlotte, in which I break down the five most important things that happened in college basketball this past weekend, by clicking the link below:
It was a fantastic Saturday in college hoops, which was fitting because it was the first Saturday without college or pro football this season. I got the sense that casual hoops fans were beginning to turn their attention to the sport, and the sport didn’t disappoint. The highlight of the weekend was Butler’s buzzer-beating victory over Gonzaga.
Continue reading College Hoops Recap: Butler Buzzer Beater
Mike Krzyzewski can set the all-time wins record tonight against Michigan State at Madison Square Garden. Had some of his wins not been credited to someone else, he would have already passed Bob Knight.
Coach K officially has 902 wins, tied with his mentor Knight for the most among Division I basketball coaches. That total includes just nine victories from the 1994-95 season, Krzyzewski’s 15th at Duke. Krzyzewski left the team after its 9-3 start due to exhaustion following back surgery, and assistant coach Pete Gaudet took over as interim coach. Duke went 4-15 the rest of the way to finish with a 13-18 record.
Krzyzewski’s career record reflects the 9-3 start, but not the 4-15 finish during his absence. I’m not sure how I feel about these games not appearing on Coach K’s official record. Other coaches have missed games (Jim Calhoun comes to mind) and those results still appeared on their individual records, but those were just a few games. This was the majority of a season. I understand arguments for both sides.
|Coach K (right) is tied with his mentor Bob Knight (left) for career wins. (Credit: John Pellino/DOIM)|
What’s interesting is that the NCAA chooses to leave decisions like this to the school, so it was Duke and Krzyzewski that decided how to record the 1994-95 season. However, on a conference call with reporters in 2007, Krzyzewski said, “I think I should have been credited with all the losses…The bottom line is I’m responsible even though I wasn’t there. I wouldn’t want the wins but you could give me the losses.”
That doesn’t make much sense to me. Either all of the final 19 games should be attributed to Krzyzewski or none of them, but not just the losses. Regardless, if Coach K truly felt this way, his career record would be 902-299, not 902-284, as I’m certain the school would change the record books upon his request.
Again, I’ll leave the debate over how that asterisked season should be handled to others. I am only certain of this: Had the entire season been credited to Krzyzewski, the record-setting victory would have come against Hampton in the first round of last year’s NCAA Tournament. But that’s not nearly as fun as it potentially coming in The World’s Most Famous Arena against an elite program with its own outstanding coach.