USA TODAY US Edition
Tourney journey drives Coach K
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Mike Krzyzewski could leave California this weekend having tied Bob Knight for the all-time record in victories by a Division I men’s basketball coach with 902.
But if you think that would be as important to him as getting his team to the Final Four, you haven’t been paying attention to the Duke coach all these years.
His program is all about the kids and their chance to strive for championships.
“Every kid that comes and plays for us, I want them to eventually have a chance to play for a championship,” Krzyzewski said Wednesday. “That’s why any individual win during a season is never that big, except if it leads to a league championship or a tournament championship and obviously the national championship.
“We have a chance to win (today). If that can lead to potentially playing for a national championship, then that’s the journey we have to be on, and it’s a good journey.”
No surprise, but Krzyzewski and his kids could accomplish significant goals at Honda Center, where they are the No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament’s West Regional, which presents intriguing Sweet 16 matchups today.
Duke, which under Krzyzewski has four national titles, including last year’s, takes on another longtime tournament stalwart, Arizona.
The other game matches yet another tournament blueblood, two-time national champ Connecticut and star Kemba Walker, against outsider San Diego State, which until last week had never won a Division I tournament game.
The Aztecs campus is about an hour and a half south of Anaheim.
“We’ve got the whole community upside-down excited about our team,” coach Steve Fisher said. “I can’t tell you how much I enjoy being a part of San Diego State right now.”