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Coach K Fans the Flames

The latest, greatest controversey surrounding Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is a theory that UNC's placement in Dayton rather than Greensboro had something do with Duke's complaint about sharing a pod site with UNC. It has been postulated that the large influx of UNC fans actually creates a home court disadvantage for Duke. UNC fans will go to a Duke game simply to cheer for almost any other team but Duke so it is possible that UNC fans attending games in Greensboro may create a hostile environment. I am unable to find a definitive link to quotes by K or any other Duke adherent other than J.J. Redick's observation of Duke was booed during practice in Charlotte last year. So without a concrete quote I think this is simply another theory batted around by opposing fan bases. I actually think Duke will get booed no matter what because everyone pulls for the underdog but I digress.

Nevertheless, during the postgame press conference following last night's win over Southern Coach K answered a few routine questions about the game and tournament. Then, out of nowhere, Coach K made a point to go back and address a question someone had asked him on Wednesday about the "UNC in Dayton" theory. From the News and Observer:

After the game, Krzyzewski was philosophical about his team's uneven performance but seemed displeased enough to rehash an issue that was still bothering him from Wednesday's news conference.

"Just the fact that [the question] was asked that I had something to do with North Carolina going to Dayton. I've never heard of anything more ludicrous," Krzyzewski said.

Krzyzewski was directing his comments to the reporter who asked him Wednesday whether he had influenced the NCAA selection committee's decision to keep UNC out of Greensboro.
The Coliseum could have been a tough venue for Duke with the Heels sharing it. UNC might have outdrawn Duke like it did playing in their shared home state during the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament in Charlotte in 2005.

"When was I supposed to do that?" Krzyzewski said. "Like during a timeout with one minute to go in the ACC championship game, sidekick [send a text message] to Craig Littlepage [the selection committee chairman] and say, 'Look, send the Tar Heels someplace else.'

"I don't know where that came from. I was offended by that. No one has any influence. And the other thing is that, even if I did [have influence on that], I would never do that. I've been a head coach for 31 years. I would never do anything like that. I'm offended by the thought of that."

So if the theory is so ludicrous and baseless, why bring it back up at the tail end of your postgame press conference completely apart from the context of questions being asked? Why not simply let the story die rather than drag it kicking and screaming back into the spotlight to be considered again?

Now this consitutes the third time Coach K has set off a PR bomb with the media in the last month. Last month he denied that coaches worked the refs during games and could not be influenced, then just before the UNC game he claims to know for a fact there is a media bias against Duke. Now he stops a postgame press conference and issues a passionate denial over his alleged involvement with UNC's placement in Dayton which reporters asked him about a full day earlier. If there is one thing we know about Coach K from the public courtship by the Lakers a few years ago is that he is a master at using the media for his own agenda. In this case it is only prudent to ask what is Coach K trying to accomplish by stirring the media pot so often and how is he going to benefit?

Copyright 2006, BCB