Duke’s players were busy fiddling with the part of the net they had cut from the baskets in Houston last Sunday and their coach was still smiling as they arrived at a Thursday press conference to discuss the school’s 15th Final Four.
Then came a question about what it felt like to be back for the first time since 2004.
West Virginia, which will play the Blue Devils in the national semifinal Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium, has been to one Final Four and that was in 1959.
The Blue Devils live a life like teams at few other schools. They’re loved by many and reviled by many more.
In Krzyzewski’s 30 years they’ve never done anything to draw sanctions from the NCAA or the ACC. What they have done is win. An awful lot. Three national titles. Twelve conference tournament and regular-season championships.
By any reasonable measure, Duke should be a model program, which it is.
But it is also oddly despised.
“I guess people hate when people do so well and do everything right,” said WVU point guard Joe Mazzulla, who played a big part in the WVU win over Duke in the 2008 NCAA Tournament.
“Duke has great tradition, so I guess jealousy is what it comes down to. When you make the Final Four all the time and you’re always successful, people want to be like them.”