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Duke Basketball: Can Coach K Tie John Wooden for the Final Four Mark in 2012-13?

CHAPEL HILL, NC - FEBRUARY 08:  Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils against the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at the Dean Smith Center on February 8, 2012 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Doug BrodessCorrespondent ISeptember 25, 2016

Mike Krzyzewski has a shot at another major coaching mark in the 2012-13 season.

Last year, he moved into the top spot on the all-time college basketball coaches' career wins list.

After the 2011-12 season, he now has a record of 927-289.

Coach K is now in position to draw even with legendary coach John Wooden for most Final Four appearances.

The Wizard of Westwood took UCLA to the national semi-finals 12 times during his 27 seasons with the Bruins.

Wooden's first Final Four appearance came in his 15th season (1961-62) at UCLA.

Krzyzewski's teams at Duke have gone to the Final Four 11 times in 32 seasons, which ties him with Dean Smith, who also took his Tar Heel teams there 11 times.

Coach K's first Final Four appearance came in his sixth season in Durham (1985-86) when the Blue Devils came up short against Louisville in the 1986 title game.

This year's Duke team has solid senior leadership in Seth Curry, Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly.

K has brought in top-level talent in freshmen Rasheed Sulaimon and Amile Jefferson.

And the Blue Devils will also see what Marshall Plumlee and Alex Murphy have after redshirting last season.

Scoring will not be a problem for this group. What remains to be seen is if they can step up their collective game on the defensive end.

ESPN's Eammon Brennan accurately points out that defensive deficiencies led to their downfall last year in the NCAA Tournament, and that defensive performance will either make or break the upcoming season too:

The main focus for the newcomers, and for Duke’s coaching staff, will be repairing the relatively shoddy defense the Blue Devils played in 2011-12. Sulaimon could make an impact here right away, but freshmen are always unpredictable. No, this restoration will require a total team effort.

"Matador Defense" on the perimeter will just not cut it. Waving at opponents as they break down the defense and get into the lane cannot continue.

 

Prediction: Curry, Plumlee and Kelly will each have their best seasons in a Blue Devil uniform.

Quinn Cook will emerge as a solid, if not super, PG.

And Sulaimon and Jefferson will bring drive and tenacity that will positively impact how Duke plays on both ends of the court.

If I had to come up with a short list of teams that will play in this year's national semi-finals in Atlanta, Duke would be one of them.

And, with that, Coach K will draw even with the best college coach of all time in Final Four appearances.

 

Most Final Four Appearances

1. John Wooden (12)

2. Mike Krzyzewski (11)

2. Dean Smith (11)

4. Roy Williams (7)

5. Adolph Rupp (6)

5. Denny Crum (6)

5. Rick Pitino  (6)

5. Tom Izzo (6)

9. Bob Knight (5)

9. Lute Olson (5)

9. Guy Lewis (5)

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