Feeling Blue: Duke Has Off Season

John LewisSenior Writer IMarch 25, 2008

As the NCAA Tournament moves on without the Duke Blue Devils, many sports personalities (and Colin Cowherd in particular) are taking shots at the Duke Basketball program and Coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Okay you caught me, I'm a Duke fan.

But I'm the most objective fan around.  If the Blue Devils have a bad game, I voice that.  I have written many times about how the program isn't as good this year as their ranking.

That said, I think people need to lay off Duke just a little bit.  Most fans don't realize just how hard it is to win every year.

When Coach K. has an off year, everyone is saying he's lost it.  Just to let you know, it took Dean Smith—arguably the greatest coach of all time—21 years to win a national title.  It took Coach K. only 16 years to win his.

What about John Wooden?  It took the legendary UCLA head coach 18 years to win his first title.

Granted, he won 10 titles.  But in those days there was no conference tournament for them to play, so they were an automatic bid in the NCAA Tournament.

Just listen to Coach K.'s stats: three national championships, 10 final fours in the last 22 years, 10 ACC titles, a record 68 NCAA tournament wins, averages 25 wins per season, a record nine 30 win seasons, and 61 of his 65 four year players have played in the final four. 

There's more.  Coach K. will pass Bobby Knight in four years (barring Knight's coming out of retirement) as the all time winningest head coach in NCAA history.  What more do you want from the guy?

While Coach K. has had a few off seasons, all-in-all he's amassed some notable statistics.  Fans also argue that Coach K. can't recruit the best players any longer.  Perhaps his recruits have been questionable in these last few years, but he has had a limited pool of players from which to choose.

Aside from the fact that he can pick from the top 50 players in the country, he then has to narrow that down to the kids that can actually get into the school.

He doesn't have the luxury that say John Calipari has, by recruiting guys that have no shot at getting into Duke.  Then he tries to slim the list down even further to kids that will stay in school a few years.  It's a tough job.  

If you look at the numbers, the Blue Devils are the most successful team in the last 20 years.