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Duke Blue Devils: Power Ranking the Top 10 Teams in Coach K's Tenure

Mike KlineAnalyst IDecember 14, 2010

Duke Blue Devils: Power Ranking the Top 10 Teams in Coach K's Tenure

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Great coaches will often say they are only as great as their teams. Mike Krzyzewski is one of those coaches, and he has certainly had some great teams.

    Coaches often get the accolades and attention, and for good reason, but they are typically quick to point to their players as the ones who make the baskets, get the stops and ultimately win the game.

    Still, the coach is the X-factor, and Krzyzewski is one heck of an X-factor. He has coached many great players and teams. Here is a look at the top 10 of all time.

No. 10: Duke 2003-2004

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Record: 31-6 (13-3 ACC)

    Accomplishments: Final Four, ACC Regular Season Champions

    Key Players: Chris Duhon, Luol Deng, J.J. Redick, Shelden Williams

    Paced by the outstanding play of veteran Chris Duhon with the boost of a youthful J.J. Redick, Shelden Williams and ACC Rookie of the Year Luol Deng, the Blue Devils powered their way to the Final Four.

    They lost though in a tough matchup with eventual champ UConn.

No. 9: Duke 1993-1994

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Record: 28-6 (12-4 ACC)

    Accomplishments: Final Four, NCAA Tournament Runner-Up, ACC Regular Season Champions

    Key Players: Grant Hill, Antonio Lang, Cherokee Parks, Chris Collins

    While Duke had several good players to play supporting roles, the team was centered on ACC Player of the Year Grant Hill.

    Hill essentially willed the Blue Devils to the title game, and they were a few more centimeters of an Antonio Lang fingertip on Scotty Thurman's late three-pointer from winning the title. This team showed what Krzyzewski could do with one superstar.

No. 8: Duke 1989-1990

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    Getty Images/Getty Images

    Record: 29-9 (9-5 ACC)

    Accomplishments: Final Four, NCAA Tournament Runner-Up

    Key Players: Bobby Hurley, Christian Laettner, Alaa Abdelnaby

    A very young team led by Christian Laettner ground through the ACC before marching toward another Duke Final Four.

    The only problem was they ran into a buzz saw in UNLV, who still holds the record for the most lopsided margin of victory in an NCCA Tournament Final.

    Still, Krzyzewski used that game to motivate the 1991 squad, which would win it all with many of the same players.

No. 7: Duke 1987-1988, 1988-1989 (tie)

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    Record(s): 28-7 (9-5 ACC), 28-8 (9-5)

    Accomplishments: 1988 Final Four, 1988 ACC Regular Season and Tournament Champions, 1989 Final Four

    Key Players: Danny Ferry, Quin Snyder, Phil Henderson, Robert Brickey

    Hard to choose between these two teams that went to back-to-back Final Fours. It was the beginning of a very impressive stretch for Mike Krzyzewski, though neither team got over the hump and to the finals.

No. 6: Duke 1998-1999

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Record: 37-2 (16-0 ACC)

    Accomplishments: Undefeated ACC Regular Season, ACC Regular Season Title, Final Four, NCAA Tournament Runner-Up

    Key Players: William Avery, Elton Brand, Shane Battier, Trajan Langdon

    The largest blow to the Duke psyche may have come in 1999 when Duke, the seemingly unbeatable team, lost in the finals to UConn.

    Krzyzewski had a juggernaut, but the team was beaten anyway. No one can take away the accomplishment, though the sting of how good that team was and how they didn't manage to win the title still haunts many Dukie fans to this day.

No. 5: Duke 1985-1986

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    Record: 37-3 (12-2 ACC)

    Accomplishments: ACC Regular Season and Tournament Champions, Final Four, NCAA Tournament Runner-Up

    Key Players: Johnny Dawkins, Mark Alarie, David Henderson

    If the 1998-99 Blue Devils weren't the most talented, then surely the honor goes to the 1985-86 team that posted the second best winning percentage in a single season in school history.

    This team was a win in the national finals from being one of the top teams, if not the top team ever, in Krzyzewski's career at Duke.

No. 4: Duke 2009-2010

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Record: 35-5 (13-3 ACC)

    Accomplishments: ACC Regular Season and Tournament Champions, Final Four, National Champions

    Key Players: Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith, Brian Zoubek, Lance Thomas

    If Mike Krzyzewski ever did a better coaching job at Duke, it hasn't been seen yet. A team that few expected to be great ended up just that.

    No one, even Duke fans, was expecting a title in 2010, but a veteran and experienced team dealt with adversity and with the leadership of Krzyzewski and some gutty seniors won it all.

No. 3: Duke 1990-1991

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    Getty Images/Getty Images

    Record: 32-7 (11-3 ACC)

    Accomplishments: ACC Regular Season Champions, Final Four, National Champions

    Key Players: Bobby Hurley, Christian Laettner, Grant Hill, Thomas Hill

    After the previous year's embarrassing defeat to UNLV, many would have probably understood Duke coming up short in the finals after they bested the Rebels in the national semifinals.

    Mike Krzyzewski, though, was planning on winning the title from the onset of the season, and that is exactly what his players delivered him. It was the first of four so far.

No. 2: Duke 2000-2001

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    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Record: 35-4 (13-3 ACC)

    Accomplishments: ACC Regular Season and Tournament Champions, Final Four, National Champions

    Key Players: Jason Williams, Shane Battier, Mike Dunleavy, Chris Duhon, Carlos Boozer, Nate James

    This was a team as talented as any in Duke history, though not as deep as many would have liked. Despite losing Boozer late in the season, Krzyzewski found a way to circle the wagons and win—something the current Duke team must do now.

    The team played several thrilling games against Maryland, including a Final Four comeback that spurred them on to the title game, where they defeated Arizona.

No. 1: Duke 1991-1992

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Record: 34-2 (12-2 ACC)

    Accomplishments: ACC Regular Season and Tournament Champions, Final Four, National Champions

    Key Players: Bobby Hurley, Grant Hill, Thomas Hill, Christian Laettner, Brian Davis

    With essentially the same cast as the 1991 title team, the Blue Devils managed to become the first team since UCLA to win back-to-back titles.

    Krzyzewski's team managed to dodge a few bullets and thanks to a few huge shots made it back to the Final Four, where they defeated Michigan for Duke's second national title.

    Now where a team's best players don't come back typically after a championship season, the 1991 team represented the beginning of the twilight of that era in college basketball.

    It was clearly a talented team with a mix of stars and role players that worked together, which is something that just doesn't happen very often.

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