Kentucky vs. Duke: Who's Better—John Calipari or Mike Krzyzewski?

Matt Overing@@MOveringContributor IIINovember 12, 2012

John Calipari
John CalipariAndy Lyons/Getty Images

Four years ago, this would not be a topic. But recent events have leveled the playing field, and depending on who you ask, you'll get a different answer. Who's the better coach right now; John Calipari or Mike Krzyzewski?

One has rebuilt the winningest program in men's college basketball history. The other is the winningest coach in Division I men's college basketball history. 

Calipari vs. Krzyzewski. Kentucky vs. Duke.

The rivalry as a whole needs no introduction. Both coaches are loved (and despised) by many. Both have won a title in the past three years—Calipari in 2012 and Krzyzewski in 2010. 

Who would you take?


The case for John Calipari

He's the hottest coach in the country. ESPN eats up coverage for the University of Kentucky basketball program, and recruits have noticed.

ESPN's All-Access Kentucky is the envy of every college basketball coach in the country—and it's because of Calipari.

What makes Calipari the best is that he has built Kentucky into a program that sells itself—in just three short years. Players know what they're getting when they go play in Lexington, and it's hard to pass up.

But recruiting doesn't tell the whole story about Calipari. It takes a great recruiter to land top prospects every year. It takes a great coach to make that talent work together on the court.

Don't make this a politics issue, either. Regardless of whether you like Cal or not, you've got to see the great work he is doing for these young athletes.

You can say all you want about how you think we just need to wait for the sanctions to hit the University of Kentucky, that Calipari cheats, that he's not a good coach. Go for it.

While you wait, Calipari keeps winning. And he's not stopping.


The case for Mike Krzyzewski

Mike Krzyzewski has been hailed as one of the best college basketball coaches ever. Calipari can't sniff his title as the winningest coach in Division I men's basketball history. 

Don't forget, Krzyzewski has two Olympic gold medals. Calipari coached the Dominican Republic national team. That's not a knock on Calipari as much as it is a compliment to Coach K. 

He is, quite simply, one of the most revered basketball coaches around the world.

He's been around the game longer, and he has stayed at the same program for 32 years. Duke is a blue chip college basketball school because of Coach K. 

And don't you dare even think that Coach K has lost a step.

Just over two years ago, Duke won their fourth national championship, all four under Krzyzewski's leadership.

He's in the Hall of Fame for a reason.


The Verdict

Analysts at CBS Sports selected Calipari twice and Krzyzewski once when picking their "dream teams" for the 2012-13 college basketball season. 

That alone says that Calipari has made it into the upper echelon of "elite" coaches in college basketball.

Krzyzewski is a living legend. Calipari hasn't reached that status...yet.

Krzyzewski is an in-game mastermind, and while Calipari may beat him on the recruiting trail, Cal can't match his track record of success. 

He may be at the end of an illustrious career, but Krzyzewski still has it. Will Calipari pass him in the next few years? Maybe. But not yet.