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Coach K sets aside ‘payback’ aspect of Final Four matchup

DURHAM – The Final Four is college basketball’s greatest day, Mike Krzyzewski has said a few times in the last several days.

And Duke versus North Carolina is college basketball’s greatest rivalry, set to be contested on that most cherished of days for the sport.

Krzyzewski just doesn’t want his young team focused on making amends for the last time the Blue Devils played UNC.

“You can’t go into the Final Four just thinking rivalry, payback, or any of those things,” Krzyzewski said at a press conference at Duke on Tuesday. “You’ve gotta go in (thinking), ‘We want to win a championship.’”

That’s the distinction Krzyzewski wanted to make clear Tuesday, several hours before the Blue Devils departed for New Orleans. They practiced fully for the first time since being in San Francisco last weekend before leaving, and will have a few days to get acclimated in New Orleans before Saturday night’s game.

And the game, this Super Bowl of Tobacco Road rivals, can’t take on too much of a tone of revenge for Duke – given the last time they met, UNC beat Duke in Krzyzewski’s last game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

“This is who we are now, this is for whoever we would play,” Krzyzewski said. “And we’ve got to beat them. And then we’ve got to beat somebody else.

“If you go in with those other two things (rivalry and payback), you’re probably not going to win. But if you did, you probably won’t win on Monday.”

Krzyzewski knows the discourse throughout the week is bound to focus on the early March meeting in Durham. That’s for media and fans to discuss.

He’s focused on getting his team to buy in with the right mindset.

“I know there’s going to be TV, radio, a Duke guy, a Carolina guy, they’re going to be talking stupid stuff to one another,” Krzyzewski said. “And that means nothing.”

That this is the first time in college basketball’s most-treasured rivalry that the teams will play in the NCAA tournament isn’t lost on…

Source link : https://duke.rivals.com/news/coach-k-sets-aside-payback-aspect-of-final-four-matchup?yptr=yahoo?src=rss

Author : Devils Illustrated

Publish date : 2022-03-29 22:08:07

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