Michigan State Spartans vs. Duke Devils
Tip-off: Friday, March 29, 2013 – 9:45 PM ET
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
It’s been a long time since the Michigan State Spartans coach Tom Izzo and the Duke Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski first started teaching young men how to play basketball.
Last night they showed YouWager experts why they’re so good. They don’t stress out.
Instead of stressing out before the Midwest Regional’s awaited coaching matchup, the pair took turns praising one another’s styles, their loyalty to their schools and their teams’ penchant for limiting mistakes. Both coaches turned around and poked fun at themselves and their families.
Even whole heading into a game that will put one of these coaches within a win of yet another Final Four trip. Experts believe there may not be a more compelling coaching duel in 2013’s tournament.
In 33 college basketball seasons with the Blue Devils, Krzyzewski has gone to 11 Final Fours, the most among active coaches. He is one of only three coaches in NCAA history to win at least four national championships, two of those coming in Indy. The last time he faced the Spartans, the Duke gave him a 74-69 victory that broke Bob Knight’s career record for victories.
Izzo is not worried about playing that role. This coach has done an excellent job in his own right. He owns a school-record 439 career victories in 18 seasons at Michigan State and won his only national title in 2000, also in Indy.
However, as two of the longest-tenured and most successful college coaches, each has their own distinct style. At times over the past week Izzo has taken away players’ cell phones to improve communication within the team and help them focus. Krzyzewski has not done this.
Izzo prefers hearing the chatter on the team bus, while Krzyzewski seems more inclined to concentrate on game plans.
Both come into this particular college basketball game focused first on defense, though the Blue Devils (29-5) has been slightly more proficient on offense and the Spartans (27-8) slightly more physical. Both can count on their high-scoring big men — Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly for Duke and Nix and Adreian Payne for Michigan State — to carry them. In addition, both have been contended with injuries to key players who say they hope will be at or close to their full capacity tonight.