When the Razorbacks surged in the second half, closing the gap to 53-48, Krzyzewski called a timeout to calm his side down. He made sure the attack was through his best player, Banchero, and signaled 1-2 from the touchline, ordering his defense into the zone. Banchero, who would be named the region’s most outstanding player, scored into the post, passed to AJ Griffin who drove for another field goal and made two free throws and in a flash, Duke had room to work. 59-48.
Arkansas never threatened the rest of the way.
A year ago, Krzyzewski left the impression he had lost his grip on the program he had become synonymous with: An NBA prospect quit mid-season, he mocked a reporter from the school newspaper and his team missed the NCAA Tournament. for the first time in more than a quarter of a century.
No male coach has retired after winning a national championship since 1977, when 48-year-old Al McGuire retired after Marquette won the title. Two years earlier, John Wooden announced to his team after a semi-final win over Louisville that he would retire after the Bruins’ title game against Kentucky.
Krzyzewski, 75, offered himself a much longer track. He took the rare step last June of announcing his effective retirement at the end of this season. He said he didn’t want to come out like he did last season, when Duke was 13-11 and saw his chances of wiping out the NCAA tournament when he had to drop out of the Conference tournament. the Atlantic coast due to an outbreak of coronavirus within the team.
The decision to announce him – and assistant Jon Scheyer as his replacement – was to avoid misleading rookies who might have asked how long he intended to coach, he said. declared. Still, the whole season has been kind of the last waltz tour.
“It tires you out a bit because everywhere you walk everyone takes a picture of you, they look at everything,” Krzyzewski said earlier this week. “Look, it’s getting old.”
He added: “But I feel for my guys. They’ve been under pressure that we don’t put on them. I tell them all the time, we play for us – for you – but then it works. Nobody – it’s not not some sinister plan against us or anything, but that’s how it goes.