SAN FRANCISCO – The final farewell will take place during the Final Four.
Mike Krzyzewski’s coaching career and farewell tour survived again as his second-seeded Duke Blue Devils beat the fourth-seeded Arkansas Razorbacks 78-69 on Saturday. in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Men’s Tournament.
Duke’s win at Chase Center secured a record 13th trip to the Final Four for Krzyzewski, the legendary basketball coach who will retire after the season ends, his 42nd at Duke. He walks past Hall of Fame coach John Wooden.
“They cut it down to five. And after the timeout we were a different team,” Krzyzewski said in a TV interview about the Razorbacks’ final run early in the second half. “I’m on their bus,” he said of watching this team reach the Final Four.
With two more wins, the Blue Devils can dispatch Coach K with his sixth national title.
In the national semi-final, the Blue Devils will face the winner of the Saint Peter’s-North Carolina game, which will be played on Sunday.
Regardless of the end result, Krzyzewski, 75, made it clear he would enjoy being in New Orleans, site of the Final Four, which he called a “mecca” for coaches and players on Friday.
“To me, I call that crossing the bridge, and very few people cross that bridge,” he said a day before Duke’s game against Arkansas. “And so I’ve been able to cross it with my teams 12 times, and to cross with this team would be an amazing thing for me, and I know what’s on the other side of the bridge. They don’t.
“They can only watch it. So that makes me want them more.
After struggling in the build-up to the NCAA Tournament in a 94-81 loss to North Carolina and an 82-67 loss to Virginia Tech, the Blue Devils showed courage and courage. balance.
They knocked out Cal State Fullerton, 78-61, in the first round, rallied Michigan State, 85-76, in the Round of 16 and outlasted Texas Tech, 78-73, in the Sweet 16 before beating the Arkansas.
Duke denied Arkansas its first trip to the Final Four since 1995. But the Razorbacks have thrived under head coach Eric Musselman while reaching the Elite Eight in consecutive years.
On Saturday, Arkansas shot within 35-31 on Stanley Umude’s 3-pointer with 3:18 left in the half. But the Blue Devils closed the half with a 10-2 run, punctuated by Trevor Keels’ 3-pointer at the buzzer, and had a 45-33 lead at intermission.