On Saturday afternoon, after a tough game against North Carolina State in the ACC Tournament, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski made some complementary comments in favor of his recently defeated opponent, and in the process, slandered the resume of the A10 conference.
"I'll get in trouble probably for saying it. Like the Atlantic 10, they're a really good conference. I hear people saying there are six teams in there. Come on. I mean, they're good, but put them in our conference and go through the meat grinder that our conference has to go through. But really ... our league should get more respect. The fact that Pitt comes in here and people are saying they have to do something, come on. Come on, man. I don't get it. The Clemson team we played [Friday] night is a heck of a basketball team."
Now obviously any coach will have biased opinions regarding their team and conference on occasion, but coming from a man of his stature and touching on the subject in this manner is simply uncalled for in my opinion.
And on top of that, Coach K is wrong and there are several cases of supporting evidence.
First, lets look at the bubble teams in the conversation on the ACC side.
Clemson did have a matchup against one of the A10 schools Coach K feels does not belong in the Dance, losing to UMass on a neutral floor back in November.
NC State oddly did not have an A10 opponent on its schedule.
Now lets look at how the top of the ACC fared when matched up against the A10.
Of the ACC's top five teams that figure to be locks for the tournament (Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, Syracuse and Pittsburgh), the ACC went 3-1.
But only one of those games pitted an A10 team headed to the dance and in that one, VCU of the A10 beat the ACC Champs, Virginia, on the Cavaliers own home floor.
The other wins over the A10 by the top teams in the ACC came over Fordham, Richmond and Duquesne. None of those three teams represent anything close to one of the six tourney teams from the A10, which include SLU, VCU, UMass, George Washington, St. Joe's and Dayton.
Oh, and as for the Dukies and how they fared against the A10, Coach K's squad did not even play anyone from the A10.
Coach K is one of the most well-respected men in college basketball and in sports, but he should be held accountable for his comments and called out when they are out of line.
Coach K's comments strike a nerve for other reasons as well. When anyone of his stature makes comments that are false and misleading, people generally dismiss them and accept them as truth.
And when the announcement of the tournament field is made just hours after he speaks on the subject, you simply have to hope that nobody is swayed by his posturing.
More random thoughts on the A10 as the announcement of the brackets draws nearer:
- I love what SLU has been able to do this season. That 19-game winning streak was magical and captured the attention of the entire city. But after a pair of losses in the last three weeks to teams with RPI's of 200 or higher, I expect SLU to be no better than a No. 7 seed when the brackets are announced, and they likely truly deserve to be on the No. 8/9 line because of the team's unfortunate play down the stretch.
- I think the A10 will get six teams in the Dance, but look for the committee to still slight the conference and not make it easy. I do not think a single A10 team gets a seed higher than a No. 6 and I would not be surprised if most are matched up with dangerous mid-majors and not any of the cupcakes from any of the bigger conferences.
- VCU may be one of the most dangerous teams in the field this season. Success in the tournament is always about coaching and Shaka Smart is as good as they come. He will have his guys ready and the defensive pressure his team applies can rattle anyone when the pressure is turned up.
- For the record, the other two teams I like before the brackets are available are Louisville and Michigan State. Both are peaking at the right time. Both are finally healthy. Oh, and Rick Pitino and Tom Izzo are two of the best in the business.
Thanks for reading and Happy March!
Corey Rudd is a contributor for KSDK Sports and the owner of StlSportsMinute.com. You can follow him on Twitter @StlSportsMinute.