ACC 2021 22 Basketball Predictions: How Big Will Duke Win In Coach Ks Farewell Tour?

NEW YORK -- At any other game, in any other year, fans who come to an arena to watch Duke play wouldn't lay eyes on Mike Krzyzewski until a few minutes before the starting lineups were announced. That's customary. But at this game, in this year, the winningest coach in Division I history actually walked to mid-court here inside Madison Square Garden 90 minutes earlier than normal so that he could be publicly honored by ESPN at halftime of the Champions Classic opener between Kansas and Michigan State.

That was the first sign this was a different deal,.

Coach K has spent basically every week since he announced his plan to retire at the end of this season explaining how he wouldn't waste much time focusing on the end of his legendary career. And I'm sure that's his intention. But it's been clear for months, and it was undeniable Tuesday night, that Krzyzewski's farewell tour will be the dominant storyline of this season regardless of whether he wants it to be or not. It's unavoidable and in your face -- so much so that at halftime of Duke's eventual 79-71 season-opening victory over Kentucky, the in-house televisions at MSG aired what amounted to a pre-taped Zoom call of John Calipari, Tom Izzo and Bill Self casually discussing Krzyzewski's impact on the sport.

It seemed to go on forever.

When it was finally over, Duke took over.

The Blue Devils opened the second half on a 30-19 run and built a 15-point lead that was never completely erased, in part because their most high-profile freshman, Paolo Banchero, looked every bit the part of somebody who seems like the leading candidate to be the first overall pick of the 2022 NBA Draft. The 6-foot-10, 250-pound forward did things men his size don't normally do (because they can't). He took 11 shots, made seven of them and finished with 22 points, seven rebounds and two steals.

"I think a big thing for Paolo is how strong and comfortable he is with the ball," Krzyzewski said. "To have his size and [and skill], it's just unique. And he's got a good head. He's got good parents. They raised him hard."

Duke makes sure Coach Ks farewell tour starts off on a high note with impressive opening win vs. Kentucky

Source:CBSSports.com

Duke makes sure Coach Ks farewell tour starts off on a high note with impressive opening win vs. Kentucky

Coach Ks farewell tour: Mike Krzyzewski, Duke take first loss of season as Ohio State rallies late

Source:CBSSports.com

Coach Ks farewell tour: Mike Krzyzewski, Duke take first loss of season as Ohio State rallies late