Duke’s Krzyzewski on the ACC: 'Our league is not promoted very well'

Posted by Laura Keeley on February 10, 2014 

Mike Krzyzewski shared a few thoughts with the media Monday


Twice a year during the regular season, Mike Krzyzewski meets with the media before a game, instead of just in a postgame setting. Both of these sessions come before the North Carolina games, and they generally produce compelling stuff. He’s a smart guy, after all, who knows a thing or two about basketball.

Krzyzewski was in a reflective mood about his team, its progress and how it differs from recent Duke squads. I’ll have more on that tomorrow (teaser!). For now, here are some more broad ACC thoughts from the winningest coach in Division I basketball.

***Remember all that talk about the new points of emphasis for college basketball, the elimination of hand-checking, arm bars and other defensive moves that impede an offensive player’s ability to score? About two-thirds of the way through the season, Krzyzewski isn’t overly impressed.

"I don’t think it has done much for offense," he said. "I don’t think the offense nationally has done anything. I don’t think it has been as consistent once you get into conference play. It’s kind of like you start each year with a point of emphasis. We’re going to call carrying the ball. And then, two years later, there are none."

"I don’t know what it has done, to be quite frank with you. I don’t think it has been this new thing."

Collectively, the 15 ACC teams are averaging 70.4 points per game — a tiny increase from the 70 points per game the 12-team league averaged last year at roughly the same point in the season.

This year, the ACC ranks 24th out of the 32 Division I conferences in scoring, according to KPI competition analytics (the Big 12 leads the way with 76.6 points per game).

Now, it must be said that the ACC is a particularly strong defensive league — the strongest, actually, in terms of limiting the opposition’s points. The 65.1 points per game against ranks first overall when compared with the other D-I conferences.

Nationally, it’s a different story. Scoring is up 5.9 percent from this point last year, according to KPI. Teams are averaging 71.7 points per game, according to the NCAA. If it holds up (and it probably won’t), that would be the highest average scoring mark since the 1995-96 season.

Obviously that effect has not trickled into the ACC, and Krzyzewski has ideas as to how to better improve the college game.

"I really think the college game should study the NBA game," he said. "They are the professionals. They play over 100 games a year. I’m not saying to do everything that they do in the NBA.

"And we don’t have to do all this experimentation for years. We think something is going to be, so we experiment with it. The NBA doesn’t experiment. Hey, that’s not going right, we’re going to change. Our game would be better and would be more universally called doing it that way."

If you’re interested in more Krzyzewski big-picture thoughts, check out my story from last fall, on his ideas for a college basketball commissioner (with input from others as well).

***Speaking of remembering, how about the preseason thought that this new ACC could be the best basketball conference—ever? Yeah, that hasn’t quite panned out.

The ACC ranks fifth in conference RPI, behind the Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and Big East, respectively. Still, Krzyzewski thinks the league deserves to be thought of in higher esteem. And he thinks those in Greensboro should be doing more to change that.

"Over the years, what I’ve found is we least promote our league," he said. "Our league is not promoted very well. We should figure out how the Big Ten does it. They’re really good, don’t get me wrong. They’re still saying it’s great, and they’re not saying anything about us.

"We have the No. 1 team in the country (Syracuse). We have Virginia, who is having a hell of a year. I don’t know, I think ours matches up with anybody. We just have 15. That’s a lot. Someone is going to lose."

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