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Coach K interrupts before Duke players can say if they hope to face North Carolina – Yahoo Sports

So much for Duke revealing whether it’s hoping to face North Carolina in the national semifinals next Saturday.

Mike Krzyzewski interrupted before his players could answer that question.

Soon after Duke secured its place in the Final Four on Saturday night, a reporter asked the Blue Devils’ five starters if any of them would root for North Carolina to set up a historic rivalry showdown by beating Saint Peter’s the following day. To his giggling players’ amusement, Krzyzewski cut them off and deftly deflected the question.

“You know what,” the retiring Duke coach said, “it’s going to be an honor for us to go against whoever is the regional champion of that region.”

Duke and North Carolina have faced off 256 times since 1920, but never have the two storied rivals met in the NCAA tournament. Only four times before this season have Duke and North Carolina ever made the Elite Eight in the same year. Only in 1991 did they both reach the Final Four.

On the way to his record-setting 13th Final Four, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski may face rival North Carolina for the first time in the NCAA tournament. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

That first NCAA tournament meeting is as close as it has ever been after Duke outclassed Arkansas in the West Regional final on Saturday night. The only remaining obstacle is a Saint Peter’s team that has become the first 15th seed ever to advance within one victory of the Final Four.

Eighth-seeded North Carolina is an 8.5-point favorite to end Saint Peter’s improbable run, but the Peacocks have already beaten three higher-seeded teams than the Tar Heels. They vanquished No. 2 Kentucky, No. 7 Murray State and No. 3 Purdue to advance to Sunday’s East Regional final.

Asked Saturday afternoon about the possibility of facing Duke in the Final Four, North Carolina coach Hubert Davis told reporters in Philadelphia, “our full attention is on our preparation, our practice and making sure that we play our best against a great Saint Peter’s team.”

Armando Bacot later spoke more candidly when asked a similar question. The North Carolina center told reporters that he’s “trying to have tunnel vision” on Saint Peter’s but the possibility of facing Duke is hard to ignore.

“I’d be lying to you if I said that hasn’t crossed my mind,” Bacot said.

If North Carolina is Duke’s next opponent, neither side will be lacking for motivation.

On March 5, North Carolina crashed Duke’s meticulously planned party in honor of Krzyzewski, spoiling his last game at Cameron Indoor Stadium with a 94-81 upset. After the game, Duke assistant coach Chris Carrawell appeared to snub Davis in the handshake line.

So does Duke want a chance at revenge against North Carolina? Or would the Blue Devils prefer not to risk North Carolina ending their season and Krzyzewski’s coaching career? CBS’ Tracy Wolfson posed that question to Duke freshman Paolo Banchero after Saturday night’s game, and his answer surely left Krzyzewski beaming.

Responded Banchero with a hint of a smile, “Not going to get me this time!”

Yahoo Sports reporter Henry Bushnell contributed reporting from Philadelphia

Source: https://sports.yahoo.com/coach-k-interrupts-before-duke-players-can-say-if-they-hope-to-face-north-carolina-051241718.html

So much for Duke revealing whether it’s hoping to face North Carolina in the national semifinals next Saturday.

Mike Krzyzewski interrupted before his players could answer that question.

Soon after Duke secured its place in the Final Four on Saturday night, a reporter asked the Blue Devils’ five starters if any of them would root for North Carolina to set up a historic rivalry showdown by beating Saint Peter’s the following day. To his giggling players’ amusement, Krzyzewski cut them off and deftly deflected the question.

“You know what,” the retiring Duke coach said, “it’s going to be an honor for us to go against whoever is the regional champion of that region.”<…….

So much for Duke revealing whether it’s hoping to face North Carolina in the national semifinals next Saturday.

Mike Krzyzewski interrupted before his players could answer that question.

Soon after Duke secured its place in the Final Four on Saturday night, a reporter asked the Blue Devils’ five starters if any of them would root for North Carolina to set up a historic rivalry showdown by beating Saint Peter’s the following day. To his giggling players’ amusement, Krzyzewski cut them off and deftly deflected the question.

“You know what,” the retiring Duke coach said, “it’s going to be an honor for us to go against whoever is the regional champion of that region.”<…….

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