Arizona Basketball

A look at Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski vs. Arizona Wildcats and Pac-12



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The coach with the most wins in college basketball, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, fell to 0-5 in the Pacific time zone in the NCAA tournament with the Blue Devils’ 82-66 loss in the Sweet 16 against Oregon at Anaheim, Calif., last night

Don’t tell him that, though, or you might get an earful.

Three of those five losses are against Pac-12 schools:

1984 — Washington at Pullman, Wash., in the second round (Duke had first-round bye)

2011 — Arizona at Anaheim in Sweet 16 (Derrick Williams’ 32 points unforgettable)

2016 — Oregon at Anaheim in Sweet 16

The other two losses were to Seton Hall in the Final Four at Seattle’s Kingdome in 1989 and Kansas in the 1993 Sweet 16, also in Anaheim. Funny (or not funny how you look at it), but Krzyzewski is 0-3 at Anaheim in Sweet 16 games while Arizona is 0-4 in Elite Eight games there.

Krzyzewski, 69, has coached at the Durham, N.C., school since three years before Lute Olson arrived at Arizona in the 1983-84 season.

At that point, Krzyzewski was 38-47 at Duke and his team finished no better than fifth in the ACC in those three years. Arizona was coming off its worst season, 4-24 overall, under Ben Lindsey, fired after his only dismal season in Tucson.

In 1983-84, the Blue Devils advanced to their first NCAA tournament under Krzyzewski, and Olson’s first Arizona team finished 11-17.

Nobody could foresee an East vs. West rivalry of national proportions brewing between the two programs, now storied in the annals of college basketball. Arizona and Duke have developed into the top programs from the opposite coasts over the last 30 years. The Wildcats are more consistent winners than UCLA and Krzyzewski — 8-1 against the Bruins — has built the most successful program in college hoops today.


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1-Maui Invitational; 2-NCAA title game; 3-NCAA West Regional semifinal; 4-Preseason NIT championship
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Last night’s loss to Oregon puts Krzyzewski’s career record at 1,043-321 combining his five years at Army with the 36 at Duke. Of those victories, three were against Arizona. One of the wins was one of the most significant in Krzyzewski’s career, the 82-72 victory over the Wildcats in the 2000-01 national title game in Minneapolis.

Arizona, however, has achieved something against Coach K which few programs have — a winning record against the storied coach during his Duke tenure.

The Wildcats are one of only six teams who have won more than they lost against Coach K, who is 3-5 against Arizona. He has a losing record against two other Pac-12 teams — California (1-2) and Stanford (1-2).

Krzyzewski also has losing marks against Arkansas (1-2), Louisville (3-5) and Wagner (0-1).


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Arizona and Duke do not play as often in the regular season as they did in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. In a four-year stretch — from the 1987-88 season to 1990-91 — Olson and Krzyzewski coached against each other four times in the regular season. Olson had a 3-1 edge, with the only loss a close one (78-76) at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Feb. 25, 1990.

The last regular-season home-and-home regular-season game was in 1991, when the Wildcats beat Duke at McKale Center 103-96 in double-overtime.

Chris Mills hit a 10-footer to tie the game at the end of the first overtime period, and Arizona went on to beat Duke in the second overtime to extend the then-longest home-court winning streak in the nation to 61 games. In the first overtime, Duke guard Greg Koubek made what looked like a three-point shot with both feet behind the line, but 57 seconds later, the Pac-10 referees ruled that it was a two-pointer.

Duke and Krzyzewski did not like the officiating in the 1987 and 1991 losses to Arizona at McKale Center. The series was not renewed thereafter.

The programs have played four games over the last 19 years at neutral sites with each winning two. Arizona has won the last two meetings against Krzyzewski, both under Sean Miller, in the Sweet 16 in 2011 and the Preseason NIT title game in 2013.

Miller owns a 2-1 record against Coach K dating to when Duke defeated his Xavier team 82-64 in the 2008-09 season at East Rutherford, N.J. publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.


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