“I think it makes both of us as teams understand if we have a chance to win, we’ve got to play every possession on the defensive end and rebound,” Krzyzewski said. “Although we play our defense in a little bit different manner, I think the motivation to play it, the motivation to rebound is the same.”
Krzyzewski has talked often about the way this Duke came together this season, with a chemistry he has rarely seen during his coaching career. Much of that can be attributed to keeping a core group of players together for more than one year.
“It’s definitely helped our team this season,” junior forward Kyle Singler said. “We’ve won some close games because of the bond that we have. We’ve gone through a lot of experiences together. It’s more of a friendship. You’re willing to do extra to help the team win.”
Michigan State, known for its winning formula of hustle, rebounding and simply outworking the opponent, has taken it all to a new level. The Spartans have overcome adversity and injuries, especially the blow of losing point guard Kalin Lucas last week.
“When you lose a player like Kalin, you come together,” sophomore forward Draymond Green said. “We knew when he went down we had to come together, but it really solidified it. Kalin can carry a team, but without him we have to do it collectively.”
“I like how we all get along,” said Butler guard Ronald Nored. “We’re all friends. This is our second year together, which is really unique. Not a lot of teams bring everybody back.”
West Virginia’s Butler was reminded Thursday that this is being billed as team event. His reaction?
“That’s their opinion,” Butler said. “We’ve got some great players in this Final Four. We’ve just got to play our game, do what we do, and just go out and win without stars.”
He could’ve just pointed to his shirt. The motto says it all.
CBT: Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski made it official that he'll be coaching Team USA at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and he'll also be with Duke at least that long, too.
Best of the big dance
Check out the top images in this visual tour of the 2010 NCAA tournament.
Latest from CollegeBasketballTalk
Former Marshall forward Jamir Hanner transferring to Buffalo11 hr 59 min ago
Boise State forward Vukasin Vujovic leaves program13 hr 23 min ago
Kyle Vinales won’t leave Central Connecticut State after all14 hr 54 min ago
College basketball videos
Team USA prolongs Coach K's tenure at Duke
DPS: Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski joins the Dan Patrick Show to talk about his decision to return as Team USA basketball coach. Coach K admits coaching in the Olympics has extending his tenure at Duke, saying, “I wouldn’t stop coaching at Duke while I am still the National [team] coach.”
Three cheers for college hoops
Take a look at cheerleaders in action from around the country.