RALEIGH – A familiar nasally voice cut through the joyous din of the Mercer locker room on Friday afternoon. A half-hour after No. 14 Mercer upset No. 3 Duke, 78-71, in Raleigh in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Mike Krzyzewski stepped into the entrance of the Bears locker room and congratulated them on their victory.
“You guys have a hell of a basketball team,” Krzyzewski said. “I love the game and you guys the play the game really, really well. And your coach coaches it well. If we had to be beaten, I’m glad we got beaten by a hell of a basketball team. So good luck to you.”
When he departed, a stunned silence filled the locker room, as the players digested the moment. "Oh. My. God," Mercer center Daniel Coursey said a few moments after. "I honestly don’t even know. That’s huge. Coach K is one of the most famous basketball coaches ever. For him to tell us we’re a great basketball team, that’s pretty unbelievable."