Duke fell behind early in the Blue Devils’ 79-73 loss to Louisville, turning the ball over seven times in the first eight minutes, many of which were Louisville simply prying the ball loose from players in the lane. The rough play inside had Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski comparing the game to the big UFC fight that was being aired later in the evening.
“We were the prelim to the fight tonight,” Krzyzewski said. “That was a brutal game. The most physical game we’ve been involved in... in years. Really. They’re good. They’re really good. [David] Johnson was terrific in the first half. With the depth that they have and the experience – they outplayed us, especially in those first 10 minutes. Our kids fought like crazy and put us in a position to win. But he term ‘freedom of movement’ was not alive and well tonight. That said, I hope we don’t have the rest of the conference like that. That’s not good basketball. They played great – I don’t want to take away from them. That’s just not … For both of us, you can’t have that.”
Krzyzewski interrupted a media question about whether the permissive officiating was part of a trend. “I don’t follow the trends,” he said. “I’m just telling you about our game. So I don’t know what’s happening in college basketball, other than our games. But tonight? That’s not the way it should be. That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t beat us if it’s something different. Every player’s going to react to the way the game is administrated. God bless them. They did … better than we did. It’s like an early 90s Pistons-Bulls game. It’s unbelievable. That was unbelievable. Really.” Krzyzewski then interrupted the next media question, which referred to how Duke was hurt by the early turnovers. “We were hurt by more than turnovers,” he said.