When Duke takes the floor at Louisville on Saturday, it will mark a new era in Blue Devils basketball.
It will be Duke’s first game under the Joe Biden administration.
While we try to stick to sports and avoid taking sides on political issues, a new president is a big deal. It’s one coach Mike Krzyzewski has dealt with before.
When Coach K began his career as Army’s head coach, Gerald Ford was president. Biden will be the ninth president since he began coaching games, and the 13th presidential term (He’s coached under four two-term presidents.)
Politicians often campaign on change, and a new start may be just what Duke needs. The Blue Devils have struggled this season, in the waning days of the Trump administration.
Krzyzewski’s record with Trump as president was a mixed bag. He had a .784 winning percentage, which was an improvement over the .776 he had in Obama’s second term, but Krzyzewski had just 105 wins in the four years, his fewest in a presidential term since winning 81 in Clinton’s first term. That number was kept low by Krzyzewski missing half a season due to back surgery in 1994, while the Trump number could have been higher if last season wasn’t cut short before Duke played in the ACC Tournament.
So, is a Biden administration a good thing for Duke? As with most political issues, there are two schools of thought, with plenty of statistics to back them up.
In Coach K’s career, he’s been better under Republican administrations. Krzyzewski has 660 wins when the GOP is running things in the Oval Office, 502 when the Democrats are. The winning percentage doesn’t have quite as large a difference, but Coach K does better under Republicans (.770 to .764).
However, if you look at Krzyzewski’s performance as Duke head coach, the numbers are different. He took over the Blue Devils in the last few months of Jimmy Carter’s presidency, and his winning percentage at Duke under Democrats is 20 points higher than under Republicans. That’s mainly due to getting rid of some rough years at Army under Carter.
So what does it mean? Under Biden, will the Blue Devils be able to (re) distribute the ball better? Will we see cutbacks in defense? Or can Duke build back better after a slow start to the season?