DUKE'S MIKE KRZYZEWSKI and Connecticut's Jim Calhoun are the two most decorated coaches of their generation, Hall of Famers with five national titles and more than 1,400 victories between them. They are on a collision course this season for another meeting on college basketball's biggest stage, lending even greater currency to the notion that Duke-UConn is the defining high-stakes rivalry of the last 15 years.
Both the Blue Devils and the Huskies have the talent and the experience to cut down the nets at the Final Four in Indianapolis. And should they face each other again on April 3, neither coach will be lacking for motivation. With a victory in the final, Calhoun would equal Coach K's total of three national championships. For Krzyzewski, a Duke-UConn final would provide the chance not only to surpass his mentor, Bob Knight, with his fourth title but also to turn the tables on Calhoun, who lately has had Coach K's number.
Krzyzewski and Calhoun have squared off only six times, but nearly every game has been freighted with meaning. Their first meeting, in the 1990 East Regional final, ended with Christian Laettner sinking a classic overtime buzzer-beater to win 79-78. The following year Laettner and the Blue Devils eliminated UConn again in the Sweet 16. Since then Calhoun has beaten Duke four straight times, including an unforgettable upset in the 1999 title game and a come-from-behind victory in the 2004 national semifinals, the de facto championship that season.
Could there be a more enticing storyline next spring than Calhoun and Coach K, two tectonic plates in the world of college hoops, clashing again in Indy? It's hard to imagine one. Even better, they've both got the teams to make it happen.
December 26, 2005
HIRE CALLING Bob Huggins will get a top job, in part because he could bring O.J. Mayo, a Cincinnati-area blue-chipper, with him.
BOO DEVIL During his run to Player of the Year honors, J.J. Redick will surpass Christian Laettner as the most vilified Dukie ever.
SOMETHING BRUIN A young UCLA team will win the Pac-10 title and serve notice that it can win a national championship in 2006-07.