- Odds have been set on whether Mike Krzyzewski will coach all of Duke’s games this season and whether the Blue Devils will play all their ACC games in the 2020-21 season.
- Krzyzewski has questioned the decision of playing the season during a pandemic
- Duke cancelled its remaining non-conference games earlier this month and will play only within the ACC
Legendary Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has questioned the worth of conducting the 2020-21 college basketball season during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Oddsmakers believe Krzyzewski will coach all of Duke’s game this season, though. Yet they question whether the Blue Devils will be able to play all the games on their ACC schedule.
Odds Mike Krzyzewski Coaches Every Game of Duke’s ACC Schedule
Odds taken Dec. 23
No Cameron Advantage
Duke is off to a 3-2 start – and both losses have been at home.
Without the Cameron Crazies in the stands, Duke’s famous home court advantage at Cameron Indoor Stadium has been reduced. The Blue Devils lost to Michigan State by six points there on Dec. 1 then by 15 to Illinois a week later.
This is what Cameron can be like in big moments.
Zion’s 360 dunk had Cameron Indoor Stadium LIVE ?
(via alee923/IG) pic.twitter.com/omm4FgpUsc
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 6, 2019
Following the loss to Illinois, Krzyzewski wondered aloud about the worthiness of playing a season.
“I don’t think it feels right to anybody,” Krzyzewski said. “I think I would just like, just for the safety, the mental health and the physical health of our players and staff to assess where we’re at.”
A few days later, Duke decided to cancel the rest of their non-conference games and play an ACC-only schedule.
Pushback on Coach K
One coach who was outspoken about Krzyzewski’s comments and Duke’s decision to not to play any more games out of conference was Alabama’s Nate Oats.
Oats suggested Krzyzewski would likely feel differently if his Blue Devils were off to a 4-0 start at the time of Coach K’s comments rather than 2-2 with two home losses.
???NATE OATS ???
“We 100% should be playing basketball.” pic.twitter.com/QoHbML9Lwu
— Roger Hoover (@Roger_Hoover) December 10, 2020
Oats later apologized for the comments.
However, Krzyzewski is not the only veteran coach to suggest the NCAA rethink it plans to continue the season unabated.
Iona’s Rick Pitino has suggested the season be postponed until March with the NCAA Tournament being held in May. His rationale is the coronavirus numbers may be going down by the spring and it would be safer for games to be held.
Duke Bounces Back
While Krzyzewski may not be all-in on the 2020-21 season, he has not made any public comments about possibly stepping aside temporarily like he did during the 2016-17 season after undergoing back surgery.
Furthermore, Duke won its lone game since Krzyzewski made his comments, beating Notre Dame 75-65 on the road Dec. 16 as a two-point favorite. That is clearly the Blue Devils’ best win of the season as their other victories came over Coppin State and Bellarmine, a newcomer to Division I this season.
No. 21 Duke tops Notre Dame 75-65 in teams’ ACC opener [email protected] | #ACCMBB
— ACC Men’s Basketball (@accmbb) December 17, 2020
Part of Duke’s early-season problems can be attributed to having a young roster. The Blue Devils have 10 freshmen and sophomore and are still trying to form a cohesive unit after the coronavirus scuttled summer workouts and shortened the preseason.
Duke has enough talent to win plenty of games. The oddsmakers look at the Blue Devils as strong contenders for the ACC title, listing them just slightly behind North Carolina and Florida State.
Though, at 72, Krzyzewski is at higher risk for medical problems if he contracts COVID-19, it is hard to see him walking away from this team. Though it doesn’t represent value, no is the bet here.
Can They Play Them All?
The question on if whether Duke can play its entire ACC schedule is a tough one to answer.
COVID-19 positive tests and contract tracing have caused many programs across the country to pause basketball activities for spans up to two weeks. Almost every Division I team has had its schedule altered in some way because of the pandemic.
For example, top-ranked Gonzaga had to cancel four games earlier this month when a player and staff member tested positive, though the Bulldogs came out of their break and beat Iowa.
Mark Few praises Gonzaga players for pulling off this win for overcoming adversity after coronavirus put this program on pause. pic.twitter.com/WZVSp6r6qP
— Karthik Venkataraman (@KREMKarthik) December 19, 2020
The virus is impossible to predict but it seems likely to continue causing havoc with the schedule. However, other than the ones they decided to cancel, Duke has been able to play all five games on their schedule so far.
So, let’s bank on that trend continuing and the Blue Devils getting all their games in.