So here we sit, hours away from a championship game between the evil empire and the wee little lads from Indianapolis. Duke is a 7-point favorite, as well they should be in light of the impressive, albeit painfully easy, road they took to get to this point. It is likely that Coach K, leader of this program that is hated with a different kind of hate, will once again raise the championship trophy above his villainous head, and all of us will once again weep at the thought of the slurp parade that will follow. But wait…could there be a bright light on the horizon? Indeed.
As was noted by Matt earlier, a Russian man not named Ivan Drago is prepared to offer many of his family’s rubles to the rat-faced one in hopes that he will jump to the NBA to coach the Nets. Of course, Krzyzewski has said he’s not interested, but I can’t be bothered with that kind of detail. Besides, coaches are traditionally full of it in these situations, and anyone who isn’t interested in making $12 to $15 million a year should probably be interested in getting their pulse checked. The Dark Lord will listen whether his team wins the title or not, if he hasn’t listened (or had someone listen for him) already.
Don’t get me wrong…taking the Nets job is a long shot for Coach K, but one that’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility given the dollars involved. However, it’s hard to see him leaving college ball having not won a championship in nearly a decade and, save for this Final Four run, with his program on a mild downturn in terms of postseason success in the last few years. So, it seems more likely for him to leave if the Devils do take the title back to Tobacco Road, particularly given that winning another one — especially with a team that is as quintessentially ‘Duke’ as the current incarnation — would cement his legacy as one of the best coaches ever. And that brings me to the question I’ve been wrestling with since it became apparent that the championship is Duke’s to lose and a billionaire will be ringing K’s phone soon after: Would you trade a Duke title tonight for Coach K to sign on the dotted line with the Nets tomorrow?
Duke winning the championship is the most painful of endings to a college basketball season, particularly one in which the Cats were capable of winning it themselves. But is it more painful than the Coach K lovefest that we have endured for years? I happen to believe that Duke will not continue on as it has after Krzyzewski leaves, so would the possible crumbling of a program that’s been the most hated in America for the last two decades be worth the image of watching it take the championship we’ve coveted for so long? These are the questions that try men’s souls.
There is no doubt that I will be cheering for Butler tonight, but having grappled with this conundrum for literally minutes today, I must say that if it meant Duke as we know it would fall and Coach K would no longer be a thorn in our side, I could deal with them winning the championship tonight. I wouldn’t be happy, but knowing it was the end for my most hated rival would let me be at peace with it, at least. It should be noted, however, that the most likely outcome is one where Duke wins the championship and K returns to college basketball, thus screwing us all again. But that’s no fun to talk about. What is fun? Senseless debates about hypotheticals, that’s what.
So would you trade Duke winning it all tonight for Coach K to be gone tomorrow? I would, but I’m crazy. Tell me how crazy in the comments.