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In his words: Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski

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For more on college basketball, follow Tom Davis via Twitter at Tom101010.

Blue Devil coach admires Spartan counterpart

Friday, March 29, 2013 - 1:10 am

INDIANAPOLIS - Duke men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski has his Blue Devils playing well as they've reached the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament.

He spoke with the media on Thursday regarding a number of topics.

On facing Michigan State:

"Tom is somebody I really admire. I admired him when he was an assistant, because I didn't know that anyone could really be an assistant for Jud. I hope Jud takes that the right way. It's meant as a joke.

"And he just has done it the right way. And he's built a great program, and we've had great games in the past, and he's somebody that, he's a guy's guy and a coach's coach, and their guys play hard all the time. I think we play hard all the time.

"I think it's going to be a great game for college basketball."

ON the similarities in styles between Duke and Michigan State:

"I think the main thing is that I know they're going to play every play. I know they're well prepared and that they play to win.

"For the most part, both of our programs, we don't beat ourselves. Someone has to beat us. And that's what I see. I think he coaches every game like it's his first. I try to do the same thing. Hopefully, with the knowledge of having won a few.

"So there are no possessions off. They're going to show up. We're going to show up. I really love that. This is a big time game. It's a big time game and we're excited to be a part of that. We want to be in big time games."

On this game not being a chess match:

"The one thing that's similar about me and Tom, I don't think we can play chess. I wouldn't. I mean, I know a little bit about it.

"But it's not going to be a chess match. That's putting the coaches too much involved here. We'll both have our teams prepared to play against one another, and you can't be instinctively reactive to what's going on in the game if you're constantly looking at your coach to tell you every move. Our teams are prepared to follow their instincts, and they have good instincts and so do we.

"They have areas that they're better than we are in, and we have some that we think we might be a little bit better in. But pretty much it's an even match, and we're going to have try to have our kids ready to just battle. And I know their kids will be ready to battle."

On the past success affecting this season:

"Sometimes you get to the Sweet 16 with a team that shouldn't have been in the tournament, and it's just your time to go.

"Sometimes you play an opponent that: What the heck are they doing in the Sweet 16? How did we play this level of opponent in that game? That type of thing.

"I would look at it more of who we were at that time and who we're playing.

"The other thing about stats over the years, when you all look at stats, they're not stats of the same kids. They're stats of the program. So I don't know what the '98 team has to do with the 2013 team. I just don't understand those stats."

On the importance of Ryan Kelly:

"The main thing is he's an outstanding player. So you don't have that many outstanding players. You might have one. We have a, when they're all right, they're all healthy, we have a few. And when you take an outstanding player off of any team, probably the record will diminish. Ours didn't diminish that much.

"But the things that he brings, first of all, he stretches a defense because he's capable of shooting from the outside. But he has a demeanor that helps calm everybody, and he has a way of, he can talk to his own team, and talk becomes the lifeblood of unification on a team, especially on defense.

"He's an outstanding defender. He showed it in the last game on McDermott. He's not in shape yet to play at that level on both ends of the court, so he sacrificed a lot offensively just to try to hold McDermott down. I'm not saying anyone can stop him, but he held him in check.

"And then offensively, he helps Quinn as far as coordinating the efforts of our team through his talk and demeanor. He's really a good player, and he's getting better.

"I wish for our team that he never was injured, because it would be neat to see, he was playing better than anyone on our team when he got hurt. Just for those about four games before he got hurt. There was divine intervention when he came back for the first Miami game.

"Since then, his body told him, hey, I know we're in March, but your body's in October. Maybe he's in December now with his body."