Duke coach Mike Krzyewski's been a target of hate among college hoops fans for some time.
To reinforce that notion, the Indianapolis Star ran an illustration in some of Friday's editions featuring Coach K with horns and a target drawn on his head. Guess everyone needed a reminder that the Devils aren't liked. (The paper has since apologized for the illustration.)
Whether you approve of the illustration or think hating Duke is now passé, there's no debate about Krzyzewski's place n college hoops history. Few have ever done it better.
And really, that can't be said enough because unless Tom Izzo maintains his remarkable pace for reaching Final Fours, it's going to be tough to match what Coach K's done.
His overall record – 35 seasons, 867 wins, 12 ACC titles, 11 Final Fours and three national titles – is gaudy. And consider his NCAA tournament records. He's 76-22 in the Big Dance and has won 78 percent of the time, best among all active coaches and 11th all-time in terms of win percentage (no coach has more NCAA tourney victories).
Coach K's NCAA tournament streaks
Year Record Seed NCAA finish
1986 37-3 1 Runner-up (5-1)
87 24-9 5 Sweet 16 (2-1)
88 28-7 2 Final 4 (4-1)
89 28-2 2 Final 4 (4-1)
90 29-9 3 Runner-up (5-1)
91 32-7 2 Champion (6-0)
92 34-2 1 Champion (6-0)
93 24-8 3 2nd round (1-1)
94 28-6 2 Runner-up (5-1
1997 24-9 2 2nd round (1-1)
98 32-4 1 Elite Eight (3-1)
99 37-2 1 Runner-up (5-1)
00 29-5 1 Sweet 16 (2-1)
01 35-4 1 Champion (6-0)
02 31-4 1 Sweet 16 (2-1)
03 26-7 3 Sweet 16 (2-1)
04 31-6 1 Final 4 (4-1)
05 27-6 1 Sweet 16 (2-1)
06 31-4 1 Sweet 16 (2-1)
Yes, this was his first Final Four since 2004. Only with Coach K could that be seen as some sort of failure. Even if he loses Saturday and doesn't win an NCAA tournament game for the next six years, he'd still have a better win percentage in the Big Dance than Dean Smith.
What about this nugget? Coach K was 38-9 in the tourney when Duke played in seven Final Fours between 1986 and 1994 (and was only a No. 1 seed twice). That's as many NCAA tournament victories as Rick Pitino has and three more victories than Izzo. And both of them have won at least 73 percent of their tournament games!
Even when the Blue Devils became a de-facto No. 1 seed in the late '90s and through the mid-2000s – eight times in nine years – they still weren't choking every year. They were 29-9 in that span, meeting or exceeding their seed three times.
Perhaps Duke will win it all this season and Coach K's status will go up another notch.
Or maybe the Devils will lose and he'll have to content himself with a stellar season and the likely No. 1 team entering next season.
Love him or hate him, you have to give him his due.
Mike Miller's also on Twitter, usually talkin' hoops. Click here for more.