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January 17, 2011

Mike Krzyzewski

THE MODERATOR: We have with us Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski. We'll start with questions.

Q. Wanted to ask you about the development you're seeing and the development you're looking for going forward out of Mason, as both a rebounder and a defender?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, he's doing a good job. Obviously in the last two ball games his rebounding has been sensational. And a young guy.
I think the offense is going to be there the more comfortable he gets with all the physicality, and he just has to finish. And he had a few opportunities in our last ball game. Really, you should have probably scored double figure points. He should have had a double-double.
But that will come. And I'm pleased with his progress. He's got to get experience. And playing these ACC games will give him good experience.

Q. I know you also talked last week about Tracy Smith and how crafty he can be inside. What's unique about trying to guard him?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, he's very difficult to guard. I don't think there's a better player in our conference in scoring when there's a guy between he and the basket, between him and the basket than Tracy. And other people sometimes get angles. And they have good power moves and stuff like that.
But Tracy, you can just throw the ball down there, and he just has a great seal for scoring in the low post and never fazed by who is guarding him. He's got great poise in the post and a high level skill set down there.

Q. I was wondering if you could talk about NC State beat you guys there last year. I know this is a different team for both of you. But what did they do last year that made them successful? And then Sydney's got two wins in seven tries against you, which wouldn't be a lot against some programs, but against Duke it's pretty good. Can you talk about what you like about the way Coach Lowe coaches?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: You're asking me to write a book, I think, here with the number of questions you asked. First of all, it really doesn't make any difference what happened in any other year or what the coaching record is against somebody, because kids don't relate to any of that.
They relate to what's happening right now. So, I mean, Sydney and I are really good friends. And he's a heck of a coach. And I think he has a really athletic team.
And they get supported very well at home. I mean, they have a great crowd. So we expect a very, very difficult game, whether we had one last year or not.
I mean, last year, really, two different teams. We're talking about this year. And we're not talking about the last seven games, we're talking about this game.
And I think it's always best to focus on this game and this game will be a difficult one for us.

Q. The tenth anniversary of the comeback that you guys had against Maryland is coming up next week. Could you talk about what did you tell them in the huddle before that last minute, how remarkable it was, and just the Duke/Maryland rivalry in general back then?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Duke and Maryland have two storied programs. So there are a lot of great games. I have a hard time remembering what I did 10 minutes ago, let alone 10 years ago. I think I told them to warm up the bus and let's get the heck out of here. And our guys came up with some big plays and you have to be very lucky in a situation like that. And we were. We were fortunate enough to win a big game.

Q. That loss to Florida State, did that kind of show publicly some concerns you had privately about your team going into that game?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, I shared those concerns publicly. No one wanted to listen. We're a good team trying to get better. And Florida State played a great game against us. Defensively, their athleticism was very difficult to beat.
And we still had a chance. And so I thought our kids responded well in the last 10, 12 minutes of the game to put ourselves in a position to where we had a chance to win.
But Florida State was terrific. Especially Kitchen. Kitchen had an amazing game in that ball game. Hit unbelievably big shots for them.

Q. What was your message to your team coming out of that game? Okay, we need to take fewer 3s or tougher defense?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: No, we just have to get better. I don't have just one message. The 3s we took there's nothing wrong with the 3s we took. We had a lot of open looks. You need to learn from the experiences you have, and the league will provide you many experiences. And if you keep learning from them, keep getting better, then you have a chance to be at your best at the end of the year, which has always been what I've tried to do with my team.
So that game should help us. Rather win and have it help us, but very few teams have gone through this thing undefeated.

Q. Coach, talking to Billy Packer a little while ago about the ACC and his sense is that the talent is down across the conference, maybe this year over last year, do you agree with that? Is that a concern for the ACC in the big picture?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, I don't know if the talent is down. I think we have a lot of teams that are getting better in our conference. And I think we started out the year with three new coaches. One coach who is in his second year.
With three programs, it means there is a lot of adjustment that has to occur. Especially two of those teams have made unbelievable adjustments. BC and Clemson have now adjusted to a new set of situations.
And they're really good. But they weren't ranked. So I think we have really good talent in our league. And it's a matchup like if you picked five or ten guys from each league and had them play, I'd pick our guys. And I think we'd have a great shot of beating anybody.
So I think the league is strong. And it just started out with a lot of newness this season, and now it's kind of settling in.

Q. I wanted to ask about your relationship with? Coach McCallie, if there's any interaction, she turns to you for advice at all or it's pretty much --
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: No, Joanne and I, we get along great. I mean, we share all of our facilities. In other words, we never have a problem with the men's and women's programs.
The kids on the teams are really close friends. And Joanne is -- we're close friends. So she doesn't call me for advice. She doesn't need advice. But support, we try to support one another, write notes or we see each other obviously to wish each other well.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

End of FastScripts

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