I respect Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. He has a quality leaders have. He gets passionate about a subject and, listening to him, you become passionate. You want to slap the floor and play defense, even if Krzykzewski is not talking about basketball.
I thought his comments on the John Feinstein Show Monday came out of frustration. The Blue Devils had lost to Virginia Sunday in the ACC championship and would be shipped to the NCAA tournament's Midwest Region, a region so loaded it lacks only an NBA team.
But Krzyzewski was wrong to criticze the N.C. media. He said that because Duke isn't a state school, the Blue Devils don't get the press corp protecting them.
Even though the Blue Devils shot 11 free throws Sunday, and Virginia shot 38, nobody local apparently stuck up for him by criticizing the officiating.
"We dont get that at all," Krzyzewski said. "Ever."
Duke does get breaks from officials, just as North Carolina does, just as Louisville does and Kentucky does and Michigan State does and any reigning power does. Officials don't go into a game humming the fight song from, say, North Carolina, or hoping to get a pat on the back or an autograph from a celebrity coach
But they're certainly aware that some programs are elite. Would a player from an elite program such as Duke really commit a foul such as that?
That's where the discrepency occurs. Sustain excellence, or superiority, game after game, season after season and decade after decade and you become royalty. Despite not being a state school, Duke is.
Yet Virginia outscored Duke from the line 25-7 and won by 9.
Does that mean offficials like Virginia better than Duke? Or does it mean that Duke was hit with two technical fouls, resulting in free throws, and that Duke fell behind and fouled to stop the clock?
I rarely hear about Wahoo refs, especially at Greensboro Coliseum, which is 56 miles from Duke and 183 miles from Charlottesville, Va.
Fans are too quick to blame officials. The reason the Carolina Panthers lost to San Francisco in the playoffs was because of the referees, some Panther fans said. They were wrong. The 49ers won because they had better receivers (joking). San Francisco won because the Panthers played poorly and because the 49ers were superior.
I wasn't in Greensboro Sunday. But if the media saw dishonest or incompetent officiating, they would have written about it and talked about it even though Duke is a private school.
Virginia won because, on that day, it was the better team.
That's how it works.