Milestone victory for Coach K

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Milestone victory for Coach K

From Comcast SportsNet
NEW YORK (AP) -- Mike Krzyzewski will keep adding to his record victory total. There is no doubt about that. How long he stays on the Duke bench and how far he goes past No. 903 is anyone's guess. "I just play every game the same and they just kept adding up," Krzyzewski said after the sixth-ranked Blue Devils' 74-69 victory over Michigan State on Tuesday night in the State Farm Champions Classic. That win broke a tie with Bob Knight, his college coach and professional mentor, for the most in Division I. "I think it will mean a lot more when it's all over and I don't know when that will be. I want to win a championship with each team I coach." There were quite few of Krzyzewski's former players at Madison Square Garden to see him break the record. "I can't say I'm surprised because I saw firsthand the level of preparation, the level of passion he put into his program every single day," said Shane Battier, who won an NCAA championship with Krzyzewski. "I know if you gave him enough opportunity he'd give Bobby Knight a run for his money. It's just amazing to be here on this night to see the culmination of this work." Like many others, Battier doesn't think the 64-year-old Krzyzewski will be done adding to the win total for several years. "He's ageless. He looks great. He looks the same as when I was a freshman," Battier said. "There's no reason to think he won't be around for many years to come." With Knight sitting across the court at the ESPN broadcast table, Krzyzewski moved to the top of the list in front of a sellout crowd of 19,979 at Madison Square Garden. Duke is 26-15 all-time, including a 21-7 mark under Krzyzewski, at Madison Square Garden and the Blue Devils have won 12 of their last 14 there. "Setting the record at Madison Square Garden was truly special," Krzyzewski said. "To me this is hallowed ground and it just worked out." Krzyzewski went right across the court to hug Knight when the game ended. Krzyzewski, tears in his eyes, broke away, and Knight pulled him back, hands on his shoulders, then there was one final slap of the shoulder. "I just told Coach I love him," Krzyzewski said. "I wouldn't be in this position without him. It's a moment shared. I know he's very proud, and I'm very proud to have been somebody who's worked under him and studied him and tried to be like him. "I'm not sure how many people tell him they love him but I love him for what he's done for me and I thanked him. He said Boy, you've done pretty good for a kid who couldn't shoot.' I think that means he loves me, too. At least that's how I'm taking that." Junior guard Andre Dawkins had 26 points for Duke (3-0), which took control with a 20-1 run that gave the Blue Devils a 61-41 lead with 9:17 to play. Then it was just a matter of counting down the minutes -- except for a late run by Michigan State that made it a five-point game in the final minute -- until the celebration could get under way. "It means a lot. There's only going to be 13 guys that can say they played on the team that got the 903rd win. I mean, to be one of those 13 guys is an amazing feeling," Dawkins said. "To be honest, I'm not sure that I've really got a grasp of that yet. I'm sure down the road, looking back, when I look back on my career I can say, Wow, that's pretty amazing.'" Dawkins, who had six 3-pointers, and Ryan Kelly hits 3s to start Duke's big run. As Michigan State (0-2) kept missing shots down low, Seth Curry hit another 3 for Duke and then the Blue Devils closed the run by making 6 of 6 attempts at the free throw line. The Spartans kept Krzyzewski coaching to the final minute. They finally started hitting shots and forcing turnovers to close to 74-69 with 12.9 seconds left. Curry had 20 points while Kelly added 14 for the Blue Devils, who were 10 of 21 from 3-point range. Duke led 34-33 at the end of a sloppy first half. "It's a special moment," Krzyzewski said of his family and former players being there. "At halftime I wasn't sure we were going to have this moment. We beat a really good team, and I'm glad now we can just move on and just develop our team." Keith Appling had 22 points for Michigan State, and Brandon Wood added 15. The Spartans finished with 21 turnovers. "I was in a no-win situation," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "I was either going to be the guy who threw the ball to Henry Aaron for the record breaker of the guy who shot Bambi." Krzyzewski moved to the top of the list in his 37th season, all but five at Duke. He also coached at West Point, his alma mater where Knight molded a point guard into a coach for the ages. Knight won his 902 games in 42 seasons, six at Army, 29 at Indiana and seven at Texas Tech. Krzyzewski has four national championships while Knight has three. Krzyzewski and Knight both led the United States to an Olympic gold medal, Knight in 1984 and Krzyzewski in 2008. Coach K will have a chance at a second gold when he leads the team of NBA players again in London next summer. Two members of that team -- Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul-- were at the game and both spent a moment with Krzyzewski outside the locker room. "The crowd here was great. Everybody wants to play in Madison Square Garden," Izzo said. "The back hallway full of his former players, there's nothing greater than that. I certainly respect that." Under Krzyzewski, Duke is 453-71 in non-conference games. "I know I'm a very good coach and I get really good guys and then it's up to us to fight like hell to win," Krzyzewski said.

Cubs Talk Podcast: Breaking down the World Series hangover

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Breaking down the World Series hangover

Do the Cubs have a World Series hangover?

On the latest edition of the Cubs Talk Podcast, NBC Sports Bay Area Giants Insider Alex Pavlovic joins CSN's Patrick Mooney to talk about the World Series hangover, how last year's playoff loss lingered in San Francisco, Johnny Cueto's quirks, the legend of Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija's ups and downs.

Plus Kelly Crull, Jeff Nelson and Tony Andracki break down the Cubs’ defensive struggles this year compared to an historic 2016 and how Ian Happ fits into the Cubs’ lineup in both the short and long term.

Listen to the latest episode below:

What does Caleb Swanigan's departure for NBA mean for Purdue and the 2018 Big Ten title race?

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USA TODAY

What does Caleb Swanigan's departure for NBA mean for Purdue and the 2018 Big Ten title race?

Caleb Swanigan, unsurprisingly, is heading to the NBA.

Last season’s Big Ten Player of the Year announced Wednesday that he’ll pass up the final two seasons of his NCAA eligibility for a paying gig at the professional level, an awesome opportunity for a kid who battled obesity and homelessness to become one of the best basketball players in the country.

But Swanigan’s departure from West Lafayette means a heck of a lot to the Big Ten.

Without the league’s most dominant big man, what becomes of Purdue’s chances at winning a conference title? Similarly, with a weakened — though still strong — group of Boilermakers, what does the Big Ten race look like going into 2017-18?

First, Purdue. Matt Painter’s program is plenty healthy, and while there’s no doubt that losing Swanigan is a big deal, the Boilers got some really good news, too, Wednesday when Vincent Edwards announced he’ll be returning for his senior season. Seven-footer Isaac Haas also made the decision to return to West Lafayette, meaning the towering frontcourt hasn’t been completely decimated just because tha man called “Biggie” is gone.

Purdue will also return Carsen Edwards, who had an impressive freshman campaign, and Dakota Mathias, a terrific defender and 3-point shooter. Two more important pieces — P.J. Thompson and Ryan Cline — are back, as well. And Painter will welcome in freshman Nojel Eastern, a highly touted guard from Evanston.

So the Boilers are still in very good shape. There will be a big magnifying glass on Haas, who despite his physical attributes hasn’t always found consistent on-court success. But there have been plenty of flashes of brilliance from the big man. A big step forward in his game would go a long way in easing the blow of losing Swanigan and could keep Purdue as one of the frontrunners for a conference title.

That brings us to the Big Ten race. Ever since Miles Bridges, the conference’s reigning Freshman of the Year, announced he’d be returning to Michigan State for his sophomore season, the Spartans have been the near-unanimous favorite. Only something like Swanigan deciding to stay at Purdue could’ve changed that. And with Swanigan expectedly heading to the NBA, Michigan State remains the preseason pick to win the conference crown.

Like any good year in the Big Ten, though, there will be challengers.

But Michigan State is the popular choice to win it because of Tom Izzo’s insane 2016 recruiting class is returning completely intact: Bridges, Nick Ward, Cassius Winston and Joshua Langford are all back. And Izzo brings in one of the top 2017 recruits in forward Jaren Jackson.

But Sparty isn’t the only one with an impressive returning group. Purdue’s experienced roster has already been covered. Northwestern, a surprise contender in 2016-17, should be even better as Bryant McIntosh, Vic Law and Scottie Lindsey enter their fourth year playing together. Dererk Pardon, a shot-blocking whiz at center, is also back, as is sharp-shooter Aaron Falzon, who sat out the 2016-17 season with an injury after starting during his freshman year in 2015-16.

There will be big shoes to fill for some perennial contenders like Maryland — which must replace Melo Trimble — and Michigan, which watched eligibility run out on Derrick Walton Jr. and Zak Irvin before D.J. Wilson decided to head to the professional ranks Wednesday. But those teams have plenty of talent returning, too. The Terps will have all three of their fab freshmen — Justin Jackson, Anthony Cowan and Kevin Huerter — back for sophomore seasons, while the Wolverines have Moe Wagner back in the fold alongside Xavier Simpson and Duncan Robinson, among others.

And what of last year’s shocking contender, Minnesota? The Golden Gophers didn’t lose too much this offseason and will return almost every main player from last year’s 24-10 squad: Amir Coffey, Nate Mason, Reggie Lynch, Jordan Murphy, Dupree McBrayer and Eric Curry.

There are up-and-comers to think about, too, such as last year’s freshman-heavy squads at Iowa and Penn State. And could new head coaches Brad Underwood and Archie Miller make instant splashes at Illinois and Indiana, respectively?

If it sounds a little too much like the annual coach speak that “any team can win on any night” in the Big Ten, that’s because there is a good deal of truth to that oft-used phrase.

There are definitely tiers to this thing, though. Even without Swanigan, Purdue is still in one of those upper tiers. But there might be no team besides Michigan State at the very top of the heap, something underscored by Swanigan turning pro.