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Long Ago And Far Away...

You have to admit, the ACC-Big Ten Challenge is a kick. It's fun to
see two great conferences face off this way. Duke has so far
consistently played at the top level of the event, getting the better schools
from the other side, and doing pretty well, too. It's a measure of the
Krzyzewski era that we anticipate good things and look forward to big games,
win or lose, confident that things are as they should be. So thoroughly
are we inculcated now that from the moment the pairings were announced
and Duke was matched up with Ohio State, until this very moment, we never gave
a moment's thought to the last Duke-Ohio State game. It's just as well,
too, because the last time was not pretty.

Duke was riding high in 1979, coming off the dream ride of 1978, with Gene
Banks and Kenny Dennard joining Mike Gminski, Jim Spanarkel, John Harrell and Bob
Bender. A consensus #1 team, Duke, perhaps sensing Bill Foster's unease,
had a tough time dealing with the pressure, and when they went to New York for
two games, one with Ohio State and another with St. John's, it was expected to
be a Garden party. Didn't quite work out. In both games, Duke had
an 18 point lead (if we recall correctly); in both, the team lost. The
team never fully recovered. There were accounts of a tense Bill Foster
taping the windows at Cameron and headlines screaming "what's wrong with
Duke?" (Now they say "what's wrong with the Jayhawks?").

Mike Krzyzewski, who was coaching at nearby West Point, obviously must have
seen the headlines and the stories. Who knew that two years later
he'd end up in Durham and completely change the program?

Anyway, the point isn't that history is about to repeat itself; win or
lose, we're confident that it won't. We're not even sure what the point
is, other than how lucky we have been to have Coach K running the
program. It's amazing, really, what he has accomplished, and not least
among his accomplishments is the absolute confidence among Duke fans that even
if Duke loses by 30, they'll come out of the chute like gangbusters in the
next game.