Coach K took the Duke job in 1980 and in his first year, with Mike Gminski gone, he led a smaller team with Gene Banks, Kenny Dennard and Vince Taylor to a 17-13 record and an NIT invitation (a Banks injury made that a short post-season).
The next two seasons were brutal as the Foster era talent ran out before the K recruiting took hold: 10-17 and 11-17.
In 1982-83, Duke at least had talent but Johnny Dawkins, Mark Alarie, Jay Bilas and David Henderson were freshmen and they hadn’t learned Coach K’s system thoroughly. And remember, guys like Ralph Sampson, Len Bias and Michael Jordan were in the ACC. Mark Price and Muggsy Bogues too. And they weren’t leaving after one season either.
So by 1983-84, a lot of Duke fans were getting edgy. Duke began to win though, and in the ACC Tournament semifinals in 1984, the Blue Devils faced Jordan’s Tar Heels.
Can you imagine?
This was a team of sophomores with a freshman point guard taking on Dean Smith’s program. Now Duke is kind of in UNC’s position but in 1984, that program seemed impregnable.
So as you’ll see in this condensed version, Duke beat Smith and Jordan and advanced to the ACC Finals where they fell to Bias and the Terps.
This condensed game video runs from the introduction of Matt Doherty to UNC’s final play, where he tries a tight pass up the sideline to Jordan, who can’t save it.
We don't see Duke’s final play but the final score is set: Duke 77 UNC 75.
Also spotted: a young Mickie Krzyzewski with a very different look and, we think, Debbie Krzyzewski as a pretty young kid.