Duke’s win over Miami was impressive and undeniable: the Blue Devils thoroughly outplayed the Hurricanes.
And as we said earlier, today’s Miami is not the Miami of Howard Schnellenberger or Jimmy Johnson. However - and this is important - Hurricane fans expect it to be.
So for that matter does the media.
In the Miami Herald, Greg Cote just ripped Cristobal. Keep in mind that Cristobal is in his first season at Miami. Are great things expected? Well, yes.
But it’s his first year.
For his part, Cristobal was publicly restrained but he was pissed, saying this: “If someone’s not playing hard, they have to go play somewhere else. What we have to do requires tough people. To turn a program, rebuild it, it requires tough-minded people willing to do the work”
We mention this for two reasons: first, while we understand the Miami perspective, it demeans Duke’s effort in that game. The Blue Devils didn’t get lucky; they thoroughly deserved the win. They clearly had more heart than Miami. We hope the coaching staff clips all of the articles like Cote’s and uses them for motivation.
And second, it really illustrates what we might call Losing And The Dilemma Of Past Success: fans get spoiled. The media gets surly. And the coaches get the heat.
Cristobal, remember, is in his first season at Miami. He had considerable success at Oregon and signed a huge deal to return to Miami, where winning is expected and failure to do so is punished.
Look at recent Miami history. Butch Davis created a pre-UNC nightmare. Larry Coker had a brilliant team in 2001; he was fired in 2006. Randy Shannon didn’t work out. Al Golden didn’t work out. Mark Richt might have worked out but he developed Parkinson’s and left after two years. Manny Diaz? Three years.
A great program can become victim of its own success. We’ve seen this many times, notably at UCLA after John Wooden retired.
The fans demand success and run off competent coaches. Nothing is good enough. And then the program spirals down until eventually expectations disappear.
We expect Jon Scheyer will do well at Duke, but this is a danger here too in the post-Krzyzewski world. We will say it again: Duke fans need to be different. Things will never be perfect because they never are, not even during Coach K’s epic run. The last thing we want to do is to make Scheyer’s life harder.
So be different.