Mike Krzyzewski and Duke faced down both the end of the 2021 season and a coaching career on Sunday. A comeback victory over Michigan State enabled the Blue Devils to advance in the NCAA Tournament and extend Coach K’s retirement tour.
The 75 year old legendary coach won his 1,200th game by the score of 85-76, a score that was not indicative of how tough the matchup was for Duke. Those watching Coach K courtside had to sense that he was confronting his basketball mortality. He looked so nervous and it had to be because his iconic career appeared to be moments away from being over.
How could Coach K and Duke fans not be nervous? Michigan State held a five-point lead with five minutes to go. The game looked very similar to the unexpected loss Duke took to UNC a few weeks ago in Coach K’s final game at Cameron. This time, his young team extended his 47-year head-coaching career for at least one more night, sending him on his 26th trip to the Sweet 16 and a meeting with Texas Tech in San Francisco.
This was not the same Krzyzewski team that loss to North Carolina or that got handled by Virginia Tech in the ACC Tournament final. The Blue Devils suddenly look like a team capable of sending out Krzyzewski with a sixth national title, the way UCLA sent out John Wooden with his 10th in 1975.
No One Needs A Baker
Baker Mayfield has gone from being a former No. 1 overall draft pick to a quarterback no one apparently wants on their team.
After the Browns acquired Deshaun Watson from the Texans, incumbent quarterback Baker Mayfield has been widely expected to be sent out of Cleveland in a corresponding move. But that move has yet to happen. Why you ask? Because there appears to be no takers.
It was thought that the Colts would be interested. No, they traded for the aging Matt Ryan. The Carolina Panthers still need a quarterback but have indicated they have zero interest in Mayfield.
The other quarterback-needy teams all seem to be making their moves. The Saints re-signed Jameis Winston to a two-year deal, while the Falcons signed free-agent quarterback Marcus Mariota. The Texans may not be sold on Davis Mills, but if they wanted Mayfield they would have asked for him in the Watson deal. The only team left that theoretically needs a quarterback is the Seahawks, who acquired Drew Lock when they traded Russell Wilson to the Broncos.
So, where does that leave Mayfield? The Browns will move on from him, as the relationship between the two sides has been reported to be at a point of no return. But the lack of interest around the league doesn’t seem to bode well for the Browns as they search for a trade partner.
Mayfield struggled mightily last season while playing hurt. He threw for just 3,010 yards, 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions on a team that had lofty playoff aspirations. The Browns did not sniff the playoffs and the franchise seems to be blaming Mayfield.
In the end, I have a feeling Seattle or Pittsburgh, who signed Mitch Trubisky, will find they need a Baker.