Defending champion Duke is out, falling to No. 1 seed Oregon 82-68 in a game that was decided so early, nothing on the court is going to garner the attention of whatever happened between Mike Krzyzewski and Dillon Brooks in the handshake line. Or didn’t happen, depending on who you ask.
Brooks, a sophomore swingman who put up 22 points, six assists, and five rebounds, acknowledged trash-talking with Duke players throughout the night. “It’s part of the game,” he said. “Everybody trash-talks and tries to get you out of your game. But that just makes me go harder and fires me up.”
Perhaps that set the scene for Brooks’s long three-pointer as time wound down, though to be fair, the discrepancy between the shot clock and game clock meant he had to get a shot off or turn the ball over.
That’s when things got interesting.
Krzyzewski was asked what he had said to Brooks in the handshake line, and Krzyzewski quickly got testy about it.
“I just congratulated him,” the Duke coach said in his press conference. “He’s a terrific player.”
Then he was pressed again on whether he confronted Brooks for showing off.
“I didn’t say that,” Krzyzewski said. “You can say whatever you want. Dillon Brooks is a hell of a player. I said, ‘You’re a terrific player.’ And you can take whatever he said and then go with it, all right?”
So, a he-said-he-said story, with one of the parties being particularly cranky about having to describe it, and the other one willing to describe it again. After Krzyzewski gave his version of events, a reporter hustled back to the Ducks’ locker room to ask Brooks one more time what Coach K had said to him.
“He said I’m a great player and I’m doing great things, but at the end of the game, the celebration stuff, I don’t have to do that. I shouldn’t be doing that.”
Slot this exchange wherever you prefer on the constructive-to-smarmy continuum. What really matters is that of these teams, only Oregon will be playing on Saturday. (Just kidding, the “Coach K Being A Dick” stuff matters a lot too.)