Highlights from Duke, Louisville press conferences

coachkvsmichstate300INDIANAPOLIS — Quick highlights from the Duke and Louisville press conferences here this afternoon previewing Sunday’s Midwest Region final:

– Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said “Louisville is the best team and playing the best.”

– Lots of questions about the only other time the two coaches have met in the NCAA Tournament, that being the famous 1992 East Region final — the Christian Laettner game — won by Duke in overtime 104-103. Krzyzewski said his relationship with Rick Pitino has grown “exponentially” since then and that sometimes “the loser shines more than the winner.”

– Coach K said the addition of Louisville, along with Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Notre Dame, will make the ACC “the most powerful basketball league ever.”

– More from Krzyzewski on that 1992 Kentucky team: “The group that got them there was elevated even more. Kentucky honored them forever.”

– On his relationship with Pitino because of that game: “You shared something no one else can share.”

– Pitino said his team did not play well defensively in Friday night’s win over Oregon and “defensively, our guys basically had a night off so they’re going to be fresh against Duke.”

– The Louisville players said they were getting over the colds that had affected them Friday.

– Chane Behanan on the 1992 UK-Duke game and Christian Laettner’s shot: “I wasn’t even thought of then.”

– Krzyzewski that even by Elite Eight standards this regional final feels like “a national championship game.” Asked if Louisville felt that way, Peyton Siva said, “Right now, every game is a national championship game.”

– Pitino said he has watched the 1992 UK-Duke game “about five times.”

– Pitino on Laettner: “I know Kentucky fans don’t like him, but I did a Vitamin Water commercial with him and got to know him — and I still don’t like him. I’m just kidding. He’s a great guy.”

– If Duke wins, Mike Krzyzewski will tie John Wooden in Final Four appearances with 12. Pitino said, “I’ve said it 50 times and I’m going to say it 51. Mike is the modern-day John Wooden.”

– On his experience with the Celtics, Pitino said, “The Boston experience wasn’t great for me because, like Pat Riley says, it’s winning and it’s misery. But I learned something more valuable from the Boston experience than even working for Hubie (Brown). That was humility. It took me goddamn long enough to get it. To me, humility is the key to achieving any sense of accomplishment because you really know why you win.”

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