Expectations for Duke Basketball Without Mike Krzyzewski

Duke Men’s Basketball will be without Coach K for at least four weeks as he undergoes back surgery. What can fans expect from the Blue Devils in his absence?

The Blue Devils entered the season with extremely high expectations as the national title favorite before injuries and Grayson Allen’s suspension. Now, legendary men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski is expected to miss at least four weeks to recover from a successful back surgery. What should Duke fans expect for the team in his absence and going forward this season?

Associate head coach Jeff Capel will take over while Coach K is out. Capel is regarded as one of the best recruiters in the nation after helping the Blue Devils land top recruits each year. He has recently been linked to several head coaching jobs and has recorded a 162-110 record as a head coach between Oklahoma and VCU. He also led the Blue Devils to a tight 80-71 win last season at Georgia Tech while Mike Krzyzewski was sick.

We know of Capel’s recruiting talent, but how well can he coach the guys he convinced to join the Blue Devils until Mike Krzyzewski returns? Coach K will at minimum miss eight games in a difficult ACC stretch. The last time Mike Krzyzewski missed time for surgery, Duke did not fare very well with Capel starting at point guard. During the 1994-95 season, Krzyzewski was out for the rest of the season.

This time, Coach K is expected to return later this season and will still be involved with the team throughout his recovery. Another area Coach K has greatly improved in is delegating roles to his assistants rather than trying to handle everything himself, and he has complete confidence in his coaching staff while he is away.

In other words, Duke fans should expect no less from Duke Basketball despite the tough stretch of upcoming ACC games without Coach K. Duke will have a tough act to follow with the Blue Devils’ explosive 110-point performance against Virginia Tech, but Capel is an accomplished head coach with a talented group of players who should still be able to play well if they remained focused.

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