Here's 10 facts that illustrate Mike Krzyzewski's NCAA Tournament dominance
Mike Krzyzewski’s legendary coaching career is set to come to an end at some point over the next couple weeks.
The iconic Duke coach has put together the most dominant NCAA Tournament résumé in the history of college basketball. His peak — and longevity — are simply unmatched, especially in the modern era.
Here are 10 facts that illustrate Coach K’s dominance in March:
Most NCAA Tournament wins all-time (97)
Coach K enters this NCAA Tournament with 97 postseason wins, which is the most all-time by a considerable margin. Roy Williams won 79 games from 1979-2019. If Krzyzewski can lead Duke to at least the Elite Eight, he’ll start the 100-win club for the NCAA Tournament. Amongst active coaches, only Jim Boeheim and Tom Izzo have more than 50 NCAA Tournament wins.
Tied with John Wooden for Final Four appearances
Krzyzewski is tied with legendary UCLA coach John Wooden for the most Final Four appearances all-time with 12. Of course, Krzyzewski’s path to those Final Fours was tougher — Wooden often only had to win a couple games to reach that stage. The NCAA Tournament had just 25 teams until 1975. It didn’t expand to 64 teams until 1985.
3 more Final Four appearances than any other coach in the modern era
As far as the modern era goes, Krzyzewski is peerless. Roy Williams had 9 Final Four appearances and Tom Izzo has 8 — no one else is remotely close to Krzyzewski’s 12 Final Four appearances in the 64-team era.
2 more National Championships than any other coach in the modern era
Similarly, no one has been able match Coach K’s championship consistency. His five titles are more than any other coach in history except for Wooden, who won 10. Adolph Rupp won four titles and Jim Calhoun, Bob Knight and Roy Williams each won three.
24 consecutive tournament appearances (1996-2019)
Krzyzewski made an astounding 24 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances between 1996-2019. That run included five trips to the Final Four and three National Championships. Duke also won 12 ACC Tournament titles during that span.
Tom Izzo is set to tie this record in 2022. Bill Self now has 22 straight tournament appearances and could eventually surpass Krzyzewski as well.
5 consecutive Final Four appearances (1988-92)
Duke’s golden generation arguably happened from 1988-92, when it made it to five consecutive Final Fours. The Blue Devils ended up winning two National Championships in that stretch.
Krzyzewski’s Duke teams in that era included notable players like Danny Ferry, Bobby Hurley, Grant Hill and, of course, Christian Laettner.
Record vs. Hall of Fame coaches in the NCAA Tournament
Krzyzewski has an outstanding record vs. other Hall-of-Fame coaches in March. He’s one of seven active Hall-of-Famers. Here’s his postseason record vs. his six peers:
- vs. Jim Boeheim: 2-0
- vs. John Calipari: 0-0
- vs. Tom Izzo: 3-2
- vs. Rick Pitino: 1-1
- vs. Bill Self: 1-1
- vs. Jay Wright: 0-1
- Total: 7-4
This season, Duke could end up meeting Izzo and Michigan State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Blue Devils wouldn’t face Kentucky, Kansas or Villanova until the Final Four.
21 Final Four games
Speaking of the Final Four, Krzyzewski has coached an astounding number of games — 21 to be exact. That’s more than any other coach except — you guessed it — John Wooden, who coach in 24. Dean Smith and Roy Williams coached in 19 and 15, respectively, before retirement. No one else has more than 11 Final Four games coached.
14 Final Four wins
Of those 21 games, Coach K was victorious 14 times. Only John Wooden (21) and Krzyzewski have more than 10 Final Four victories in their careers.
127 NCAA Tournament games
This is perhaps Krzyzewski’s most unbreakable NCAA Tournament record. He’s coached in a staggering 127 NCAA Tournament games since he first took over as Duke’s head coach. Roy Williams is the only other coach in history with more than 100.
Kansas’ Bill Self seems like the most likely threat to this honor, but he’s still 57 games away from matching Krzyzewski. At his current pace, Self would have to coach for roughly 18 more seasons to break the record.