Following his team's 73-62 loss to Marquette in the finals of the CBE Classic, Krzyzewski spoke highly of the up and coming Golden Eagles. He credited Marquette's backcourt, specifically mentioning the quickness and strength of Jerel McNeal, Wes Matthews, and Dominic James.
"Their whole system is set up for those guards," said Krzyzewski. "They have green lights, freedom, and the ability to use their athleticism. They are strong, they are not just quick, but they are really strong. They can take bumps and get into areas to make plays.
"Until you play against that kind of quickness, I mean, we just don't have that."
The Marquette camp might believe otherwise, but beating Duke on national TV surprised a lot of people around the country, including the Blue Devils.
"It took us a little off guard," remarked Duke guard David McClure, who scored seven points against the Golden Eagles. "Their guards were so strong and mature. It was the first time that we have seen guards who were that physical."
Krzyzewski also commented on the versatility of the guards.
"Each one of them could be a point guard. They can all guard the perimeter and they are good rebounders too."
Tournament MVP Dominic James proved to be too much for Krzyzewski's backcourt scoring 25 points and dishing out seven assists during the championship game. Coach K compared James to former Duke guard, Jason Williams, a consensus first team All-American in 2001 and 2002, and National Player of the Year in the 2001-2002 season.
"James is a really good player. He is stocky, strong, he has great will, and Tom (Crean) does a really good job of allowing him to use his talent."
Marquette's three sophomore guards immediately impacted the team as freshmen in 2005, teaming with Steve Novak to lead the Golden Eagles back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2003. The gradual improvement of the guards has caught the eye of the entire nation, including commentator Dick Vitale, who salivated over the James and Co. while announcing the CBE games for ESPN. Vitale placed the trio on his list of the country's best backcourts.
If anything is true, strong guard play can win in college basketball—just ask Villanova, who rode a four guard offense to the Elite Eight in 2005.
Krzyzewski knows it too.
"Marquette has great perimeter players and you can win big in college basketball with great guards."
**Andrew Sharos is a senior majoring in History and Secondary Education.