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Duke coach loves ACC’s expansion

Krzyzewski

– Mike Krzyzewski loves the additions of Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the Atlantic Coast Conference.

And he doesn’t think the ACC should stop there.

“My feeling is we should add two more,” Krzyzewski said. “And then split up into two eight-team divisions.”

Duke’s men’s basketball coach discussed expansion along with the three players from Warsaw on his roster (Miles, Mason and Marshall Plumlee) during an interview with The Journal Gazette on Wednesday at DePuy Orthopaedics.

“To me – and again, I’m not the one making decisions – but it seems natural that we go to 16,” Krzyzewski said. “And I would hope that we would get the two new members from this time zone, along the Atlantic coast. And that they fit in not just sports-wise, but academically with the standards that our conference has.”

Syracuse and Pittsburgh fit that description. The two schools were added Sept. 19, bringing the ACC’s total to 14.

“Everything else is changing. It doesn’t mean you have to change, but you have to look at change. I thought our conference looked at change and said, ‘We can get better adding these two schools.’ And I think we have,” Krzyzewski said. “Plus, with still maintaining the basic location or territorial aspect of an Atlantic Coast Conference, the same time zone, it is the Atlantic coast.”

Krzyzewski isn’t sure how the expansion craze will shake out.

“I don’t know that it will end up with four (mega conferences). I don’t know that that’s the case,” he said. “There’s so many good schools. But the four who are making the changes have been for the best. It’s incumbent on them to maintain that level; in making these changes, they have. They’ve put themselves in that elite category. But there’s going to be more than four conferences.”

Krzyzewski, a Hall of Famer, has led Duke to four national championships. He coached the U.S. to the gold medal at the 2008 Olympics and the 2010 FIBA World Championships. He has 900 career college basketball victories, two shy of tying Bob Knight’s record.

He was in Warsaw to speak as part of DePuy Orthopaedics’ employee appreciation day. Krzyzewski, 63, has had two hip replacements and said he’s a spokesman and a user of DePuy products.

Marshall Plumlee, a 7-foot freshman, has joined his older brothers at Duke. Miles Plumlee, a 6-10 senior, made 15 starts last season, averaging 4.8 points and 4.9 rebounds. Mason Plumlee, a 6-10 junior, started 32 games and averaged 7.2 points and 8.4 rebounds.

“We’re happy to have them. The two older Plumlees would either start or they are two of our top three big guys. And Marshall will help us coming off the bench,” Krzyzewski said. “We’re looking for big years from them. We just got back from a trip in China and Dubai where I thought our big guys really did well. Miles, Mason and Ryan Kelly. Those three kids were really the strength of our team.”

lpope@jg.net

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