PHILADELPHIA -- Upstart Florida Gulf Coast University, with its high-flying style and a coach married to a former supermodel, quite naturally has commanded the media attention at the NCAA subregional at Wells Fargo Center.
In fact, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski answered so many questions about FGCU Saturday that he felt compelled to remind folks that the Blue Devils (28-5) are playing Creighton (28-7) and its superb scorer, Doug McDermott, in the third round Sunday night.
"Somebody is going to say, 'Well, he didn't even talk about McDermott. He must think McDermott stinks,' '' Krzyzewski said of his interview session. "Then McDermott goes for 50 against us, and I'm shaking hands with him, we get beat, and they say, 'Show us some respect next time.' ''
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and although TV cameras might be focused on Amanda Enfield, wife of FGCU coach Andy Enfield, Krzyzewski was more interested in the tape he watched Saturday of McDermott, who is averaging 23.2 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. "McDermott is such a beautiful player," Krzyzewski gushed. "He's one of the best offensive players I've seen in the last decade of college basketball because he's a counterpuncher.
"They run stuff for him, and if he sees it's not there, he goes right to his counterpunch. He has another read. Many of his shots are made before he gets the ball. That's a beautiful part of basketball, through offensive movement . . . They're the most efficient offensive team in the country."
Coming from Coach K, that's high praise indeed, but he has good reason to worry about Missouri Valley Conference champ Creighton because the 6-8 McDermott and 6-9, 260-pound center Gregory Echenique are a tough matchup for Duke's big men, 6-11 Ryan Kelly and 6-10 Mason Plumlee.
Bluejays coach Greg McDermott is expecting Kelly, a big man who can run and shoot from outside, to guard his son. And the Creighton coach certainly likes the idea of Echenique banging with Plumlee.
"Gregory loves to play against big, physical guys, and Gregory is playing the best basketball of his career the last two weeks," Greg McDermott said.
But the TV cameras and the Blue Devils' defense will focus mainly on McDermott as he comes off screens, maneuvers inside and then goes beyond the three-point arc to score. "He's constantly in motion," Kelly said. "It's going to be five players on the court that have to defend him."
As a super-scorer, Doug McDermott has learned to deal with all of the defensive attention. "I like to move without the ball because sometimes I'm playing against stronger, taller guys, so I've got to have that advantage of making cuts," he said. "When I'm in the post, if I don't have one thing, I definitely have some counters that I go to. I've worked on those moves my whole life, so it comes natural once game time hits."
Last year, the Bluejays lost to North Carolina in the third round in what amounted to a road game in Greensboro, N.C., so coach McDermott said his team won't be in awe. The Bluejays are ready for their close-up against Duke.