In college basketball, Duke's Blue Devils could be compared to the NFL's Minnesota Vikings and Denver Broncos. They've gotten close to the top of the mountain, but never reached the peak.
Duke has been to the NCAA Final Four each of the past three years and four of the past five seasons, and never won the title. Very similar to the Vikings and Broncos, both of whom are 0-4 in the Super Bowl.Coming up short doesn't deter from Duke's overall success, coach Mike Krzyzewski insists.
"I don't think that anything negative can come out of (losing in) the Final Four unless you're a sick puppy," Krzyzewski said. "I haven't had to take them (his players) out for psychological testing."
Tonight, the sixth-ranked Blue Devils play No. 2 Arkansas in the opening semifinal game of the Big Apple NIT at Madison Square Garden. It's a rematch of last season's NCAA semifinal in which Duke defeated Arkansas 97-83, before the Blue Devils were beaten by a record 30 points, 103-73, by Nevada-Las Vegas in the championship game. The other semifinal matches No. 3 Arizona against unranked Notre Dame.
The winners meet for the title Friday night, after the losers play in the third-place game.
Duke is the only one of this year's semifinalists to have reached the Big Apple NIT Final Four in the past, taking the title in 1985 with a 92-86 victory over Kansas.
"It may be the only trophy we display," Krzyzewski quipped Tuesday.
"But we won't hang the banner in our gym that signifies the Final Four. It may never be hung . . . "
Krzyzewski said he often is askeds, that's a heckuva of an albatross," he said.
"Being in the Final Four is a Winter Wonderland . . . a fairy tale. It's a great accomplishment.
"I laugh inside when someone asks about it being an albatross or about psychological testing.