Coach K Is Probably Right, But the Timing After Getting Whipped By Illinois Is LOL

Coach K became the latest voice in college basketball clamoring to “reassess” the idea of playing right now. He’s probably right. As with college football, programs are being put on pause right and left. The whole system feels unsustainable, and they’d probably have a better shot of completing the season if they returned in a few months and did May Madness. Rick Pitino has been around the sport about as long as anyone, and he was saying all this a month ago.

So it’s a serious issue, but it’s also kind of funny that Coach K is saying this after Duke got whipped by Illinois. The second half deficit was never less than 11 points. Duke also lost at home to Michigan State last week. It’s therefore humorous that this is what we’re hearing from Coach K now (via Brendan Marks):

Selfishly, I’ve been enjoying college sports more this season than any November/December in recent memory. I’m a Wisconsin alum, and right now, the Badgers have the highest upside since the Frank Kaminsky/Sam Dekker Final Four teams. The Big Ten is a hotbed, with great games every night. The NBA is delayed, which means less competition for attention. Legal gambling certainly hasn’t hurt my interest in the games either.

But it all feels too haphazard now, and if the idea is to get in as many games as possible, I think they’d probably be better served by pausing for a couple months. It’s hard right now to imagine that the vaccine will make a big impact because it hasn’t started to do that yet, but it should start ramping up in the coming weeks. I know it will likely be summer, at the earliest, before the vast majority of the population is vaccinated. Coach K is right that the early rounds going to frontline workers and vulnerable seniors should help us resume normalcy.

So, what we have here is a case of the right message combined with, shall we say, convenient timing from the messenger.

Written by Ryan Glasspiegel

Ryan Glasspiegel grew up in Connecticut, graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and lives in Chicago. Before OutKick, he wrote for Sports Illustrated and The Big Lead. He enjoys expensive bourbon and cheap beer.


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  1. Meh, Coach K has a mediocre team this season. Of course the Rat King wants to cancel the season. He must be friends with Mike Norvell and Jim Harbaugh. Why get your brains beat in when you can just blame it on Covid?

  2. Something has to be done right.

    Think of all the college athletes in the hospital with Covid, who knows if or when they will recover.

    O.3% mortality rate below 50, this could be almost as dangerous as walking down a flight of stairs for a college athlete. We need to hunker down and flush the rest of economy down the drain so Amazon, Cloud guys, and all big box chains monopolize the shrunken economy and finish burning the US Constitution and eliminating any memory of our Liberties.

    Lockdowns and shutting down sports worked so well before stopping the virus we need to double down and obey our Tyrannical overlords. Who cares that wearing a cloth cover is like throwing sand against a chain link fence versus a virus, we all need to Virtue signal how bad this flu season, sorry virus season is. Look at all the success from mask mandates have had at stopping the virus the past 6+ months.

    This is just simple science folks. And K is a man of science.

    He built the bubble around his team in previous flu seasons before it was popular, when he required his teams to only play in the Durham and New Jersey basketball bubbles. Man ahead of his time.

  3. Stephen said it well. Last I heard the Covid death rate for those 21 years old and under was .0003%. Covid may be more contagious, but It’s no secret that the regular flu is more dangerous to the young. I watched Duke vs Michigan State and and I can see why Coach K would be in favor of a pause (unimpressive to say the least).

  4. No!! Play! They need to adjust the stupid contact tracing rules. If you have it sit out until you don’t. If you don’t have it play!! As many people have pointed out, these young college kids are much safer in their college environment. Regardless of the impact of the virus on them they are far more likely to get it if not in this environment AND much more likely to spread it to a venerable person. What’s more if the athlete was to have a bad reaction to the virus guess what? They have access to state of the art health care at the university.

  5. just like 94-95. terrible team, nobody coming back. suddenly was hit with exhaustion, etc after back surgery. Took the year off, let Pete Gaudet take the losses, then fired Gaudet when he came back. Look it up. So easy for him to virtue signal with his millions in the bank. I assume he won’t want his salary, nike money, etc, if they don’t play? right?

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