Head coach Mike Krzyzewski and several players talked to the media Monday afternoon about the North Carolina game. Krzyzewski was in "coach mode" during the press conference—as intense and as focused as he has been with the media in some time.
On what the loss of Irving means to this game:
"We're getting better. Individually, collectively, we're starting to see it.... This team has played a shortened season. Our goal is to be very good in March, as good as this team can be. And a game like Wednesday's helps you with that. Both programs are lucky to play in a game like this. I think both programs have won big because they have an opportunity to play in a game like this."
On Thornton playing in his first UNC game:
"It's a great opportunity for him to grow. College basketball is younger. If [Irving] hadn't gotten hurt, it would have been his first Carolina game, now a different one gets that opportunity."
"There's more familiarity in today's college game, too, because of AAU, high school.... They have a healthy respect for each other. I'm sure they're pretty good friends. There's more of that interaction in college basketball today than ever. It must be a pretty good lead-up there, to have two freshman point guards in the ACC doing so many."
"He will start Wednesday night."
On North Carolina:
"I think their offense the last three games has been unbelievable. It's like they're running a clinic out there. Everybody is involved, their timing is good and they're shooting well. They're playing really well, they're not just a team with high talent, they're playing at a really high level."
On Harrison Barnes:
"Harrison has some maturity, and he'll also put the work in. He knows he's good and he'll prepare to be good. When he has the talent and preparation, he'll be a good player."
[On losing Barnes to UNC] "I've had triumphs, disappointments and whatever. I always get to the next thing right away. I would never let a loss of any kind influence how I did the next thing I did in a negative manner. That's not allowed. You get commitments and you get kids who say no. That's going to happen to any coach. You don't spend any time thinking about what you don't have, you spend all your time thinking about what you do have."
On whether he gets more hyped up for Duke-North Carolina:
"I just want to beat everybody."