Coaching Wins Championships

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.: There will be no tears in Storrs, Connecticut, this year. After 13 frustrated seasons under coach Jim Calhoun as one of the nation's consistent top-tier teams, the UConn Huskies finally clawed their way to the top of the college basketball heap Monday night. And to do it they had to beat the invincible Duke. When the game was over and Duke had fallen, for its fourth time in six title games under Mike Krzyzewski, it was apparent that the Huskies had gotten the two things they needed to get from the heavily favored Blue Devils: a less-than-monster game from star Elton Brand (15 points) and poor shooting from the Duke marksmen (41 percent). They also got a gritty, passionate game from themselves, but still Duke could have beaten them. In the end it took Duke guard Trajan Langdon, after a 25-point effort, to try to be the hero -- and come up short.

With 15 seconds to go and Duke down by one, Langdon rashly took the ball right at UConn's star defender Ricky Moore in a crowded paint -- and traveled. Ten seconds later, Duke was down three, and there was Langdon dribbling wildly from end to end, around defenders, through his legs, wasting time. He had made it halfway when the buzzer sounded. A noble effort, perhaps, but where was the plan? Where was Krzyzewski? A time-out, a diagrammed play, anything -- random acts of individuality are not normally the Duke way. "The ball was in our best player's hands with an opportunity to win the game," said Krzyzewski. "And that's the way it should be." Graciously put. But Coach K knows better than that.

Oh, and CBS? Play the "One Shining Moment" montage within 10 minutes of game's end, or don't play it at all. It's just not worth waiting four commercial breaks for that kitschy ditty anymore.