College Sports

Coach K has big praise for Columbia, Colonial Life Arena and this ‘classy’ SC group

Despite barely escaping Colonial Life Arena with his NCAA title hopes alive, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski apparently enjoyed his stay in Columbia.

“By the way, just thank you for the City of Columbia. Wow,” Krzyzewski said after his No. 1 seed Blue Devils held off UCF 77-76. “What a beautiful city. Everything about it, the arena and especially the state troopers.”

S.C. state troopers help with team escorts and security to NCAA Tournament teams.

“The state troopers are the best,” Coach K said. “I know some of you probably don’t like them (laughter). They’re really a classy — so classy in everything that was going on. So a thank you to all those people. Thank you.”

The NCAA Tournament made its first appearance in Columbia since 1970 this weekend as Duke, No. 1 seed Virginia, No. 8 seeds Ole Miss and VCU, No. 9 seeds UCF and Oklahoma and No. 16 seeds Gardner-Webb and North Dakota State came to town for six games.

Duke advanced to the Sweet 16 in the East Region, while Virginia and Oklahoma played late Sunday for the right to play in the Sweet 16 in the South Region.

Blue Devils star freshman Zion Williamson of Spartanburg led his team with 32 points and 11 rebounds.