Duke's early morning practice just a joke

January, 24, 2013
1/24/13
4:59
PM ET
Given Mike Krzyzewksi's general in-game demeanor, and his ability to pierce referees and players alike with that unyielding trademark glare, it is always really easy to make jokes about how Coach K must be reacting in the locker room, or how bad practices are going to be, after any given Duke loss. It was especially easy Wednesday night: Duke played so horribly, so lifelessly, that it wasn't hard to imagine his players spending the next week in some sort of "Zero Dark Thirty" advanced interrogation black site. On Twitter, someone asked what K's "first words at practice tomorrow" would be. This was my only frame of reference.

So on Thursday morning, when radio host Dan Patrick took the airwaves with rumors of a 1:30 a.m. Duke practice, it was hardly a stretch of the imagination.
"Am I allowed to tell people about what happened with Duke basketball?" Patrick said. "Now, we're looking into this. The Duke charter landed in Durham at 12:42 in the morning. Practiced started at 1:30 a.m., finished up at 4:45 a.m. We're being told by a couple of people who work there at Duke that Coach K was not pleased after being blown out by 27."

Sounds entirely plausible, right? The old late-night, OK-if-you-guys-don't-want-to-play-hard-you-can-run-until-4 a.m. routine -- it's the kind of story, like Kobe Bryant taking shots in an away arena for hours after a loss, that resonates because it feels of a piece with the lore of the subject itself. It might not be the most productive way to treat already-tired college kids who have to attend classes and do schoolwork and suit up again on Saturday, but hey, that's Coach K's prerogative.

The only problem? Practices at that hour are against NCAA regulations. (The NCAA does allow players-only practices between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., provided the idea is initiated by the players, but that wasn't the case here.) Coach K was quick to refute the notion to CBS's Jeff Goodman, and it wasn't long before a producer on The Dan Patrick Show clarified to Bomani Jones that Patrick's statement wasn't a report of fact or even rumor. What was it? A joke.

The postgame locker room may have been bad, the flight home from Miami was surely taken in total silence, and you can bet today's practice was absolutely zero fun. But Coach K isn't about to start secretly breaking NCAA rules to punish his players, no matter how tempting that minor myth might be.

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