Friendly foes: Boeheim and Syracuse face Krzyzewski and Duke for the first time in 15 years

The No. 2 Orange host No. 17 Duke Saturday in a match-up of perennial basketball powerhouses.

It’s the game most basketball fans have waited for since Syracuse first announced it was joining the ACC in 2013.

Friend versus friend. Boeheim versus Krzyzewski. Syracuse versus Duke.

Between the coaches, there have been over 1,800 wins, five NCAA Division I National Championships, and two gold medals in the last two summer Olympics.

But on Saturday, the two long-time friends will be on opposite sides of the court for the first time since Duke knocked Syracuse out of the Sweet Sixteen in 1998. The Blue Devils bested the Orange then, 80-67.

"Every time Jim and I coach against each other, it will be a historic event.”
- Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski

As usual, Boeheim had nothing but good things to say about Krzyzewski during Monday’s ACC teleconference.

“Coaching, it’s such a competitive field that you aren’t going to have a friends in coaching ‘cause you're trying to beat each other’s brains in for the most part,” Boeheim said. “It’s good to have to have a really good friend in coaching.”

The two met “a long time ago,” at a celebrity golf tournament at Duke University, Boeheim said.

“We first worked together back then,” he said. “We hit it off and we've been really good friends ever since.”

At the ACC Media Day last October, Boeheim didn’t talk about the significance of the eventual match-up between the two coaching legends. But Krzyzewski did.

"Every time Jim and I coach against each other, it will be a historic event,” he said during Media Day “So we understand what that means to the game and not just our individual teams. I think we're both at a point and have been at a point in our careers where we're cognizant that things that are great for the game, win or lose, will be pretty great for us."

Instead of looking at the game as coach versus coach, Boeheim said during the media day he was more worried about Rodney Hood, Rasheed Sulaimon and Quinn Cook, not Krzyzewski.

And it when it comes to the player matchups, Boeheim should be a little worried. Not only do the Orange have to deal with Hood, Sulaimon and Cook, but freshman forward Jabari Parker as well. This season, Parker averages almost 19 points per game and a little over eight rebounds. Parker will most likely play on either Jerami Grant or C.J. Fair.

But SU has a flashy freshman of its own: Tyler Ennis.

Ennis elevated himself to Parker’s status as an elite freshman over the last seven games, averaging 13 points and 5.5 assists during that stretch. He’ll be match-up with Duke’s Cook.

Whether its Fair versus, Parker, Ennis versus Cook or Boeheim versus Krzyzewski, the game will still pit two of the country’s top teams over the last several decades together for the first time in 15 years.

Let the rivalry begin.

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