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Mike Krzyzewski and Frank Haith congratulate 15 seeds in very different ways

The Dagger

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(US Presswire)

Missouri and Duke both lost Friday becoming the first No. 2 seeds to lose to No. 15 seeds since 2001. But coaches Frank Haith and Mike Krzyzewski took two very different approaches to giving their opponents their due during their postgame press conferences.

Krzyzewski was gracious. He called Lehigh's C.J. McCollum the best player on the court and called the rest of the Mountain Hawks "bold" in their play.

[ Related: Lehigh upsets Duke ]

"I've been in it for 37 years and it takes you to incredible highs and it also takes you to incredible lows. And tonight's one of those lows," Krzyzewski said. "But it wasn't just our doing, they played that well. They played that well. And again my hat's off to them. You just have to give them a lot of credit for hanging in there. And there was some game pressure on them when we came back, and they seemed to always have an answer and they were very bold. They were very bold the entire game. I thought that we started the game tentative, and at different times we just seemed very tentative on the offensive end. They were bold throughout and bold won."

Haith also was complimentary only in a backhanded way. While he congratulated Norfolk State on beating his team, he also made sure to point out — a couple times — what he seemed to think were serendipitous plays that led to their victory.

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(US Presswire)

"Obviously Norfolk State, I congratulate them, they played a whale of a game," Haith said. "They had two points on air balls on the weak side rebound and they banked a couple of three's in, but they were better than us going after loose balls and rebounding the basketball which ended up doing us in."

Now Haith did go on to explain that he told his team earlier in the week how good Norfolk State was and how they could give the Tigers some trouble.

"You really try because you anticipate that could be an issue, we tried all week, our coaching staff explaining to them how good Norfolk State is," Haith said. "Because you don't see 'em on TV, the guys don't know their players, you worry that they don't understand, hey, these guys are pretty darn good and you get in an NCAA tournament on a neutral court, the fans cheer for the underdog and that's what happens."

But then he couldn't help swinging another backhand.

[ Related: No. 15 seed Norfolk State takes down Missouri ]

"And as long as they stay in the game, the momentum, then you bank a couple of three's, which they did, it becomes a ballgame," he said.

No matter how Haith wants to spin it, Missouri just didn't play as well as Norfolk State. Yes, there were some banked threes and some air balls that made for easy put-backs, but those few plays didn't have anything to do with the Tigers being outrebounded 37-25, senior star Kim English having just two points, and Norfolk State big man Kyle O'Quinn going off for 26 points and 14 rebounds.

There should be no excuses made for a No. 2 seed losing to a No. 15 seed, just a gracious acknowledgement of the other team for being the better side that day and a quiet slinking off into NCAA tournament darkness.

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