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Apparently Mike Krzyzewski Used to Get in Fights at the Palestra Back When it Was All the Rage

Jan 3, 2012, 12:51 PM EDT

Just in case you had any particular stereotypes in mind about the Dukies, you might be surprised to hear Coach K discuss some of the finer points of his street credibility within the city of Philadelphia.

The Duke University Blue Devils are quite possibly the most divisive college basketball program in the country.

Some people (Dick Vitale) see them as the A-No. 1 cat’s pajamas of collegiate athletics. Other people (Jalen Rose) tend to disagree for reasons which will go unstipulated here (but fully stipulated by Rose himself here).

Well, just in case you had any particular stereotypes in mind about the Dukies, you might be surprised to hear their head coach discuss some of the finer points of his street credibility within the city of Philadelphia.

If they don’t have a Wilt story, they have a Palestra story. And everybody’s got one. Read Mike Krzyzewski’s after the jump…

Speaking with reporters after his team’s blowout of the Penn Quakers from inside Cameron Indoor on Sunday night, Coach K shared a great reverence for our fair city and its proud basketball tradition. It’s not uncommon—especially on this site—to hear local college basketball fans pine for a return to the days of double-headers at the Palestra, telling and retelling story after story, all of which have added to the building’s already untouchable mystique.

Add this one, courtesy of CSNPhilly’s Matt Haughton, to the list:

“I love the Palestra,” the Duke head coach said. “I played there as a player. They used to allow you, and they still allow you to have scrimmages against teams. It’s one of two games that you can play or you play exhibition. For a couple of years, coach [Bobby] Knight would take us, we wouldn’t go to the Army-Navy football game, we’d scrimmage all day against Penn. Get into fights. Morning, now let’s come back in the afternoon, now let’s come back at night. Just to make it a trilogy of scrimmages.”

And he didn’t even mention the part about how the team would have to walk 20 blocks through the snow to make it to the building (uphill! both ways!)

Nah, seriously though, I love old basketball stories; and Krzyzewski more than likely has as many as anyone to tell—save, of course, for our own coach Chaney.

Speaking of which, the Temple Owls will be hosting those same Duke University Blue Devils tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. The game will be played at neither the Palestra nor the Owls’ own home court.

See the best part about these stories is the sense that something truly special used to exist. The worst part is that realization that there could possibly be more Dukeheads than Owl alums at the Wells Fargo Center tomorrow night.

Oh well…