DUKE 35-28, 3:41 1st: Binghamton is keeping it interesting. Tiki Mayben drilled a 3-pointer with Lance Thomas' hand in his face to key a 9-2 run that has the Bearcats right back in it. Foul trouble may start to catch up with Binghamton, though, as Scheyer just drew the third on Reggie Fuller.
DUKE 29-17, 7:36 1st: If those previous four minutes featured two stagnant offenses, the last four was characterized by anything but. Duke poured in 13 points, getting contributions from several players. Williams continues to play well, and Nolan Smith and Gerald Henderson are also becoming involved now. Binghamton has managed to keep Duke from running away with it, but you get the feeling that this isn't going to be another Belmont.
DUKE 16-7, 11:54 1st: The good news for Binghamton in that four-minute stretch? It only fouled Duke once. The bad news? The Bearcats didn't score at all. In fact, it was a fairly ugly four minutes, especially at the beginning. The Blue Devils and Bearcats both struggled to hit shots, but Duke has managed to create some separation with a nine-point lead. Elliot Williams has had a couple nice slashes to the basket.
DUKE 10-7, 15:44 1st: Jon Scheyer just picked up Duke's first foul of the night, but that's nothing compared to what Binghamton has done. The Bearcats are just one foul away from putting the Blue Devils in the bonus, and we're only at the under-16 media timeout. Duke's been driving pretty aggressively, and if the Blue Devils keep it up the rest of the half, they'll be shooting a lot of free throws tonight.
STARTING LINEUPS: Duke: the usual--Singler, Henderson, Williams, Scheyer and Thomas. Binghamton: D.J. Rivera, Malik Alvin, Reggie Fuller, Tiki Mayben and Chretien Lukusa. Fuller is the Bearcat's tallest starter at 6-foot-6, so Duke has an unusal size advantage over its opponent. Keep an eye on Rivera, who is averaging 20 points per game.
MORE PREGAME: And in case you were wondering anyway, the crowd is unquestionably anti-Duke. The Blue Devils were booed soundly as they came out of the tunnel--the Coliseum was probably louder then than at any point during the second half of Texas-Minnesota.
PREGAME: The Texas-Minnesota game is all but over, and Gopher fans realize it. They've wasted no time switching allegiances, leading a "Let's go Bearcats" chant two minutes before their team has even been eliminated from the Tournament. One of the questions coming into the game was what the atmosphere would be like playing in the same pod as UNC. But with the Tar Heels playing earlier in the day, there aren't as many of their fans here as might have been expected. Duke might have to worry just as much about the other opposing fans, however, as last year's Tournament in Washington, D.C. showed that there don't have to bee UNC fans present for Duke to be booed. The Blue Devils have a solid showing in the stands, though, and they made a point of saying that they didn't mind if it was a hostile arena--as long as some kind of noise was being made.
That being said, the real story tonight isn't the crowd, or whether Duke can manage to beat a 15-seed by more than one point this year. It's my abysmal road record against the Blue Devils' perfect 10-0 mark in Greensboro in the NCAA Tournament. It's March Madness! (Insert crazed Gus Johnson laugh here.) Game time has just been announced to be 9:50 p.m.
PRE-PREGAME: Welcome to Greensboro, where second-seeded Duke will kick off its NCAA Tournament in about an hour. If the Blue Devils can take care of business tonight against Binghamton--and after Belmont last year, who knows?--it looks like they will face Texas in the second round Saturday night. The Longhorns have outscored No. 10 Minnesota 25-17 so far in the second half to take a 12-point lead over the Gophers.
The East's No. 3 seed, Villanova, isn't having as much luck, however. The Wildcats are trailing No. 14 American 55-49 with nine minutes left in the second half. Needless to say, a Villanova loss would make Duke's path to Detroit a lot more pleasant, especially if trendy Cinderella pick VCU can upset No. 6 UCLA.
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