Duke (28-6) vs Binghamton (23-8)
Greensboro, N.C. - Greensboro Coliseum
TV: CBS / Tip: 9:05 PM EST
Program Vitals Conference: ACC Nickname: Bearcats Colors: Green and White Head Coach: Kevin Broadus (2nd season) Career Record at Binghamton: 37-24
Projected Starters: 32 Emanuel Mayben (6-3, 180, Jr.) – 11.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg 3 Malik Alvin (6-0, 175, Jr.) – 11.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg 2 D.J. Rivera (6-4, 190, Jr.) – 20.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg 34 Cretien Lukusa (6-2, 210, So.) – 4.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg 25 Reggie Fuller (6-6, 195, Sr.) – 10.2 ppg, 7.1 rpg Key Reserves: 4 Brandon Herbert (6-0, 180, So.) – 3.1 ppg, 1.4 rpg 1 Moussa Camara (6-5, 185, So.) – 3.5 ppg, 1.0 rpg 33 Kyle Sutton (6-9, 240, Fr.) – 1.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg
Storylines For Binghamton:
How They Got Here:
The Blue Devils exceeded preseason expectations and appear to be getting stronger in March for the first time in four seasons. After finishing with an 11-5 record in the ACC, Duke rolled through the ACC Tournament to claim the program's 17th conference championship - 11th under head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
On the other hand the Bearcats enter the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history after tying for the America East's regular season title (13-3 regular season record) and then winning the conference tournament - beating UMBC 61-51 on March 14th. The Bearcats enter the game on an 11 game winning streak and have not lost since January 28th against UMBC by six. Perhaps the biggest "name win" for the Bearcats was a 66-56 victory over Rutgers in December.
This will be the first meeting between the two programs. Meanwhile the Blue Devils have posted a perfect 10-0 record against teams from the America East conference. The Bearcats, however, are just 1-2 against teams from the ACC.
Bother teams' regular rotations appear to be healthy as they enter the game. Binghamton senior forward Sean Watson has missed most of the season, however, with the back injury and has not played since November.
It starts with defense:
The Bearcats enter the game with Duke knowing they to put together a tremendous effort on the defensive end of the floor in order to pull the upset. So far this season Binghamton has been very good on that end of the floor - holding opponents to 40.9% shooting from the floor - the best in the America East conference. When the Bearcats hold their opponents under 45 percent shooting they are nearly unbeatable this season (17-1). Moreover, when Binghamton holds opponents under 70 points, they are even better - winning 21 of 22 games.
Familiar Faces & Friends:
Binghamton's co-captain, David Fine played with Duke co-captain Greg Paulus throughout their high school careers at Christian Brothers Academy. Fine graduated a year before Paulus (2004). Fine played his freshman season at Jacksonville University before transferring to Binghamton. Fine's father, Bernie, is a long time assistant at Syracuse.
Post Season Awards Piling Up For Bearcats:
Usually conference championships result in conference post season awards. That's been the case for the Bearcats this year. Junior guard D.J. Rivera has been named as the conference tournament's Most Outstanding Player after posting an average of 18 points and eight rebounds over the three game event. Meanwhile Coach Broadu has earned conference coach of the year honors in just his second season. His team was picked to finish 5th in the preseason polls, but managed to win both league and tournament titles while also racking up the program's most wins as a member of Division I competition. Other regular season honors saw guards Rivera and Emanuel Mayben were named to the conference's second team while forward Reggie Fuller was named to both the third team and the all-defensive team.
Watch Out For...: Junior guard D.J. Rivera - the American East's leading scorer in the conference - has been the most prolific scorer in the program's history this year. In the 31 games the 6-4 guard has averaged 20 points (a school record) per game. He's set program records for points (619), field goals made (221), and free throws made (131). A bigger guard who hits the boards very well, Rivera has also but his team on his back at times - scoring 20 or more points 20 times this season. Rivera was also named to Jeff Goodman's FOXSports.com Mid-Major All-American ? rst team.
Simply put, there is no pressure on the Bearcats entering Thursday's game with Duke. The Bearcats will likely come into Thursday night's game with a carefree, nothing to lose attitude. That could hurt or help their cause in a number of ways. If the Blue Devil offense is cold and the Bearcats can keep the game within reach as the game progresses the pressure will begin to mount on the Blue Devils which could lead to some problems. Given the recent history of the Blue Devils in the tournament, such an outcome is not out of the question or even unreasonable to contemplate. That being said the Bearcats have no potential match-up with either Kyle Singler or Gerald Henderson. With no starter taller than 6-6, Binghamton will look to utilize their quickness and hope to get the Duke bigs in foul trouble. In the end, the Blue Devils should be able to use this game as merely a warm-up for the winner of Texas and Minnesota on Saturday.