Greenboro, NC (Sports Network) - In what appears to be a monumental mismatch, the second-seeded Duke Blue Devils will take on the 15th-seedeed Binghamton Bearcats in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament. The winner of this East Region game will advance to the second round to clash with either seventh-seeded Texas or 10th-seeded Minnesota.
Binghamton carries an 11-game win streak into its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 63 years of basketball. The Bearcats beat UMBC in a 61-51 final to claim the America East Conference title and automatic bid to the "Big Dance". They are 23-8 overall, and the 23 wins are the most in program history. Binghamton is one of four teams making its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance, and America East Coach of the Year Kevin Broadus finds himself matched up against Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, an active legend of the coaching profession.
The Blue Devils are coming off their 17th ACC Championship with a win over Florida State on Sunday. Krzyzewski, who is in his 29th season at Duke, has won three national titles during his tenure and is set to play in his 26th NCAA Tournament while at the helm in Durham. The Blue Devils are 28-6 overall in 2008-09, and they are making their 14th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. They have claimed a two seed for the eighth time, and they are 10-0 all-time in NCAA Tournament games played at Greensboro Coliseum.
This game marks the first-ever meeting between Duke and Binghamton on the hardwood.
Binghamton has three players on the roster that earned All-America East Conference recognition. D.J. Rivera was named the Most Outstanding Player of the AEC Tournament title game, and he has already broken single-season program records for most points, field goals and free throws. Rivera is averaging an even 20.0 ppg to go along with 6.5 rpg and 55 steals, proof that he is more than just a scorer. Emmanuel Mayben, who is netting 11.5 ppg, tops the roster with 142 assists, and Reggie Fuller brings 10.2 ppg and 7.1 rpg to the floor. Malik Alvin provides 11.7 ppg, but his 39 percent shooting from the field leaves much to be desired. Binghamton is not a deep team by any means, so those four players are asked to score the vast majority of the points every time out. The Bearcats are netting 70.2 ppg while allowing 66.8 ppg.
Duke junior Jon Scheyer was named the ACC Tournament MVP after averaging 21.7 ppg in three outings. Kyle Singler and Gerald Henderson were also named to the ACC All-Tournament First Team, and that trio of players is counted on heavily to be productive game in and game out. Singler continues to lead the team with 16.7 ppg and 7.7 rpg, and while he often has to defend the post, Singler's offensive game is closest to that of a small forward. He is currently the team's leader in scoring, rebounding, blocks and steals, and Singler is attempting to become the first player in program history to finish the season with that distinction. Henderson has scored in double figures in 25 of the last 26 games for the Blue Devils, and he is netting 16.6 ppg. As for Scheyer, he brings 15.0 ppg to the mix. Duke is scoring 77.8 ppg while holding opponents to 65.6 ppg.
03/19 11:57:22 ET