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Duke Whips Binghamton, 86-62

The fate of this game was probably foretold by the following stat: early in the game, Binghamton had seven turnovers, seven fouls, and seven points.  The Bearcats aren't without talent, but they played with a sense of panic and fear and really did little to help themselves.  Other than cutting the lead to nine late in the first half, there really wasn't much to write home about.

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Duke was obviously favored, but here's what's important about this game:  Binghamton has a lot in common with VCU of two years ago and Belmost last season.  They're small, they're quick, and they have a lot of heart, even if it failed them in this game.  But in the last two games Duke had like this, they couldn't keep up with the smaller, quicker players and lost to VCU while just nipping Belmont at the buzzer.

Not this time.  Duke methodically took Binghamton apart, although Binghamton's role in their own downfall can't be overlooked.  The Bearcats had 18 turnovers, which Duke turned into 24 points, and they were pounded on the boards, 35-18 and 15-5 offensively. They only shot five free throws, but 1-5 is pretty bad. It wouldn't have the difference, but those were all the front ends, so they gave up nine points on the line. 86-72 sounds a lot better than 86-62.

Finally, foul trouble hurt.  Reggie Fuller is their only quality inside player, and he was surprisingly good at times.  But he picked up two early fouls, and that really hurt.

They had real trouble with the bigger Devils inside, and we don't mean just the big guys.  Jon Scheyer got six free throws (6-6), Gerald Henderson was 7-7, and even Lance Thomas, who has struggled from the line, was 4-6.  The team was 21-25.

Duke ran off a 25-8 run in the first half and a 17-2 run in the second, and you just can't do that and still stay in the game.

Binghamton's kids were at a whole new level and clearly it was bewildering and confusing - the body language told you that.  And while the players could be forgiven for being overwhelmed, the coach, who could have steadied them, was also visibly freaked out.  Broadus showed a lot of tension and confusion, and his players surely picked up on it.

By contrast, Duke got a glimpse of Binghamton's speed and ferocity early and disarmed it.

Broadus' offense reminded us a lot of the latter day Georgetown muddle, when Big John Thompson still had his charges playing beautiful defense, but they were generally small and scrappy and didn't know what to do if the offense didn't come from the defense.  Watching Georgetown with the ball in those days was guaranteed to annoy you or put you to sleep, or possibly both.

Binghamton's is in the same ballpark although not as bad, partly because Rivera is an offensive talent. It's still not a lot of fun to watch, though.

Duke's offense was about as balanced as you could hope for.  Kyle Singler had 10 points and nine boards; Thomas had 14 (5-5) and five boards; Henderson had 13 points, six boards, and three assists; Elliot Williams had 11 points, three boards and four assists; Scheyer finished with 15, three and four.  Nolan Smith came off the bench for a superb all-around game with 13 points, two rebounds, and three assists.

The biggest concerns in this game were that Binghamton shot well (52.9%) and Duke had 15 turnovers, a lot more than they've had lately.

But they also had a 30 point lead, and that meant a lot of people go to rest more than they have lately, which is good.

On Saturday, Duke gets Texas, which is going to be an interesting challenge.  For UNC fans, it poses an unpleasant dilemma, as they have to pull for old nemesis Rick Barnes to beat Duke. That won't be easy.

Neither will the Longhorns, particularly if A.J. Abrams gets loose. The Minnesota game was tight before he hit three three pointers to blow it open and then three more after that. Trajan Langdon used to do that - he could just get a look in his eye and rip off a dozen points before anyone realized he was in a zone of his own.

He's going to have to be carefully guarded.  And Dexter Pittman is just huge:  6-11 and 298.

On the bright side, Texas is more of a normal team than Binghamton, by which we mean they are normally sized and employ the same basic strategies as the rest of the world does. And the coaches know each other very well.