HOUSTON - First of all, be prepared to watch Duke play on an elevated court today which, if you're Kyle Singler, may mean watch it when you go into the sidelines for there is no safe fall. As of minutes ago 40,000 tickets have been sold and the court is right in the middle of Reliant Stadium, home of the Houston Texans.
There is a serious lack of college hoops knowledge by local media. The Houston Chronicle did a player by player match up article in today's paper and they had Smith as a PG and, well, let's just say four positions wrong. During yesterday's press conference, Duke was asked not only asked some ridiculous questions, but some intended to cause a rise with sharp questions.
The media room at Reliant Stadium is huge. There are two media overflow sections, but BDN made it to the second row just across from the Duke bench. Oddly, and I mean disturbingly odd, is the fact that they have a grand total of two very small rest rooms in the area, meaning watching media members will have to be on the ball during breaks.
Coach K and Duke have pretty much stayed in their own world and there is natural concern over the long wait to play the game. Players have all assured me that this will be no problem, but you never know.
I'm a bit bothered by fans who think Duke will win easily over Purdue. Anything can happen as you have already seen by the many upsets, so looking ahead is not a good idea and Duke knows that.
They've just opened the gates to the stadium and the most colorful bunch are the St. Mary's fans who seem genuinely delighted to be here. There are a lot of green and yellow Baylor fans here as well and more than a little bit of royal blue in the stands. The North Carolina area fans can be brutal towards Duke in that UNC, N.C. State and Wake share the territory, but nationally, Duke is much more of a darling to fans than many realize. One Texan said it's like the Dallas Cowboys coming to town, and it is clear that some Texan fans have adopted the Blue Devils.
You can get upper level tickets for twenty bucks a pop and one bill and a quarter for the best seat in the house, but many of those are far removed from the action. The stadium itself is very nice and this is a test run for the Final Four will be held here next season.
And Pete Gillen, "Duke is Duke," is here and he is quite a nice guy. He'll be doing the radio for CBS and his quick wit is always welcomed.
And the game itself? Look for Purdue and Duke to lock up in a defensive battle. A game in the sixties might be what we see.
So, I go to my seat and this guy from AOL Fan House tells me #55 is his seat. What? Where is your name then pal? This guy then hovers above me until I show him the seating chart. His comment, "I'm with AOL Fanhouse and we're national, I should be dead center." Then an attendant from Rice University walked up and told the guy it was not his seat, it was Mark Watson from Blue Devil Nation's seat and I kindly asked him to leave. What arrogance! I'm AOL Fanhouse and we're the studs! Heck guys, I've never even read your stuff. As it turns out, his seat was one row up to the left and he still whined to the NCAA host that he should have better seats. Please, AOLFH, you're embarrassing yourself with behavior like that. BTW, I have a good seat.
Wojo and Collins are sitting on my same row scouting Purdue and St. Mary's.
Lastly, Go Duke!