Is this the biggest game in the history of Comcast Center?
Based on the hype leading up to Wednesday's showdown between No. 23 Maryland and No. 4 Duke, I'd have to say it is. I've never seen this kind of excitement. The extremes fans went through to get tickets -- including the law student my colleague Jeff Barker wrote about earlier in the week -- was unheard of around these parts. This is what you see at big events like the Masters or the Super Bowl, not a college basketball game.
The only game that comes to mind approaching this one was played between the Terps and Blue Devils in the first season the building opened. Maryland was coming off a national championship and Duke was, well Duke. Maryland lost, but that game was played in early January, not in early March and an ACC championship -- even a share of it -- wasn't at stake.
I talked with Jay Bilas before the game and was reminded of something he told me years ago when he was playing for Duke and about to face North Carolina in a typical 1-2 Tobacco Road battle. "The winner won't be crowned king of the universe and the loser won't be banished to the gorge of eternal peril," Bilas said, launching the career of either a broadcaster or Shakespearean actor.
Well, the game is starting and I'll have more at halftime.