Monday, February 27, 2012

Know Thy Foe: No. 9 Binghamton Bearcats

By Shep Hayes/DFP Staff

Welcome to
Know Thy Foe, a new feature appearing twice daily this week in advance of the America East men’s basketball tournament. Know The Foe will help you, an undereducated fan of America East basketball, become an expert on every team in the conference. It's also possible you'll know less than when you began reading this. A 50-50 proposition, to be honest.

What is the name of this university? Binghamton University. It is a member of the State University of New York system and--unlike Albany and every one of the smaller campuses featuring a jumble of letters prefacing their locations--it doesn’t have an awkward name. It does, however, have a lie in its name, which we’ll get to in just a moment.

Where is it located? Moment is up. Binghamton is not actually in Binghamton. The university is located across the river, in Vestal. No one has ever heard of Vestal, however, while at least a few people have heard of Binghamton in their lives. Much easier to commit a little fraud and just say the place is in Binghamton. And believe me, by the time this exercise is over, a little toying with the name will seem like nothing.

How many people go there? Binghamton boasts 11,787 undergraduate students and 3,108 graduate students. About the size of most other America East schools.

How big is the campus? 887 acres on a hill above the Susquehanna River. They have a 190 acre nature preserve, a science complex, a 1,200-seat theater, and six residential communities “modeled after Oxford University.” We call that a #Humblebrag

Are there any famous alums? There are a number of noble people listed on Wikipedia’s list of alumni, including a Baldwin brother. But one stands out more than others, and that would be Tony Kornheiser, co-host of Pardon the Interruption. Here’s video of him picking Binghamton to beat Duke. Shocker: Duke won.

Now that you mention it, I remember Binghamton going to the NCAA Tournament a few years ago. That must mean they are good this year, right? In the hunt for the title? I’m sorry to break your heart, imaginary person invented for these posts, but you would be wrong. Binghamton went 1-27 this year. The Bearcats lone win came over the Vermont Catamounts, who were in a fight for first place in the conference at the time. It might be the upset of the year.

So, what happened? How did they go from March Madness to the worst team in the country in the span for just three years? It’s really hard to explain in this space, so I’ll direct you to Pete Thamel’s reporting at the New York Times. The gist: Binghamton went down a deep, dark road and never turned back.


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