Duke gets past Albany, advances to Round of 32 (unlike last year)

PHILADELPHIA -- Duke was never going to lose and Albany was never going to win.

At least it felt that way.

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But the Danes do deserve credit for at least making Friday's first game here at the Wells Fargo Center interesting. They sank eight 3-pointers and hung around but ultimately fell 73-61, meaning the second-seeded Blue Devils will advance to the Round of 32.

Which is better than they did last year.

Everybody remembers last year, right?

Duke was also a No. 2 seed in the 2012 NCAA tournament and projected by most to meet Kentucky in the South Regional final. But C.J. McCollum had other plans. He abused Duke's guards, finished with 30 points and led the Mountain Hawks to a surprising victory.

That one stung Duke.

The Blue Devils weren't going to let it happen again.

Albany's starting guards finished just 7 of 20 from the field Friday, which was good enough to keep things competitive but little more. When the final buzzer sounded, they joined their teammates in the handshake line, paid their respects to Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and then walked straight over to their small contingent of supporters. The fans thanked them for their effort, for this season, for this moment. The players thanked them back, then disappeared into the back while the Field of 68 moved on without them.

"We played with great toughness and resiliency like we have all year long," said Albany coach Will Brown. "I'm very happy for our university, very happy for our athletic department and our program. These kids represented our institution and our program and the city of Albany in a very positive manner, and I couldn't be prouder of them."

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Gary Parrish is an award-winning college basketball columnist and television analyst for CBS Sports who also hosts the highest-rated afternoon drive radio show in Memphis, where he lives with his wife... Full Bio

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