Busting Brackets

Somebody should've told this entire section of fans to show up to Duke vs JMU

What's up with this?

NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - Second Round - Brooklyn
NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - Second Round - Brooklyn / Elsa/GettyImages

March Madness isn't March Madness without a little forced camaraderie. By the tournament's opening weekend, with two hotly contested games per site, odd bedfellows usually emerge, with conference rivals occasionally showing up early to jeer their enemies, or supporters of big-named teams throwing their (Stetson?) hats in the ring to boost an underfunded underdog.

All of this to say ... the CAA's JMU Dukes could've used some energy in their battle with the Duke Blue Devils from a section comprised of either UConn or Northwestern fans, set to face off in the later game.

At least, that's what I assume was happening here, where an entire section was abandoned just before tip, two sections over from a jam-packed James Madison supporters section.

NCAA Tournament: Empty section at Barclays Center for James Madison University vs. Duke raises questions

This strange energy isn't entirely to blame for Duke's 12-4 start before the first timeout, but also ... what's happening here?

Did a Duke donor buy up this entire section as a prank? Based on their endowment, you can't put it past them.

The neighborhoods around Brooklyn's Barclays Center do offer plenty in the way of cuisine and libations. I can forgive, say, 20 people for putting an extra craft IPA on their tab at Talea Brewing and missing the opening tip. Even 25, you could talk me into. But an entire section splurging on the ramen at Chuko at the same time, then getting stuck in a traffic jam trying to hustle over from Prospect Heights? Unforgivable.

As opposed to whoever was supposed to occupy these cushy seats, Duke's squad came out with fire and desire. They left the court after warmups with an audible group scream, then reentered it with a splash, as Jared McCain drained a three on the team's first possession.

This much-ballyhooed roster appears to be re-gelling at the right time after stumbling late against Wake Forest, UNC and NC State. Luckily for Duke, though, if they do stumble in the second half, they won't have to worry about the terror of a court storm. There's nobody courtside.