Bearcats: Transition To Success

By WBNG News

July 22, 2010 Updated Mar 18, 2009 at 6:22 PM EDT

The Binghamton University Bearcats rise to its first NCAA Tournament bid has been many years in the making.

But even some of the team's most loyal supporters are stunned by the success.

Action News reporter Erik Burling speaks with a former player who had a primary role in BU's transition from D-3 to D-1.

More than 5,000 roaring fans cheered on the Bearcats as they won the American East Championship inside the Events Center Saturday.

"This is obviously the biggest moment in BU athletic history," said Former B.U. Basketball Captain Andrew Verkey.

Verkey says BU basketball wasn't always electric.

Verkey played while the team was transitioning from Division Three into Division One, from 1997 to 2001.

That's when the team made their home inside the old West Gym.

He says there's nothing greater than see how far BU basketball has come.

"There wasn't a whole lot of people there. To see people setting up tents, even students to get tickets to a game, just amazes me," said Verkey.

He considers himself, fellow teammates, and his old coach Jim Norris as building blocks to BU's current success.

He says a match-up against Duke is not scary, but exciting.

'This is huge. If you could have told me a couple years ago, that we would be playing Duke, the epitome of college basketball, Coach K in the first round of the NCAA tournament - I would have told you to get lost," said Verkey.

Win or lose the former BU captain says this year's success can lead to even greater things.

The team and university can continue attracting quality student athletes and maybe even place another championship banner here in the Events Center.

In Vestal, Erik Burling WBNG-TV Action News.

WBNG-TV will host a one hour "March Into Madness" special tonight from 7 to 8pm live from Tully's Restaurant in Vestal.

Sports anchors Brendan O'Reilly and Justin Horowitz will take a look back at the Binghamton Bearcats historic season, as well as look ahead to their first round match-up with ACC powerhouse, Duke.

They'll also report on the trip to the big dance by Syracuse and Cornell.

The Bearcats take on Duke this tomorrow, March 19th at approximately 9:40pm.

You can watch the game in it's entirety on CBS, right here on WBNG-TV.

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