Even the normally loyal fans in Olean have apparently given up on pathetic St. Bonaventure. The crowds for the last two home games (3,172 to see Charlotte and 2,984 for Fordham) were the smallest in the Reilly Center since 1996.
For sheer numbers and volume, nothing beats the University at Buffalo's student section. But the so-called "Mighty Maniacs" tend to be hyper or mute based on the opponent. For nightly passion, I'll take the "N-Zone" at Niagara, the purple-clad group that piles into one end to give the Gallagher Center a mini-Palestra feel. Said coach Joe Mihalich: "We may have only seven [players] but we really feel like we have an extra man when you've got a student body like that."
A big reason normally run-and-gun Niagara is able to play the more patient style needed to survive with only seven players is that guards Lorenzo Miles and Stanley Hodge spent high school running the Princeton offense, which features deliberate cutting and passing in half-court sets. They played at Gonzaga Prep in Washington, D.C., under longtime coach Dick Myers, a 1960 Canisius High graduate.
-- Mike Harrington