Jerry Sullivan, The Buffalo News
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Jerry Sullivan

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Jerry Sullivan grew up in Newport, R.I., though some would dispute the grown-up part. He is a professional skeptic, thanks to 16 years as the lead columnist on the Bills. He loves the NBA, Strat-o-Matic baseball, Tom Waits and reading novels, along with the usual periodicals.

I'm actually beginning to feel sorry for Doug Whaley. Bit by bit, the Bills' general manager has seen his power and stature diminished as the Pegulas conferred unprecedented control of the football operation to their new head coach, Sean McDermott. Whaley has become a mute, emasculated figure. He's not allowed to speak for the organization anymore -- even on the rare oc…

Last week at the NCAA Tournament in Buffalo, I chatted with an FBI agent who asked if I was glad to cover sports these days and not politics. You bet, I said. Sports fans can get pretty ugly on social media. Imagine the venom if I were writing about the serious stuff. When I talk about the bloated defense budget, I'm merely referring to Marcell Dareus. On health care, I…

You know the promotional spots that universities run on TV during NCAA games? Penn State should get sophomore hockey player Andrew Sturtz to do one. Ask the guy a question and you get a testimonial about the school. You can almost hear music playing in the background. "You can try to explain it," Sturtz said by phone on Wednesday, "but until you actually experience it, …

Zach Brown was in Buffalo on Wednesday, reduced to peddling his services to his old team. Some people are surprised that Brown hasn't gotten a big contract in free agency. He's not pleased. He recently changed agents. But why would it be a shock that a Bills linebacker wasn't seen as some free-agent treasure? Over the final 10 weeks last season, the Bills played six eve…

Am I supposed to take a stand against guys taking a seat? Last Saturday, the Cavs sat out LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in a national TV loss at the Clippers. Resting players is rampant in the NBA, which is on pace for 300 healthy scratches, far and away a record. Critics say it's unfair to fans, who pay good money to see the top players. I agree with James,…

Moments after the most thrilling game of the NCAA Tournament, Nigel Hayes spoke in a low, impassive monotone. He sounded about as excited as a college kid who had just gotten back a C-plus on a term paper, or found out that his laundry was dry. "As you can tell by my demeanor, by my tone, I've been here before," Hayes said in the Wisconsin locker room Saturday afternoon…

It's curious to think that a team coming off an NCAA championship could still carry around a reputation for getting bumped off early in the tournament. But there was still a lingering question about Villanova entering Saturday's second-round meeting with Wisconsin. After all, the Wildcats were the only No. 1 seed from a power league to lose before the Sweet 16 in the pr…

Bronson Koenig says he generally plays his best when he's not thinking about the magnitude of the moment, when he pretends that he doesn't really care. So before Thursday night's first-round NCAA game against Virginia Tech at the KeyBank Center, Koenig told himself, 'It's your senior year, March Madness. Why not go out there and have some fun, be aggressive and let it f…

All week long, Bonzie Colson had insisted that the right ankle was fine. So what if he had sprained it late in the ACC title game against Duke just five days earlier, causing him to walk around in a boot for a few days and sit out half of Wednesday's open practice? The ankle? Feels great. No problem. Come on, this is March, the NCAA Tournament. Just tape the thing up, C…

It had that familiar upset feel to it. After all, there has been very little to separate a 12th seed from a No. 5 in recent years. Over the previous nine years, the 12s had been 17-19 against the 5s. As any dedicated NCAA tourney fan knows, when desperate for  an upset, head to the 5-12 line in the bracket. Princeton was game, too. Ivy League teams generally are. The I…

It’s a Christmas tradition for me to declare that this is the year I’m cutting back on gifts. My kids laugh at me every year. So, you’re cutting back this year, right? Then I break down and overdo it again. That’s how I feel before my annual NCAA Tournament prediction column. Every year, I promise to be more frugal, less prone to wild, impulsive acts. I’m cutt…

My initial reaction when Rhode Island knocked off VCU to win the Atlantic 10 title Sunday was elation for my home state. Sure, they can claim those plucky Patriots, who play just over the border in Massachusetts, but Little Rhody gets few sports moments that are distinctly its own. We still haven't recovered from Providence losing in the 1973 Final Four with Ernie DiGre…

Don't feel sorry for Syracuse. The NCAA Tournament has become more and more about the power conferences in recent years. Given a chance, the selection committee probably would have picked all 15 ACC schools. But even they couldn't justify putting Jim Boeheim's team in the field this season. Syracuse had just two wins outside the Carrier Dome this season. Two. That shoul…

CLEVELAND -- Two summers ago, Felisha Legette-Jack told JoAnna Smith it was time for her stop deferring to her teammates. The UB women had lost 87 percent of their scoring. Smith needed to accept the role of a "volume" shooter as a junior. She heeded her coach's advice and became a first-team all-MAC player who helped the Bulls win their first league championship and NC…

CLEVELAND -- One of the time-honored laws of post-season college basketball is that to win a tournament, you might need to survive on a night when your shots aren't falling and your offense isn't functioning at a high level. Then there are times when effort, defense and rebounding simply aren't enough, when a team's mediocre offense proves its undoing. That moment arriv…