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UB likes its chances in its Mid-American Conference first-round matchup against Central Michigan on Wednesday. Here are a few keys to victory for the Bulls: - Defense: Central Michigan has two primary scoring threats in Sefton Barrett and flashy guard Giordan Watson, who combined for 37 points in their last meeting, and the Bulls can't give them good looks at the basket. …

While Niagara has kept Big 4 men's basketball on the radar screen for another few weeks, the local women's teams all quietly went home  early. The brightest spot was St. Bonaventure, which finished with its first winning season in nine years.At 16-15, the Bonnies tied the program record for number of wins at Division I. They also won their first Atlantic 10 tournamen…

It looks like Utah and New Mexico wants to play with the big boys. Both schools are in the market for new coaches and are using headhunter Bob Beaudine to make it known they are willing to pay incentive-laden contracts in the neighborhood of $1 million for their next coach. Utah is 25-33 since its Sweet 16 appearance two years ago, which led to the resignation of Ray Giac…

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Niagara learns its NCAA Tournament fate Sunday night but we can already give you a little insight into the where and when: ---As a host in HSBC Arena, NU is not eligible there. Because the school is hosting games on Thursday-Saturday, its team will play in a Friday-Sunday subregional. That means the Purple Eagles are going to Columbus, Chicago, New Or…

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- When Niagara's players and coaches shared a private moment in their locker room after winning Monday's MAAC title, they presented a game ball to Rev. Joseph Levesque, the university's president. First-year athletics director Ed McLaughlin has routinely praised Levesque for his guidance during the team's September chaos after the hoopsters' celebrated …

We're an hour before tipoff in lovely downtown Bridgeport, home of the P.T. Barnum museum. It occurs to me that tonight's Niagara-Siena game on ESPN2 will be my ninth MAAC Tournament final, eight of them involving our two local teams. In typical Buffalo fashion, our teams are 2-5 during that stretch. Here's my three favorites memories of MAAC title games: 1. Canisius over…

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Niagara wrapped up its game-day shoot-around at 4:45, about 4 1/2 hours before tipoff of tonight's MAAC final against Siena in the Arena at Harbor Yard. It was a casual affair with just a little actual shooting that lasted about 40 minutes; the team did more heavy lifting earlier in the day at a local recreation center. The players hit the court in sw…

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Just heard that Siena, which is only about 4 hours away in Albany, is sending five busloads of students here for tonight's MAAC final against Niagara. The Arena at Harbor Yard will be a green-and-gold festival cheering on the Saints, so this one is going to be a virtual road game for NU. Hard to imagine too many Niagara fans getting here on short notic…

BRIDGEPORT,  Conn. -- Did Niagara get a break when top-seeded Marist was upset Sunday night in the MAAC semifinals? Nope. The Purple Eagles actually matched up better with the Red Foxes than they do with Siena, which pulled the tourney's big upset in the first semi. The Saints have a powerful post player in senior Michael Haddix and some terrific slashers in sophomor…

Once and for all, can we stop referring to the Missouri Valley Conference as a mid-major? On Sunday afternoon, I watched Creighton and Southern Illinois play the MVC tourney championship game before 22,000 plus fans on CBS. It's earned the right to be considered among the elite leagues in college basketball, even if the teams don't play major college football. Watching th…

Start spreadin' the news:  Syracuse's road to a third straight Big East tournament title begins against Connecticut in Wednesday's prequarterfinals at 2 p.m. in Madison Square Garden. The Orange finished as the No. 5 seed after Saturday's loss at Villanova while the Huskies sank to 12th when St. John's beat Providence Sunday to sneak into the 11 hole.  A nationa…

Some of the names associated with Minnesota's coaching search include Nevada's Mark Fox, Southern Illinois' Chris Lowry, New Mexico State's Reggie Theus and Denver Nuggets assistant Mike Dunlap. Among that group, Fox and Lowry are the hottest names although Theus is intriguing because of his ties to the NBA and to Louisville where he was an assistant under Rick Pitino. De…

The University at Buffalo completes its disappointing season this week in the Mid-American Conference Tournament, but the Bulls could have been a tournament dark horse if top recruit Jonas Jerebko had arrived on campus. Jerebko signed with UB but elected to play professionally in Europe, spoiling coach Reggie Witherspoon's plans to use the 6-foot-9 swingman as a point for…

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Iona's Steve Burtt, Niagara's Juan Mendez and Manhattan's Luis Flores had huge careers in the MAAC and all got to win a championship the last three years. But only Flores has seen any NBA time thus far. That was as a bit player with a couple of teams. Marist point guard Jared Jordan hopes to win a title here this weekend -- and looks like he'll get a …