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Where was the drama at HSBC?

I was putting together some charts of NCAA games in Buffalo for posterity sake in the wake of last weekend and was struck by how we keep getting hosed out of the drama we're supposed to get from The Big Dance. Sure, all you Syracuse and West Virginia fans went home happy but how much are we going to remember about last weekend on the court? Not much.

We got three of the four most lopsided games we've seen in the NCAA's four visits here: West Virginia's 27-point win over Morgan State and Syracuse's beatdowns of Vermont (by 23) and Gonzaga (by 22). Only one game (Gonzaga's win over Florida State) was as close as seven points and even that was misleading because the Zags were up by 16 at the half.

So in 24 NCAA games at HSBC, four have gone to overtime and four others have been decided in regulation by five points or less. That's not a lot compared to what other cities get. In our other 16 games, we've had 10 decided by 17 points or more.

No seeds lower than 11 (Pepperdine in 2000 and VCU in 2007) have ever won a game in Buffalo. Seeds 1-5 are 16-2 overall here (Temple's second-round defeat in 2000 to Seton Hall and Butler's second-rounder to Maryland in 2007 are the only losses). They're 9-0 in the first round. Yawn.

We had no drama again this year. Zero. CBS can basically trash the Buffalo tapes. Look what the other cities got by comparison:

Providence: Saint Mary's wins over Richmond and Villanova, Ohio's upset of Georgetown and Robert Morris' near-shocker of Nova.

San Jose: Murray State's upset of Vanderbilt and last-possession defensive stops by Washington over Marquette and Butler over Murray State.

Spokane: Michigan State's buzzer-beater against Maryland and its last-possession stop against New Mexico State, Purdue's comeback against Siena and its overtime win over Texas A&M.

Oklahoma City: Northern Iowa's upset of Kansas and BYU's double-overtime win over Florida.

New Orleans: Old Dominion's upset of Notre Dame and Wake Forest's overtime win over Texas.

Jacksonville: Cornell's upsets of Temple and Wisconsin.

Only Milwaukee, which just had Xavier's win over Pitt, was in the same kind of drama vacuum that we were. Feel bad for those of you who paid big bucks to a scalper and were hoping to see some real March Madness.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

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