So you couldn't get to Columbus to see one of the biggest college basketball games in the region's history. That doesn't mean you can't revel in the joy of sharing the March Madness experience with other hoops fans, particularly the variety that will be decked out in blue and white.
Here are some bars and restaurants to check out where you're likely to have plenty of food, plenty of drinks and plenty of fellow UB supporters just waiting to high-five a stranger. Reminder: tip is at 2:10 p.m. Friday.
The biggest basketball game ever for UB. The biggest television screen in Western New York. It’s a marriage made in sports fan heaven. When Bobby Hurley yells at the referees (a given), you'll practically feel the pain of his piercing glare.
*The Steer, 3151 Main St.
A short walk from the UB South Campus. You can catch all the games at this venerable establishment, but even better, you can savor the sandwich inspired by UB's head coach: the Hurley Hero. "Italian Sausage, Spicy Chicken Fingers, Corned Beef, Blue Cheese, Spinach and Frizzled Onions on a Toasted Baguette." [Read a recent dining review of The Steer]
*Santora’s Pizza Pub & Grill, 1402 Millersport Highway and 7800 Transit Road.
The former is a UB hangout around the corner from the North Campus, the latter is the former Frog Hair, a massive establishment on one of the region's busiest thoroughfares that was where the team gathered to learn its seed in the tourney. Both offer all the food and beverage choices any fan could hope to have.
*Average Joe’s Bar and Grill, 2350 Sweet Home Road
Not to be confused with the gym from the movie "Dodgeball," Average Joe's is a couple of miles from campus and right off the 990. It's usually jammed on Friday anyway, but could be even more so this week. Good pub food menu and daily drink specials.
*Brick House Tavern and Tap, 4120 Maple Road.
Located between the Boulevard Mall and the AMC Maple Ridge Theater, Brick House has plenty of seating and a huge bar. It also has an outdoor fire pit if you get frustrated during the game and want to get away for a minute, but don't want to freeze to death. Happy Hour starts at 2 p.m. Very Happy Hour starts if UB wins.
*Bada Bing, 42 W. Chippewa St.
In case you missed it, Bada Bing has moved down the road and across the street from its old location, and in the process, added a litany of flat-screen TVs. Just look at the photo below. [Read a Bar Tab on Bada Bing]
*The Hyatt Hotel - The Atrium Bar, 2 Fountain Plaza
For the downtown crowd looking for a deal. Everything is half off during the game and if the Bulls win -- when the Bulls win? -- everything at EB on the Green will be half off on Friday night.
Hey, the Southtowns have college basketball fans, too! The similarities between the two BSGs are eerie, so you may as well hop from one to the other at halftime. [Read a Bar Tab on Buffalo Sports Grill]
*Amherst Pizza and Ale House, 55 Crosspoint Pkwy., Amherst
With perhaps the top Twitter account of any restaurant in Western New York, Amherst Pizza and Ale House posts regular pictures of drool-inducing appetizers -- like the pizza fries, below -- and actually just gave away a pair of tickets for Friday's UB game. The restaurant-bar is celebrating its 10th anniversary, and there's a Sam Adams beer glass promotion this weekend. The NCAA games will be on every screen, of course. [Read a Bar Tab on Amherst Pizza and Ale House]
*Salumeria Belsito, 1368 Hertel Ave.
A sandwich and panini bar in North Buffalo might not normally fit on this list, but you have to love that the place is owned by UB grad Michael Petrillo and he wants to share a little school spirit with you. This is on his website. "As a (suddenly) very proud UB alum (Class of '93) I want to invite all basketball fans to watch the tournament at Belsito starting around lunchtime on Thursday. $3 Blue and Blue Light this weekend."
*MacGregors, 4350 Maple Road, Amherst
Practically adjacent to the North campus. Huge assortment of draft beers, great sightlines to TVs and a robust tavern menu.
*Tully’s Good Times, 1459 Niagara Falls Blvd., Amherst
An extensive menu, full bar, more than 70 TVs all over the place, plus video games and a pool table. Tully's motto is, "If the game is on, you can watch it here."
Story topics: Amherst Pizza and Ale House/ Average Joe's Bar and Grill/ Bada Bing/ Brick House Tavern + Tap/ Bruce Andriatch/ Buffalo Sports Grill/ Santora's/ The Hyatt Hotel/ UB Bulls/ University at Buffalo