When the brackets were announced for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, Kimbal Mackenzie was the most excited player, by far, to see Bucknell headed to Buffalo.
“Yes, indeed,” Mackenzie said in KeyBank Center Wednesday afternoon. “I’m from Oakville which is only about an hour and 10 minutes away, so I was excited to be in Buffalo.”
Mackenzie, a sophomore guard for the Bison, was born and raised in Oakville, Ont., part of the Greater Toronto Area.
He began his high school career in Oakville, playing for two years at Holy Trinity Catholic before transferring to The John Carroll School in Maryland to pursue basketball. At Bucknell, he entered the starting lineup this season and earned third-team All-Patriot League honors, averaging 11.5 points per game.
He and his fellow Bison will face West Virginia around 2:45 p.m. in the first round of the NCAA tourney.
As for family and friends attending the game, Mackenzie said he’ll have “a decent amount. Double-digits at least. So I’ll have a couple people here. It’s exciting. A lot of them hadn’t played in a while. May parents have come down to Bucknell a decent amount but a lot of my family hasn’t seen me play in a long time so it will be nice to play in front of them.”
Meanwhile there was another reason the Bison were happy to be in Buffalo – the snowstorm. Bucknell is in Lewisburg, Pa. and central Pennsylvania was getting hit with the winter storm Stella.
“It took us a little longer than normal, obviously,” Bucknell junior forward Zach Thomas said of the travel. “But we had a nice little police escort going for us. We actually got a lot of snow in Lewisburg so we avoided a little more by coming here.”