Bulls and Bonnies Make the Big Dance
Western New York college basketball fans have a local stake in March Madness. They'll have two local teams to root for in this year's NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. The University of Buffalo and St. Bonaventure both have earned spots in the Big Dance.
UB won an automatic bid by winning the Mid-American Conference Tournament championship on Saturday. When the brackets were announced Sunday night the Bulls (26-8) were named as the Number-13 seed in the South Region and will play Number-4 seed Pac-12 champion Arizona (27-7) on Thursday in Boise, Idaho.
Despite losing their Atlantic 10 Tournament semi-final to eventual conference champion Davidson, St. Bonaventure won an at-large bid in the Big Dance. The Bonnies (25-7)will play one of the four play-in games in an attempt to earn their way into the field of 64. The Bonnies will face UCLA (21-11) on Tuesday in Dayton, Ohio. The winner of that game will move on to face Number-6 seed Florida (20-12) Thursday in a first round game in the East Region.
It's the first time since 1970 that two Western New York teams have advanced to the NCAA Basketball Tournament. That's the year that St. Bonaventure and Niagara had a chance to play for the national championship.
The season for Canisius and Niagara isn't over yet. The Griffs will play in the College Basketball Invitational while the Purple Eagles will play in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.