FanDuel - WFBC

March 23, 2014

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle:

A place to discuss the sports stories that aren't making news, share links that aren't quite front-page material, and diagram plays on your hand. Remember to count to five Mississippi before commenting in anger.

posted by huddle to general at 06:00 AM - 9 comments

Just got back from watching the NCAA tournament in Buffalo. Here is my report about the eight teams we saw:

Milwaukee Panthers - a large number of their players are from Wisconsin and Iowa...and one from Senegal. They were never really that competitive after half time.

Saint Joseph's Hawks - Another team, another player from Senegal. The first overtime game I've witnessed in the three years I've gone to the round of 64 games, so I thank them for that. I'm kind of glad they didn't go into a second OT, as the Hawks mascot (a guy in a anthropomorphic hawk outfit) flapped his arms for the entire game. He must have been exhausted by the end of the game.

Western Michigan Broncos - a bunch of white guys from Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana...and a guy from Croatia. There were four college dudes in Croatian national soccer jerseys in the stands. They seemed to have more fun than the team, as they were blown out in the first half and never really recovered.

Ohio State Buckeyes - I went into the day not really cheering for any team, but I have to admit I was cheering AGAINST one of them. THE Ohio State team was it, simply because of how I read that they refused to put their intrastate opponents on their schedule. The final shot attempt by Craft was one of the ugliest things I've seen, and I'm kind of glad it didn't go in purely for aesthetic reasons.

Syracuse Orange - I always thought they were called the Orangemen. Huh. Anyways, they easily had the largest contingent of fans since they were so close (2hr drive). They dominated the first game, but last 5 minutes of their second game was UGLY. I was pulling for my fellow Canuck, Tyler Ennis, but his game-tying 2-pointer and then game-winning 3-pointer attempts weren't close. When Syracuse got knocked out in the early game for the night, I'd say about 1/3rd of the Syracuse fans left the building before the second game started. I guess they wanted to get home early on Saturday night. The Orange also had the most revealing cheerleaders, with a sports-bra-and-miniskirt combo (the only ones to show a bare midriff). Oh, and chalk up another player from Senegal.

Villanova Wildcats - I didn't know Tyler Ennis had a brother (Dylan) who played for Villanova. They were making some terrible shooting decisions in the first half of their second game (only scored 24 points), and they only trailed by a point. Despite losing the second game by 12, it really was closer than that. They trailed by as little as three points late, but their ugly shooting showed up again and they never could make up the ground they lost.

UConn Huskies - (That's how they are officially listed.) The show is all about Shabazz, and it was a hell of a performance. Inside, outside, uncontested, double-teamed...it didn't matter. He just seemed to hit his shots when he needed to. In the second game, he took a close score and blew it wide open by draining three 3-pointers in a row. He briefly left the game with what looked to be an ankle injury (turned out to be a bruised shin). You got the feeling that their opponents said "Okay, maybe we can turn this around.", but then Shabazz came back into the game and kept it cool. I would also like to point out that UConn had the best looking cheerleaders (both in women and outfits).

Dayton Flyers - How can you not want to cheer for the massive underdog against their intrastate rivals, AND then against the big, bad, super school? Throw in another Canadian (Dyshawn Pierre), and a player named Scoochie ("Scooooooo!"), and they were easily every one's favourite "alternate" team. I really thought that they had peaked when they beat Ohio, but they came out just as scrappy in the second game, and simply wouldn't let Syracuse play their game.

The arena: First Niagara Center That's a really nice arena. Unfortunately, there is a lot of construction going on around that area (trying to build up around the canal), so it's not a very pretty area right now. Nice big concourses, and the sight lines were great. The food selection is easily the best of the arenas we've been to (Columbus and Detroit). They also had volunteers outside the stadium as we left that would hand out maps that showed restaurant/bar locations, and answered questions on how to leave. The free above-ground tram service from the city center (where there was extremely cheap parking) to the arena was nice, but VERY slow. Given the freezing temps and the high winds, we still took it.

posted by grum@work at 11:01 PM on March 23

Great report. Any comment on the Buffalo hotel rooms?

posted by beaverboard at 12:02 AM on March 24

We stayed at the Millennium Hotel, which is about a 10 minute drive from the parking lot we used in downtown Buffalo. It's right next to the highway, so travel is quick to other parts around Buffalo (including the outlet malls). The hotel itself is next to a super-sized mall, so the non-basketball fans in our group enjoyed the convenient shopping. The rooms are typical "nice but not luxury" style. My one complaint was with the TV setup. It uses that "hotel entertainment" menu system, which means you have to go through 3 or 4 clicks to actually get to the TV channels every time you turn on the TV.

Side note: If you are travelling from Ontario to Buffalo, definitely use the Lewiston border crossing. The longest lineup we had was 2 cars (in either direction), while listening to reports of 10-15 minute lineups at the larger border crossings.

posted by grum@work at 08:21 AM on March 24

I always thought they were called the Orangemen.

Marketing decision? Yes.

Dayton Flyers - How can you not want to cheer for the massive underdog against their intrastate rivals, AND then against the big, bad, super school? Throw in another Canadian (Dyshawn Pierre), and a player named Scoochie ("Scooooooo!"), and they were easily every one's favourite "alternate" team.

Plus, Archie Miller!

posted by NoMich at 08:46 AM on March 24

the Hawks mascot (a guy in a anthropomorphic hawk outfit) flapped his arms for the entire game. He must have been exhausted by the end of the game.

He damn well better if he wants to keep his scholarship.

posted by yerfatma at 09:25 AM on March 24

the Hawks mascot (a guy in a anthropomorphic hawk outfit) flapped his arms for the entire game. He must have been exhausted by the end of the game.

He damn well better if he wants to keep his scholarship.

I thought this was a joke. It isn't. Holy. Crap.

posted by grum@work at 01:34 PM on March 24

I have to admit I was cheering AGAINST one of them. THE Ohio State team was it

posted by yerfatma at 02:02 PM on March 24

He damn well better if he wants to keep his scholarship.

A scholarship is nice, but some guys are actually paid well to be the face of their team.

posted by beaverboard at 02:03 PM on March 24

Someone had a printed copy of that newspaper front page at the second game. What was the front page on Sunday after beating Syracuse?

"Orange Crushed!"?

posted by grum@work at 02:09 PM on March 24

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