If you’re a student or alumni from the University at Buffalo (UB) or happen to live in Western New York and love college basketball, your March Madness bracket may still be intact today. For the other 92.8 percent of you Bracket Experts – myself included – your bracket has surely been busted big time.
UB (a 13 seed) not only upset the fourth-seeded Arizona Wildcats on a neutral court in Boise, Idaho, they dismantled the Pac-12 powerhouse and ran away with a 21 point, 89-68 blowout victory that moved the Bulls into the next round and a date against the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday.
I wholeheartedly agreed with what the CBS announcers said last night about the difference in style between the Pac-12 conference and many of the East Coast teams. Granted, they don't regularly cover the games there, and would certainly get an earful from former UCLA great Bill Walton; BUT there is a theory in some circles that the Pac-12 produces great athletes and future NBA stars, with a reputation for a more “stylish” form of play. Translation: they don't play "hungry." Sean Miller's Wildcats were starving Thursday night.
Teams from the East and Midwest tend to play a more gritty style, filled with passion, heart and do-or-die attitude. Winners of the Mid-Atlantic Conference, UB played with a collective chip on their shoulders and were never intimidated by Arizona, a team featuring 7-1 super freshman DeAndre Ayton, who most certainly will be a top 5 NBA lottery pick this June.
UB is a team that could derail Kentucky on Saturday and advance to the Sweet 16. They played with poise, drive, passion and heart. They were the better team on Thursday. No two ways about it.
The game story by longtime Buffalo News columnist Jerry Sullivan made the front page of this morning’s paper.
Soak it up Buffalo. Drink it in and come back thirsty tomorrow. Winning in March can be addicting!