- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 14, 2007

It’s a little chilly here in whatever the heck the nickname for Buffalo is. The Chicken Wing City? The Super Bowl Loser City? The Mammal Hunted to the Brink of Extinction City?

Anyway, this could wind up being the real sleeper site. There isn’t a school among the eight with a gigantic local media following. Maryland might be tops, but there could be some national types in town to genuflect at the altar of Coach K, long ago appointed the Patron Saint of College Basketball, as he pontificates on the state of the sport. Or maybe they’ll just chronicle a rare early departure for the Blue Devils.

There isn’t a team at this site outside the top 75 of the RPI (Wright State checks in at No. 72), the only one of eight subregionals with that claim.

Duke is vulnerable to CAA champ Virginia Commonwealth. Maryland didn’t show up in its last game and faces a Davidson team that’s lost once since December began. Butler is a No. 5 seed in name only. And Pittsburgh could be in for a surprise against Wright State.

CBS obviously doesn’t think it merits much attention, either. Buffalo will get one of the broadcast pairings that won’t advance to the second weekend: Kevin Harlan and former Rutgers coach Bob Wenzel.

(Amusing Harlan-related anecdote. First thing seen when looking out of the Buffalo: A declaration of the presence of a corporate monolith. Second thing seen: A driver holding a sign reading “K. Harlan, Diva Limousines” Official Sports Diva Heather Dinich of the Baltimore Sun was mildly amused at the growing reach of her influence).

In that other postseason tournament, it would appear it’s The Great Al Thornton’s World; the rest of the NIT is just living in it. TGAT carried Florida State and coach Leonard “Moving Target” Hamilton thanks to taking off from just inside the foul line for a dunk and coming from behind to swat a shot back in the face of a Toledo player. Maybe Florida State didn’t belong in the NCAA tournament, but TGAT most certainly did.

More from Buffalo later, including whether Coach K is spotted filming yet another commercial to be aired long after his team is eliminated from the tournament.

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