Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Niagara 77, Florida A+M 69
OK.....NOW they're in the Big Dance!
And thanks in part to A+M's inability to outdo your average hoops playing ten year old at the free throw line.
Niagara raced out to a 20-7 lead early, but the Rattlers hung around, even taking a 31-29 lead late in the first half, but NU quickly regained the lead to head to the break 35-31.
NU was able to keep some separation between themselves and A+M, their guard play was the key with their quickness that allowed them to penetrate to the hoop and their ability to knock down some 3's.
But man oh man, A+M had chances late to close the gap....apparently these guys attended the prestigious free throw shooting school known as Chamberlain, O'Neal, and Dudley. At one point they were 2-12 from the charity stripe....all this while they were keeping the game within single digits.
So Niagara advances to take on mighty Kansas in the first(next???) round. Does Niagara have a shot? Not really, but as the late Jimmy V stated prior to the '83 NCAA Final:"We have a better chance than all the teams that aren't here." and frankly, Kansas does have this history of postseason "success". We do remember Bucknell, don't we??
Either way, it should be interesting.
Some thoughts on this whole "play-in" concept. Or, "If Peter was running the NCAA, this is how he'd do the opening round."
Some say it should be eliminated and the field returned to 64, I say hogwash! First off, eliminate automatic bids from the play in game. They have earned the right to be in and experience the true tournament experience of the eight team subregional. Only at-large teams would be in the play in round.
Next, expand the play in round to two, or perhaps four games. A few years back, the NFL came up with the idea of opening the season on the Thursday prior to Sunday. The NCAA should do the same with an opening round double header featuring four bubble teams fighting to make the field. Since they are at large teams it's highly likely that the clubs will be power conference schools with name recognition and produce better ratings for television.
Sure, it wouldn't end the argument of who should be in and who doesn't. But there is an added excitement to that opening night. Hey Jimmy B....and Bob Huggins you want in? Syracuse v Stanford followed by Kansas State v Illinois on ESPN's Opening Night Doubleheader live from Dayton!
Sounds like a plan to me! Any thoughts?