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[ Opening Round Open Thread ]
2007-03-13 14:00
by Bob Timmermann

Now, I hope that all the Niagara fans and all the Florida A&M fans will chat together amiably here. I don't want to have to police things.

Yes, today is the day of the game that gives one of the little guys a chance to say that they won an NCAA tournament game. Of course it's sort of like when the NHL expanded in 1967 and put all the expansion teams in one division and then one of them would automatically make the Stanley Cup Final.

What do I know about Niagara? Well, for starters, it's a Catholic university in Niagara Falls, New York. The basketball team lost six of its first seven games because of several players were missing because of suspsensions. But the team rallied to finish 22-11 and beat Siena to win the MAAC.

What do I know about Florida A&M. I know that the A&M stands for "Agricultural & Mechanical." (The "A&M" in Texas A&M and Texas A&M Corpus Christi doesn't stand for anything anymore.) FAMU, as the school also styles itself, won the MEAC with a 21-13 record and beat Delaware State in the final. The Rattlers are probably best known for their marching band, The Marching "100", which actually has over 360 people in it. It's performed at Super Bowls and also was the official U.S. representative to the parade that the French held celebrating the bicentennial of the French Revolution.

The best damn band in the land?

And now you can enter the Griddle's contest since you know who Kansas is going to play.

2007-03-13 14:10:33
1.   Eric Enders
Reposting my prediction for this game:

Purple teams rule, but
Calvin Murphy is 60
Bring the snake serum

2007-03-13 14:12:45
2.   Eric Enders
FWIW, the Niagara suspensions stemmed from an incident in which basically the whole basketball team beat up one of the school's baseball pitchers in a bar.
2007-03-13 14:15:51
3.   Bob Timmermann
Boys will be boys won't they?
2007-03-13 14:17:26
4.   trainwreck
I am going with the powerhouse of Niagara.
2007-03-13 14:17:30
5.   Eric Enders
And so will men, sometimes.
2007-03-13 14:19:06
6.   Eric Enders
5 was supposed to follow 3...

Anyway, here's hoping for Final Four run by both Niagara and Virginia this year. Then the "Viagra" final will have a built-in corporate sponsor.

2007-03-13 14:22:30
7.   Xeifrank
I find it amusing when a team (this year Syracuse) complains they got snubbed. I figure with 65 teams making the tournament, if you were on the bubble and didn't make the tournament you really have very little to complain about. Now in football, you can go undefeated and not even get a shot at playing for the championship. Perhaps men's college basketball should be more like NCAA football. After the season is over, wait 6 weeks and let a computer pick the two teams to play for the title, while all the other remaining top teams play a meaningless exhibition game on a nuetral field on the day of a parade. vr, Xei
2007-03-13 14:23:24
8.   Eric Enders
States that might have set records for most teams they've ever had in the tournament:

Texas (5)
Virginia (4)
Tennessee (4)

But I'm too lazy to actually do the research.

2007-03-13 14:25:11
9.   Eric Enders
Also, Nevada has surely tied its record since I'm pretty sure it only has 2 D1 teams.
2007-03-13 14:32:30
10.   Bob Timmermann
Whenever Wyoming makes the tournament, that state has 100% representation.

California has 23 schools playing DI basketball.

New York has more, but a lot of them are fairly small schools and frankly, I lost count.

2007-03-13 14:33:30
11.   Shaun P
7 BUT - Syracuse was not "on the bubble"! After their last W vs UConn, every prognosticator had the Orange in the Dance.

Bob, I'd pick a [] in your contest, but with the Orange out, I'm just not into the whole thing. It kills my whole []-picking strategy, which has always been to somehow have Syracuse win it all.

Note that I sadly did not enter a Tourney pool in 2003.

2007-03-13 14:38:14
12.   Bob Timmermann
There are now 48 entries. People must really want to read an old Daniel Okrent book.
2007-03-13 14:40:10
13.   Eric Enders
11 The key phrase there is "after their last W vs UConn." Everyone had them in at that point, but then a couple of at-larges disappeared when Nevada and Butler lost, putting the Orange back on the bubble.

The most egregious omission was not Syracuse anyway, it was Drexel.

2007-03-13 14:45:30
14.   El Lay Dave
Florida A&M in a French parade? Would the band from, say, La Salle, for instance, seem more appropriate?
2007-03-13 14:48:03
15.   Bob Timmermann
I doubt La Salle has a marching band of any consequence.

If you've ever seen the "Marching 100" perform, you'd be impressed. Those guys (women included) can play. I won't be able to see the basketball game, but I imagine that a smaller version of the band will be in Dayton tonight.

2007-03-13 18:10:39
16.   Andrew Shimmin
According to, they haven't got a marching band at all.
2007-03-13 18:15:15
17.   Bob Timmermann
From the NCAA's database, there are only 22 NY institutions that play Division I sports.

The same database just lists 22 CA institutions, but it doesn't reflect UC Davis which moved up this year.

States that have schools in DI that were shut out of the NCAA tournament:
Louisiana (with 13 different schools!)
Minnesota (which has just one school surprisingly)
New Hampshire
North Dakota
South Dakota
West Virginia

Alaska doesn't have any Division I teams.

2007-03-13 18:26:31
18.   Bob Timmermann
I always wondered why La Salle got that name because it is named for St. John Baptist De La Salle (anglicized form), which was the name of my elementary school and church. And we were ALWAYS called "De La Salle."

And La Salle calls its teams the "Explorers" even though the school isn't named for an explorer.

2007-03-13 18:58:09
19.   Bob Timmermann
First NCAA tournament win for the Purple Eagles since 1970.
2007-03-13 22:25:06
20.   das411
Now now Bob, some of us are quite grateful all those '67 NHL expansions teams were in their own conference so we could easily beat up (dare I say, bully) other teams on the way to the only two Cups we have ever won...

...and I can vouch that "Paths to Glory" is a fascinating book that, for me at least, changed the way I look at the way baseball teams are built. So go enter the contest!!

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