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14 March 2007

Niagara joins the pod

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
3/14/2007 12:28:00 AM

Niagara University, champions of the MAAC, defeated Florida A&M tonight in Dayton, Ohio, to earn the #16 seed in the NCAA Tournament's West Region.

Niagara senior Clif Brown led all scorers with 32 as his Golden Eagles prevailed fairly easily, 77-69.

The absurdity of forcing two conference champions to play each other for one "automatic" bid aside, Niagara had no business being in the play-in "Opening Round" game.

So how did they get there? The NCAA Selection Committee -- I swear I am not making this up -- took steps this year to ensure that two "historically black" college would not meet in the opening game.

Niagara, apparently, was the first non-"historically black" college working backwards on the committee's "s-curve," so the Purple Eagles found themselves downgraded to the "Opening Round." In other news, I have run out of sarcastic quotation marks.

Racial sensitivity is something to be applauded, for sure, but it really should play no role in the seeding of NCAA Tournament teams. Every team should be judged on its own merits, and Niagara got the shaft.

In reality, Niagara is more like a 13 or 14 seed in terms of strength. This makes the Friday night game against #1 seed Kansas all the more exciting.

Can the Purple Eagles shock the world and become the first #16 seed to defeat a #1?

Probably not. But they have a better chance than anyone to do so.

In any event, welcome to the pod, Niagara. See you in Chicago.



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