Who wants to know about our first round opponent, the Niagara Purple Eagles. I know I did, having never heard of them save a couple of times on the bottom bar of SportsCenter. This will be the longest preview I've done yet, something I will do for every Tournament opponent that comes our way. I will even stretch beyond the basketball program over at Niagara and talk about the actual university.
Who is Niagara University?
Niagara University was founded in 1856 under the name Our Lady of Angels Seminary before being renamed to its current name in 1883. It is located in the town of Lewiston, New York in Niagara County. There are about 3,200 students at NU, 2,800 of them being your run-of-the-mill undergraduates. This education-yearning young adults are taught by 130 faculty members teaching in colleges of arts and science, education, business, hospitality/tourism management, nursing and education. The Reserve Officer's Training Corps has an award-winning unit at NU.
Niagara University has 9 men's and 10 women's sports all participating in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) in all of the sports instead men's and women's hockey where they participate in College Hockey America. In 2006 6 players on the Niagara Men's Basketball team assaulted a member of the baseball team, which led to suspensions at the beginning of this season ranging from 1 to 8 games. Their star, Charron Fisher, received the brunt of the blame and received the longest suspension (8 games). Hubie Brown, the former NBA coach, was a graduate of Niagara University along with former basketball player Calvin Murphy.
Every Eagle has a Leader
Joe Mihalich - Head Coach (9th Year)
Akbar Waheed - Assistant Coach (8th Year)
Luke Dobrich - Assistant Coach (4th Year)
Phil Martelli Jr. - Interim Assistant Coach (1st Year)
Who is a Purple Eagle?
Here is the Purple Eagles' roster.
Here is the roster breakdown:
F Greg Noel
G Lorenzo Miles
F J.R. Duffey
F Clif Brown
G/F Charron Fisher
G Stanley Hodge
G David Cirincione
C Benson Egemonye
G Rydell Brooks
G Javonte Clayton
F Kamau Gordon
G Tyrone Lewis
G Andrew Patterson
Who has Faced the Purple Eagles?
For the entire schedule, click here.
They haven't played anybody really 'big', but have played some notable opponents. Here are some of these notable opponents:
vs. Akron (L 48-63)
vs. St. John's (L 64-86)
vs. Holy Cross (W 67-61)
Finally, Some Real Analysis
Enough of all of this fluff, let's start really analyzing our opponent.
NU is 6-1 on neutral floors, going 2-1 in a Tournament in Philadelphia, 3-0 in the MAAC Tournament in Brideport, Connecticut and winning last night's Opening Round game in Dayton, Ohio. I guess they are near unbeatable when no one has a homecourt advantage (Delaware is the only team to claim victory over them in a neutral arena) and if they keep the game close in the first half they will have the crowd in Chicago anxious for an upset.
Only two of NU's players, mostly because of the suspensions, were able to play in all 34 games in G Rydell Brooks and F J.R. Duffey. 4 players (Duffey, Charron Fisher, Clif Brown and Lorenzo Miles) have started every game they've played in, with the 5th spot rotating between 6 players led by Rydell Brooks' 31 starts. For all statistical information click here. It will enhance your life, perhaps.
And, after all that mumbo-jumbo I still haven't analyzed the game much, at all.
I will post my actual game preview (I know, I gotcha good, didn't I?) sometime on Friday while watching some Tournament action, breaking down their key players and what we have to do to beat them.
Head on over to all of the SB Nation blogs in the NCAA Tournament, well at least all of them. Do not visit A Sea of Blue, we might have to play them in the second round. Plus, they're going to lose to 'Nova anyways so what's the point?