CRAWFORD | Ten fast facts about Buffalo, Kentucky's second-round NCAA opponent
Ten fun facts about the University at Buffalo -- SUNY, the University of Kentucky's second-round opponent in the NCAA Tournament.
BOISE, Idaho (WDRB) – So you don’t know much about Buffalo, the University of Kentucky’s second-round NCAA opponent? Get familiar with some quick facts.
1). AT, NOT OF. Since being acquired by the State University of New York system, it’s the University at Buffalo -- SUNY, not the University of Buffalo. The school, the largest public university in the state of New York, ranks 97th in the U.S. News and World Report for National Universities (UK ranks No. 113). Buffalo has an enrollment of 30,648.
2). FOUNDED BY A PRESIDENT. Millard Fillmore is often rated among the worst presidents in U.S. history, but he did found the university in Buffalo, to train doctors for the surrounding area. Its first classes were held in a Post Office building.
3). APOLOGIZED TO A PRESIDENT. After Thursday’s first-round upset win, junior guard CJ Massinburg, noting that former president Barack Obama had picked Arizona to beat Buffalo in the first round, held up the end of the Buffalo news conference to say, “Sorry president Obama, but I had to.”
4). LOGO LOVE. Buffalo has virtually the same logo as Kentucky, a widened interlocking UB that very much resembles Kentucky’s UK.
5). IT WON ITS FIRST NCAA TOURNAMENT GAME on Thursday. The Bulls have been to the NCAA Tournament in three of their past four years, but few gave it much chance against a talented Arizona team that was an 8.5-point favorite. Of the brackets filled out at the CBS Sports website, 92.8 percent had the Wildcats advancing.
6). DIVISION III TRANSFER. Prior to making the jump to Division I athletics in 1991-92, Buffalo competed at the NCAA Division III (non-scholarship) level.
7). UP THROUGH THE RANKS. Buffalo coach Nate Oats got his grounding in the profession through 11 seasons as head coach (and math teacher) at Romulus High School in suburban Detroit. He led the school to its first state title in 27 years in 2012-13 and was named the state coach of the year. He joined the staff of Bobby Hurley at Buffalo from there, and succeeded Hurley when he left three seasons ago. He played basketball at Division III Maranatha Baptist University in his hometown of Watertown, Wis. His wife, Crystal, survived a cancer scare in 2015, and about a week ago, Oats signed a contract extension to remain at Buffalo until 2023.
8). WOLF BLITZER U. Among the notable alumni of Buffalo is Wolf Blitzer, CNN’s lead political anchor and host of its program, “The Situation Room.” But he’s not the only media star to have ties to the school. Terry Gross (host of NPR’s “Fresh Air”), Ira Flatow (host of NPR’s “Science Friday”) and Fox News “Media Buzz” host Howard Kurtz also are alumni.
9). FOLDING TABLES BEWARE. The “Bills Mafia” tailgaters have become notorious for their rowdiness before NFL games, and their penchant for destroying folding tables was well-known well before Buffalo began its NCAA Tournament run. But with the Bulls basketball success, imitators are abounding, as evidenced on Twitter . . .
10). THEY CAN PLAY BASKETBALL. Their victory over Arizona was no joke. The Bulls have two 1,000-point scorers in Massinburg and Nick Perkins, a 6-8 junior. The 89 points they scored against Arizona Thursday marked the 26th time this season they’ve gone for more than 80. Only Villanova has as many. They come into the game seventh nationally in scoring offense, averaging 85 points per game. Ken Pomeroy’s efficiency statistics rank them 36th in offensive efficiency, and fifth in average possession length, just 14.8 seconds.
WDRB will have more preview coverage of Kentucky-Buffalo after the teams meet with the media Friday afternoon.
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