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MAAC Tournament is set

Here are the seeds for next week’s MAAC Tournament

1. Siena
2. Fairfield
3. Iona
4. Saint Peter’s
5. Rider
6. Niagara
7. Canisius
8. Loyola
9. Manhattan
10. Marist

Canisius plays against Marist at 9:30 p.m. on Friday, while Niagara plays against Iona at 10 p.m. on Saturday. The winner of Canisius-Marist plays Fairfield at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The entire field can be found here.  

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Ohio-UB game analysis

Game Analysis: UB needed this one big time to stay in the race for a first-round bye for the MAC Tournament. That possibility is still in play after the Bulls stunning 72-69 come-from-behind victory over Ohio. UB lost at Ohio, 99-77, back on Jan. 23, three days after Kent State blew out the Bulls, 89-54.

How UB Won: The Bulls played tough defense after the seven-minute mark of the second half when they were trailing by 10 points. Senior guard Rodney Pierce certainly turned up his play several notches, hit a pair of big three-points down the stretch including what proved to be the winner. But it was his steal in the closing seconds and John Boyer’s free throws that iced the game.

Turning Point: Ohio led 63-53 when Pierce blocked a shot by Kenneth Van Kempen. That led to a basket by Max Boudreau which ignited a run what saw the Bulls outscore the Bobcats 17-9 to end the game.

Player of the game: Pierce came up big with 26 points, five steals and four assists.

Co-player of the game: Boyer was 4 of 6 from three-point range and finished with 16 points on 5 of 9 shooting overall. He added seven assists, four steals and one turnover in 37 minutes.

Worth mentioning: Ohio’s D.J. Cooper had 12 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds. Keep in mind he’s just a freshman.

Let’s hear it for the seniors: Before tip-off, UB honored seniors Calvin Betts, Max Boudreau, John Boyer, Adekambi Laleye, Rodney Pierce and Sean Smiley. Combined, this group accounted for 3,778 points, 1,826 rebounds and 742 assists over their careers. They also helped the Bulls earn a share of their first regular season conference championship and their second postseason appearance as a Division I program in 2009.

Oh Canada!: UB played the Canadian National Anthem for Boudreau and Laleye. Boudreau is from Montreal, while Laleye is from Ottawa.

The streak continues: UB has now won nine consecutive Senior Day games.

Stat of the Game: Ohio was a perfect 8 of 8 from the free-throw line.

He Said It: “”Pierce was the best player in the gym. He was terrific, absolutely terrific. I’m glad he’s done.’’ - Ohio coach John Groce on the fact that Pierce’s eligibility runs out after the season.

In the House: 2,321 at Alumni Arena

Next Up: UB plays its regular season finale at Miami (Ohio) at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic

Bona-Rhode Island Game Analysis

St. Bonaventure 81, Rhode Island 74

How Bona Won: Composure. The Bonnies had hinted a few times throughout the season that they had in them a victory or two over the Atlantic 10's upper echelon. But whenever they'd put themselves in position they'd either fall apart in the second half (Richmond, Temple, Dayton) or fall just short (Saint Louis, Charlotte). Not so this time. They're resolve was unwavering after Rams erased a 10-point halftime deficit to tie the score at 57.

Turning Point: Jonathan Hall and Michael Davenport went inside for consecutive baskets after Rams  pulled even. Rhode Island tried to play catch-up the rest of the way.

Player of the Game: Let's go with point guard Ogo Adegboye, who came off the bench with 14 points, six assists a block and a steal while going 3 for 3 from the field and 6 of 8 from the line. Rhode Island wasn't expecting that at all.

Stat of the Game: Bona's 21-for-23 day at the foul line was as uncharacteristic as it gets for a team that ranks third from the bottom in the A-10 at 64.2 percent.

In the House: Is school ever in session in Olean? Once again, students were on break, accounting for the relatively small gathering of 3,511.

Next: Bonnies put their three-game winning streak on the line and take aim at eighth place in the conference when Duquesne comes to town for a 7 p.m. Wednesday tipoff. Dukes scored a 70-69 win in the first meeting in Pittsburgh on Jan. 23.

-- Bob DiCesare








Gill rebuilding at Kansas

ESPN.com's Elizabeth Merrill profiles Turner Gill where the former UB football coach talks about creating a buzz at Kansas, his days at Nebraska, his rebuilding job at UB, and his early recruiting success at KU.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Spring preview: The quarterbacks

We’re almost into March Madness, just in time to start thinking about spring football. In less than a month – March 20 – spring practice at UB is set to start. So its time to begin examining the Bulls by position heading into the spring. We’ll start with the most important position on the field – the quarterbacks – which is one of the positions with the most questions.

RETURNING PLAYERS: (3) Jerry Davis, Soph.; Cory Jorgensen, Jr.; Alex Dennison, RFr.

INCOMING FRESHMEN: (2) Rudy Johnson and Alex Zordich

PLAYERS LOST: (1) Zach Maynard (transferred to Cal)

RETURNING STARTERS: (0)

OUTLOOK: Maynard’s departure has sent UB through a range of emotions. Some say Maynard lacked the work ethic and leadership to lead the team while others have criticized Jeff Quinn’s handling of the situation prior to his transfer. The bottom line is this: The Bulls lost their starting quarterback and as it was proven last year, replacing an experienced QB can be difficult for programs like Buffalo. Quinn is taking his "next Bull in" approach with Maynard's transfer, and slogans are nice but slogans don't account for passing yards, touchdowns, leadership and above all, experience. Since 1949 UB has had only nine QBs to complete at least 50 percent of his passes and throw for more touchdowns than interceptions and Maynard was one of them. Maynard had issues off the field but he will not be easily replaced. 

Not only will the quarterback have to adjust to a new offensive coordinator but the Bulls are moving into a spread offense which they ran sparingly last year under previous OC Danny Barrett. That said, there are plenty of options at QB, although none have much experience. Davis made one start a year ago when Maynard was late for a team meeting and appeared in five games total. He was once offered a scholarship to Arizona State, has the arm strength to move the ball and is the most experienced QB on the roster so it would be surprising if Davis isn’t listed as the starter on the two deep after the spring.

The previous staff was high on Dennison who was viewed as the QB of the future and he showed some potential during training camp and in practice last year. It will be interesting to see the development of Dennison as well as Jorgensen, who enters his fourth year in the program.

The biggest intrigue about this position comes in the fall when Quinn will find out how quickly Johnson and Zordich adjust to college football. He has the luxury of redshirting both, but these are Quinn’s recruits and he will give them a long look before any decision is made. Zordich, a classic drop-back QB, comes in with a strong reputation and there’s talk about him playing immediately. It could come down to how well he picks up the system. Certainly, from an intangible standpoint, Zordich would seem to be more prepared than a lot of guys to make the kind of transition – he led his high school team to a state championship with a 15-0 record - but the question will be how ready he is physically.

Johnson is a good dual-threat QB with more in common with Maynard than Zordich. The spread is better suited for players who can make plays with their legs and arm which makes Johnson a prime candidate.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Report: Lott arrested

UB junior defensive back Sherrod Lott was arrested for an undisclosed crime earlier this month according to a report in the Spectrum, the university's student newspaper.

The newspaper confirmed through an athletic department spokesman that Lott was arrested by officers from the Amherst Police Department on the weekend of Feb. 13. First-year football coach Jeff Quinn is handling the matter internally.

“We were made fully aware of a situation involving Sherrod Lott through our campus police,” Quinn told the Spectrum. “At this time, Sherrod has complied fully with all parties, shown great remorse over his actions, and has been reinstated as a student at UB following a campus disciplinary hearing. We are disappointed that he put himself into a situation that caused negative consequences for himself, his family and our football program.”

Quinn added that Lott's status will be evaluated following the judicial process.

“Pending final legal proceedings, we anticipate Sherrod being cleared of all charges and we will consider fully reinstating him to our football program at that time,” he said.

Lott started five games, all at safety in a nickel package, and was sixth on the team in tackles with 53 including 33 solos.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Starks doing everything at Combine

Former University at Buffalo running back James Starks said recently on "The Sports Insiders'' radio show, hosted by me and fellow Buffalo News reporter Rodney McKissic on WECK-1230 AM, that he has recovered from the shoulder injury that sidelined him last season. He also revealed, and later confirmed on NFLDraftBible.com, that he will participate in all the workout drills at this week's NFL Scouting Combine.

It's the smart move. Teams also have film of his junior season, which was exceptional. But after a year off, they need to see if Starks can display the speed, strength and athleticism to play in the NFL. Most projections have him being drafted in the third or fourth round. But if Starks runs the 40-yard dash in under 4.5 seconds at 220-plus pounds his draft stock could soar to the point where he gets into Round Two.

---Allen Wilson 

Division I-AA basketball?

With all this talk about expanding the NCAA tournament, West Virginia coach Bob Huggins has a possible solution: Break up Division I basketball into two divisions.

"We ought to do what football does and go to a Division I-A and I-AA," Huggins said, according to the Times West Virginian.

Huggins said cutting the number of team's would force schools to make a decision about their comittment to basketball. At least it's a better idea than expanding the field to 96 which would render regular season basketball meaningless.

The essence of basketball this time of year is watching teams like UConn, Charlotte and Virginia Tech play their way into the field of 65. There would be no more talk of bubble teams come late February and early March because almost every team with a winning record and a pulse would be under consideration for the NCAAs. Next thing you know they'll let every school in the tournament and the NCAA can supply trophies to every kid who participates.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)  

  

A look back, a look ahead

---College Football News.com takes a look back at UB's 2009 season and looks ahead to the 2010 season with new coach Jeff Quinn.

---ESPN.com's Graham Watson breaks down three issues for MAC teams headed into spring football.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Gadley playing overseas

Former Amherst High School and Canisius College center Chris Gadley has resurfaced with a pro basketball team in Switzerland.

Last month, Canisius coach Tom Parrotta said he received an e-mail from an agent looking for big men to play overseas and Parrotta forwarded some information on Gadley. Shortly thereafter, Gadley was signed by a team in Switzerland.

“He’s been over there for a month which is good,” Parrotta said. “They cut the other American player on the roster so they must like him.”

The 6-foot-9, 320-pound Gadley was dismissed from the team for academic reasons in December and didn’t participate with the team this season. Gadley averaged 7.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per game last year in 24 games played. He sat out the 2007-08 season after transferring from Hofstra, where he played his freshman and sophomore seasons.

UPDATE: On his Facebook page, Gadley wrote after a game he played Saturday: "Stats for tonght....35 pts 25 rebs and 5 blocks hahahahahahaha yes that is not a typo ..."

UPDATE II: I just got off the phone with Gadley's father, Eric, who told me Chris is playing well in Switzerland. Eric said he's averaging about 25 points, 15 rebounds and two blocks a game.  

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic

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About Campus Watch

Bob Dicesare

Bob DiCesare

Western New York native Bob DiCesare covers UB football, Big 4 basketball and writes an occasional column. He still holds a grudge against Chris Ford who, he's convinced, cost St. Bonaventure the 1970 NCAA basketball championship.

@TBNDicesare | bdicesare@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered colleges for The Buffalo News since 1999. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

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