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Huge challenge for Canisius, Niagara

---For Canisius, this weekend presents an opportunity to reinforce its capabilities and prove it can play with the big boys in the MAAC. For Niagara, it's another chance to act as spoiler, to continue building a foundation for next season and beyond.

---Almost hard to believe, but UCLA's Ben Howland must work his magic quickly because his seat is getting hotter.

---Jeff Eisenberg details Central Florida's recent decline.

---CBS and Turner have announced their broadcast teams for the second and third rounds of this year's NCAA Tournament.

---Xavier will be wearing special throwback uniforms in honor of legendary Muskateer Brian Grant.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Rating the rookies

---Which coaches did the best and worst jobs in their first years at their respective schools? CollegeFootballNews.com ranks 'em.

---Phil Steele looks at the early entry players.

---Louisville and Charlie Strong lead Big East in recruiting.

---Longhorns network bad news for the Big 12?

---The Big House may have come up short in what happened on the field last season, but not in the stands.

---Dr. Saturday looks at the practice of oversigning.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

LSU hires Kragthorpe

---LSU has hired former Buffalo Bills assistant coach Steve Kragthorpe.

---The Big Lead has a list of five coaches on the hot seat next year, none are from the MAC but Rutgers' Greg Schiano who at one time was a hot name in the business, is on the list.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

College basketball's next big thing?

---With a young coach, a strong recruiting base, a parade of recent first-round NBA draft picks (six in the past four years) and spare-no-expense facilities Ohio State is set up for the future as well as arguably any team. All the program needs to do to vault itself into the sport's upper crust, observers say, is to win a championship.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Watt, Mulkey swat away Kent State

---Byron Mulkey's career high 27 points and Mitchell Watt's career best eight blocked shots helped give UB a stunning victory over Kent State.

---Andrew Nicholson and Michael Davenport watched from the bench in foul trouble as Xavier rallied to beat St. Bonaventure.

---The seeds for the largest donation in Bowling Green history — and in Mid-American Conference basketball history — were sown 60 years ago.

---Some mid-season grades for Syracuse where the attendance record could be broken this weekend at the Carrier Dome.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

New coaching hires raise questions

---Twenty-one FBS schools have changed coaches since the end of the regular season, and over and over again, in talking to various people both in the sport as well as those who cover it, one word seemed to pop up more than any other when some of the new choices were announced: Strange.

---College football still loses marquee coaches to the NFL but it increasingly is becoming a two-way street.

---It's going to be all Longhorns, all the time. Indeed, Texas' new TV deal with ESPN, made a rich university even richer.

---After five consecutive championships -- and seven undefeated appearances in the BCS title game in 13 years -- it's clear that an SEC team will win the BCS title for the 2011 season.

---The NCAA makes odd decisions.

---You have to subscribe to read it, but the NFL Draft Blog of the East-West Shrine Game says UB corner Josh Thomas is struggling.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Kent State-UB game analysis

Game analysis: The world is full of surprises and UB’s 79-54 victory over visiting Kent State is a prime example. This was supposed to be a game where the lead teetered back and forth but the Bulls took control early and never looked back.

How UB won: Defense and Byron Mulkey’s three-point shooting. Mitchell Watt had eight blocks, the third most in school history to lead a Bulls defense that held Kent to 33.3 percent shooting. The Bulls also outrebounded the Golden Flashes, 39-26, and forced 19 turnovers. Meanwhile, Mulkey scored 21 of his career high 27 points in the first half as UB surged to a 43-31 lead.

Turning point: The Bulls led, 32-23, in the first half when Mulkey hit back to back three-pointers. The lead didn’t dip below double digits the rest of the game.

Player of the game: If you see someone wearing a Hart Hotels “T’s for 3’s’’ T-shirt, it’s because of Mulkey.

Unsung player of the game: There’s no telling how many shots Kent had to adjust because of Watt, who had five rejections with 7:55 to go in the first half.

Best sign: “Can’t State”

Stat of the game: Javon McCrea rarely misses (4-for-4 vs. Kent State) but his six turnovers are proof he won’t be moved to point guard anytime soon.

He said it: “Probably when the game tipped off.’’ – Kent State coach Geno Ford when asked when the game got away from his team.

What it means: The Bulls are now tied with Kent State at 2-2 in the MAC’s East Division behind Bowling Green and Miami (Ohio) who are in first at 3-1.

In the house: 2,122 at Alumni Arena

Next up: at Ohio on Saturday.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Bona-Xavier Game Analysis

Xavier 79, St. Bonaventure 65

How Xavier Won: Bonnies did well to hang with Musketeers for 35 minutes. Then reality hit. Xavier is quicker, bigger, stronger and more talented. And that's the way it played out. Muskies shot 68.2 percent (15 of 22) in second half.

Turning Point: Tu Holloway's first point came on a 25-foot fallaway three in front of the Xavier bench with 16:13 left. Then he swiped a Da'Quan Cook pass, set up Jeff Robinson for a fast-break dunk and Xavier had its first lead of the game, 40-39. Less than four minutes later Muskies were up nine.

Player of the Game: No brainer. Holloway, a 6-foot junior, finished with 22 points, four steals and three assists. He was 5 of 6 from the field in second half and 8 of 8 from the line for the game. It was kind of like a flashback to Tim Winn.

Stat of the Game: Xavier outscored Bonnies, 36-14, in the paint.

Stat of the Game II: Bona had just 17 rebounds, a mere three on the offensive end.

They Said It: "It's difficult. A lot of times you're on stuff with people and you remain close, but not as close as Schmidty and I. We text all the time. He's my best friend in the business."-- Xavier coach Chris Mack on Bona coach Mark Schmidt. The two were assistants together at Xavier

What It Means: Bonnies fall to 9-8 and 1-3 in the A-10. Xavier (12-5, 4-0) has won four straight.

In the House: Students were back, pushing crowd to 4,244.

Next Up: Bona plays at George Washington (10-8, 3-1) on Saturday afternoon. This could be a big game at season's end when first-round playoff hosts are determined. 

-- Bob DiCesare

 

 

 

 

$10 million endowment for Bowling Green

---William Frack will make a series of irrevocable trusts to the Bowling Green men's basketball program that have a combined value of more than $10 million. Frack’s endowment will be the largest, single private gift in Bowling Green history. It is also the largest one-time gift ever designated to a Mid-American Conference basketball program.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

This is why Texas didn't leave the Big 12

---ESPN has reached a 20-year agreement with Texas and IMG College to develop, launch and operate a year-round, 24-hour network dedicated to the Longhorns. The network, scheduled to launch in Sept 2011, will offer a variety of content, highlighted by more than 200 exclusive events annually from numerous sports, original series and studio shows, historical programming and academic and cultural happenings.

---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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