Canisius to face former Niagara coach Mihalich

By Nick Veronica

Canisius basketball will open the 2015-16 season against former Niagara coach Joe Mihalich at Hofstra on Nov. 13, the Griffs announced Friday in their nonconference schedule release.

CCLogobigThe Griffs get return games against Lehigh and Cornell at the Koessler Athletic Center in November before going to St. Bonaventure on Nov. 24 on UB on Nov. 28. Boston University comes to the KAC on Dec. 19. The Griffs close the nonconference schedule with a Jan. 12 return game at Dartmouth, which Canisius beat in last year’s CIT, 87-72.

Opponents for the Las Vegas Classic were announced last week.

Full Canisius nonconference schedule

Friday, Nov. 13 at Hofstra, TBA
Monday, Nov. 16 vs. Lehigh, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 21 vs. Cornell, TBA
Tuesday, Nov. 24 vs. St. Bonaventure
Saturday, Nov. 28 at Buffalo, TBA
Thursday, Dec. 10 at Penn State*, TBA
Saturday, Dec. 12 at Kent State*, TBA
Saturday, Dec. 19 vs. Boston University, 2 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 22 vs. Louisiana-Monroe*, 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 23 vs. Nicholls State or Hampton, TBA*
Tuesday, Jan 12 at Dartmouth, TBA

*Las Vegas Classic games

More to come.

The Big 4 basketball doubleheader returns to the First Niagara Center


The Big 4 logo for the event, used with permission.

By Nick Veronica

Niagara and St. Bonaventure will play at the First Niagara Center on Nov. 29 before the Canisius-UB basketball game, setting up the first true Big 4 doubleheader since 1998.

The event, confirmed today in an official release, is being branded as the Big 4 Basketball Classic.

“We are excited to be able to bring a true Big 4 doubleheader to First Niagara Center,” Canisius athletic director Bill Maher said in the release. “We believe this will be a must-see event for sports fans across Western New York.”

Niagara-Bonaventure is at 2 p.m., followed by Canisius-UB at (roughly) 4:15. The event is the Saturday following Thanksgiving, which should help ticket sales since many fans will already be back in town.

Tickets start at $20 and are good for both games; floor seats will be $30.

Canisius, UB and Niagara played downtown last December in a doubleheader that also served as the First Niagara Center’s mandatory dress rehearsal for hosting the NCAA Tournament. St. Bonaventure was not at the event, as Niagara hosted Davidson instead (Canisius beat UB 69-55, Niagara beat Davidson 83-72).

The first Big 4 doubleheader played downtown was in 1996. The event continued in 1997 and 1998 but has not been recreated with all four teams in the last 16 years.

Sights from the NCAA Tournament in Buffalo

By Nick Veronica

The NCAA Tournament came to the First Niagara Center this week. Here’s what I saw.

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Ohio State and Dayton tip off in Buffalo

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Buffalo bids for NCAA hockey, lacrosse tournaments

The MAAC on Wednesday announced its bid for Buffalo to host an upcoming NCAA hockey Frozen Four at the First Niagara Center, as well as a bid for Ralph Wilson Stadium to host an early round of the NCAA men’s lacrosse tournament.

The bids cover a four-year span, from the 2014-15 season through the 2017-18 season.

Hosting a Frozen Four would include both semifinal games and the national championship being played at the First Niagara Center in mid-April. Winning a men’s lacrosse bid would mean getting two of the four quarterfinal games at The Ralph in mid-May.

Buffalo last hosted a Frozen Four in 2003. Both Canisius and Niagara — who would serve as joint hosts — made the NCAA hockey tournament last season, but lost in the first round. Canisius men’s lacrosse made the NCAA tournament in 2012 (and its women’s lacrosse team has made the tournament three years running).

Buffalo was reported to be considering a Frozen Four bid last spring.

The NCAA will announce its site selections in December.