BUFFALO, N.Y. - The first four-letter impression of Buffalo, New York?
To get ahead of winter storm Stella, the West Virginia University men’s basketball made the 5 ½-hour bus ride up to Buffalo on Monday evening, arriving at team headquarters around 10:30 p.m.
The team’s itinerary for Tuesday:
9 a.m. - Team breakfast … and watch it snow
10:45 a.m. - Bus departs for practice at Daemen College … and watch it snow
11 a.m. - Practice at Daemen College while it’s snowing outside
2 p.m. - Bus returns to team hotel … and watch it snow
7 p.m. - Team dinner/film … and watch it snow
As you can probably imagine, it’s snowing in Buffalo in March - undoubtedly a rarity around here during this time of year. I’ve been following West Virginia teams for more than 25 years and the only other time I can recall snow like this while attending a WVU sporting event was during a baseball game the Mountaineers once played in Olean, New York, against St. Bonaventure.
And the crazy coach there at the time made West Virginia play a doubleheader with the white stuff flying sideways! Needless to say, it’s the last time I’ve been to Olean - likely forever.
Buffalo, on the other hand, was extremely kind to West Virginia the last time the Mountaineers were here to play NCAA Tournament games in 2010 - indoors, thankfully.
Competing in the building formerly known as the HSBC Arena (it’s now called KeyBank Center), the second-seeded Mountaineers defeated Morgan State, 77-50, behind sophomore forward Kevin Jones’ 17 points. Two days later, West Virginia knocked off Missouri, 68-59, behind Da’Sean Butler’s 28 points.
Those two early victories propelled West Virginia to its first Final Four appearance in 51 years.
West Virginia has played basketball games in Buffalo periodically through the years dating back to 1918, when the Mountaineers made the long train ride up to Erie and then took a hard right at the lake before arriving in the Flour City to play the Buffalo Bulls in Elmwood Music Hall.
The Bulls took that one by 19 points.
Other trips to Buffalo have been more successful, such as a 41-40 win over NYU at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium in 1945, consecutive triumphs over Canisius and Niagara during a four-season stretch from 1946-1949, and victories against Niagara in 1952 and against Canisius in 1959.
Thursday afternoon’s NCAA Tournament first-round matchup versus Bucknell will be West Virginia’s 16th basketball game played in Buffalo, for those of you interested in non-alternative facts.
Not sure what this weather map is displaying, but it doesn't look good.
Here are some more surprisingly non-alternative facts about Buffalo, New York, according to the website globetrottergirls.com:
1. Buffalo was the first city to feature electric street lights in 1896 - one year after West Virginia began playing Pitt in football. Who would have thought street lights would outlast the Backyard Brawl?
The Hotel Buffalo, originally known as the Statler Hotel, was the first hotel in the world to have a private bath in each room; and, grain elevators were invented in Buffalo in 1842.
Meanwhile, for a short period of time, Buffalo owned the distinction of having the tallest office building in the world (Ellicott Square Building) for 16 years until 1912.
It was a whopping 10 stories high!
2. Despite a declining population through the years, Buffalo is still the second largest city in New York with a population of 261,000 within its city limits and about one million in the metro area.
3. Buffalo was the inaugural site of the 26th president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt. T.R. was sworn in here after President William McKinley was assassinated while visiting the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo in 1901. Roosevelt’s inauguration was held in the Wilcox Mansion downtown, which today serves as a museum.
4. On days when it is not snowing (unlike today) they say you can see downtown Toronto from the top of KeyBank Center. You can also use the Peace Bridge in downtown Buffalo to drive across the international border right into Fort Erie, Ontario.
This bridge has been open since 1927.
5. At one time, Buffalo used to be one of the wealthiest cities in the United States. That was more than 100 years ago, however.
Today, that's not the case.
6. Yes, Buffalo is home to the Buffalo chicken wing - the good, ole LDL multiplier. If you are planning to take a bobsled up Interstate 79 to I-90 a little early for Thursday’s game, I suggest you make it over to the Anchor Bar, the birthplace of the original Buffalo chicken wing.
They have pictures of John Lennon and Elvis Presley on the wall, too, if that helps.
7. And finally, one of the most famous Buffalo metro-area natives in the history of sports is the same guy who says “BOOM” all the time on local TV - our very own Dale Wolfley!
Oh, and by the way, it’s still snowing in Buffalo.