Small Conference Game(s) of the Day, December 18

The Big 4.  While certainly not as famous as the Big 12, Big Ten, or even Philadelphia’s Big 5, the Buffalo, New York area is home to four Division I teams and a very good regional rivalry.  Canisius, Niagara, Buffalo and St. Bonaventure are the four western New York teams in this rivalry, and three of the four are playing tonight in downtown Buffalo.  The First Niagara Center is the site for tonight’s FNC Big 4 doubleheader, beginning with Davidson taking on Niagara, followed by the cross-town rivalry between Canisius and Buffalo.  The games start at 6:00PM Eastern with local television coverage available on Time Warner cable.

Davidson, the only non-Big 4 team in the doubleheader, enters tonight’s game with a 4-5 record.  However, their losses have been to Duke, Virginia, Clemson, New Mexico and a pretty good Milwaukee team.  They have scored quality victories over both Georgia and Charlotte.  Thus, despite the slow start, Davidson still appears to be the team to beat in the Southern Conference this season.  Niagara, on the other hand, has gotten off to a rough start, sitting at 2-8.  Their lone wins were over St. Peter’s and Buffalo.  The Purple Eagles will definitely have their hands full tonight, though a victory of the Wildcats could help give them a boost as they move towards conference play in the MAAC.

The nightcap, between Caniuis and Buffalo, looks on paper to be the better of the two games.  Canisius is 5-3 on the season so far with a solid win over an Elon team that should contend with Davidson in the SoCon.  However, they also have a very ugly loss on their resume, having been beaten by a Division III team, Metro State, albeit one of the best teams in D3.  Buffalo is 4-2 on the year, having won 4 straight after losing their first 2 games under new head coach Bobby Hurley.  The Bulls knocked off St. Bonaventure their last time out, and are seeking a 2-1 overall record in Big 4 games with a win tonight.

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