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Florida A&M vs. Niagara

March 13, 2007

College Basketball - Florida A&M vs. Niagara (-8, 150) 7:30 PM EST

While most smaller schools are just happy to be in the NCAA tournament even after winning conference tourney, that is not the case for Niagara. The Purple Eagles started 1-6 while dealing with the suspension of six players, but is on an 11-game winning streak heading into tonight's opening game against Florida A&M.

Niagara believes its late-season performance should have earned them a better fate than a berth in the play-in game. "We feel disrespected," junior forward Charron Fisher said. "I'm sure you'll be able to see when we play on Tuesday how disrespected we feel." Players and coaches note North Texas, Weber State, Central Connecticut and Jackson State all had lower RPI ratings then they did. It was shocking," coach Joe Mihalich said. "I think everybody was shocked, and maybe some people were insulted by it. But that's good. That's fine with us." Once the team was all-together including leading scorer Fisher, Niagara was 21-5 (15-9-1 ATS).

Florida A&M arrives in Dayton brimming with confidence, after making ESPN's highlight package of buzzer beater's and ensuing celebration with last-second magic to pull off an alley oop inbounds play to get them into the Big Dance with win over Delaware State.

The Rattlers were fearless in at least attempting to take on other top teams in non-conference play, facing five other NCAA tourney teams, (Maryland, Miami-O, Illinois, Pittsburgh and Florida) however the range of losses administered were from 15 to 29 points.

Niagara has a high octane offense that averages 76.1 points game with five players averaging double figures. This prevents opponents from focusing on any particular player and was a big reason why the Purple Eagles were 13-5 and 12-5-1 ATS on the road. Don't worry about their defense, since Niagara doesn't any in allowing 73.7 PPG.

The Rattlers are an active bunch and they pound the glass, creating addition scoring opportunities for a so-so shooting team. Florida A&M frenetic pace will often lead them to playing out of control, which is easily recognizable as they averaging a whopping 18.2 turnovers a game.

Being from generally regarded as the weakest D-1 conference, the Rattlers are an 8.5-point underdog at sportsbook.com. Niagara is 13-4 ATS in road games in March games and figures to play with a real purpose to prove committee was wrong forcing them to play this game.

ESPN will carry the official first game of the tournament starting at 7:30 Eastern, with the winner to face Kansas on Friday.

Visit the college basketball betting forum to post your picks and discuss the NCAA Tournament.


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