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Niagara Purple Eagles

1. We wear purple to stay neutral. MAAC Tournament MVP and freshman Tyrone Lewis was barred from his valedictorian speech at his High School in Levittown, Penn., because of a threat by the ever-popular Bloods. When his sister testified against the gang they shot at Tyrone's car, killing one of his friends after a school dance, and they threatened to get him during his graduation speech. His speech was given over closed-circuit feed from an undisclosed location. When the team traveled to Rider this year for an away game, Tyrone received a police escort from the arena to the team bus based on the high concentration of bloods in the area.

2. Not The First Time. We've been to the NCAA's twice before this, once with Calvin Murphy's team in 1970 and once with All-American Juan Mendez in 2005. In 2005 the school flipped out and NU was a huge story in the media based on its 35-year drought. Going to the NCAAs twice in three years (with an NIT bid the year before that) has been splendid. One more thing: There's no way we're a 16 seed. Jay Bilas said so!


3. Not Guilty, and We're Filthy. Back in August there was a scuffle between some basketball players and some baseball players, which lead to a concussion and some basketball suspensions. Team MVP Charron Fisher was suspended for eight games but the charges were ultimately dropped. During those games we went 2-6; since then we've gone 20-5, including a current 11-game win streak. In that time Fisher averaged 21 points per game and eight rebounds. Opposing fans enjoy singing the "Cops" theme song to our players, because they are completely misinformed. The players eat it up and use it as inspiration to play hard and quiet opposing fans.

Bonus Fact... I'm the Student Body President at the University and have attended every home game except two in my time at NU. To get to this weekend's tournament (since I was broke), I volunteered to wear the Purple Eagle costume and portray Monte the Eagle. That's right: This preview is being written by the mascot. — Eric Clingersmith

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