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East Division Field of 64

#1 Buffalo Chop House vs. #16 Gino & Joe's

Downtown Staples face off in our first matchup of the tournament. Our #1 seed the Buffalo Chophouse known for its delicate touch and attention to detail and employ a slow methodical pace of play. They are in no rush often taking up every second on the shot clock. It is a process that has worked so well over the years it has once again landed them as the top seed in this year's tournament.

Downtown Staples face off in our first matchup of the tournament. Our #1 seed the Buffalo Chophouse known for its delicate touch and attention to detail and employ a slow methodical pace of play. They are in no rush often taking up every second on the shot clock. It is a process that has worked so well over the years it has once again landed them as the top seed in this year's tournament.

To get into their program, one must dress the part first, not only are team uniforms crisp and clean, their fans are too, a tradition that is well received amongst their core supporters and strong alumni base. One can say that this year has been an emotional one for the squad as they dedicated their season to their program's founder who died in a tragic accident this past year. They will be wearing a crest on their uniforms throughout the tournament to honor Mr. Croce for his contributions to not only their program but to the City of Buffalo. We wish them well!

Their opponent, a very much different style of play. Very different. Gino and Joe's is known by many, and is a staple of the downtown buffalo lunch scene. They play fast, they play hard, and they do not take anything from anyone. They play a full court press for  all 40 minutes and leave it all out on the court each game. Their team is a scrappy bunch and their wins might not look the prettiest on paper, but they get the job done and their fans love it. It is the exact style of play that can disrupt the game plan of the Buffalo Chophouse.

It will be an exciting match up for sure!? What does Buffalo love more. It's trusty lunchtime hotspot, or the post work, fine dining experience?!

#8 EBC Taqueria vs. #9 Marble and Rye

EBC Taqueria is new to the Division 1 basketball scene, having first opened its doors in the 2020 Season and took the South Southern Tier Conference by storm this year. Although a small school, their location is highly visible and has assisted immensely in their recruitment efforts, having secured two of the top four JUCO transfers this off-season. Their game plan is constantly changing and adapting to its surroundings as they seem to do a good job of making adjustments throughout the seasons.

Marble and Rye are known for running the pick and roll, as they like to get the open look for either the long ball or taking the rock(s) to the glass. They struggled a bit during their conference play during the season, but had a few key victories against top 25 teams and made a strong showing in the conference finals, losing to a last second three pointer in overtime. They look to give the EBC newcomers a run for their money in the opening round.

# 5 Remington Tavern vs. #12 Alibaba-Kebab

The Remington Tavern Seafood Exchange boasts the two headed coaching duo (Coach Hutchinson, and Coach Jenkins, who are known for making their name, with two of the most well known programs in the region. By merging their knowledge they have taken a former powerhouse along the Erie canal (no pun intended) and turned it into a Power 5 Program. This historic campus sits along the Erie Canal in North Tonawanda, NY. Its location provides ease for fans attending a game, as it is accessible by car, bike, or even boat! Their style of play is one that features moving the ball down low and working the low post. Expect them to try and grind this game out in the paint.

Alibaba-Kebab is a hidden gem located on the east side of Buffalo. Their program prides itself on their tradition and authenticity of their product. Don't sleep on this team, their fans are strong supporters and Remington shouldn't look too far ahead to the next round or they might find themselves being sent home.

#4 Mulberry Italian vs. #13 Gramma Mora's

Mulberry Italian boasts one of the best programs in their area. They have honed their craft, and their recruitment classes over the past decade have kept them at the top of their conference every year having won the conference tournament in 2016,2017,2019,2020. Their offense (nicknamed the Red Sauce) is top 5 in the region in scoring this year so look for them to put up points against their opponents.

They say never judge a book by its cover and that can't be more true than Gramma Mora's. From the outside its campus may look out of place alongside its North Buffalo Conference rivals, but once you step inside, you are swept away by the atmosphere. They alumni are strong supporters of the program, and often raise enough funds on the 5th of May each year to fund their scholarships in every sport. They often start off their games methodically, but by the end of the game they often are feeling loose and take risks, which they will need if they are going to go shot for shot with their opponent down the stretch. Our prediction? Gramma Mora's in overtime at the buzzer.

#6 Pano's vs. #11 Buffalo Bakery

Pano's on Elmwood has been serving it up for over 40 years. They find themselves a 6 seed in this year's tournament after falling short in their conference tournament, but a very strong showing during the regular season got them an at large bid by the selection committee. Their strategy all season long has been to put teams away early on in the game so look for them to come out hot!

Buffalo Bakery are a young and fresh group, having only emerged as a west side destination in recent years. They like to keep their squad fresh, so they run with a deep bench. Don't expect to wear them out there isn't one single person that carries them, it is absolutely a team effort.

We have the Buffalo Bakery pulling off the upset in this one. Only time will tell!

# 3 Osteria 166 vs. # 14 Polish Villa Union

Osteria 166 has been slowly building a powerhouse right under our noses for the last 8 years and now they are ready to prove that they belong with the big boys of Buffalo fine dining. Head Coach Nick Pitillo has his squad competing at a high level entering the tournament serving up some of the finest Italian cuisine in the area while also providing a fun and family friendly environment that sets themselves apart from their opponents. Coach Pitillo preaches family, and this team plays like a family! They are a dark horse to win the whole thing!

Polish Villa is a storied club dating back some 45 years so many would say they have history on their side. What this squad brings is consistency. You know exactly what you will get night in and night out and every year around tournament time. The Villa is operating heading into march as it prepares for Dyngus Day which could have them flying high at the right time to pull the upset over Osteria 166! Villa has one of the largest local fan bases in the tournament and they will be counting on them to make a difference in the early rounds! Can they get hot at the right time or will they be doing the polka and shouting Na Zdrowie after the first round? We shall see.

#7 99 Brick Oven Bar vs. #10 Templeton Landing

Templeton Landing has 99 problems and all of them are the Brick Oven Bar. Hailing from the Village of Lancaster The 99 comes into this tournament on a roll having won 10 straight including a Far East Conference Championship. They look to carry that win streak into the tournament and make a run past the Sweet 16 where their season ended a year ago. 

Templeton Landing is known for their defense and working the ball down low. They drop anchor in the paint and only move when the rules require them to do so. Expect them to crash the boards on both offense and defense. Their ability to maintain possession makes them a difficult opponent for anyone in this tournament. Are they the team that brings the 99's win streak to an end?

#2 Kyoto vs. #15 Charlie the Butcher

Kyoto enters the tournament as a 2 seed thanks in at least some part to them hosting the annual birthday party of a certain selection committee member. An official investigation has been opened into the matter but will not affect their standing in this year's tournament.

Make no mistake though, this hibachi is HOT and has a lot of tricks up their sleeve that will leave you saying "OOOH! AHH!" and wanting a shot of saki for some reason!

They will have defenses expecting the tender beef but then hit them with the veggie fried rice out of nowhere! And their onion volcano is almost undefendable! You know exactly what you're going to get from them but somehow STILL leave impressed after every performance! That makes them dangerous around tournament time.

The key to their success this year will be whether or not the hibachi Chef can split that egg on the edge of the spatula on the first go. Otherwise they will have an eggy mess and be sent home in the first round.

Charlie the Butcher will be ready and raring to prove the selection committee way wrong on giving them a 15 seed in this tournament. This squad has been carving up the floor with some of the best beef on weck in Buffalo for decades and show no signs of slowing down now.

A dominant big man in the middle, Charlie is a matchup nightmare for the smaller, quicker defenders that Kyoto brings to the table. If he gets going early, it will be au jus for the favorites. The rest of the squad is scrappy with a mix of good shooters and the defense brings a little grit and horseradish that can leave opposing offenses teary eyed in their wake.

In order to get past Kyoto, the Butchers will have to rely on their long standing recipe of letting Charlie dominate in the paint, while the others carve up the competition on the outside.

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