Say, that “New York” team is hanging in there with West Virginia, isn’t it? But that’s funny: I don’t remember New York receiving an invitation to the NCAA tournament this season. Is NYU a Division I school now?

Nah. That’s Buffalo, aka the State University of New York at Buffalo, the 12th-seeded team in the Midwest Region.

But instead of highlighting their innate Buffalo-ness on their uniforms, the Bulls have a New York state of mind. Take a look.


(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News explains:

For those who have not been paying close attention the past two years: It’s an attempt to make people – especially on a national level – understand that UB is the flagship university of the New York State system and it’s on a par in terms of its size and academic standing with the other biggest state universities in the country.

This is the biggest exposure UB has received since starting its “New York Bulls Initiative” two years ago.

“It’s probably the largest platform we’ve played on,” said UB Athletics Director Danny White. “I think that the whole point of the New York Bulls Initiative is to tell the country those things that you instantly assume when you see Ohio State take the court, or when you see the University of Michigan or the University of Texas. You assume that’s the premier public university from that state. We’re trying to tell that story.”

Buffalo area fans, understandably, would rather see the city’s name on the jerseys, but they usually come around after getting an explanation, White told Gaughan.

“We’ve talked about this place being a sleeping giant,” White said. “The reason is it’s the biggest public university in New York State. If we’re not telling people that, we’re missing a huge opportunity.”