Tonight is an opportunity to witness exactly what college basketball is about. Its about having pride in your school, and screaming your ass off in support to help them. Its not about teams who are a surefire thing to make the NCAA tourney, its about teams having to battle it out game by game to get positioning in their conference tourney, a small step to making to the big dance. Its about rivalries, and rights to smack talking. Its about being proud in something you're a fan of, and showing support no matter what happens. The Akron game tonight gives us all a chance to be true college basketball fans, and travel with our team to help give them a shot at winning. Road basketball games are a true college experience, and for those who have been to the Niagara and Canisus games, you know what I'm talking about. Only different is that tonight isn't about local bragging rights, its a conference game that needs to be won. Another difference, were traveling more than 15 minutes away. So for those who go to the local buffalo games just to watch our team on the road, tonight's gonna be a little different. Hope you're not traveling 3.5 hours just to sit and watch...
Onto the actual game...
Saying this is a huge game for Buffalo would be a massive understatement. After fighting their way towards the top part of the MAC standings, a loss here would put them right towards the middle, and rightfully title the team as "mediocre". One point in the season we were fighting for the #1 overall seed in the tourney. At another point, we were fighting to be in the top 8. Now (even though #1 seed is mathematically possible) they're fighting for the #4 spot, so that they only have to win 3 games in the conference tourney, instead of 4. I am a man who believes that playing well at the end of the season is more important than playing one less game, but this is the end of the season, so going for a top 4 seed is the same as playing well towards the end of the year.
From watching the first meeting, I was surprisingly confident at how well Buffalo matched up against the zips. The only player on their team who we really cant match up with Zeke Marshall (their 7 foot center). But hes not an offensive force anyway, so no need to worry too much. Also, were a guard oriented scoring team, so we actually limit him defensively just by the style of play.
Part of the reason for the impressive victory over Akron was because of the fan support, so because were not at home we don't have too much of that. On the contrary, I assume the people we have going to the game today are the loudest, most dedicated fans, so a good part of the passion and support will be there.
When I watch Akron, they don't strike me as a good scoring team. Them not having a true scorer and their inability to put up large amounts of points should help our streaky defense out, so to me I think the game will be decided on how well we run our offensive sets, and good of shots we get against their strong defense. If we run our offense the way we did against Kent State and Eastern Michigan, then I think this one goes to the Bulls, and offensive performance like we had against St Peters, means we have a long bus ride home.
Either way, tonight will be fun for everyone at Rhodes Arena, but if we show enough support I think the gang leaving the stadium in Blue and White will be the happiest. Screw the Roo!!!