Just when you thought the Bulls might put it together and come up with an important win to catapult them into the tournament...well, guess not.
Last nights loss leaves the Bulls in a predicament where they have to wait till the end of tonight's Kent vs Akron game to see what their fate is. Its simple, if Akron wins, we get the 4 seed (so no first round game), if Kent wins, we get the 5 spot and have to play Toledo on Sunday.
Dear Rodney Pierce,
In case you haven't figured it out, the Bulls go as you go. You're our best scorer, and the only one who can take it to the basket and draw a foul when needed. Some of your decisions in last nights game were terrible, and the only thing I enjoyed out of your performance was your dime on Watts second dunk. I know you're a streaky scorer, but this is not the right time of the year to be slumping, and making bad decisions.
Dear John Boyer,
Personally bashing you would be wrong, but as the leader of the team, and the general out on the floor, you gotta find a way to get the boys playing. You have embraced the point guard roll the entire year as a senior, now is the time to make sure they're ready.
Dear Calvin Betts,
Your rebounding last night was fantastic, but only one field goal the entire game (coming within the last 3 minutes) is not going to get the job done. You're the second leading scorer on the team, and a very versatile player because of the size and strength. Your focus and ability is going to be extremely important over the course of the next 8 days. Lets try to develop some consistency.
Dear Sean Smiley,
You've earned your minutes this year, and have been a key part to the success Buffalo has had last year. One problem though, in the most important game of the year you were playing so bad that you got benched for Filzen!!! This is your 5th year in the system, looking unsure of yourself out on the floor, and hesitating at this point in your UB career is a bad idea. You have an act for showing up in big games, last night you can get a pass, but its gotta be there in Cleveland.
Dear Jawaan Altson,
...yesterday I wrote about our seniors wanting it more, and how we had the edge in that department. Well in the game I was watching I saw a handful of seniors who were uncertain of themselves on the floor, and were doing more thinking on the floor than actually letting instincts take over. Boudreau was the only senior to play well, and he had just what I would call and average night.
Everyone thinks that Watt had an amazing game. That is true, but that was only on the offensive end. I know he had 5 blocks in the game, but how many were on his own man, and not help side defense? Several times in the game Mavunga pump faked and Watt left his feet to block the shot. This caused whoever Watt was guarding to blow past him all night, causing other players to pick up fouls, and help having to flat out leave their man open for and open 3. The offensive still set and intensity was outstanding, but you have to get it done on both ends of the floor!!!!
The current situation...
I know some people feel that they would rather play Toledo on Sunday because it gives the Bulls a chance to find a rhythm in an easy game. Me, I highly disagree.
First of all, I don't know who watched the game vs Toledo earlier this year, but I did. Um, we didn't play so well against them. We got lucky that Toledo was cold in the second half. We deserved to win that game, but teams like that should be cake, we made it out to be a tough game. Also, I don't know how much everyone knows about this, Toledo scored 92 points in last years 5 vs 12 game, and lost to the conference champs (Akron) by 1 point in overtime!!! That win also came on a shot made at the last second, when Akron was down 1 and about to lose the game. So if you think the first round game against Toledo is an easy win, think again.
For the momentum factor, a win going into the 4 vs 5 game would be nice, but I still think a week off would be better. It gives the Bulls the time to straighten things out that you cant do in the matter of a day and a half, and also a game risks an injury. The win vs Toledo earlier in the year was the jumpstart to a really good push, but it wasn't actually playing Toledo that did the trick.
Any way you look at it, anyone would much rather be part of the final 8, instead of the final 12.
I went and watched the replay of the game on espn360, and listened to what the commentators were actually saying about the MAC tournament. They pretty much have it written off as Kent vs Akron in the conference championship. Yes they are the 2 best teams, but we all know anything can happen in the MAC tourney. They suggested that teams like Eastern, and Miami, and Central are the 3 teams that have an outside shot at winning it, based on how they "match up". Well, Buffalo is actually the only team in the conference who has beaten both of those schools this year, and we have beaten Miami this year too, so its not time to write us off yet. As a matter of fact, we handily beat all 3 of those teams this year, so I don't think its going to be about whose better overall, but just who is better on that day.
Last year Akron won as the 5 seed, so its really about having a few game stretch where your team is playing well. Hopefully Buffalo can strike fire real soon.