The once overrated Bulls have now found their stride in MAC play going 3-0 over their last 3 games after an 0-2 start that left most Bulls fan skeptical of their team. Saturdays game against Ohio seemed to be one to describe exactly what Buffalo has played like all year. At times turning the ball over to no end, and at times looking like the juggernaut that they have the capability of being. An 18 point halftime deficit looked more like a small obstacle to the Bulls as opposed the the massive mountain to climb that most double digit deficits on the road usually look like. You can be a pessimist and look at the victory and say "Yea, its was a 5 point win on the road, good but nothing special," but if that's what you're thinking then you are wrong. Saturdays victory is more than that though, it was a dominating performance on the road in a place that seems to be impossible to win at, in front of 10,000 plus, when everything looked like the game was going to be a blowout. Winning on the road in conference play is harder than people give credit for, especially when its at the opponents biggest game of the year.
5 conference games down, 3-2 record. Decent start? Well from an outsiders perspective its only a decent/good start, but to someone who knows college basketball well (and knows the Bulls well) its a very good start considering. I know its going to sound like I'm making excuses for the Bulls, but the 2 losses consisted of a game in which only 1 person decided to show up, and a game in which the Bulls have never played well in. Also, the Bulls were one play away from winning in both of their losses, where everyone else in the conference (except Ball State since they haven't lost yet, and NIU) has a loss in which they were pretty much blown out. Call me an optimist, but it looks better than that.
We also come to that point of the season in which the MAC East proves its supremacy over the MAC West, and does things to them that would get me in trouble if i published. As a whole last year the MAC East went 26-10 over the western part of the conference, and an outstanding 28-8 the year before. If you don't call that dominance then I don't know what you do. Yes I know the Bulls were the weak link for the MAC East last year when this point of the season came around, but with a Bulls team improving at the right time I think they have a great shot to put down the unproven MAC West.
This year the MAC East isn't as good as they usually are, but outside of Ball State the Western part of the conference hasn't gotten any better. I expect the the series to be somewhere around the 24-12 area, or even the 25-11 range in favor of the forever stronger MAC East. More importantly I think the Bulls will contribute a 4-2 record this time around, hopefully 5-1 but that doesn't seem likely considering we drew Western Michigan and Ball State on the road this year.
All in all, I do feel that the Bulls will lose tomorrow night (not because Western is better, I just think the Bulls lay and egg), but I tend to always group this time of year as a 3 week stretch, and I expect Buffalo to go 4-2 as a whole against the MAC West, giving the Bulls a 7-4 conference record heading into the homestretch.