How bad has this slump been?

Editors Note: I am not writing this to rag on Coach Witherspoon or the team. They are where everyone thought they would be, last in the east. What they have done though is be competitive, even in their losses. For a team without a core of returning starters they have played an incredible season.


I can look back on the first half of this season like I can look back on my childhood. Only seeing the good parts is easy when you're getting beat up by you're current circumstances.

There was a time, not too long ago, when everyone in the MAC was looking at Reggie Witherspoon as the Wizard of Hoops. The Bulls were picked to finish last in the east and close to last in the MAC. Yet through February 3rd they were tied for first in the conference after tearing through the east and beating up on some of the Western teams.

Then the slide hit. Seeing as I only started following MAC basketball several years ago my perception has been biased to expect this slide. To find a season where UB finished the back nine more than one game over 500 you need to go all the way back to 2005.

They did, of course, salvage a few games last season to finish the second half at 5-3 but given that they started the season luke warm it still meant a first round game at Alumni rather than a bye.  Over the last three seasons the Bulls are winning a blistering 70% of their conference games during the first east swing and through half the west. Wrapping up the season though has been painful with UB well under five hundred in the eight games leading up to Cleveland.

Some of the gripes from fans revolve around Reggies schemes which seem to fluster teams out of conference (who don't see it year in and year out). It also does well against MAC teams in the early going (except the Falcons who's 2-3 zone kills us year in and year out).

Year First 8 pct Second 8 pct Difference
2002 5-4 0.556 2-6 0.250 -0.306
2003 0-9 0.000 2-7 0.222 0.222
2004 4-5 0.444 7-3 0.778 0.333
2005 5-4 0.556 6-3 0.667 0.111
2006 5-3 0.625 2-6 0.250 -0.375
2007 1-7 0.125 3-5 0.375 0.250
2008 0-8 0.000 3-5 0.375 0.375
2009 7-1 0.875 4-4 0.500 -0.375
2010 4-4 0.500 5-3 0.625 0.125
2011 6-2 0.750 1-5 0.167 -0.583
Averages 3-5 0.375 4-4 0.500 0.125
2009+ 17-7 0.708 10-12 0.455 -0.254

 

Last year there was a similar distribution of minutes with Pierce and Boyer.

While the Bulls are now Mathematically out of the race for the NIT bid that accompanies a regular season conference Championship they are still in a position to secure a first round by if they win their last two (and get a little help in the west). This is a team that was blowing opponents out of the water early in the year, they can put together a run but will they?

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