The Bulls go into Oxford today to take on Charlie Coles and the Miami(OH) Redhawks at 6pm. Miami has started MAC play 0-2, with a 4-10 overall record while the Bulls are 1-1 so far within the conference, 8-5 overall. The Redhawks are led by their do-it-all senior Julian Mavunga who is possibly leading the charge for MAC player of the year. He averages 19 and 10, plays solid defense down low, and is also a forward who averages a 3-pointer a game. Outside of Mavunga there is no real offensive threat, so getting him in foul trouble will play dividends for the Bulls today.
Buffalo is coming off of a horrific performance against Ohio the other night in which they committed 23 turnovers and got out rebounded by 8. The high amount of turnovers is typical of a Reggie coached team, but getting out-rebounded by so many is something that barely ever happens to the Bulls. Hopefully the loss in Athens will wake Buffalo up and make them realize how important these early conference games are in terms of tournament seeding. A few more losses and they can pretty much kiss the 1 or 2 seed that is highly helpful goodbye.
You can call me optimistic but I think the Bulls are past the hardest part of their season (talking about the 4 game stretch that included BYU, Temple, Kent State, and Ohio) and they're 1-1 so far against the best teams in the MAC. Even though the loss to Ohio was ugly, I think most Bulls fans would have been happy if they knew they'd get at least one win out of those 2 conference games. Akron will be a tough test, but the Bulls draw them at home the first time around, so the Bulls should be favored in every game leading up to the selection of Bracket Buster games (January 29th). It may seem like forward thinking but I honestly feel the Bulls will win all 5 games before that, starting with an authoritative victory against Miami(OH) tonight. 78-62 is my prediction for tonight, lets see if the Bulls can make me a smart fan.