In case you've been living under a rock for the past day and a half, Buffalo won its final game of the season Saturday evening which earned them the all important 2nd spot in the MAC. Getting the second seed in the MAC tourney gets the Bulls a bye to the semi-finals, which means they only have to win 2 games in the MACC to be crowned champions. To keep it in perspective, seeds 5-12 have to win 5 games in 6 nights, and the 3-4 seeds have to win 3 games on consecutive nights in order to get the auto-bid to the 2012 NCAA Tournament. We've been talking about it all year, and the Bulls were finally able to reach that important goal on Senior Night (which the Bulls have won 11 straight times).
Statistics are useless right now, because they cant describe the energy in Alumni Arena, nor can they describe how big the seniors came up in the all-important game. Filzen had a few big 3's early in the game, Barnett came up with a huge offensive rebound in the final minute of the game to go along with his usual hustle plays and early emphatic dunk. Titus (in unusual fashion when you look at his career) came up with a huge touch rebound in traffic in the final 5 seconds of the game to secure the win, and possible MAC Player of the Year Mitchell Watt was the best player on the floor all night, especially in crunch time when it was needed. Watching Mitch get carried around on the shoulders of the fans was a fantastic site to see, and really makes me proud to see the passion and devotion my Alma Mater and its athletes have.
A lot of highs and lows so far this season, but 19-9 (12-4) is by all means a successful season. Best conference record this team has ever seen since going D-1, and has shown great potential in its non-conference portion of the season to make Bulls fans feel like their team has the talent to be a great mid-major. Their record doesn't indicate they're a great mid-major team, but they really have shown potential to hang with any team on any night. Unfortunately from what I've seen, this Bulls team looked like they peaked at several times in the season, neither of them being lately. They have to play their best now, and have to be clicking like they were against teams like Canisius and Dayton. The good thing is that the Bulls have won 3 straight, and the next best thing to playing your best is finding ways to stay tough and win no matter the circumstances, and that's what this Bulls team is doing right now.
That being said, Buffalo has its most important game of the season coming up Friday night in Cleveland, and to be quite honest fans shouldn't be overly confident. Yes, the Bulls have won 3 in a row but at no time during this 3 game stretch have I felt that they look like the best team in the conference, and in order to win the MACC you have to be playing like the best team in the conference. The Bulls semi-final game with most likely be against Ohio (since the winner of the 2 games prior will be tired, and just not as good as Ohio), a team which the Bulls have had their troubles against. Ohio beat Buffalo both times they played this season, and to be quite honest the Bulls were really never in a position to win either game. Ohio's guards are a match-up nightmare for the Bulls, and the Bobcats as a team are probably the most talented team in the MAC. Guard play is so important this time of the year, and Jarod Oldham has not looked very good as of late. Flizen hasn't been hot in a long time, and Tony Watson just isn't a talented enough guard to take over. In order for the Bulls to win against Ohio (still can possibly be another team, but more than a 50% chance it'll be the Bobcats) they're going to have to play stellar perimeter defense, and constantly feed the big boys down low. Lets just hope the Bulls avoid Ohio in the semi-final, or else they'll have their hands full and probably be the underdog Friday night.