If UB can knock out Akron again they have a shot at 1st place
Last week I looked through the scenarios that could lead to UB getting a first round bye. There was one thing that I did not bother to discuss, how can Buffalo win the east, and in doing so win the regular season title? It's still not the most probable outcome to the season but it's also not as bad as the odds of winning the lottery. Here is what needs to happen for UB to win the Conference.
- UB Wins it's last three (11-5)
- Akron has to lose to Bowling Green and Beat Kent (11-5)
- Kent has to lost to Akron (above) and either Bowling Green or Miami (11-5)
- Ball State must lose at least one game (10-6)
Here Buffalo would win the conference via a tie breaker, out right with Akron and we would beat Kent because of a better record against best common opponent (Akron). Like I said, it's not a very likely scenario but it is not obscenely improbable. If UB Wins out all we need is Akron to beat Kent and for the Flashes to lose one other game.
I am a bit concerned at the showing in the Bracket Buster, yes we won, and yes Smiley was clutch but the fact we found ourselves down 11 early and blew a late lead against a team we should have controlled in an 'away game' where the UB crowd was louder than that of our opponents worries me. The JAR is never an easy trip for Buffalo, now with so much on the line.
Aside from a pretty inexpiable loss to EMU the Zips have been solid in conference, even when weighing in the last meeting in Amherst. They are coming off of a pretty sound drubbing in their bracket buster game but VCU was one of the better schools that the MAC faced this past weekend. If Akron Beats Buffalo then all they have to do is defeat Kent to win the Conference (they will win the second tier tiebreaker as they swept Miami where as Kent can at best split with them).
On paper I don't think anyone matches up as closely to Buffalo as Akron does. Going into the last game UB's defense had been playing stout and while I am not nearly as comfortable with that defense this time around they have seemed to shake off the funk that they had for most of January. During their latest five game winning streak they are only giving up 31 points per game, during the six games prior to that, of which UB lost five, they were giving up 87 points.
UB is going to have to watch out for Steve McNees, he is shooting 35% from behind the arc and has 52 three pointers on the season. While UB has started to tighten up on defense I can't shake the BSU game where the Cards were given way too much space throughout the whole night.
Give a guy like McNees that much space and he will shell you into oblivion. Aside from McNees Akron has a slew of guys that can hurt you on the inside and middle range shots, the Zips are a very balanced team. If UB can bother McNees enough to take away the three point shot without giving it up for the other four guys on the floor then they have a great shot at this game, and a first round bye.