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Three games that ended the Buffalo Bulls season

Aside from a quarterfinal MAC loss to EMU why is UB Basketball over?

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Editors note - This was originally published before some news outlets reported UB turned down a CIT invite.

Many people don't like the idea of the CBI or CIT tournaments. But these events provide more practice time, similar to the benefit of Bowl Games. When Buffalo was left out of the "big" post season tournaments and decided to pass on a CIT invite I was very disappointed.

I can point to three games which are probably the main reason the team is finished for the season insted of being an NIT bubble team.

Record Opp. RPI Results
13-Nov at Niagara 7-26 (4-18) 300 81-92
23-Jan at Ball St. 3-25 (2-17) 312 68-71
2-Feb at Bowling Green 11-20 (6-13) 197 68-74

Each of these games is one for which UB has no excuse.

Mason Leads Niagara to Big Four Win Over Buffalo - Bull Run
Trailing by as many as 15 points in the first half, Buffalo did a good job at chipping away at the Niagara lead, cutting it all the way down to four when McCrea made a pair of free throws with 3:30 left to make the score 83-79 Purple Eagles.

Any loss to Niagara is inexcusable. For all the complaints against Reggie Witherspoon for not winning a title over the course of 14 years but at least Spoon built UB to be a better program on the court than either Canisius or Niagara.

This year once again the Bulls were a more talented team than the Purps. Maybe because it was just Hurley's second game or maybe it was because the team did not show up but this loss, in terms of RPI, was UB's second worst of the year.

Post season teams should not lose to teams who's RPI is 300 or worse when they are cross town rivals.

Inside the UB Basketball Black Hole - Bull Run
The 1st half black hole has kept should-be blowouts close, and the lack of finish has turned some should wins into losses. Most recently, UB was -6 in the 1st half black hole against Toledo, (which turned an early 13 point lead into a 7 point lead, UB would lose by 2), and -5 vs both Kent and Ball State during the black hole (Turned a 15-14 lead vs Kent into a 18-22 deficit, UB would win by 11, and turned a 21-15 lead into a 27-26 lead at Ball State, UB would lose by 3).

Bad loss number two came in Muncie. The Bulls hit what Conrad came to call "The Black Hole" which haunted UB in nearly every game this season. Sometimes the Bulls survived the Black whole and sometimes the Black Hole swallowed up a should be victory.

Now this kind of loss is something UB has struggled with for several seasons. Still the BSU loss cost UB valuable RPI points and, more importantly, was the difference between a number two seed an a number three seed for the MAC tournament.

Post season teams don't lose to the worst team in their conference.

Basketball: UB Bulls Fall Bowling Green on Super Bowl Sunday - Bull Run
McCrea picked up his fourth on a late call heading into the under 4 media time out. With Moss and Ford already sitting on three apiece Hurley was forced to leave McCrea in, only for the senior to foul out as Bowling Green drove to tie the game with 2:47 left. Bobby Hurley was called for a tech on the call, and if there was any doubt that the first year head coach has developed a reputation in the MAC, we know for sure now. The simple fact of the matter is that Hurley has to stay composed there. While McCrea was the victim of Lamonte Stone's hysterics in the first half, this foul call was just. Hurley's outburst completely energized the crowd and allowed Bowling Green to go on a 9 point run almost entirely from the line.

This is loss may not have been because of the late technical fouls but it sure did not help matters much for Buffalo that they collected a late T in a nail biter.

I will say that as the season went on Hurley's composure got markedly better. During the loss to EMU in the quarterfinals the refs were brutal but Hurley, for the most part, aired his grievances in a way which avoided the team getting hurt.

Still good teams don't take completely unnecessary fouls in tight games.

So there it is. If UB wins these three games their record is 22-7 and it's hard, even with the MACC loss, to see them left out of the post season.