Note: Here is the official release put out by UB after they tweeted each of the games
If, like us, you're hanging onto CFL and Minor League Baseball to get your summer fix, today's going to be a good day for you.
It looks like UB is ramping up the Twitter machine to release the 2014-2015 Men's Basketball Schedule.
We have some exciting news coming this morning. Want to know what it is? Make sure you follow @UBAthletics— UB Men's Basketball (@UBmenshoops) July 2, 2014
We can expect the usual MAC games starting after in the New Year, and the ongoing series with Western New York rivals Niagara, St. Bonaventure, and Canisius. There should also be a return game with Washington State, and maybe South Dakota State will make up their weather-cancelled match up from last year. In past years the out of conference slate has been filled by fellow regional mid-majors like Wisconsin-Green Bay and Youngstown State.
Stay tuned to this post for reactions and analysis throughout the day, as we anticipate updates to filter in on Twitter.
Update 11:05: UB will open the season against South Dakota State:
In a long awaited matchup since last Jan. 3, the Bulls will open the year at home against South Dakota St. on Nov. 14.— UB Athletics (@UBAthletics) July 2, 2014
As mentioned above, UB was supposed to face the Jackrabbits last year before a region-spanning snowstorm prevented the team from making it to Western New York. The lost matchup bit into KrakenWatch, and prevented UB fans from seeing Javon McCrea break 2,000 points on Senior Night as he fell just three points short.
The Jackrabbits were a solid team last year, even without Nate Wolters, and were likely about UB's peer, finishing with a 19-13 record and a first-round loss in the CBI to Old Dominion.
11:10: A Thanksgiving-time tournament is no surprise:
The Bulls will next play in a multi-team tournament which has them playing four games in 10 days.— UB Athletics (@UBAthletics) July 2, 2014
4 games in ten days probably means it's not a single-location event, but rather a series of home and road games
But this one is!:
Beginning that tournament is a game at national runner-up Kentucky on Sunday, Nov. 16. Is this the only Final Four team, we will see later..— UB Athletics (@UBAthletics) July 2, 2014
I'm going to call this "The Charlie Coles", even if it's taking place in the context of a tournament. This would have been a huge chance for Javon to show his stuff if it came a year earlier, but if nothing else it will be an asset for the younger, high-quality recruits that are coming into the program to face a top level of competition.
And maybe, just maybe, UB gets a school-record performance from Shannon Evans bolstered by 8 offensive rebounds from Will Regan and the Bulls knock of the 2013 National Runners-Up .
I bet we hear about the other three tournament games next.
2 days later the Bulls remain on the road as they face Texas Arlington on Tuesday, Nov. 18— UB Athletics (@UBAthletics) July 2, 2014
The Bulls will return home on Friday, Nov. 21 as they host Montana State, which is still part of MTE Tournament.— UB Athletics (@UBAthletics) July 2, 2014
The MTE event ends on Tuesday, Nov. 25 at Grand Canyon, which is coached by Dan Majerle.— UB Athletics (@UBAthletics) July 2, 2014
Things get considerably easier after Kentucky in this run around. Texas Arlington is a Sun Belt team that managed just a 15-17 record last year and did not get a postseason invite. Their pace will challenge the Bulls, as they scored upwards of 76 points per game last season.
Montana State of the Big Sky Conference is next in this tournament. The Bobcats were not very good at all last year, also finishing with a sub-.500 record. They do, however, have a balanced roster and may look to take a leap forward this next year.
Grand Canyon is another should-win, but it's exciting nonetheless because the Antelopes are led by THUNDER DAN. I wasn't even a basketball fan when he played, and I still love yelling THUNDER DAN. The Antelopes were 15-15 in the WAC last season.
All told, this tournament looks like a solid slate for the Bulls: they'll get a marquee game but also have a strong change to rack up three wins in addition to what will likely be national exposure against the Wildcats.
.@UBmenshoops returns to Western New York for Thanksgiving and will play Canisius on Saturday, Nov. 29.— UB Athletics (@UBAthletics) July 2, 2014
This game will take place at the FN Center at Thanksgiving time. No surprise here.
Good riddance, Baron.
I would imagine, as in years' past, the month of December will be filled with familiar, more local foes. We can of course expect matchups against Niagara and Bonaventure. In recent years we have also filled schedule slots with low-cost contests against Drexel, Binghamton, and Robert Morris. Maybe that trend continues, but I would also love to see another contest with Youngstown State or Detroit.
I'm reminded that we won't actually get the Conference schedule today, which means we're already at about halfway of what we expect to find tonight.
Here's a non-surprise:
As the Bulls move into December, they head to St. Bonaventure on Dec. 3 and Robert Morris on Dec. 7.— UB Athletics (@UBAthletics) July 2, 2014
Bonaventure is a rising contender in the A-10, while Bobby Mo is less of a threat. Regardless, these are two road games that could be appealing day trips for the enterprising Bulls fans among us.
The Bulls will then have a pair of home games beginning on Dec. 16 against Drexel. UB defeated the Dragons in Philadelphia last year.— UB Athletics (@UBAthletics) July 2, 2014
I cannot overstate how much I love that we are building a relationship with Drexel. Niagara basically built a decade of success on a strong Philadelphia pipeline, and UB would do well to develop something similar. Plus, Drexel is both a team that we have some familiarity with while also presenting a strong defensive challenge that will prep the guys for the grinding MAC style.
I am surprised that we haven't heard from Niagara, yet. Usually all the WNY foes are out of the way well before Christmas break.
And there it is:
The Bulls will play their final Big 4 opponent on Dec. 19 when they host Niagara.— UB Athletics (@UBAthletics) July 2, 2014
Niagara is will be without volume scorer Antoine Mason, who has transferred to Auburn after earning his degree, but you never know what will happen in Big 4 games.
Earlier UB teased a second matchup against a 2014 Final Four team. With Kentucky out of the way, the three remaining are Florida, Wisconsin, and National Champions UConn. Just how closely does Warde Manuel still work with UB?
11:55: It's Wisconsin!
The second final four team is.... WISCONSIN. The Bulls head to Madison on Dec. 28— UB Athletics (@UBAthletics) July 2, 2014
No UConn, but that's OK, because honestly I get kinda sick of those guys, and let's let that football beatdown simmer for a while.
Wisconsin, though! Woo! Bo Ryan and a reasonable drive from the Riordan household for Bull Run's EIC.
If the Drexel game was going to prepare the guys for a MAC defense, then Wisconsin is another level. The Badgers under Ryan are the gold standard of defense in the 2000's and will look to stifle UB's high-flying offense.
Just as compelling with this game is the Lamonte Bearden effect. If you're unaware, Bearden is quite possibly UB's top recruit since
Jonas Jerebko Turner Battle, and hails from Germantown, WI. Look for him to bring his A-game on December 28, and join me in wondering if this game has been scheduled for a while and helped bring the smooth-as-silk pointman to Amherst.
On Dec. 30, the Bulls will head to Binghamton for their final road non-conference game..they will return home for one final non-league game.— UB Athletics (@UBAthletics) July 2, 2014
Another regular on the Bulls' schedule lately. It's a low-cost, low-travel game between exams and MAC play. I can't complain, even if I still can't get the sour taste of Bingo's crook team in 2009 out of my mouth.
One more non-league game to go, and I can't help but notice that Washington State isn't around. My money is on UB... getting some money from the Cougars. No reason for the big conference guys to shell out for that trip.
No Washington State. Another local-ish foe:
The final non-conference game will be on January 3, 2015 as the Bulls host Cornell.— UB Athletics (@UBAthletics) July 2, 2014
That's five games against in-state competition, all pretty winnable. Can you say #NYBI?
Cornell hasn't been able to capture the magic of their NCAA tournament a few years ago and was one of the worst teams in Division One last year, finishing at 2-26. Should be a nice tune up for the whole bench before MAC play starts.
And that's a wrap, folks. I gotta say, I am pretty darn pleased with this slate:
|vs Wheeling Jesuit||11/6|
|vs South Dakota State||11/14||Men/Women|
|at Kentucky||11/16||National Runner Up|
|vs Montana State||11/21|
|at Grand Canyon||11/25||coached by NBA great, Dan Majerle.|
|vs Canisius||11/29||First Niagara|
|at St. Bonaventure||12/3|
|at Robert Morris||12/7|
|at Wisconsin||12/28||Final Four team|
Leave your reactions in the comments! THUNDER DAN!