As I did with the women earlier today, the five questions facing the Bulls after the first week and a 1-1 start to MAC play:
1. How quickly can Jarryn Skeete return to a groove?
Before an injury suffered in the runup to the Wisconsin game, the junior guard was hitting 50% from distance. Since then, he's missed two weeks to an injury that has slowly been described in more serious terms. Though he returned Saturday, he was noticeably off, and I wonder how much he was able to practice. At a minimum, he didn't seem used to game speed.
Shannon Evans will get hot, and Will Regan is good for a timely strike, but no one on the Bulls is close to the consistency Skeete provides. His replacement, Rogell Wigginton, is shooting only 25% from beyond the arc, and that's after a 6-12 stretch over the last four games.
2. Is Bearden hitting a wall?
After scoring 8 (or 23) points in eight of the team's first nine games, the freshman guard has gotten a bit streakier. His three lowest outputs of the season have come in the last six games, and since the Drexel game he's shooting just 10-36 from the floor. Even against Wisconsin, more than half of his 13 points came from the line, and not thanks to his 3-10 shooting.
Lamonte's made fewer than two field goals in four of his last six games, and his minutes over that stretch are about equivalent to the half-dozen contests before that. If this is indeed a dropoff, where's the line for the freshman, and can the Bulls withstand it?
Of course, if this is just a blip, then hooray.
3. Did Miami and WMU provide a blueprint for the rest of the MAC?
I don't have a ton to say here, other than what we all know: the last 60 minutes of basketball haven't been very pretty for the Blue and White. WMU was particularly painful, with the Bulls completing just a single assist in each half.
No predictions here, just the macro-level concern that we're all hoping goes away with a few wins: Did the Bulls get beat, or did they beat themselves?
4. On that note, has UB been propped up by road wins and two elite opponents?
By the simple eye test, I was not at all impressed by CMU and Toledo in the MAC opener. Nearly every team in the conference has a win and a loss, and have gotten there playing basketball that I would frankly expect UB to beat night in and night out. But after Saturday, Buffalo's got one of those, too.
It's clear that the MAC is meatier in the middle than in years past. Is Buffalo in the lead pack, as some of us thought, or are they part of the peloton?