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NCAA Basketball Buffalo Bulls at Central Michigan Chippewas

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David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Game 17: UB (12-4, 3-1) vs CMU (12-3, 2-2)
Date - January 21th Last Meeting (2014): UB 79 - CMU 70
Time - 7:00 PM
MAC Standing - T-6th
Venue - McGuirk Arena Opponent Rankings - RPI (139)

Bulls have gotten through the easiest part of their MAC schedule with a 3-1 record. They beat two of the worst teams in the Mid-American Conference and then fell flat in Kalamazoo. The Bulls are in a five-way tie for first place in the semi-division-indifferent MAC but it's the next four games where the cream will rise and five dominant teams will get thinned to three or so.

UB's strong start this season is owed in no small part to Justin Moss who was this week's conference MVP. He is leading the MAC in both points and rebounds, his 31 points against the Redhawks was a career high, and he's averaging 23 and 10 in MAC play.

So I'm going to put forward that this talk of 'full 40' should really be shifted to looking just at the defense, which has had strong stretches in each MAC game Matt's Thoughts


The big question I and some of the other editors have is at the other end of the floor where the Bulls have failed to put together a 40 minute effort since Cornell. Against a CMU team that can get very hot shooting a 40 minute defense is vitally important.

CMU dropped more than 100 points against Miami and are one of the more potent teams in the conference but they are rather streaky, just ask Ball State who held the Chips to 65. They played a non conference schedule which is even lighter than UB's but they rolled through it with a 10-1 record,.

Keno Davis goes deep when he plays. 10 CMU players are seeing more than ten minutes a game and nine of the Chips have better than 5 points per game coming into this weekend's matchup. Those number are not to far ahead of UB but the remaining six players who have substantial time put up a 16-man roster vs the UB eight-man rotation.

The last time UB visited the state of Michigan they shot ice cold and let the Western Michigan Broncos own the paint. After falling behind UB would close to a single score twice but each time the Broncos would counter and extend. If Buffalo wants to continue being at the top of the MAC they can't take a day off in the low post.

It's hard to see UB winning this game if they reproduce the 0-12 three point shooting performance which came out of the Miami game. While the Bulls defense was able to hold Miami back the Chips are a different beast. They are better shooters, better rebounders, and won't be nearly as forgiving of trips to the free throw line as Miami of Ohio was.

A win here would send a 4-1 UB team into Athens to face a winless Bobcats squad.

How to Watch / Listen

TV: 7:00 p.m., ESPN3

Radio: ESPN 1520, streaming audio available at ubbulls.com