It's tonight. Six years to the day from UB's last MAC Championship appearance, the Bulls are back in the Q in the final MAC game of the year.
I am terrified. I spent pretty much the entire second half yesterday shaking uncontrollably and both my parents and coeditor Dave Brand received a bunch of texts about how I don't think I would be able to handle the nerves of tonight's game.
I'm still not sure on that one. But I'm feeling better today than yesterday.
Three reasons I'm scared
Justin Moss' ankle
I feel like this has been woefully underreported and under-worried about. He was obviously a different player last night, and while we're told it should be "much better" today, he did play 23 minutes of basketball last night. Perhaps he was hedging his bets in preparation for today. That would make me more confortable.
CMU didn't look rusty at all
Buffalo looked like a team yesterday that hadn't played in a while. CMU didn't, even as their shots weren't falling from outside. Chris Fowler attacked the lane with ease and dissected Toledo.
I just don't want to play Keno Davis anymore
This started as I don't want to play CMU, but the players don't particularly scare me. It's Keno Davis, who has in two wins this season against Buffalo easily won the halftime adjustments game. He's a coach who either doesn't belong in the Mid-American Conference, or is going to drag the rest of the conference up to his level. He was at Providence when I was at BC, and is very, very good.
Four reasons I'm feeling better
The rust is out
The team has seen the floor, they've seen the arena, they've gotten a win. Now they can play their game. And only Evans and Bearden played more than 30 minutes last night. The only thing that really went wrong was shooting.
There is no tomorrow
This team took on a different identity after the second CMU loss, and have since won seven in a row. They haven't always been pretty (Akron x2), but they've been winning. And there's no reason to leave anything on the line tonight. Of course that's true of any team.
Rodell and Xavier were on point yesterday
We don't need to talk any more about Xavier Ford's season-saving double-double, but Rodell Wigginton had a great game, too. We'll need a similar strong rebounding effort tonight to go with whatever more Moss can bring us.