The Bulls are back in action today in the Cayman Islands! Buffalo is coming off of a strong 81-76 win against a talented Jacksonville State team in which various players seemed to elevate their game. Today’s game however, will be an even bigger test. The Bulls take on the Cincinnati Bearcats who are ranked #12 in the country.
So what should we expect out of this game? Should we bank on the Bulls being killed overall or may they shock us? My thoughts lean towards the latter. The Bulls are an athletic team that can keep up with most teams in this country. Their quick nature reminds me of the FGCU team a few years back that made some noise in the NCAA tournament. With the emergence of Davonta Jordan’s new attack first style of play, UB can be dangerous against teams like Cincinnati.
My biggest fear right now with this team is the strength of our players in the paint. I still think Montell McCrae is going to be a stud, but he’s not the strongest guy on the team. He can stretch the floor and shoot the three however which seems to be his strength. But that may not be what the Bulls need. If Brock Bertram can develop, he may be the big bodied man down low that only stays around the rim. If UB can get inside, then they can really compete with any team. Here’s what else to watch for.
What to Watch For
Nick Perkins and CJ Massinburg
Obviously, these two guys are studs and the leaders of this team. However, in the big games, your leaders need to be even better than normal. Perkins needs to dominate inside and establish that part of his game early and CJ will need to help his young guards keep composure if the game starts to get wild. If these two lead by example, expect good things.
How the Bearcats respond to a tougher team
So far this season, Cincinnati is 3-0 but the highest ranked team they’ve played is #275. The Bulls are currently ranked #154 (which is low in my opinion) but regardless can play. If the Bearcats get pushed early, how will they respond to the new challenge this season. They also are not the biggest team in the country in which all but one of their players are under 6’9. I’m interested to see how the match ups are and if the Bulls can contend early.
When playing a top team, UB normally has to contend with opposing fans. This will not be the case as much in the Cayman Islands and this could be a good thing. The crowd will just be rooting for exciting plays and good basketball and the Bulls can gain their cheers with big plays early. If they get to the rim they can win over the crowd. It’s that simple.
Do I expect to win? No. Do I expect to compete and gain confidence? Yes. This game can be a huge positive for the Bulls and a good early season test. If they can sneak a win, awesome, if they don’t that’s okay. As long as they keep their cool, run their offense and learn what they need to work on, this game will be a positive. I think under 5 minutes to go, UB will be within 10. That is a win to me against a strong team. Hopefully a lot of you can watch this game tonight even with their ridiculous stream, and as always, go Bulls!