It’s GAME DAY and a big one at that. The St. Bonaventure Bonnies, the preseason best team in New York, is coming to Alumni Arena for a HUGE big four match up. This game in the long run, won’t mean too much for the Bulls playoff wise, but it would be a good indicator that the Bulls can do some damage come March. Bona got off to a slow start this season losing to Niagara, but since then have only lost once (#24 on Kenpom TCU) and even have a resume win in beating Maryland.
So what should we expect from today’s match up? A lot will depend on if Bona’s best player, Jaylen Adams is able to go. Adams has missed the entire season to this point but was working out this week so it’ll be a toss up (According to the BonaBlog it is a true game time decision). You can also expect an electric atmosphere as Alumni Arena is practically sold out in a mixture of fans. SBU students will be making the trip to Amherst so the Bulls fans will need to remain diligent to keep the home court advantage.
On the court the Bulls seemed to find their swagger and personality against Niagara last game as they pushed the tempo, hit threes, and got to the rim for electrifying dunks. It seems that Jeremy Harris is starting to find his rhythm which is a dangerous thought considering that CJ Massinburg and Nick Perkins just don’t look like they’re slowing down. Oh, and mix that with Dontay Caruthers being a scoring threat and shooting equivalent to #3 in the country in field goal percentage. This offense is lethal and I expect more of the same today. Here’s what else to look for.
What to Watch For
Can the Bulls establish early?
As a junior at UB, I’ve been able to watch two UB vs. Bona games in person. I also remember watching the 2014 game on TV. In all those games, Buffalo has gotten off to a slow start and put themselves in an early hole. That doesn’t seem to be the case for this years team who normally comes out firing so look for UB to put up some points early.
The Bonnies hold opponents to the second longest time of possession in the nation. The Bulls like to run in transition at all costs. It’ll be fun to see which style of play wins out. If the tempo is slow, the Bulls will really need to step up their defense. If they can push the tempo and score, they may be able to get away with more mistakes due to aggressive play.
If Brock Bertram is back, Buffalo will have a little depth inside. If not, it comes down to Perkins and Montell McCrae. Against Niagara, the two seemed to split time and stay out of foul trouble. That will need to be the case again if the Bulls want to compete, and fouls may come quick in an emotional rivalry like this one. Perkins will need to be smart on the glass and avoid dumb fouls if the Bulls want to win.
We’re in for a fun game today. This game and the Syracuse game are going to be awesome for the state of New York. They’re in state games and all the emotion will be in them. Mix it with an electric crowd and I personally can’t wait. I think the Bulls have a very good chance to win today, but nothing is given in the Big Four. I think Massinburg will need a big game for the Bulls to lead through example, as well as Perkins for the bigs. I hope everyone is as excited as I am and as always, go Bulls!