Well it wasn’t pretty, but on Tuesday night, the Buffalo Bulls Men’s Basketball team defeated NIU 65-45. It wasn’t a game you’ll brag to your kids you were at, but it was still an important win. It showed us that even on a bad night, this Bulls team can beat a team with a better record by 20. Good news for UB fans, it’s such a close race besides the number one spot, that it’s essentially a new season. That’s wonderful, because the Bulls look dangerous at the moment.
So what will it take to continue this winning streak? Simple. Beat the Bowling Green Falcons on Saturday. While the Bulls have struggled at times on the road, I don’t worry too much about the Falcons. Coming in to this game, they are ranked 239th on KenPom in both offense and defense. While yes, they are also on a three game winning streak, I don’t see them as too much of a threat.
All of that being said, I’ve watched a lot of UB athletics this year. The motto should be, “Don’t assume ANYTHING is a win.” As fans, we were arrogant before playing Albany in football, and look what happened. If the team comes out focused and ready to fight for 40 minutes, I suspect a win, but if they chose to be lazy and assume a win is a guarantee, they could be in for another rude shock. Let’s see what we should be watching for in this game.
What To Watch For
Perimeter defense of Dontay Caruthers and CJ Massinburg
These two are quickly becoming one of the top defensive pairs in the MAC. On the perimeter, you can see they’re constantly working to make guards feel uncomfortable like during the CMU game. BGSU is not a good offensive team and is generally not good from beyond the arc. With active hands up top, the Bulls should be able to get out in to transition and control the pace of the game. That starts with these too.
Do we see a bounce back game from Blake Hamilton?
I don’t think it’s any secret that I’m constantly on the Blake hype train. As you should be too. That all being said, Hamilton had one of his worst games of the season on Tuesday. Rivaling maybe only the Miami loss. After that loss, Hamilton seemed to become more focused and ready to compete. Maybe he got a little lazy after being named MAC East POTW and a bad game was a quick reminder that it takes 110% every night. I expect a strong game from Blake, and would be shocked to see otherwise.
Can the bigs stay out of foul trouble?
Outside of Nick Perkins, the bigs tend to have a rotation. Between who is in foul trouble and who is playing well. Normally if David Kadiri gets in foul trouble, it’s from a moving screen or two. If Ikenna Smart gets in foul trouble, it’s normally due to not staying straight up when trying to shot block. If Raheem Johnson is in foul trouble, it’s normally due to reckless shot blocking attempts. In a game in which we should win, I would like to see the bigs focus on their respective areas. Eventually we will need them all out of foul trouble in a big game. Why not use this game to work on being better?
I feel confident in the Bulls right now. I feel more confident in them at this time this year, than last year by far. With the low lows of this season, and the high highs, it for sure feels like we’re on the upswing. If we keep trending up, the MAC should look out. I wouldn’t want to mess with the Bulls when they’re playing as well as they are at the moment. If they play hard, I expect another blow out win. Personally, I wouldn’t hate a close game. Just to keep the team on their toes with some tougher games on the way. There’s a reason they play the games, but I expect a happy end result tomorrow.
True Blue is still engaging in a “Food Fight” fundraiser with the AK Rowdies from Akron. For every home game until the match up with Akron, there will be bins at the bottom of the student section. I encourage everyone to bring in non-perishable items and donate them for a good cause. Last year the Rowdies dominated due to community support. So if you know anyone going to the game or are going yourself, please donate to the cause and help True Blue. Thanks all!