It’s game day! Those two simple words that make a Tuesday feel like a Friday. The Buffalo Bulls come in to today on a four game winning streak where they have absolutely dominated whoever comes in their way. Winning by over ten points per game, the buzz around this team is as loud as it has been all season.
The Bulls had to Central Michigan to take on the Chippewas in a rematch of a very high scoring game just two weeks ago. Buffalo will have the tough task of once again trying to stop the nations leading scorer Marcus Keene, as well as his fellow guard Braylon Rayson. CMU has been playing well in their own regard, however they were beaten by the worst team in the MAC Miami(OH) on Saturday. They’re a team where if you frustrate their guards you can win, so be on the lookout from strong games defensively by Dontay Caruthers and CJ Massinburg. Let’s take a look at what else we should be watching for today.
What to Watch For
How the Bulls respond to Marcus Keene a second time
I mentioned this before, but the key to beating CMU is beating Keene. In the victory two weeks ago, Keene went cold in the second half and ended up hurting his team more than helping it. The key is to get in his head early, while not worrying if he makes 2-3 long threes. Odds are he will score 20+, but the Bulls need to remain calm when that happens. If Dontay Caruthers plays as well as he can, I expect Keene to not be as devastating to the Bulls.
How does Blake Hamilton use his size advantage?
Hamilton has started to play the point much better in recent games. That’s a great thing for UB. Now the question tonight is, how does he handle the 5’9 guard Keene? Last time these two played, Hamilton worked more inside and used his size to his advantage. He has a nine inch advantage which should bode well when taking a jump shot or driving to the paint. If Hamilton remains under control, I expect him to have another big night.
Do the Bulls focus on rebounding?
My biggest critic from the first match up is Braylon Rayson had 9 rebounds. Another player who is 5’9, Rayson should not be getting that many boards. He’s athletic enough that you actually do have to box him out. You can’t just rely on your size advantage. Put a body on him and don’t let him anywhere near the offensive glass, and he will become less important to CMU’s game.
This is by no means an easy win. In fact, CMU is the one team I fear the most in the MAC tournament solely because if they catch fire, it’s over. If the Bulls are lazy on defense tonight, the winning streak will come to an end. This needs to be a full concentrated effort in which every player that touches the floor gives 110% tonight. I’m hoping that the Bulls won’t get lazy now that they’re on a four game winning streak, but we’ve seen it from them this year. Overall this is a winnable game, but the men better be ready to work for it.