It’s here. It’s really here. The game that should make you feel like it’s Christmas morning. The Buffalo Bulls are taking on the Akron Zips in a rematch of last years MAC title game. Seats have been selling fast and the students are ready for the blackout game. To put the cherry on top, this game is broadcast on national TV (CBSSN).
While yes the Zips did win by one point earlier this season, this time the Bulls get home court advantage. Never underestimate the power of a loud and energetic crowd. From what I’ve seen and heard this game will border on #operation6000 numbers. So what is the key to the Bulls impressing all these fans? Let’s take a look.
What to Watch For
Can the Bulls stop Isaiah Johnson
If you’ve ever watched an Akron game you may have noticed something. Their offense runs through their 300 lbs. big man. Johnson will sit at the FT line and either use his size to work down the court or will pass to a three point shooter when you collapse on him. The key to stopping him is making him uncomfortable. If Nick Perkins is on his A-game, then he should be able to control him. Same with Ikenna Smart and Raheem Johnson. As much as I’ve enjoyed David Kadiri this season, I don’t think he has the size to handle Johnson.
Does Blake Hamilton Step Up Again
Blake Hamilton is the thorn in Akron’s side. It’s where he got the name Big Shot Blake and owned that in the earlier match up. So the big question is, does he have another big game in him? I think Blake does and I’m excited to see if the Zips have any answers for him. He flows with confidence against this team, and I expect it to continue.
Is the Focus There
Kent State was the ultimate trap game. Everything about it just screamed that. Because of that, I hope that the focus is back for this game. Besides any games that take place in Cleveland, this is the big one. This is the game that students will remember and I hope the atmosphere is one that the players do too. If the team comes out with one goal in mind and executes, Buffalo will win this game. If they aren’t 100% dialed in, then the Zips will expose them again.
This game should be special. Alumni Arena should be electric, and it should be some high quality basketball. Athletics has done a great job marketing it whether it was sending True Blue throughout the dorms with pizzas or Nate Oats in the SU with donuts. People know about this game and that is what matters.
Overall this game will not be an easy win in any world, but the Bulls can pull out a win. Akron is struggling a little right now and isn’t the juggernaut that everyone assumes they once were. A win here and I would say that UB should be the favorite come Cleveland. That all being said, I’ve never been a fan of being the favorite. The other big thing is this. The Bulls need to go at least 1-1 against Ohio and Akron to get us comfortable with a bye. So why not just beat Akron and call it a day?
**Final reminder FOOD FIGHT ENDS TONIGHT. Bring in non perishable food to donate and help True Blue beat the Rowdies**