The Buffalo Bulls are back in action tonight against the Kent State Golden Flashes in a battle of the top two teams in the MAC East. The Bulls come in at an incredible 8-0 in the MAC and the Flashes are a respectable 5-3. While both teams like to push the pace more than the average school, the Bulls still run a much faster style of play, which could be a huge factor in tonight’s game.
Kent is lead by Jaylin Walker, a Romulus High School graduate, and Adonis De La Rosa, the man you may remember for his altercation with Raheem Johnson in Cleveland last year. Walker is the type of player who can get it going all over the court and it will be crucial for Dontay Caruthers and Davonta Jordan to keep him uncomfortable all game. Meanwhile, De La Rosa, who since losing weight plays a similar style to Nick Perkins, will be presumably guarded by Perkins. De La Rosa does like to go to the ground a lot to try and draw fouls, so Perkins will need to be cautious to stay out of foul trouble and remain calm.
From the Bulls side, this game, like most will be about their athleticism. I’ve actually gotten a chance to watch a few Kent games this year and from what I’ve seen, the Bulls should control the pace all game. If CJ Massinburg and Wes Clark are having a good shooting night, this team will be an extremely tough match up for the Flashes, solely because of the quickness of those guards. Let’s look at a few other things to watch for in this game.
What to Watch For
Against Ohio, we had the chance to see the player Smart can be. The true center who scores when needed inside but also attacks the boards. He often struggles with fouls, but if Smart can keep up his level of play, the Bulls will be an even better team than the one that has started 8-0.
According to KenPom, the Flashes have a slightly below average offense. If UB keeps up intense pressure like they have for most of the season, they should be able to catch the Flashes on a bad offensive night. Tough defense early should also take the crowd out of it, which is crucial for road games.
Making the Run
Against Ohio, it never felt like the Bulls “made the run” we’ve all come to expect. They were up about 10 most of the game, but it didn’t feel right. That’s a testament to this team, but I’d be eager to see if the Bulls can make the run tonight and really take Kent out of this game.
I’d be lying if I said this game didn’t scare me. I think Buffalo is the far better team, but the Flashes are pesky. They’re the type of team that could win an upset game, especially if the Bulls are focused too far ahead to Friday’s big game at Alumni Arena. If Buffalo is focused, controls the pace, and gets to the rim early, then this game shouldn’t be a problem. However if they let Kent State hang around, I think we may be in for a disappointing game. I hope everyone enjoys watching tonight and as always, go Bulls!