The Buffalo Bulls are back in action again tonight as they square off with the Bowling Green Falcons in a nationally televised game! This is the first of two Friday night match ups between the two teams which will both air on ESPNU. With a win tonight, Buffalo will clinch the MAC East title, and be one step closer to Cleveland.
Bowling Green however would love to spoil the celebration of winning the MAC East, something they failed to do in 2015. The Falcons are currently 7-6 in the MAC and have been playing some decent basketball recently, especially in the second half. In most of the BGSU wins, the team came back from double digit half time deficits, something that may be a cause of concern for Bulls fans. If UB does not stay focused for 40 minutes, they could be in for a rude shock.
As for the Bulls side of the ball, it’s all about tempo as normal. BGSU plays faster than the average team, but the Bulls play faster than that. If the Falcons try and push the tempo, they should be exposed by the athleticism of the Bulls, who can run any team out of the gym. Jeremy Harris has been absolutely unreal during MAC play, so look for him to continue his aggressive play. The Bulls also seemed to go a little bit deeper on the bench last game with James Reese seeing the floor, so that’ll be something to watch for when it comes to the Bulls tempo. Let’s take a look at some other things to watch for in this game.
What to Watch For
The opening five minutes
The Bulls, who normally get out to strong starts will need another one today. Crowds are once again expected to be large (even I have 9 family members coming), so the Bulls need to get the excitement up early. Recently, Ikenna Smart has missed a dunk in the start of games, so hopefully he fixes his nervousness and gets back to being a solid player early, who finishes the dunk and excites the crowd.
The Bulls weakest part of their game is by far defense inside. Demajeo Wiggins is a very good player inside, so the Bulls will need to deny the ball. Against Kent State, UB chose to face guard Adonis De La Rosa, with a guard protecting the back side. I would like to see this defense implemented for Wiggins to limit his comfort and ability to get the ball inside.
The Bulls were horrific at the line against NIU. They shot well against Kent, but will need to make sure they’re on point tonight. Teams will capitalize on missed FTs and make second half runs, something BGSU is good at and UB is good at surrendering. If the Bulls make their FTs, a second half push should not happen against them.
Tonight’s game is going to be exciting, and with ESPNU being in town, it should be an incredible environment. Every game is huge for the Bulls the rest of the season since they are still tied with Toledo for the 1 seed. While Buffalo owns the tie breaker, you have to assume the Rockets won’t lose the rest of the season. This Buffalo team is special, and hopefully they show that on the national stage tonight. If you’re coming to the game tonight, enjoy and if you’re watching at home, feel free to join the gamethread. Have fun and as always, go Bulls!