The Bulls are back home in Alumni Arena tonight, and for the first time since before Christmas, they’re coming off a loss. While the Kent State game was disappointing in the second half, there is ZERO reason to worry about the Bulls. They’re still a good team, they’re still going to win this season, and they should still be the MAC favorites. Bad halves happen, they’re a bummer, but teams have to have a short memory, as should the fans.
On to tonight’s game which is sure to be a good one. Western Michigan has come to Buffalo to try and avenge their loss a few weeks ago. The Bulls beat the Broncos by 10 on national TV, and they would want to do nothing better than beat us back on TV. However, the Bulls will have the home court advantage, with an expected sell out of 6000+ fans in attendance. Mix that with the first game that True Blue is back, and the environment should be as good as ever. If Buffalo feeds off the energy in the building, the Broncos may be in serious trouble.
However, WMU was still the MAC West preseason favorite. The reason, one man. Thomas Wilder is still arguably the best NBA prospect in the MAC at the moment. Wilder can score anywhere on the court and his as dynamic a player as the Bulls have seen. In the first game this season, Dontay Caruthers and Davonta Jordan harassed him for 40 minutes and limited his scoring. They will have to replicate that success tonight if the Bulls want to sweep the season series with WMU. Let’s take a look at what else to watch for tonight.
What to Watch For
The First Five Minutes
In my 3 years at UB and in True Blue, every time we pack Alumni, the Bulls struggle. The first five minutes will set the pace of this game and determine how much the crowd will impact the game. This years team gets off to quick starts, and if this holds true, then the crowd will become a big factor in the game.
Yes, Perkins had a really bad second half against Kent. However, he is not suspended or expected to lose any playing time tonight which is huge, because of the two towers that WMU has inside of Seth Dugan and Drake Lamont. Perkins needs to trust his skills and play hard, calm, and smart. If he does that tonight, everyone will forget about the end of the Kent State game.
Jordan has had a weird pattern this year where when I’m critical of him, he plays well and when I give him credit he plays bad. Recently, he’s been struggling with traveling, and that issue may continue tonight if he let’s the environment get him over eager. He’s wonderful when he attacks the rim, and as long as he slows his mind down to catch up to his feet, he should be ready to come back to a top point guard.
I said before Kent State I had a bad feeling about that game. Tonight, I do not have that feeling. The Bulls losing may be a blessing in disguise where the pressure is off and they can get back to playing free. I think you’ll see a more focused and relaxed team that doesn’t press as much. Losing happens, and the best teams turn it in to a positive. If you’re coming around tonight, be loud. Let’s create as hostile an environment as possible. I’ll be front row with the True Blue flag doing my part, and as a community, Buffalo can show off tonight Enjoy the game and as always, go Bulls!