The Buffalo Bulls defeated the Central Michigan Chippewas last night 88-82 to become 10-1 in the MAC this season. Since 2015, the Bulls have won 12, 10, and 11 MAC games respectably, so already having 10 is no small accomplishment. Being as good as they have been, you’d figure it’s all good, but that’s just not the case, which is perfectly okay. Today we’re going to take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly from last nights game against the Chippewas.
What more can you say about him other than he’s as good as advertised. Before MAC play, a lot of people had questions about if Harris was able to be a star. Recently, Harris has been as good a player as I’ve seen play at UB. When he shoots, I expect it to go down every time, similar to my feelings on CJ Massinburg. Last night, Harris had 22 points, and seemed to hit every big shot the Bulls asked. If he continues his hot play, I would not want to guard him in March.
Last night was as good of ball movement as I’ve seen from the Bulls. They crisply moved the ball around the arc, then to the paint. Every pass had pace to it and the Bulls seemed to be making the elusive extra pass. They also seemed to be utilizing ball fakes to get CMU defenders in to the air before driving to the rim. That’s the type of basketball that will lead to a successful offense, and eventually a MAC Championship.
Buffalo’s Press Break
This one really puzzles me. As quick and strong of a passing team the Bulls are, they’ve seemed to struggle late in the games with a press. I think they’ve tried to dribble the ball too much, and that seems to be a Wes Clark issue. He’s also had a ball bounce off of him in the past two games as well. He’s a wonderful player, but the Bulls need to start passing more to break the press.
Fast Break Defense
The Bulls seemed to be beat once or twice down the floor, which is shocking for a team with their athleticism. I didn’t have a chance to watch the plays again, but it seemed like CMU would leak a player out early when the Bulls went to be aggressive on the boards. I don’t see this being a long term issue, but the Bulls will need to be cautious of teams trying to beat them at their own game.
Nobody want’s to be the fan base who complains about fouls. But that being said, the Bulls once again found them on the bottom end of the FT margin. If the Chippewas didn’t have to foul late, Buffalo would have shot just 4(!) FTs the entire game. I can assure you that there were moments CJ and Dontay drove to the rim and they were fouled. There were also a few missed offensive fouls, a direct result of the refs already having called 4 early on. The Bulls do foul sometimes as a result of their relentless defense, but sometimes they just get hurt by horrid calls by the ref.
My favorite example of this phenomenon and a running True Blue joke is Montell McCrae. Every game without doubt, Montell McCrae will be running to a position or playing defense the same way as Nick Perkins in the post, and will get tagged with a foul out of nowhere. We like to joke that McCrae could get called for a foul while sitting on the bench. Sadly though, fouls are a part of the game and the Bulls have been able to overcome it, just like last night.