It’s finally here, the Men’s MAC Tournament! The regular season MAC Champs are set to face off with eighth seeded Chippewas in the first game of the men’s tournament. These teams met just once in the regular season, with the Bulls coming out on top 88-82 on the road. However, all regular season numbers should be tossed away, because this is tournament time, and anything can happen in March.
The Bulls are known for their fast strike offense, which will need to be on for three straight days if UB wants to advance to the NCAA tournament. If UB’s athleticism was ever going to be to their advantage, a tournament with three possible games in three days is where it would pay off. CMU does not play fast, and it would be to the Bull’s best interest to get it going early and dominate for 40 minutes. Leaving CMU in the game at all could inspire the 8 seed to pull off the upset.
As for CMU, they thrive at the free throw line. The Chippewas were the second best team on the line last season, and looked to get to get to the line as often as possible. They don’t have the strongest guards, but have the big men to provide the Bulls with some issues. Overall, it will be important for Nick Perkins or Ikenna Smart to stay out of foul trouble and control the inside.
What to Watch For
Massinburg has been a stud for the Bulls this season. However in March, players have to rise to another level. I’d look for Massinburg to come out swinging early, and help to be the veteran presence that this Bulls team may crave.
While it’s important for the big four to play well, role players such as Jayvon Graves, Dontay Caruthers and Montrell McCrae to perform well if you want to advance. This tournament is about which team plays the best, and if the Bulls role players step up, then they should advance to Friday.
Meyer is a very strong offensive player. He can shoot lights out from deep as well as get inside. It will be crucial that Davonta Jordan and Dontay Caruthers make him feel uncomfortable for 40 minutes, and the Bulls force turnovers beyond the three point arc. If Meyer gets hot, it could be an uncomfortable game for the Bulls.
I LOVE basketball in March, but I especially love Bulls basketball in March. This team has all the talent in the world to win this tournament, but it all comes down to execution. If the Bulls are focused on CMU, and CMU only, then I believe they win this game. Thankfully, they won’t know who is waiting in the second round due to scheduling. Nate Oats should have the men focused, and that has me eager. If you’re coming down to Cleveland tomorrow, drive safe and enjoy. Make sure you stop at the Harry Buffalo, and let’s go Bulls!