It's been said pretty succinctly in our comments already: while we don't think anyone is surprised by a loss to VCU, it's frustrating to see the Bulls lose in a carbon copy of early-season defeats to St. Joseph's and Old Dominion.
UB squandered a very strong shooting night - 51% from the floor, 57% from three, and a not-good, but not-terrible 65% from the line - and there's really only one takeaway.
31 turnovers is too many. One player totaling four in a game would be no good, but each and every UB starter had at least that many yesterday. That's troubling.
Buffalo head coach Nate Oats says he coached high school ball and may never have seen his teams commit 31 turnovers. #VCU— Marc Davis (@marcdavissports) December 23, 2015
Other than the free-flowing deference to athleticism and improvisation, one of the hallmarks of Bobby Hurley's success at UB was a team that minimized turnovers. Nate Oats has mostly kept that intact, but the Bulls have dropped from 11 a game to 13 and change, though yesterday sparked a sizable uptick. Reggie Witherspoon's teams were never below 14, so there's still a long term improvement there.
While the turnover numbers are, frankly, a little better than I expected, they also come alongside a dropoff in assists - more than a full dime per game less than last year. Qualitatively, it's not hard or rare to see motionless offense with a single player dribbling the ball. If he passes, repeat. This style is almost certainly prone to fewer turnovers in general to the style UB played last year.
At 6-6, UB is where I thought they'd be heading into their final nonconference game. They've won the games they should and not pulled out a win over one of the better teams on the slate. Unfortunately, the closer games have mostly come against the first group.
Against a diverse schedule, UB is an average team, scoring 1.015 points per possession while giving up 1.022. I'll have more down that road after Tuesday's game against Delaware closes out 2015, but with a margin that slim, a turnover or two fewer and an assist or two more could make a big, big difference.