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Buffalo Bulls Men’s Basketball Preview: Bulls are set for a tune-up game versus Division III Nazareth

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NCAA Basketball: Buffalo at Xavier Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week, the Buffalo Bulls made a trip to Cincinnati, Ohio to take on #11 Xavier. The Bulls struggled as they were mired deep into foul trouble in the 83-56 loss. After playing a game against one of the best college basketball teams in the country, the Bulls will now face some worse competition in Division III Nazareth.

Nazareth is lead by head coach Kevin Broderick. He’s a Nazareth alum and among his multiple coaching stops he was an assistant at Canisius from 1994 to 1996. Broderick has accumulated over 300 wins with the Golden Flyers and lead the team to a 17-9 record last year.

To be frank, there isn’t much to worry about from this program or this game. None of these players have the skill and talent of a Division I basketball player. Do look out for Tyler Stenglein and Josh Gillard though as they’ll take a large chunk of Nazareth’s shots on offense.

What to watch for

1. Putting the game away within the first ten minutes

It was ok to play close with Daemen, they had a ton of talent and guys who probably could play at lower level Division I schools at that point in their careers. But, this is a different story. Nazareth should struggle to defend the Bulls early, let alone score. This “tune-up” game is considered a success if the Bulls can put this team away quickly.

2. Quate McKinzie

He looked lost in so many situations in UB’s exhibition with Daemen, but in their first two regular season games, the Bulls have relied heavily on the freshman. McKinzie had 11 points in the season opener versus Niagara. We’ll see if he continues to be the freshman surprise in this game.

3. Defense, defense, defense

In all of the occurrences I’ve seen this team play dating back to the summer, they’ve really struggled on the defensive side. Scoring 75-80 points a game is great, but when you’re giving up that many points it doesn’t help too much. UB’s goal should be holding the Golden Flyers to 45 points or under.

4. Playing uptempo

After being one of the fastest teams in the country for the past two seasons, the Bulls have come out of the gate slow as they’re only 106th in tempo. Buffalo has become known for running up and down the court and leaving more than half of the shot clock behind. It’d be great to see us get back to the fast play.

5. Minimizing turnovers

UB is averaging an awful 19 turnovers a game and their 329th in Division I for turnover percentage. Buffalo could make so many strides just by taking care of the ball. In my opinion, anything more than 12 turnovers in this game is an utter failure on the Bulls’ part.

Bottom Line

This should be an incredibly easy win for Buffalo. Nazareth’s tallest player is 6-5 and none of these players are Division I caliber. Buffalo could play awful and still win this game, so it’s all about seeing whether they make bad mistakes or not in this one.