Bulls Basketball is finally here as the two-time defending Mid-American Conference Champions are set to begin their next title defense. All journeys have to start somewhere and this team’s journey begins with an exhibition with Daemen. This will be the second consecutive year in which the Bulls face the Wildcats in an exhibition to kickoff the season.
The Wildcats are coached by third year head coach Mike MacDonald. Under him, Daemen’s basketball program has flourished and it shows on their 40-20 overall record since he started calling the shots. MacDonald has 28 years of collegiate coaching experience and his skills shouldn’t be taken lightly. Back in 2014 he led his Wildcat team to an 83-81 upset over Canisius, giving Daemen their first ever win over an NCAA Division I opponent.
Last year was one of the best basketball seasons in Daemen’s history. MacDonald coached his team to a 19-10 record and an East Coast Conference finals appearance. Daemen returns four of their top-five leading scorers from last year and looks to go even further this season. The only player they graduated was leading scorer Torrence Dyck.
Watch out for Arif Mehmataj and Supreme Hannah (awesome name by the way) in this game. If Daemen were to pull off the upset then these two will be asked to pull in heavy scoring loads. But, at 6-7 and 6-0 respectively, they should be outmatched in terms of size.
What to watch for
1. Blake Hamilton?
Big Shot Blake’s hand has healed up, the question is if we’ll see him tonight or not. From my perspective, I’d rather he get another week under his belt.
2. Who runs the point
Tonight we might actually get some answers on who will be the starting point guard. It could be CJ Massinburg, Dontay Caruthers, or Davonta Jordan. Also, we’ll get to see how smooth the transition of not having Lamonte Bearden will be.
3. Ball movement
So far it’s been looking like the point guard has taken a back seat role from scoring. Because of that, it has greatly helped the scoring from the two and three spots on the court. We’ll see if that trend continues tonight.
4. Three-point shooting
Buffalo’s shooting has been pretty awful these past couple of seasons but Nate Oats and co. have brought in more talent that can shoot the three ball. Add in the fact that Nick Perkins is also looking unstoppable from three and we could have a very fun season from three point land this year.
5. Nick Perkins
He’s improved drastically. Watch only the sophomore for a few possessions.
The Bulls shouldn’t tread too lightly with this matchup. Daemen has a ton of talent that gave Buffalo a tough time just one year ago. It should be an easy win, but the Bulls need to come out strong in the first half.