I talked last week about how 4-3 in conference play was no reason to panic. UB lost badly to EMU and WMU, has been at times inconsistent, but showed real promise. Well now UB is sitting at 5-3, is third in the conference, and has six of their last ten games at home.
All of this came as a surprise to me, heck, to most people.
UB went through the most chaotic off-seasons I have ever seen. They lost their coach (to Arizona State), their starting point guard (to their former coach at Arizona State), two key contributors to graduation, several incoming players who left because of the coach, and then the reigning MAC Player of the Year to a non violent but unlawful campus incident.
While all this was going on UB's new coach learned his wife will be battling cancer.
In off the board discussions between certain editors and myself the question was does this team get only 10 wins (my position) or do they make it a .500 season in and out of conference (their position).
If the Bulls can upset NIU this week in DeKalb it would be reasonable to consider them a dark horse threat to Akron or Kent for the MAC regular season title.
This has all been *so* surprising to fanbases in the Mid American Conference that opposing fans have often reacted losses to Buffalo have usually been followed by "How can we lose to this bad Buffalo team". Often that's followed some really silly reasons for the loss. Everything from "Our coach is point shaving" to "Buffalo is too far away."
Buffalo beats Kent on the road.
UB goes on the road to beat Kent. The reason: The phantom "Classless behavior" excuse. Apparently a fan saw us behaving badly, many other Kent State fans said either that there was no classless behavior or if it was there it was no big deal.
First, like I said, I did not see any overt classless acts by either team. A little bit of back and forth jawing, nothing you don't see in any basketball game.
Buffalo hosts Central Michigan, wins big.
Holding serve at home is important. The reason: UB came into the season tabbed as a potential cellar dweller, "3MU" came in expecting to win the conference. As the Bulls picked apart CMU someone said "It's because Keno is point shaving"
Firstly "point shaving" is not throwing games, it's screwing with your margin of victory. Secondly everybody knows that the team most likely to shave points in the Conference is Toledo*.
* - Toledo paid their dues for the point shaving scandal and have been clean and classy ever since, I just like to poke fun every now and again.
Buffalo Beats Miami
Miami is very bad this year, so their fans made no excuses. They are more focused on when they will have another coach.
Buffalo Beats Ball State at home.
BSU was one of those surprisingly good MAC West teams this year. But they still ran into a bit of trouble on their trip to Buffalo. The Reason: traveling is hard.
Really? Ball State to Buffalo (if you fly) is no different than Ball State to Akron or Kent. And given Ohio is in the middle of nowhere it might even be easier than Athens.
Also, we could play the game in Detroit, which is closer to Muncie, but you guys don't have a sterling record against us there either.
Buffalo grounds Toledo on the road.
Two years ago it looks like Toledo had finally recovered fully from the scandals and turnover which plagued them a decade ago. This year they are struggling to get off the ground. A few disturbed Rocket fans found not one but two great excuses.
First, and you'll love this, we have the beginnings of Deflategate II, son of Deflategate.
You should have went with that first instinct to not post this. There is an old rule in having a conversation. Everything which comes before a "but" it pretty much meaningless.
"Honey I loved the dinner, but the chicken was a bit dry"
"Of course I was OK with you borrowing my book, but you should ask first"
So saying "It's not an excuse.... But" is weak sauce.
OK the second thing which came up was this gem.
I see players like that with officials rather often. It's part of working an official to get him sympathetic. From the other side, it's part of making sure the player hears what you're saying as you manage the game. It's no big deal, I'm sure if I watched enough Toledo games I would see them do it.
Most importantly djsfw57 ignores the fact these officials dinged UB with five fouls in the first four minutes of the second half, one of our key players missed 10 minutes of the second half because of foul problems and at least two fouls which should have been called on Toledo went to UB (even the Toledo announcers acknowledged it at the time).
There is a lot of basketball to be played yet this year, and in games when UB struggles, as we did mightily against WMU, I hope my reaction stays "We are just shooting bad" or "It's just not our night". Sure we are all entitled to the occasional "that late missed call killed us".
But I do hope that our opposing fan bases keep up the x-files conspiracy theories for their losses. Because when you start talking about ball switching, ref hugging, point shaving, head messing, and long flights you give us all something to chuckle at.