Urgency is setting in for a Buffalo Bulls team that looks to defend it's MAC championship. After an incredible 7-3 start to conference play, the Bulls dropped several games until winning their last one over Bowling Green. UB now sits at the five spot in the Mid-American Conference standings with an 8-6 record. A win in Buffalo's next game against the Kent State Golden Flashes is crucial for their hopes in obtaining a top four seed in this year's tournament. No matter what, a win would move UB into the top four and give them a 2-0 series advantage over Kent for tie breaking purposes.
Opponent: Kent State
Head Coach: Rob Senderoff (94-61, 5th year with Kent State)
Date/Time: 2/23/16, 6:00 PM
Opponent's Mascot: Flash, the Golden Eagle
Current Record: 18-9
2014-15 Season Record: 23-12 (12-6 MAC)
Postseason: Lost to Northern Arizona in CIT Quarterfinals
All-Time Series: Kent State leads 29-13
Wait...We've Already Played Them
Just like Akron, it's been a while since we played the flashes. The two teams met in early January at the MAC Center and Buffalo embarrassed Kent. Willie Conner and Lamonte Bearden absolutely dominated as Kent State could not find any answers in defending the post. Conner and Bearden had 22 and 21 points respectively. UB also had a field day from beyond the arc as they shot 47%. The Bulls took home an impressive 76-67 win over the clear #2 team in the MAC.
What Has Happened Since
It's been up and down for Kent. The Golden Flashes went on a hot streak after they lost to us and won five consecutive games. After that, Kent lost many key players due to injury. Xavier Pollard, one of Kent's go to scoring options is out for the rest of the season. From there the Flashes dropped three straight games while they tried to figure out how to win without the guy who generated the most assists for them. Most notably though, they just won their game versus Akron by a margin of 85-76.
Can We Win?
It seems that we've been matching up pretty well with Kent State in our last few outings with them and hopefully that continues. Their win against Akron is telling that they may be much better than when we saw them last. Buffalo must win this game to keep one of the valuable tie breaker situations alive. I'm giving the Bulls a 60-40 advantage because I'm not sold just yet that they can make the fairy tale run that happened last season.