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Preview: Buffalo Bulls Men’s Basketball will confront on of the best teams in the MAC when they face the Ohio Bobcats

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NCAA Basketball: Buffalo at Creighton Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
Buffalo Bulls vs. Ohio Bobcats

1/7/2017
7:00 PM
Alumni Arena, Amherst, NY

TV: ESPN 3

Radio: ESPN 1520

UB Men’s Basketball had a successful trip to Ypsilanti, Michigan when they faced Eastern Michigan and pulled out a 77-68 win. Now, the Bulls are faced with an even tougher challenge when they make an appearance at Alumni Arena tonight. The Ohio Bobcats are the favorite to win the MAC this year and they’ll give the Bulls plenty to handle.

Ohio is led by head coach Saul Phillips as he enters his third year with the Bobcats. After a tough 10-23 season, Phillips had the Bobcats as one of the best teams in the conference last year when he led them to a 23-10 record. This year, Ohio is even better and rolled through non-conference play.

The Bobcats currently sit at 10-3 overall on the season. With losses against Iona and Marshall, the Bobcats also have ann ugly loss on their resume to a bad Western Kentucky team. What’s good news for Bulls fans is the fact that Iona and Marshall were the toughest teams on Ohio’s schedule and they failed to produce when it mattered.

Ohio returns defending MAC Player of the Year Antonio Campbell this season. Campbell currently averages 18.3 points and 9.8 rebounds a game. Campbell is an all-around threat due to his ability to shoot the three ball while also being a dangerous scorer in the post.

Not only does Ohio have the defending MAC POTY, but they have one of the best point guard’s in the conference too. Jaaron Simmons averages 11.8 points per game and 7.6 assists per game. His assist rate is ninth best in the nation.

What to watch for

1. Nick Perkins

Nick Perkins is going to be assigned one of the toughest defensive match ups he’ll encounter all season. Antonio Campbell is going to stretch the floor for the Bobcats and Perkins needs to be mobile and alert for the possibility of a shot coming from him all night.

2. Consistency from the EMU game

UB isn’t expected to win this game, but, it’s a success if the Bulls do much of the same things they did at Eastern Michigan. If UB can do a solid job defending the perimeter and keeping Ohio’s offense from getting hot, then we’re seeing progress, even if the Bulls lose.

3. UB’s offensive showing

Ohio brings one of the best defenses that the Bulls will ever see this season to the table. Ranked as the 55th best defense in the nation by KenPom, the Bobcats have held a lot of teams under 60 points this year. If UB shows any real offensive efficiency in this game, then we’re looking at a much better Bulls team than a few weeks ago.

4. How the tempo effects the game

Both UB and Ohio like to play the game really fast and that’s going to prevent Ohio from doing a lot they usually like to do on defense. I can easily see one of these teams scoring 80+ points if not both because of the tempo alone.