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Buffalo Bulls Men’s Basketball: Catching up with the rest of the MAC midway through conference play

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Most teams have managed to play eight games so far in this year’s edition of the Mid-American Conference and now it’s time to take a look where Buffalo Bulls Men’s Basketball is at as they reach the midway point of the conference schedule. The Bulls currently sit at 3-5 in conference play in the bottom half of the conference.

Before we talk any further, here’s a refresher of what the MAC looks like:

Mid-American Conference Men’s Basketball Standings

Rank Team MAC Record Overall Record UB's H2H Record KenPom
Rank Team MAC Record Overall Record UB's H2H Record KenPom
EAST DIVISION
1 Akron (8-0) (18-3) (0-1) 98
2 Ohio (5-3) (13-6) (0-1) 100
3 Kent (3-5) (11-10) (1-0) 157
4 Buffalo (3-5) (9-12) 164
5 Miami (2-6) (9-12) (0-1) 276
6 Bowling Green (2-6) (8-13) 265
WEST DIVISION
1 Ball State (5-3) (14-7) (0-1) 171
2 Eastern Michigan (5-3) (13-8) (1-0) 113
3 Northern Illinois (5-3) (13-8) 188
4 Central Michigan (4-4) (14-7) 187
5 Toledo (4-4) (11-10) (0-1) 161
6 Western Michigan (2-6) (6-14) (1-0) 221
**KenPom ratings as of 30 January

Seeding implications

Sitting five games back from first and at fourth in the division, the Bulls have a mere .1% chance of claiming that top spot. Just like for women’s basketball, the Men have a much more favorable final half to close out the conference slate.

Right now, Akron and Ball State are playing pretty well but those two teams have a tough road to finish out conference play. Both the Zips and the Cardinals each have respective road trips to push through and they aren’t getting out of those in tact. Also, it’s going to be tough for Ohio to truck through the rest of the season without Antonio Campbell.

If the MAC tournament started today, UB barely scrapes by with a #8 seed — winning the tie break with Kent State — and a home playoff matchup in Alumni. As of right now, that top-four bye in the conference is a logjam so for keep tabs on the tie-breaking procedure.

What’s in store for the Bulls?

Like it has been for the past two seasons, there’s a lot more home games in the back-nine of UB’s schedule. This is where UB can pick up a lot of wins if they play their cards right—especially since the level of competition is easier than the first half.

In my opinion, the Bulls are going to head into the MAC tournament with a losing overall record but at .500 in MAC play:

vs. CMU

at Ball State

vs. NIU

at Bowling Green

at CMU

vs. Miami

vs. Kent

vs. Akron

at Ohio

vs. Bowling Green

Bolded matchups denote predicted win

Hey man, who do I root for when I’m bored and want to watch MACtion?

Well my good friend, this isn’t an easy question to answer. Right now, we want Kent to get hot but also match their record and take a win against them at home. We want to be in a triple tie-break with them if it can happen. Having those two wins against them goes a long way in getting a top-four bye.

Next, we have to hope for an equalizing win with Miami and sweeping Bowling Green and watch them create the late season chaos they did last year.

Finally, The Marcus Keene Show (a.k.a. Central Michigan) still has plenty of matchups with the MAC West juggernauts left. I like UB’s chances of sweeping the Chips since they really only have to focus on two scorers. If the Bulls can get a crucial 2-0 advantage over them, we want the Chips to wreak full havoc.

Finally, I’m leaving a small editorial:

I don’t like the current attitude involving fans and UB’s men’s team. Yes, you do only need to win three (maybe add one) games in Cleveland to make the NCAA tournament. That’s the only argument I’m seeing from people and many are acting like everything’s fine because of it.

I’m sorry, but this team loses their first game in the tourney in their current state. So, I naturally disagree with that argument.

This last stretch of regular season games are super important for momentum and team chemistry. I really believe this team can get it squared together, they just lost to the best team in the conference by one point (and Akron is rolling teams right now).

Pay close attention to these final ten games—this is where the magic for a run in the tourney starts.