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Bulls Basketball Preview: Buffalo looks for early season upset against #13 West Virginia

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Buffalo vs Arizona Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

It’s game day, and the first big test for the Buffalo Bulls. The Bulls are heading south to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers in a matchup that has a lot of college analysts excited. I for one think that this is the perfect early season game for both teams that will involve a lot of athleticism as well as some quick offenses.

The Bulls strengths comes from the depth they have at guard, something that has been a noticeable weakness for this WVU squad. I believe that the Bulls can exploit this throughout the game, as well as to challenge the WVU press with their athleticism. I believe the Bulls no longer fear the “big name” opponent anymore after last year’s NCAA tournament, and I’m eager to see how this game will end up. Let’s look at some more things in detail.

What to Watch For

Rotations

As we saw during Tuesday’s game, coach Nate Oats seemed to be big on using his depth and rotating players. He chose to keep bringing Nick Perkins off the bench which I believe is the right move as he provides a big spark from the bench. It will be interesting to watch how Oats uses his guys tonight in a much bigger game, as well as how some of the new players respond to this bigger stage.

Three Point Shooting

If you watched on Tuesday, you will have noticed the Bulls didn’t shoot very well. While that was fine against the NEC favorites, the Bulls will have to shoot better from deep if they want to win this game. I do not believe that the team lives and dies by the deep ball, but I do know it is the essential spark to the potent offense of Buffalo. Look for Jeremy Harris and CJ Massinburg to step up and hit some big shots.

The Defensive Duo

If you follow the Bulls, you appreciate the blue collar defense that this team plays. That defense is led by Dontay Caruthers and Davonta Jordan. Both have such quick feet and fast hands that I think they can frustrate any teams guards. Look for those two to set the tone tonight and really get the Bulls going. If they can keep up the pressure, than I expect the Mountaineers will struggle to get the ball in the paint.

Final Thoughts

I’m very excited about this matchup. It’s such a good early test for this team that I believe they can handle. This game feels like the barrier that this team will need to get over in order to be ranked early in the season. If UB wins this game, expect to celebrate with a top 25 ranking. If they lose, do not panic because these games just make us tougher for MAC play. Make sure to tune in to ESPNU tonight at 9PM as this is some don’t miss basketball. So have fun tonight, be excited, and as always, go Bulls!