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Why Bulls fans shouldn’t panic over UB’s 77-75 loss to NIU

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Step back from the pitchfork and torch, they’re still 17-2

NCAA Basketball: Toledo at Buffalo Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

So the Buffalo Bulls lost a game in the MAC? That’s it, let’s burn the program to the ground and start this over again. Can’t wait to never make the tournament again. We probably won’t win in Cleveland because we’re so bad at basketball.

Sound dumb? Perfect, we are now on the same page. Yes, Buffalo lost a game to NIU they probably shouldn’t have. These kind of things happen though and the number one thing you or I should not do as a Buffalo fan is go into full panic mode.

Yes, this city has a history of let downs and heartbreak in the sports world, this is just not one of those situations. In this piece, I want to bring to light all the Buffalo hysteria and shut it down so that we can go back to enjoying this team, a likes of which we may never see again (but hopefully not).

“We’re going to be unranked now because of this loss”

Let’s start with this first quote that I saw which felt way too common. While yes, there has been a lot of disrespect in the polls in terms of mid-majors, there are examples of teams being spared. Let’s look at Nevada; it’s a mid-major school out of the MWC which is currently in the top-10 (No. 7 for you exact types). Are they undefeated? Nope. They actually have a loss by 30 points to a New Mexico team which is actually ranked much lower than NIU. They’ve often times found themselves down at the half this season and have honestly struggled in many of their games, Yet we still see them sitting at No. 7. Expect the Bulls to drop, but a two-point road loss is NOT going to kill the Bulls. Also, if they lose the ranking, so what? It means literally nothing long term.

“It’s Cleveland or bust now”

I enjoyed this one a lot. Personally, I still think Buffalo could lose one more game before the MAC Tournament before we even have to panic about being left out of the tournament if we need the at-large bid. For starters, the win against Arizona last year propelled NCAAB fans to know the Bulls and the committee knows this stuff as well. Keep in mind that the Bulls are still in the top-25 in NET, which is going to be the primary ranking used for the tournament, I would not go full nuclear on this one game. Losses happen. Is Duke going to miss the tournament because they lost at home to Syracuse, a team Buffalo beat on the road? Of course not. Let’s not let one game throw away a whole season to us.

“We’re just not playing well at all right now”

This is the last one I will address, and this is one where recency bias is getting everyone spooked. While yes, we just lost to NIU (who is ranked 120 in Kenpom), we still have been dominating teams in MAC play. All but one of the 5 wins have been by double digits and the depth of this Bulls team is just unmatched in this conference. According to Kenpom, the Bulls still have the top THREE players in the MAC POTY running. Massinburg is still going to be lethal, Perkins is still going to overpower every big man in the conference, and Harris will still hit shots over guards that make you amazed. Caruthers and Jordan will still lock down top guards as well. It took NIU shooting 56% from two point range to squeak by the Bulls playing their worst game of the season. Buffalo may have had a bad game, but to say we’ve been playing bad shows that you are being narrow sighted.

So to quote Aaron Rodgers: “R-E-L-A-X.”

Take a deep breathe after a loss, step away from the keyboard, and really think about if you should validate those awful, negative thoughts flying through your head. The Bulls will be just fine, Nate Oats will get this team ready to go, and we can all go back to winning soon. An optimist may even look at this game and be excited because maybe it cools off the Oats leaving talk (we’re not doing THAT discussion right now). My advice is this, look at the truth of the numbers and results instead of that dark part of your Buffalo-loving heart. You can be disappointed, but let’s not freak out. If you really want to stop believing in this team because of one loss though, don’t be enjoying a shower of confetti come March.