In the wake of, really, seriously, no exaggeration, two of the greatest days in UB Athletics history, most of our wrap up and commentary on this site has come on our video podcasts.
You can find those - one from Sunday prior to and during the Men's Selection Show, and one from last night that spends a good deal more time on the women - in the sidebar, but I feel compelled to put some of the biggest themes from the MAC Tournament into writing before we turn our eyes to Ohio State.
What's most stunning about these games is that UB won the final two so differently from their M.O. I'd say the Bowling Green and Ohio wins came much the same as in Buffalo's regular-season sweeps of both programs, but Akron and CMU faced a much different Bulls team than the scouting report should have shown.
I've told this story at least once on one of the podcasts, but once UB cooled down in the second quarter against Akron, I really thought it was over. Buffalo was 2-4 in six games this season where they scored upwards of 70 points, and the Zips were well on their way. Setting aside Gabi Bade for another paragraph, the team somehow pulled together a win in the eighties, which no one would have predicted.
Central Michigan wasn't quite as high scoring, and UB didn't fall as far behind, but it was another one that reached the 70s and saw the Bulls erase a five-point deficit late in regulation.
The bench. I don't need to go too deep into numbers here. Obviously Bade stepped up huge against Akron and did enough in the fourth quarter against CMU to inexplicably keep Reid on the bench late. She made some pretty significant errors against the Zips, but 13 points in the second half alone goes a long, long way.
The frontcourt, though, is where the team really shined. I don't think you could ask for a better two-game stretch from the combo of Cassie Oursler, Mariah Suchan, Brittany Morrison, and Mirte Scheper. Against Akron, Scheper only played a single minute but was forced into much more time against Central Michigan, against whom she totaled 7 points and 6 rebounds.
Suchan was perfect from the free throw line against Akron, and the group as a whole accounted for all of UB's free throws against CMU, going 7-9.
Joanna Smith. She's getting lost in all of this. I'm not convinced for a second that Stephanie Reid was actually voted Tournament MVP by the media, and while I don't mind much, it's lost that Smith had one of the finest individual MAC Tournaments in the history of the conference.
.@jayy_4inessin ranks 1st in MAC Tourney history in 3pt att (33), 2nd in FGA (76), 3rd in FGM (30) & 3pts made (12) & 5th in points (76)!— Louie Spina (@UBLouieSpina) March 14, 2016
Katherine Ups. She's absolutely getting lost in this. Prior to Reid's buzzer-beater, my recap was all written to highlight Ups' overtime heroics; a pair of three pointers as the time too-quickly ticked off the clock, and a subtle fake to open a little more of a passing lane to get the ball to Reid on the final play. Things didn't have to go much differently for a different sophomore Aussie to be the crunch-time hero of this one. Going further back, it's worth noting that she played upwards of 30 minutes in each win over Ohio this season.
From here on out, we'll be talking Ohio State until Friday. I've got a Q&A lined up with Land Grant Holy Land, and hopefully we'll be able to learn more about the Buckeyes, who while very, very strong, are on a bit of a skid lately.