One year ago, Buffalo Bulls Women’s Basketball landed themselves a #8 seed in the MAC Tournament after a wholly inconsistent performance throughout conference play. This year was oddly familiar: With an even hotter start, the Bulls looked unstoppable until MAC play arrived and they fell short against a lot of teams in the top-half of the conference. UB goes into the MAC Tournament this year with a #7 seed.
With the #7 seed in hand, the Bulls will play #10 Bowling Green tonight in Alumni Arena as part of the campus round of the tournament. Buffalo split a pair of games with the Falcons earlier this year as each team won on the road. Both games were characteristically low scoring and the Bulls will have to be on their toes if they want to get to Cleveland.
BG has the best chance in the bottom-half of the MAC team right now to upset the Bulls in this tourney, and that alone is going to make an uncomfortable game to watch in Alumni. However, if Buffalo can defend Sydney Lambert and Carly Santoro as well as they did in their first game, UB should be punching a ticket to Cleveland. If Lambert and Santoro get hot, the Bulls might be unpacking their bags tonight.
If the Bulls get to hitch a charter flight over to Cleveland tonight, they have their work cut out for them. This is the worst quarter of the bracket for Buffalo to be in. Awaiting them will be an experienced #2 Ball State team that has had UB’s number in the past two seasons and will be a lot for the Bulls to handle.
Should the Bulls face the Cardinals, duo scoring threat Renee Bennett and Moriah Monaco will need to be silenced. Monaco scored a whopping 35 points against the Bulls and although it shouldn’t happen again, a good defender like Katherine Ups will have to keep her in check.
Buffalo will find themselves in the semi-finals if they can finally put away Ball State. Since Akron is really bad, I doubt they make it this far, so this will likely be against the winner of #3 Kent State and #6 Toledo. Both of which have deep benches full of players who can all contribute to the scoreboard. For the Bulls’ sake, they’ll want to matchup against a Kent team they’re 1-1 with instead of facing Toledo, who had no problem beating up the Bulls in both matchups.
Anything can happen on the other side of the bracket, but realistically, the team that makes it to the finals from there will be one of #1 CMU, #4 NIU, and #5 Ohio. Buffalo has shown they can beat the Chips and the Bobcats when they’re playing well, so that’s who the Bulls need to root for if they can work their way to the finals.
Regardless, the Bulls can’t be caught looking ahead. They’re the dark horse candidate in this tourney, and they need to win one game at a time just like a year before. The talent to win a second consecutive MAC Tournament is there, and we’ll find out if the Bulls can win four straight games for the first time since December.
Welcome to March, UB Women’s Basketball. May the odds be ever in your favor.