Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#641 Buffalo 168 vs.
#642 Central Michigan -1
Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 2:00pm EST
Written by Chris Kubala

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#641 State University of New York at Buffalo
#642 Central Michigan University
11-6
10-7
6-9-1
7-7
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79
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A pair of teams from the Mid-American Conference take the floor in a crossover matchup in the Great Lakes State. The Buffalo Bulls are on the road as they travel to face the Central Michigan Chippewas Saturday afternoon. Buffalo comes in off a 76-73 home win over Ohio in their last game Tuesday night. Central Michigan earned a 74-67 road win over Toledo in their previous contest Tuesday night. The Bulls lead the all-time series 21-12 and have won the last eight meetings. That includes an 85-81 in the last meeting, which came in the semifinals of the MAC Tournament on March 15, 2019.

Buffalo Bulls Looking for Third Straight Win

Buffalo has been in an adjustment period as it’s been a major overhaul for the program. The senior-laden group that helped carry the team to back to back NCAA Tournament appearances and four NCAA appearances in five years moved on. So did coach Nate Oats, who took the job down in Alabama. Jim Whitesell is trying to keep the same pace and tempo but with a younger group. There have been some growing pains but the Bulls do own wins over Harvard on a neutral floor and DePaul on the road. The Bulls look to get things rolling in conference play as they have won two straight after dropping their first two MAC contests.

The Bulls are piling up an average of 79.4 points per game on the year, putting them 31st in the nation in scoring offense. Buffalo is solid on the glass as they pull down an average of 41.2 boards a night and dish out 16.4 assists per game. The Bulls are 323rd in scoring defense as they allow 76.6 points per game. Jayvon Graves leads the team with 16.7 points per game this season. Davonta Jordan (12.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 5.5 assists), Jeenathan Williams (11.8 points, 4.7 rebounds), Josh Mballa (10.4 points, 9.1 rebounds) and Antwain Johnson (10.2 points) are each scoring in double figures. Ronaldo Segu, Gabe Grant and LaQuill Hardnett are other key components for Whitesell’s rotation. Buffalo shoots 44.3 percent from the field as a team this season. The Bulls average 8.7 triples a night but are shooting 33.4 percent from beyond the arc. Buffalo is knocking down just 63.6 percent of their chances at the charity stripe this year.

There’s not a lot that stands out for the Bulls this season according to KenPom.com’s rankings. The Bulls have the third-fastest possessions in the nation as they hold the ball for 14.3 seconds per possession this season. Buffalo is aggressive on the offensive glass, ranked 27th in offensive rebounding percentage at 34.6 percent. The Bulls are 65th in steal percentage defensively as they are 10.9 percent but they give up offensive rebounds on 30.3 percent of opponents’ misses, leaving them just 263rd in the nation in that category. Buffalo pushes the pace as they are sixth in the nation in tempo with 75.2 possessions per game.

Central Michigan Chippewas Seek Fourth Win in Five Games

Central Michigan has been a bit streaky this season and one thing that Keno Davis would like to see is more consistency from the team. The Chippewas started the year 6-0, lost two of three, won two straight and then lost four in a row. Central Michigan has regrouped a bit of late, winning three of their last four after winning in Toledo for the first time since 2016. The Chippewas have six wins by double figures but five of their seven defeats have come by at least 11 points this season. Central Michigan’s best win was that win over Toledo, which leaves plenty to be desired.

The Chippewas pile up an impressive 83.8 points per game this season, putting them fourth in the nation in scoring offense. Central Michigan collects 37.8 rebounds per contest and dishes out an average of 12.8 assists per night. The Chippewas struggle on the defensive end of the floor as they are 314th in the nation by allowing 75.9 points per game. Kevin McKay leads the teams with 15.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game this season. David DiLeo (13.9 points, 4.6 rebounds), Dallas Montgomery (13.7 points) and Rob Montgomery (11.4 points, 5.8 boards) each average in double figures. Devontae Lane, Travon Broadway Jr. and Deschon Winston each put up better than six points a night for the Chippewas. Central Michigan is shooting 45.1 percent from the field as a team this season. The Chippewas are knocking down 8.5 threes a night while shooting 34.1 percent from beyond the arc. Central Michigan does a decent job at the charity stripe as they convert 72.5 percent of their chances at the line this season.

KenPom.com shows that Central Michigan pushes the pace as they are 14th in the nation in tempo with 74.3 possessions per game. The Chippewas have some serious defensive deficiencies as they are 329th in the nation in effective field goal percentage (55 percent), 345th in three-point field goal percentage (39.3 percent) and 266th in two-point field goal percentage (52.2 percent) this season. Central Michigan sees opposing teams score 38.1 percent of their points from beyond the mark, the 20th highest mark in the nation.

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Central Michigan has been unbeaten at home but they have been beating up on cupcakes. The best win that the Chippewas have at home is over Northern Illinois and they have work to do if they want to maintain their spot atop the MAC West. Buffalo has some momentum with back to back conference wins on the books coming into this contest. The Bulls are capable of doing damage from the perimeter, which has been the kryptonite for the Chippewas defensively this season. Buffalo has a quintet of guys averaging in double figures this season. Look for Jordan and Graves to lead the way as the Bulls get the victory in this contest.

Prediction: Buffalo Bulls

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This one is a track meet all the way. Both teams play at an extremely quick pace and they blitz opposing teams by getting shots up in a hurry. Buffalo has quality scoring depth and they can shoot from the outside. Central Michigan has major issues defensively and they don't generate a lot of turnovers. The Chippewas are 302nd in the nation in field goal percentage defense (45.6 percent) while Buffalo is 285th in that department (45 percent) this season. With two high-octane offenses and mediocre defenses on both sides, this one ends up over the number.

Prediction: Over
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.