Ohio Bobcats (12-15 SU, 9-10-3 ATS, 12-10 O/U) vs. Buffalo Bulls (20-8 SU, 11-11-3 ATS, 16-9 O/U)
NCAAB: Saturday, February 24, 2018 at 3:30 p.m. EST
The Ohio Bobcats will be trying to extend their winning streak to three games when they visit the Buffalo Bulls at UB Alumni Arena on Saturday afternoon. Ohio is coming off consecutive victories over Miami (OH) and Kent State. The Bulls had won two in a row and four of their last five before falling at Miami (OH) on Tuesday.
Bobcats starting to ball
For much of the season it looked like Ohio would be the 12th and final seed for the Mid-American Conference Tournament. Now, however, the Bobcats find themselves in the mix to host a first-round game. They still have to win out in order for that to come to fruition, but the fact that they even have a chance to host a MAC Tournament game says a lot about how far they have come. Ohio’ hot streak is mostly thanks to Teyvion Kirk, who has the Bobcats improving at an alarming rate. After losing seven of eight outings in January, they won two straight for the first time since December. In an 88-76 win over Kent State earlier this week, Kirk had 17 points in 32 minutes to go along with four rebounds. He scored eight straight points to engineer a 14-0 run by the Bobcats that gave them a game-high 14-point lead with 6:32 remaining. The freshman point guard is averaging 15.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game this season.
“I think the biggest thing you’re seeing is a better understanding of how to run a team out of a freshman point guard,” fourth-year head coach Saul Phillips commented. “And boy, is it starting to look fun out there. We’re edging towards being the kind of team you don’t want to see in the tournament in a hurry.”
“I just look at it as the focus we have,” junior guard Jordan Dartis added. “We’re just so free right now. We’re not really worried about tournament seeding. We’re just taking it one game at a time, just trying to better ourselves every day in practice and in games.”
Player of the Week
Buffalo junior Jeremy Harris was named the Mid-American Conference East Division Player of the Week on Monday. It marked the third occasion this season on which Harris earned such an honor. The 6’7” guard led the Bulls to a pair of victories over Kent State and Bowling Green to clinch the division title. Harris averaged 21.5 points per game, pouring in a career-high 24 against the Golden Flashes before going for 19 points, five rebounds, four assists, and two blocked shots as the Falcons’ expense. The Greensboro, N.C. native also contributed six rebounds, two assists, and two steals in the first win. Over the last six games, Harris is averaging more than 20 points per outing. As a team, Buffalo has earned MAC East Player of the Week honors eight times this season (in addition to Harris’ three, C.J. Massinburg and Nick Perkins have won it twice apiece, while senior Wes Clark has been honored once).
The Bulls are coming off an 84-81 loss at Miami (OH) on Tuesday, but Harrison maintained his fine form with 23 points and eight rebounds.
The Ohio Bobcats are:
- 3-7-1 ATS in their last 11 road games
- 1-3-1 ATS in their last five games against teams with winning records
- 4-9-2 ATS in their last 15 games against the Mid-American Conference
The Buffalo Bulls are:
- 20-8-1 ATS in their last 29 games against teams with losing records
- 25-10-3 ATS in their last 38 home games against teams with losing road records
- 23-8-3 ATS in their last 34 home games against teams with road winning percentages under .400
Ohio is clearly playing better of late, but the sample size of its success remains small. The Bobcats certainly had no success in the previous meeting between these two MAC rivals, as they fell at home 73-66 on Jan. 26. Two different Buffalo players (including Harris) had double-doubles and the Bobcats shot a dreadful 33.8 percent from the floor. Ohio is 3-7-1 ATS in its last 11 on the road, 1-3-1 ATS in its last five against winning opponents, and 4-9-2 ATS in its last 15 against the Mid-American Conference. The Bulls are 20-8-1 ATS in their last 29 against losing opponents, 25-10-3 ATS in their last 38 at home against opponents with losing road records, 23-8-3 ATS in their last 34 at home against opponents with road winning percentages under .400, and 2-0-2 ATS in the last four meetings between the two teams. Look for those trends to continue.