Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 2:00pm EST
Written by Chris Kubala
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 WinBuffalo 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.
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