As many of you know, I was a basketball coach in a former life.
One of my responsibilities was watching film on teams we would be facing in the coming days. It was actually one of my favorite aspects of the trade because I was doing some recon on an opponent that would help my team be prepared for the game and achieve victory.
The MAC champion Bulls enter this game fresh off of thumping 4th seeded and Pac-10 champion Arizona Wildcats 89-68. The Cats trailed the Buffs 40-38 at the half and were never able to recover.
Offensively, Buffalo has great balance with four players scoring 25, 23, 19, and 13 respectively. But like any good tournament squad, the Bulls are guard dominated. Buffalo is led senior Wes Clark, junior Jeremy Harris and CJ Massinburg.
The trio can get their shots when they want them and are very capable of finding the open man. They along with forward Nick Perkins have the ability of making the three pointers as well.
Defensively, I was highly impressed with Buffalo. They were tough and truthfully bullied Arizona into taking shots that they either didn’t want to take or contested shots heavily. Buffalo had their way with the Cats and all-everything center Deandre Ayton.
When Ayton got the ball, Buffalo used their mix of zones and sent double teams down on Ayton. Ayton was visibly frustrated with it and pretty much quit being active in the game in frustration.
Couple this with the Arizona guards being manhandled and you have the makings of more than an upset; you have a statement.
Buffalo will be looking for another statement win Saturday against Kentucky. Can the Cats match the aggressiveness and toughness of the Bulls and advance to the Sweet 16? Should be a good one.