Saturday, February 01, 2014

Da (NY) Bulls

When last we saw the Buffalo Bulls, we didn't know it but it was the waning days of the Ol' Buzzer Banger, Reggie Witherspoon.  Since then, their AD saw a chance to upgrade the program as part of his ambitious but plausible attempt to elevate Buffalo to the State University of New York and probably move to the AAC or something.  Anyway, he ditched the 'Spoon and went and got a guy named Hurley who was once the #7 pick in the NBA draft and he had a less than ideal start but they are rolling now.

Buffalo is 11-6 overall and 5-2 in the MAC.  Right now, that's tied for 3rd, which could change based on the OU-UT game being played right now.

One thing is that they are a very good team at home and not so good away.  They are 9-0 in Alumni Arena and 2-4 on the road.  In the MAC, they have 4 home wins (NIU, EMU, Kent and WMU) and one road win (NIU) while losing @Ball and @UT (by 2).

You don't start talking about Buffalo without talking about Javon McCrea.  He's scoring 17.7 PPG (2nd in MAC) on 58% shooting (2nd in MAC) with 9.2 rebound per game (2nd in MAC) and 4 offensive rebounds per game (1st in MAC) and 2.6 blocked shots  (3rd in MAC).  He's also 5th in FTs made.

Yes, he's a senior.

Their 2nd leading scorer is a newcomer...Joshua Freelove.  At one point he was at UT, and then he played his JR year at Alabama State, where he was the leading scorer.  They had an APR meltdown and he looked at Auburn and then transferred to UB.  Because of the APR issues, he was immediately eligible.  He's a 6'2" G averaged 12.5 PPG on 45% shooting overall and 37% from beyond the arc.

Will Regan is averaging 10.5 PPG on 52% shooting and also averages 6 rebounds per game.  Finally, their PG, Jarrod Oldham is averaging 5.5 assists per game, which is #2 in the MAC.

No doubt.  This is a very solid basketball team.  You can see why below.  They are 4th in the MAC in offensive efficiency and in defensive efficiency.  You'd like to think BG can compete with them with solid defense, but BG has had two very poor defensive efforts in the last two games.  That will need to get corrected, because it is unlikely BG will beat Buffalo if they get to 72, which is about their average.

None of the numbers justify Buffalo being as efficient as they are.  They are 6th in EFG%,  6th in turnover %, 4th in offensive rebounds, 7th in FT Rate and 6th in FT%.  So, no strong areas and no really weak areas, so that is where they stand.  BG is going to need to bring that shooting % down and do a better job on the offensive boards than they have been--that's an area where McCrea and the Bulls could go crazy.  In terms of turnovers and FTs, they are getting about what BG is allowing.

Finally, looking at the Bull defense.  Here, things are pretty evenly matched.  BG is going to need to win some battles.  The prognosis would be for a shortage of second chance points for BG (Bulls are 2nd in MAC in defensive rebounding) and the Falcons are going to have to make more shots than they would expect.  Also, if BG gets to the line, they can't afford not to convert.

One last note.  I believe that this is the 2nd time in BG history that former NBA players are coaching against each other.  Of course, the first was the Orr-Thomas matchup.  Anyway, perhaps someone else knows better.

Buffalo has not been as good on the road, but BG has not been playing very well at home either.  BG has certainly shown themselves to be capable of delivering the kind of game that would beat Buffalo, but it is hard to tell which team will show up.  BG will not win with an average game.  Buffalo is a very solid team.

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