Saturday, March 08, 2014

Regular Season Finale...UB

The regular season comes to an end today as BG travels to Buffalo to take on the Bulls in the season finale.  BG will either finish 9th or 10th.  With a win, BG would be 9th.  Anyway, they will either play Miami or NIU, depending on what Miami does against OU.  If it ends up being NIU, BG will have to make the longest trip possible in the MAC...playing @Buffalo Saturday and then @NIU on Monday.

For its part, Buffalo has nothing to accomplish tonight.  They will get one of the quarterfinal byes.

So, neither team has much to play for.  They are playing for pride and love of the game tonight.

BG won the first game at BG as part of a jekyl and hyde season where the team showed itself to be capable occasionally of an good performance.  UB had led most of the way until they decided to run clock with 4 minutes left and quit scoring and Hurley got T'd up in the last couple minutes.  Anyway, it was a nice win for the Falcons, but a contentious one--Coach Stone and UB Star Javon McCrea appeared to get into it--so that might have an impact out there today.  (Note, 46 fouls in the game and 61 FT attempts.

Buffalo is the 2nd most efficient offensive team in the MAC, behind UT.  BG had success defending the Rockets, especially in the 2nd game.  They are coming off an awful defensive game against Kent, so hopefully they are feeling challenged to reclaim their defensive strength.  Buffalo is also good on defense--5th in the MAC--and this matchup looks like every game for BG.  The Falcons are unlikely enough to score enough to mitigate bad defense, but they also can't play good enough defense to mitigate an awful performance on offense.

It will start with the shot.  Buffalo is third in the MAC in shooting.  BG is used to keeping teams significantly lower than what Buffalo shoots.  Buffalo is a very solid offensive team, though.  They take good of the ball (3rd in MAC) and they are also strong on the offensive boards.  They are only 6th in getting to the line but they are 4th in FT% when they get there.  BG is going to need to be good on the defensive boards, which has not been a strong point in the past games.

UB is a good defensive team and BG is a poor offensive team, so you'd expect these numbers to be pretty equal.  Teams to make some shots against UB, so that's an opportunity for BG.  One note:  Buffalo commits the fewest fouls in the MAC.  This is not a huge disadvantage for BG, since they don't usually make FTs effectively.

Individually, Buffalo is led by the probable MAC Player of the Year--Javon McCrea.  He's scoring 18.8 PPG on 57% shooting and getting 10 rebounds per game.  He's been a beast his entire career and thank god he's a senior.  Joshua Freelove is scoring 13.6 PPG and is a 42% 3FG shooter.  That's 2nd in the MAC.  Will Regan is scoring 11.3 PPG, shooting 45% and grabbing 5 RPG. Their PG is Jarod Oldham.  He averages 5.2 assists over 2.7 turnovers.

So this is the end of the regular season line.  BG obviously has a shot to make it to Cleveland and this would be a nice road win for our guys.  Beyond that, it is a test of who wants to play basketball.

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