Buffalo vs Arizona Preview and Prediction
Buffalo vs Arizona Preview
As Mid-American Conference Champions, the University at Buffalo men’s basketball team will head to Boise, ID as the #13 seed and will face #4 Arizona in the NCAA First Round. The game will take place on Thursday, March 15 at approximately 9:45pm EST. It will air nationally on CBS.
The Bulls are heading to the big dance for the third time in four years following last night’s 76-66 victory over Toledo in the MAC Championship game in Cleveland. UB is 26-8 on the season, setting a new school record for wins this year, while winning the outright MAC title for the first time ever.
This will mark the first ever meeting between Buffalo and Arizona and the Wildcats will be just the third Pac-12 school that UB has ever faced.
Get to know the Bulls
If you haven’t watched a lot of MAC basketball this season, you don’t know how good this Buffalo squad is. They have two 1,000-point scorers on the team in Nick Perkins (16.6 PPG) and CJ Massinburg (16.9 PPG). In addition, the Bulls sport two other players who average at least 14.6 points per game–Jeremy Harris (15.4 PPG) and Wes Clark (14.6 PPG).
This Buffalo team is dangerous offensively–they averaged 85 points per game in the regular season and have eclipsed 90 points nine times this year.
Buffalo isn’t afraid to run the floor and get easy buckets in transition.
Get to know Arizona
One name you probably already know: DeAndre Ayton. The likely 1st overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft is a force down low and will take every ounce of energy from the Bulls to stop.
Just look at his stat line from Arizona’s Pac-12 conference title game against USC: In 39 minutes, he collected 32 points, 18 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block with 4 turnovers.
In addition to Ayton, the Wildcats have Allonzo Trier (18.4 PPG) and Rawle Alkins (13.4 PPG) to man their backcourt.
Buffalo coach Nate Oates hasn’t revealed his gameplan to stop Ayton, but my guess would be Nick Perkins and 6’10 big man Ikenna Smart will be tasked with those duties. Extra help will be given because you cannot expect those two to shut down the talented potential No.1 pick. If Perkins and Smart can control Ayton, that will greatly increase their chances of advancing.
LINE: -9.5 Arizona
The Bulls are the best 13-seed in the Tournament and I believe they are under-seeded. I had them no less than a 12-seed after they took home the regular season and conference tournament title in the MAC.
Buffalo matches up well at every position, other than center where Ayton is in a league of his own. If the Bulls can hold the Wildcats big man under 20 points they should win the game, that’s a big “if”.
Arizona 79 Buffalo 76