Buffalo vs Cincinnati Preview

Buffalo vs Cincinnati

A matchup of undefeated teams invades the Cayman Islands as the Bearcats (3-0) oppose the Bulls (2-0) in a game that Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin anticipates will be a tough challenge.

“It’s time to get some resistance,” said Cronin, whose team has routed Savannah State, Western Carolina and Coppin State by an average winning margin of more than 40 points.

In order to keep his team focused, Cronin told his players they can take a vacation to the Cayman Islands later in their lives.

“We’re here on a mission,” Washington told Cincinnati.com. “I wish I was going down to the Cayman Islands for a regular vacation, but we’re here to get some hardware.”

Cincinnati and Buffalo will play three games in three days with the potential of facing Iowa (3-0) in the final Wednesday night at the 2,000-seat John Gray Gymnasium. After the Monday game, Cincinnati or Buffalo will face either Alabama-Birmingham (3-0) or Richmond (0-2).

“We need to start to play some teams that can beat us if we don’t play well,” Cronin said.

Case in point, this Bulls team which has made it to two consecutive NCAA Tournaments…

The Bulls are led by junior forward Nick Perkins who averages 21 points per game on 52 percent shooting from the field and 62 percent from beyond the arc. It isn’t just Perkins that powers the Bulls though, junior guard CJ Massinburg averages 16.5 points, 6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per night.  Junior guard Dontay Caruthers (team-leading 58 steals last year) earned the 2016-17 MAC Defensive Player of the Year award, and 6-foot-7 guard Jeremy Harris was one of the top junior college players in the nation last season.

Buffalo nearly blew a 12-point lead in the second half against Jacksonville State on Thursday but prevailed 81-76. The Bulls also beat cross-town rival Canisius 80-75 in the season opener.

“We still need to do a better job figuring out ways to close games out, but I am really happy with the energy, the defense, and the toughness that we showed throughout the (Jacksonville State) game,” said Buffalo coach Nate Oats, who is in his third season after Bobby Hurley left to coach Arizona State.

Cincinnati which as we documented has dominated their competition to start the year ranks 1st nationally in rebounding margin (+25.3), No. 2 in assists (71), No. 3 in rebounds (163), No. 4 in average winning margin (41.3). No.8 in scoring.

Cronin believes his team has the right mindset to not be distracted by the tropical atmosphere of the Cayman Islands.

“I think it’s easier,” Cronin said. “Their girlfriends, they’re all at home. I’m dead serious. This team is a little bit different than any team I’ve ever coached, too. I get guys, they complain if (Cincinnati basketball operations manager) Mark Berger gets them fast food. Like, Gary (Clark) and Kyle don’t eat fried food.

“I’ve got guys on this team that are really trying to have a great season and make basketball their career. So I don’t anticipate the fact that the weather is warm will be an issue with these guys at all.”

Prediction

The Bulls will be no cake-walk for the Bearcats–Cincinnati will not be winning this game by 40+ points as they have with their other opponents this season. With the line currently at +16 for Buffalo, I would roll the dice and take the points.

Cincinnati 80 Buffalo 69

 

 

 

 

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