Buffalo vs West Virginia Preview and Prediction
Buffalo vs West Virginia Preview
The 13th-ranked Mountaineers get a stiff test when they open their season taking on the reigning MAC champs Buffalo on Friday night.
“We’ve been talking about Buffalo since I got here in the summertime,” West Virginia freshman guard Jordan McCabe told the Charleston Gazette-Mail. “We saw them as a very good first game for us. They’re going to test us in a lot of ways and I think we’re ready for that test.”
The Bulls, a unanimous choice to win the Mid-American Conference East Division, opened their season with an 82-67 victory over St. Francis (Pa.) on Tuesday as senior forward Nick Perkins led the way with 16 points and nine rebounds in 24 minutes. He is the reigning two-time MAC Sixth Man of the Year.
Perkins, along with senior guards CJ Massinburg and Jeremy Harris, were All-MAC preseason selections. Massinburg, who paced Buffalo in scoring (17 points per game) and rebounding (7.3), contributed 11 points and eight boards Tuesday.
Massinburg and Perkins were first-team selections last season while Harris was a second-team pick.
The Bulls are not being taken lightly, making three NCAA Tournaments since 2015. They have also received AP Top 25 votes in the preseason for the first time in school history.
The Mountaineers defeated the Bulls 68-62 in the first round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament in their last meeting.
Buffalo will have a hard time penetrating the Mountaineers’ defense if All-Big 12 preseason pick Sagaba Konate has his way. West Virginia’s 6-8 junior forward, who blocked 116 shots last season, needs 22 to break the school record of 190 set by D’or Fischer from 2003-05.
Konate (10.8 points, 7.6 rebounds) is the top returning scorer and rebounder. Esa Ahmad and his 10.2 points and 5.5 rebounds are also back. The senior forward has started 82 of his 89 career games at West Virginia.
West Virginia is 113-28 in non-conference regular season contests under Huggins, including 64-5 at home.
This WVU team will be dealing with inexperience as Huggins’ unit will feature eight newcomers to the team.
If there is a team on West Virginia’s non-conference slate that can handle the defensive pressure the Mountaineers will throw at them it is Buffalo. The Bulls are experienced and talented. They are a rare MAC team that could be an NCAA Tournament team based on talent alone.
With the line currently at -11 WVU this has trap game written all over it.
I am laying money down on this game, +11 for UB, but I have a feeling we could see the Bulls win outright.
Buffalo 72 WVU 70
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