MAC Tournament: Akron vs Buffalo Preview and Prediction
Akron vs Buffalo Preview
The No.18 Buffalo Bulls are heavy favorites in the MAC Tournament–so much so, it seems like a forgone conclusion that they will cut down the nets on Saturday.
Before the Tournament started, multiple Bulls were honored by the conference– senior guard C.J. Massinburg was named conference player of the year and Nate Oats was named top coach. Senior forward Nick Perkins earned his third 6th Man of the Year award in the MAC and was named to the All-MAC First Team along with Massinburg.
For C.J. he becomes the fifth different Buffalo player ever named the MAC Player of the Year. A two-time All-MAC First Team selection, Massinburg leads the Bulls in scoring this season at 18.5 points, while he is second on the squad in rebounding. He has scored in double figures in all, but one game this season, starting the year on a high note with a 43-point performance at West Virginia. He has been named the MAC East Player of the Week four times this year as he enters the conference tournament with 1,910 career points, the second highest in school history. Massinburg has also moved himself into the top 17 in the history of the league in career scoring.
“This is an extremely well deserved honor for CJ,” said Oats. “He has been our most consistent player on a Top 25 teams all year. He does everything at a really high level, whether it is score the ball, rebound the ball, or defend. CJ is a high-character, humble kid that puts his teammates, his coaches, the managers, above himself, so he’s the definition of servant leadership in my opinion and there is nobody more deserving of this award since I have been in the league. When you include what type of person he is, I couldn’t be happier for him and for what he has meant to this program, this community, this city. He has meant a lot to this whole place and he is someone that will be impossible to replace.”
Akron started its tournament run with an 80-51 victory at home Thursday over Miami (Ohio) in the first round, but that matchup against the RedHawks won’t quite resemble what the Zips will face against a Buffalo team that enters on a nine-game winning streak.
Buffalo will advance to the NCAA Tournament even if they lose in the MAC Tournament. The Bulls have been nationally ranked for most of the season and are easily considered one of the top teams in the country.
But the Bulls have inspiration to extend the season as many games as possible, including all three MAC Tournament games and at least two more in the NCAAs.
Massinburg just moved into second place on Buffalo’s all-time scoring list when his 15 points against Bowling Green gave him 1,910 in his career. Javon McRae holds the school’s all-time record at 2,004 points. Assuming Massinburg reaches his average of 18.7 points per game in every game he plays, he will need the three MAC Tournament games and at least two NCAA Tournament games to get the school record
“The next couple weeks is the things that we’ll remember for the rest of our life,” Massinburg said, according to the Buffalo News. “It’s the most important part. It’s what we’ve been training for the whole season, the whole offseason.
“We’re gonna be ready. We know what time it is.”
That comment tells me, watch out Akron, the Bulls are ready.
LINE: -9.5 Buffalo
Dan’s Bet: -9.5 Buffalo
Score Prediction: Buffalo 83 Akron 62