7:00 PM EST, Alumni Arena
Buffalo 17-12 (8-8), CMU: 10-20 (7-9)
Radio: WECK 1230 AM Buffalo, CMU Sports Radio Network
Winner plays (1) Kent State at Quicken Loans Arena
Well, hey, the 8-vs-9 game is bound to be competitive! Ha, you greenhorn. If you didn't catch Ken Pomeroy's mathematical predictions for the MAC tournament, Buffalo's actually the "favorite." As the 8-seed. And in the span of one seed, chances to win it all go from 1-in-5 to 1-in-2000. Insert uproarious laughter.
Their First Meeting: The Bulls thwomped CMU 72-43 in Alumni Arena, because that's just how UB rolls at home. No mercy, no letting up, but there are usually seats available.
Keys for Buffalo: Check the schedule, and check again, and just perhaps call the MAC and verify that this game isn't in Mount Pleasant. It's in Buffalo? Excellent; that'll help. Byron Mulkey is going to make things happen on offense and defense, perhaps defending young Trey and make him shoot 15 times to score 10 points. He and/or Zach Filzen will do most of the shooting outside, with Javon McCrea doing the natural heavy lifting inside against The Fro. In the aforementioned first matchup, Mitchell Watt had six blocks. Yeah, do that again.
Keys for CMU: Put Trey Zeigler into an aging machine, and make him a senior by tipoff. If the game's going to be put in his hands, it might be a long night, but Jalin Thomas oughta be able to help out on scoring and rebounding. Andre Coimbra must also be involved, not only to bully around McCrea but anyone else that comes into the paint. And we talk so much about Zeigler, but Derek Jackson is also being thrust into the role of freshman starter. At point guard. Yikes. Whatever he can do to control the tempo would be mightily helpful.
Likely Final Score: Buffalo 67, Central Michigan 59