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2017 MAC Men’s Basketball Tournament Quarterfinal Preview: Buffalo vs. Kent State

Buffalo looks to make it an unprecedented three championships in a row

NCAA Basketball: Buffalo at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

While the #3 Buffalo Bulls look to extend their championship streak, the #6 Kent State Golden Flashes look to get their first basketball title since 2008.

Game Details

  • When: Thursday, March 9th, 30 minutes after the OU/Toledo game ends
  • Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Watch: Spectrum Sports
  • Stream: ESPN3 or via the WatchESPN app
  • Listen: 1520-AM WWKB for Buffalo, WHLO/IHeart for Kent
  • Line: Buffalo -3

Scouting the Golden Flashes

The Golden Flashes are led by a pair of seniors, Deon Edwin and Jimmy Hall. Both are well rounded, and consistent.

Other than leading the MAC in rebounding and rebounding margin, there is no team stat that jumps out. They are good, not great, at everything.

The senior leadership makes them extremely resilient. After going on a losing streak in the middle of the season, they bounced back and won 5 of their last 6 games in the regular season. In the first round game against Central Michigan, they were down 17 early and 13 at the half, before coming back to win in overtime.

Scouting the Bulls

Buffalo started off MAC play on the skids, but ended up the season nicely, securing the 3rd seed.

They are one of the most athletic teams in the MAC, but are prone to taking bad shots and looking disinterested at times. Better shot selection has led to more points, which has led to better focus on both ends of the floor.

They are number 2 in the conference in rebounding, just behind the Golden Flashes.

Players to Watch

Jimmy Hall, Kent: Hall is one of the most consistent players in the MAC, pulling down a double-double 13 times in league play, and the last 6 games.

Deon Edwin, Kent: Third on the team with 13.4 points per game, he was also named to the All-MAC defensive team.

Blake Hamilton, Buffalo: The senior forward is averaging 17.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.

CJ Massinburg, Buffalo: The 6’3 sophomore guard is averaging 14.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Both he and Hamilton are extremely hard to guard, because they can go anywhere on the floor with effectiveness.

Keys to the Game

These are two fairly even teams, that split the regular season. All the cliche’s apply, like protecting the ball, keeping up defensive pressure, and taking good shots. The latter really applies to Buffalo.

Kent State needs to avoid a letdown after the huge win against CMU, and not let Buffalo get out to a large lead early. They aren’t a defensive sieve like CMU, so a comeback isn’t as likely.


I think this will be another great game between two good teams. Buffalo will be a little too much in the end, and wins 70-68.