Sure, you’re focused on football, sure. But let’s not forget your round-balled MAC friends from the basketball world. Schedules are taking shape and you can begin to make some plans and circle some dates on days to prepare for SHOOYHOOPS action.
This week, the Buffalo Bulls, our MAC brothers to the northeast, announced that their 2017-2018 men’s basketball schedule has taken final shape, and it’s a surprisingly good one. The highlight for the Bulls are trips to Syracuse and Texas A&M, along with a tourney in the Cayman Islands. Throw in last year’s OVC champs and you’ll find a schedule that’s challenging but not impossible, and one that will prepare the Bulls well for the MAC season and the postseason.
Per Buffalo’s release...
Men's basketball head coach Nate Oats has announced the remainder of his non-conference schedule on Thursday, putting together a challenging slate of 13 regular season contests leading into MAC play.
The year will begin with an exhibition contest on Friday, Nov. 3 when the Bulls will face Daemen College for the third straight year. As announced on Tuesday, the regular season will begin at home on Saturday, November 11 against Big 4 Rival, Canisius. Tip off of that game will be at 1pm and will be part of a weekend that feature women's basketball, men's basketball, and a pair of home volleyball matches
Buffalo will remain in the friendly confines of Alumni Arena on Wednesday, November 15 when they welcome Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Champions Jacksonville State into town. That will then send the Bulls on their first road trip as they head down to the Cayman Island Classic. It was earlier announced that Buffalo would play Cincinnati in the first round on Nov. 20. UB is guaranteed to play three games down at the Cayman Islands Classic with other teams including Iowa, Louisiana-Lafayette, Wyoming, South Dakota State, Richmond, and UAB.
UB returns to Western New York following that trip for Big 4 games that have previously been announced at Niagara (12/29) and home against St. Bonaventure (12/2). The Bulls will then travel down to Delaware on Dec. 6before returning home for a pair of games against Division II's Central Penn College (12/9) and Robert Morris (12/16).
Buffalo will be back on the road for a challenging week against two Power 5 schools as they travel to Syracuse of the ACC on Dec. 19 and Texas A&M of the SEC on Dec. 21 before heading into a brief Christmas break. The Bulls will then conclude their non-conference slate at home on Dec. 28 when they host NJIT.
The Mid-American Conference schedule will begin following the new year on Jan. 2. Conference games will be announced in conjunction with the league office later this summer.
"I think this will be one of our best non-conference schedules that will allow our fans to come see us play at home as well as challenge us on the road against some national powerhouses," said Oats. "Our goal is a Mid-American Conference title and I believe this schedule will put us in the best position to compete for that goal."
Maybe I’m being overly optimistic, but this season is shaping up to be a special one in the MAC. There’s at least a half dozen squads that have a legitimate shot at the conference title, and with it the NCAA berth. Could this be the year that the MAC returns to some SHOOTYHOOPS glory and makes an NCAA tourney run? Quite possibly.