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MAC Men’s Basketball Tournament Preview: Akron Zips vs. Buffalo Bulls

Anything is possible with #MACTION

Ohio v Tennessee Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bulls have been on a terror, demolishing conference and non-conference foe alike this basketball season. They have compiled a 28-3 overall record, including a 16-2 conference mark. The number 1 seed in the MAC Tournament is almost assured an NCAA birth, regardless of the outcome against the 8th seeded Akron Zips. Most would predict an easy victory for the Bulls and that could certainly happen. However, this was not the team Buffalo wanted to draw in the first round.


Game Details

  • When: Noon, Thursday, March 14th, 2019. Time subject to change.
  • Where: Quicken Loans Arena, The Land.
  • Watch and stream: ESPN +
  • Line: Buffalo -10 according to vegasinsider.com

Scouting the Zips

The Zips have a long and lean team that can play great defense, when they want to. Their offense relies on chucking up threes and hoping for the best. Their 5 leading scorers are all willing to pull up from deep, and even big man Deng Riak has thrown it up from deep 21 times this season.


Scouting the Bulls

They do everything well. Their defense is relentless with pressure. They can also do a great job stopping half court offenses, with smothering pressure on the outside and a solid presence inside. On the offensive side of the ball, they love to shoot, and have many capable shooters, including big man Nick Perkins. If there is a dent in their armor, it is when they overly rely on the jumper early in the shot clock.


Players to Watch

C.J. Massinburg, Sr, G, Buffalo: The guard is averaging 18.5 points per game and is one of the best players in the country. He shoots a blistering 41.5% from three, on over 6 attempts per contest.

Nick Perkins, Sr, F, Buffalo: The 6’9, 250lb big man comes off the bench, but generally gets starter minutes. An imposing presence inside, he can also step out and hit the three.

Jimond Ivey, Sr, G, Akron: He might be the most important person in this game. The 6’5 senior guard has been struggling from deep this season, but when he gets hot, he is fun to watch. A big game by Ivey could make this game very interesting.

Deng Riak, Jr, C, Akron: Riak has been struggling a bit as of late. He will need to maintain an inside presence to keep Buffalo from slashing to the basket and getting easy buckets.


Prediction

This game could go a couple of ways. I could easily see bad Akron being overwhelmed by a superior Buffalo team. However, good Akron is actually a good team, and can hang with them. If Akron is hitting, and maintains steady defensive pressure, look for a close game. Buffalo wins, 82-72.