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2019 MAC Women’s Basketball Tournament Championship Preview: Ohio Bobcats vs. Buffalo Bulls

A couple of coaches with NCAA tournament experience go head to head

NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Albany Regional-Buffalo vs South Carolina Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Two really good basketball teams are going to be playing Saturday for the MAC Tournament Championship. Also at stake is an NCAA Tournament birth, although both schools have a serious shot at an at-large bid. ESPN’s Charlie Creme had both teams on the bubble but in the tournament before their semifinal wins. There is still a lot of basketball to be played, but I really like the chances that this is a three bid league this season.

Game Details

Who: Buffalo Bulls vs. Ohio Bobcats

What: For the MAC Tournament Championship

When: 11 A.M., Saturday, March 16th, 2019

Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio

Why: A stress free selection Sunday

Watch: CBS Sports Network

Scouting the Bulls

The Bulls have one of the best players in the country in Cierra Dillard. They love to put pressure on teams. While they roughly shoot the same as their opponents, they have nearly a +4 turnover margin coupled with roughly the same rebounding margin. Their +9.3 scoring margin comes from out hustling their opponents.

Scouting the Bobcats

The Bobcats have a star of their own in CeCe Hooks. They also like to create points off of turnovers and run. One area where the Bobcats struggle is rebounding, actually getting about 2 less per contest than their opponents. They make up for it by having a lot of scoring from a lot of different places. Five Bobcats average over 10 points per game. Three of those players hit over 38% of their threes, which is a perfect compliment to Hooks’ driving style.

Players to Watch

Cierra Dillard, Buffalo: As of yesterday, Dillard was second in the country in scoring average, putting up 25.2 points per game. She scored 30 and dished 7 dimes in her game against Central Michigan.

Summer Hemphill, Buffalo: One of my favorite players to watch, she has great fundamentals and hustle, averaging 14.3 points and 10.2 rebounds on the season. Against Central Michigan, she scored 24 and grabbed 9 boards.

CeCe Hooks, Ohio: The dynamic guard slashes to the basket as well as anyone in the country, and converts over 50% of her shots because of it. She averages over 4 assists and 3 steals per game.

Erica Johnson, Ohio: The RS freshman is averaging over 14 points per contest, and 6 rebounds.


These two teams split their regular season games, with Ohio shocking the Bulls on their home court in overtime, only to be obliterated in their rematch. I think that is going to be a key in this game. Buffalo was out for revenge and handled them easily. Ohio did not help themselves by shooting terribly and making 18 turnovers. This game, I expect Ohio to be a little fresher, as they handled Miami easily in their semifinal, while Buffalo was in a battle with battle tested Central Michigan. The emotion was apparent when Cierra Dillard screamed several times at the conclusion something about the M.V.P. A motivated Buffalo team is exceptionally hard to beat. I know a MAC Championship is on the line, but just a day removed from such an emotional win, we may not see Buffalo’s best game.

This game is difficult to predict. Will Buffalo be flat? Will the young Bobcats squad be overwhelmed by the moment? Will we see a great effort by both teams playing their best? I hope so, because this has the makings for a fantastic game. The only reason I am predicting a slight Bobcats win is because it is tough to play three games in three days, and Ohio had a much easier road.