Who: Buffalo Bulls and Kent State Golden Flashes
Where: M.A.C. Center - Kent, Ohio
When: Friday 7:00 p.m. (ET) CBS Sports Network
Kent State Golden Flashes
In Kent's opening contest they scored 87 points against Western Michigan but struggled mightily from beyond the arc. The Golden Flashes need to showcase energy as the Bulls are quite the feisty team themselves. They were tested early in non-conference play as they played Pittsburgh, Southern Illinois, Penn State, and SMU.
A key stat to follow is the turnover battle. Kent State won the turnover battle 19-8 in their opening contest against Western Michigan, and Buffalo had some troubles with turnovers against Akron. Those 19 turnovers turned into 28 points for Kent State in a game where they didn't showcase their best shooting effort. Kent State will have to continue to work the ball in the paint as they scored a majority of their points in the paint on opening night.
Jimmy Hall is the man to watch for the Golden Flashes as he's been their most consistent scorer on the season. He showcases a complete effort with 15 points a game and six rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the field and 70 percent from the line. They average 77 points a game as a team while Kellon Thomas, Xavier Pollard and Hall contribute 40 points a game, half of Kent's average.
If Kent State is going to improve to 2-0 in MAC play Thomas, Pollard and Hall need to have strong games or else it could be a long game for the Flashes.
Buffalo is a little bit harder to figure out after going 7-6 in a tough non conference schedule that featured road games at Duke, Iowa State and VCU. I had pegged their opening game against Akron to be a blowout in the open chat but the Bulls hung in there and ended up losing by single digits.
The Bulls, like Kent State, average 77 points per game while having six scorers average nine or more points a game. Blake Hamilton has shown a lot of promise this year as a junior, averaging 11 points and six rebounds while also shooting 45 percent from the field. It's pretty impressive as he took three years off from basketball and is still contributing at a high level.
I expect a hard fought effort from the Bulls but see Kent State pulling away late for a double digit win at home. It's still quite early in MAC play but hopefully we'll get a better idea of these two teams Friday night in Kent.