Buffalo (20-10) at Oakland (18-15)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 17, 2:00 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Athletics Center O'Rena (3,000) -- Rochester Hills, Michigan. Television: None. CIT Record: Buffalo 3-1, Oakland 3-1. Series Record: First meeting.
GAME NOTES: After both posting easy victories in the first round the Buffalo Bulls and the Oakland Golden Grizzlies will meet up in the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament at Athletics Center O'Rena.
This will be the first ever meeting between these squads although Oakland has some experience against teams from the Mid-American Conference this year with a loss to MAC Champion Ohio in early December and a dominating win over Bowling Green in the first round of this event.
Buffalo had a very successful season this year posting a 19-9 record in the regular season and a 12-4 mark in the MAC which was second only to regular season champion Akron. The Bulls then fell in the semifinals of the conference tournament to eventual champion Ohio after getting a bye through the first two rounds. The Bulls seemed un-fazed by American in the first round of this event putting up a 78-61 victory, the Bulls fourth win in the last five games.
Oakland also fell in its first matchup in its conference tournament by dropping a two-point decision to Southern Utah in the Summit League quarterfinals. The Golden Grizzlies rebounded from that by dismantling Bowling Green in first-round action 86-69. It was the fourth straight game in which Oakland has scored at least 80 points.
Buffalo shot 51.6 percent from the floor and had 10 different players score in the first round while holding American to just 33.8 percent shooting in the game. Led by Zach Filzen, the Bulls knocked down 9-of-21 shots from beyond the arc to further distance themselves.
In terms of offensive efficiency, the Bulls were second to none in the MAC. The team led the conference in scoring (72.9 ppg), assists (16.5 apg) and field goal percentage (46.4) while also finding time to lead the conference, and rank fourth in Division I, in rebounding (40.4 rpg). Powering the Bulls this season was MAC Player of the Year Mitchell Watt (16.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg) who finished the season as the highest scorer in the conference and fourth in rebounding. Watt came back down to Earth with 15 points and was a rebound shy of a double-double in the first round after he averaged 25.5 points per game in the four previous outings. Filzen (12.1 ppg) was feeling it from behind the arc in the first round as he knocked down 6-of-9 shots to score all 18 of his points. Javon McCrea (14.9 ppg, 7.0 rpg) also had 18 points and has been an able scorer to complement Watt in the paint, while also ranking fifth in rebounding in the MAC. The Bulls' talent doesn't end there as Jarod Oldham (6.0 apg) was the leagues leading assist man this year.
Oakland and Bowling Green each finished with 47.5 field goal percentages in the first round, but the Golden Grizzlies were able to coast to the double- digit victory by outscoring the Falcons 36-9 from three-point range, while holding a 39-28 advantage on the boards.
The Golden Grizzlies are also a team that can score at will, finishing the year at the top of the Summit League and eighth overall in Division I at 79.8 points per game. The team's defense is lacking though, yielding a mere 78.2 points per game, which is better than only four teams in the nation. Scoring well as a team came easy for Oakland thanks in large part to Reggie Hamilton. The senior guard (25.7 ppg, 5.1 apg) all of Division I in scoring this season but wasn't just a shot taker as he handed out the second most assists per game in the Summit League this year. Hamilton was at it again against Bowling Green, pouring in 35 points on 10-of-15 shooting, including nailing 5-of-6 shots from beyond the arc and 14-of-15 from the free throw line. Travis Bader (16.0 ppg) would have been considered a prolific scorer on most other teams but was overshadowed this year and was again on Wednesday as he scored 21 points. Doing battle on the inside will be Drew Valentine (11.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg) and Corey Petros (8.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg), who can both score and rebound well.
Scoring will not be lacking in this matchup with both teams having the ability to fill up the basket. Although Buffalo doesn't have the dominant scorer in the same regard as Hamilton, the combination of Watt and McCrea along with the outside shooting of Filzen should create enough offense against a weak defensive Oakland squad.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Buffalo 80, Oakland 75
03/17 10:32:49 ET