Spectrum season predictions: men's and women's basketball
Published: Sunday, November 3, 2013
Updated: Sunday, November 3, 2013 20:11
As the men's and women's basketball teams prepare for their 2013-14 campaigns to get underway, The Spectrum's sports staff gives its prediction for each team's record, breakout player and Mid-American Conference Tournament finish.
Men’s basketball predictions
Record: 18-11, 11-7 MAC
The arrival of Bobby Hurley has led to some of the biggest expectations in Buffalo men’s basketball history. His presence along with big men Javon McCrea and Will Regan and emerging guard play make 2013-14 look to be ‘the year.’
We predict the Bulls to have a strong start to the season and enter conference play 7-4. The other teams in the Big 4 (Canisius, St. Bonaventure and Niagara, with the potential exception of Canisius) appear to be weaker than in previous seasons, which favors Buffalo.
Once conference play begins, Buffalo’s first half of the schedule is much lighter than it has been in recent years. The Bulls’ strong start will lead to an 11-7 finish and a second-place finish in the MAC East.
Senior guard Josh Freelove transferred to Buffalo shortly after Hurley signed at UB. Freelove led Alabama State with 13.3 points per game and 44 three-point goals last year and he is eligible to play immediately. The athletic swingman should thrive in Hurley’s fast-paced offense and can play a multitude of different positions.
“He’s got a point guard’s handle and he can break the defense down and make plays,” Hurley said. “I think he’ll complement what we do on the inside, because he can really score on the perimeter. It’s nice to have that luxury of a veteran player that’s been a double-figure scorer and been real productive and had him to the mix on the perimeter.”
MAC Tournament finish
Realistically, this is the only part of the season that matters this year. Regardless of how many games the Bulls win, an early exit from the MAC Tournament means a failure of a year. We predict the Bulls will make a deep run but ultimately fall short in the championship game.
Women’s basketball predictions
Record: 17-12, 10-8 MAC
After one of the most successful opening seasons for a new coach in program history, the Bulls’ expectations for 2013-14 have increased immensely. The team’s 12-20 (9-9 MAC) record and upset victory over Miami Ohio was a shock to the local basketball community. This year, the team won’t get off to an abysmal 1-9 start, but should see steady success throughout the season.
Junior forward Kristen Sharkey saved her best performance for last in her sophomore campaign.
Sharkey totaled a career-high 26 points and seven rebounds in Buffalo’s 83-79 loss to Akron in the MAC quarterfinals. In the team’s second exhibition this season, she recorded 22 points and 12 rebounds in 26 minutes. Expect to see a lot of Sharkey dominating inside the paint and emerging as a top post threat in the conference ranks.
MAC Tournament finish
A deep postseason run is no longer a shock for the Bulls. It’s an expectation. After losing only one senior from last season, Buffalo has the experience to not only compete, but win its first championship in program history.
We predict the Bulls will make the next step but fall shy of a championship. Buffalo should survive an extra night in Cleveland for the MAC Tournament, but we predict the squad will lose in the semifinals.