What the Miami Hurricanes are saying about the UB Bulls

Miami sees Buffalo as fast-paced and comparable to ACC teams, but still good matchup for them


PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND – The Buffalo men’s basketball team will face Miami (25-7, 13-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence Rhode Island Thursday night.

The Bulls (20-14, 10-8 Mid-American Conference) are the No. 14 seed and heavy underdogs, but the Hurricanes favorably compared them to some ACC teams Wednesday afternoon, though they maintained they feel confident Buffalo is good matchup for them.

Here’s what Miami had to say about the Bulls.

Jim Larrañaga, Miami head coach

“I think the University at Buffalo is kind of similar to us in that they utilize ball screens a lot. And the team in our league that does that a lot is Virginia Tech. But I also think that their tempo is very, very fast, similar to another team in our league, Wake Forest, who runs a lot.”

“I think the game will be played at a very fast pace. Our guys got to use their speed and our quickness to make sure they’re not giving up easy baskets to Buffalo.”

“It’s not what you’re doing to November, December, January, it’s what you’re doing in March. And they shot the ball pretty darn well in the MAC Tournament … For our defense to be as good as it needs to be, we can’t allow them to go off from the three-point line.”

“When I watch Buffalo, they’re not only an experienced team, they’re an experienced NCAA Tournament team. They were in the dance last year. They’ve represented the Mid-American Conference now two years in a row. They’ve got guys who have a lot of confidence, playing with a swag. They handle the ball very well, [Lamonte] Bearden especially. He’s very good getting to the basket, getting to the rim and creating baskets for himself and for others. If they’re shooting the ball from three point range like they did in the MAC Tournament, they’re a very, very tough team.”

Jekiri Tonye, senior center

“They’re more a team that’s like a Virginia Tech … They’re pretty fast.”

“They try to spread the floor and drive. They’re a three-point shooting team also. Today in practice we were just working on our defense and switching.”

Angel Rodriguez, senior guard

“I think overall they’re a good matchup for us … They play a lot of guards, and a lot of them do a lot of scoring. They drive. They’re also very capable of shooting the three.”

“I have tremendous belief in our team and our guards and our bigs and doing what we need to do to stop them. But overall it should be a pretty good ball game, good guards going against good guards. At the same time I think we gotta take opportunities with our bigs, with Tonye and feeding him the ball and letting him go to work. I think with the size advantage [Jekiri] should be able to cause a lot of problems for them and that will open up our game as guards.”

Tom Dinki is the editor in chief and can be reached at tom.dinki@ubspectrum.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tomdinki.