Men’s basketball earns AP recognition

Bulls earn 14 votes in opening poll

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The Associated Press released its annual list of the Top 25 men’s college basketball teams on Monday. After last season’s historical NCAA tournament run, the Bulls received 14 votes to be in the top 25. This is the first time in program history they received votes to start the season.

“Yeah, you don't have to explain Buffalo basketball anymore to anybody,” said head coach Nate Oats in an interview on Friday. “They watched us on national TV pound Arizona pretty good. So, I think we got a little bit more of a national [reputation]. It helps with recruiting, it helps with everything really. Our guys have a higher level of expectations for themselves, we expect more out of ourselves. It's been really good for the program.”

The Bulls have gained votes over the offseason despite the losses of key players Wes Clark and Ikenna Smart. In AP’s postseason poll, the Bulls had five votes. The additions of freshmen Jeenathan Williams and Ronaldo Segu and transfers like Tra’Von Fagan have added depth to an already deep Buffalo team.

Seniors CJ Massinburg, Jeremy Harris and Nick Perkins will lead Buffalo this season after each averaging over 15 points per game last year. All three will hope to get looked at by NBA teams and be the first Bull ever drafted into the league.

Buffalo has been picked to be this year’s “Cinderella team” in the March Madness tournament despite the season not starting yet.

Oats and the Bulls return to action this Friday against Daemen College in an exhibition with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m.

Nathaniel Mendelson is the sports editor and can be reached at nathaniel.mendelson@ubspectrum.com and on Twitter @NateMendelson