UB winter semester games to watch

The best match ups during a busy winter season

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Buffalo in the winter is when the arctic comes to Western New York. The brutal cold mixed with lake-effect snow guarantees anyone here will be stuck inside. Luckily, UB’s biggest sports programs have Buffalonians covered with championship and high-level games to watch.

The Spectrum compiled the games that will keep Bulls fans busy as they wait for more classes at the end of January.

Men’s basketball vs. The Syracuse Orange (Dec. 18)

The Bulls (8-0) have a rematch from last season at the Carrier Dome, when head coach Nate Oats looks to lead his team past the Orangemen (6-2). The game will decide the best college basketball team in New York, with the No. 17 Bulls currently riding their best Division I season start. The Orange have looked solid with junior guard Tyus Battle, who averages 17 points a game. Head coach Jim Boeheim is 13-0 against Buffalo as a coach, with Buffalo’s last win against Syracuse coming in 1963. The Bulls will have a better chance at an at-large bid if they can beat the Orange.

Women’s basketball vs. The Stanford Cardinal (Dec. 21)

Buffalo (6-1) has a number of key non-conference matchups, but the only major game at home is against No. 11 Stanford (6-1). The Bulls have started the season strong, picking up big-conference wins. Buffalo’s only loss was to the No. 3 Oregon Ducks (7-0), losing 102-82 on the road. The Bulls have shown their ability to score when it matters, with senior guard Cierra Dillard being a reliable scoring option for the team. The Cardinal will come in as the favorite, having beaten ranked teams this season. Still, Buffalo has what it takes to pull off the upset at home.

Men’s basketball vs. The Marquette Golden Eagles (Dec. 21)

Oats and company will follow up the Syracuse game with a road meeting with the Marquette Golden Eagles (7-2). The Golden Eagles have come into their own, recently beating the No. 16 ranked Kansas State Wildcats (6-1). The Golden Eagles, led by junior guard Markus Howard, have won close games while finding their shot from the court. Howard had 45 points against Kansas State and averages 22.4 points a game. With Buffalo playing both sides of the ball strong and senior guard CJ Massinburg being sensational scoring, the Bulls matchup against one of their toughest opponents this season.

The Dollar General Bowl (Dec. 22)

Football (10-3) will play in its first bowl game in five years when the Bulls take on the Troy Trojans (9-3) at the Dollar General Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. Buffalo comes in off a heartbreaking 30-29 MAC Championship loss to the Northern Illinois Huskies (8-5). The Bulls used their strong passing game all year to become bowl eligible and win the MAC East Division. The Titans used a strong defense to earn their wins, holding their past eight opponents to less than 25 points. The game should be tight, with the teams having clashing strengths for the nationally broadcasted game.

Women’s basketball vs. The Ohio Bobcats (Jan. 5)

Mid-American Conference play starts for Buffalo right after the new year, when the Bulls meet the Ohio Bobcats (7-0) at Alumni Arena. Ohio has started the year strong with a 6-0 record. The Bobcats have used their great shooting to make the most of scoring opportunities and chances at the free-throw line. Both will most likely come in with two of the conference’s best records, so expect early MAC Championship seeding to be in play.

Thomas Zafonte is the senior sports editor and can be reached at thomas.zafonte@ubspectrum.com and on Twitter @Thomas_Spectrum