The Edge: UB vs Akron

A position-to-position breakdown for Tuesday’s game

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Buffalo men’s basketball has rattled off five-straight wins after losing a heart breaker to Bowling Green on Feb. 1. The Bulls defeated some of the top competition in the Mid-American Conference with wins against Toledo and Kent State. They also beat Akron on the road 76-70 earlier this month. 

Akron has lost three of its past four games with losses to Buffalo, Ball State and Bowling Green before adding another to the win column last week against Miami (OH). Akron is 12-2 at home this season but only 1-8 on the road. The Bulls boast one of the longest home win records in the country at 24 straight.

Guard - Bulls

Buffalo has unmatchable depth at the guard position that gives them the edge over most schools in the country without even looking at stats. Senior CJ Massinburg is the star that, night in and night out, gives Buffalo 20 points without even breaking a sweat. The recent emergence of Jayvon Graves has made the Bulls even more dangerous. Senior Dontay Caruthers is known as being a force on the defensive end but isn’t afraid to ball out offensively when he’s feeling it. 

He scored 15 on 6-8 shooting Buffalo’s last matchup with Akron. The Zips have their own dynamic backcourt with Loren Cristian Jackson and Jimond Ivey leading the way and Tyler Cheese locking it down defensively. Cheese had six steals in their last matchup. Still, Buffalo has junior Davonta Jordan and freshman Ronaldo Segu holding it down as the true point guard playing selfless basketball.

Forward - Bulls

There’s no doubt that the group of guards the Bulls have is the deeper and more talented bunch. But the edge still goes to UB’s bigs. Senior Montell McRae has been one of the most efficient scorers in the nation this year and has made 59 percent of his shots. Senior Nick Perkins can physically match up with anyone down on the low block and post up despite being traditionally undersized. Perkins struggles at times when playing against larger bigs but should have no trouble against Akron’s frontcourt of Deng Riak and Daniel Utomi. Buffalo also has senior forward Jeremy Harris, who at 6 feet 7 inches has the size and speed to drive past most traditional bigs and the shooting ability to keep them out of the paint.

Coaches - Bulls

How can you pick against Nate Oats? Easy, don’t. 

Oats is one of the brightest young coaches in the NCAA right now and deserves every right to be the reigning MAC men’s basketball coach of the year. Oats, in four season, has an 88-42 record, tying him with Bobby Hurley for highest winning percentage of all time at .677. He would have the record with a win on Tuesday putting him at .679.

Atmosphere - Bulls

Buffalo will be home again on Tuesday in front of, what will most likely be, another sold-out crowd at Alumni Arena. Buffalo was ranked as the number-one atmosphere to play in for the MAC by other MAC coaches earlier this season. The Bulls have drawn standing-room-only crowds recently and there can’t be that much other things to do in Buffalo on a Tuesday night, so expect it to be packed.

Sports desk can be reached at sports@ubspectrum.com.