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SI: Buffalo Bulls are likely to pull off upset against Arizona Wildcats

Buffalo's Jeremy Harris, right, hugs CJ Massinburg after Buffalo defeated Toledo 76-66 during an NCAA college basketball championship game of the Mid-American Conference tournament, Saturday, March 10, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Getting to the NCAA Tournament isn’t new for the Buffalo Bulls and head coach Nate Oats, but pulling off an upset would be, since Buffalo has never won a game in the tournament.

According to Sports Illustrated’s Chris Johnson, the Bulls are the seventh most likely team to pull off a first-round upset in their matchup against the Arizona Wildcats.

Johnson did concur that Buffalo will have trouble guarding Arizona’s 7-foot-1 center, Deandre Ayton. The Bulls don’t have a single seven-foot player, and they only have three players at 6-foot-10 or taller.

However, Johnson believes that Buffalo’s wing players should worry the Wildcats.

What the Bulls do have is two members of the all-Mid-American Conference first team (junior guard C.J. Massinburg, junior forward Nick Perkins) averaging at least 16 points per game, plus an all-MAC second-teamer in 6-foot-7 junior wing (Jeremy Harris) who led all MAC players during conference play by draining 46.3 percent of his 108 three-point attempts.

The Bulls make 9.6 threes a game, the 31st most in the NCAA, on 37.1 percent of their shots. Buffalo is led by Harris who has the 23rd best three-point percentage in the NCAA.

Arizona also has a lack of legitimate perimeter defenders. While Rawle Alkins has a strong pedigree as a defender, Allonzo Trier is the only experienced wing with size outside of Alkins, leaving the Bulls with some specific matchups they can attack throughout the game.

This season, Arizona has had one of its worst defensive teams in the Sean Miller era. Miller expressed that a big reason for the team’s defensive struggles is because the Wildcats often give up open three-point shots. Arizona gives up 21.7 points a game from threes alone.


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