by Paul Peck, Buffalo Sports Page
Tulsa, OK: The UB Bulls open play in the 2019 NCAA Tournament on Friday, when the take on former head coach Bobby Hurley and the Arizona State Sun Devils. The game will be played in Tulsa, OK’s BOK Center. It is scheduled to tipoff at 4pm EST.
Here are some notes and tidbits to get you ready for the game:
- Jeremy Harris has been dubbed “Mr. March” by Bulls coach Nate Oats. Here’s why. In 8 postseason games with the Bulls (MAC Tournament & NCAA Tournament), Harris is averaging 19.8 points per game.
- Harris had 23 points in UB’s upset win over Arizona last year.
- In his last five games, including the three wins at the MAC Tournament in Cleveland, Harris is averaging 20 points per game.
- Bulls senior guard C.J. Massinburg has 1958 career points, good for second on UB’s alltime scoring list. He trails only Javon McCrea’s, who sits at 2004 points. Massinburg is 46 points from tying the record. He’ll need to average 23 points if Bulls play two games in the NCAA, 15 points if the Bulls advance to the Sweet 16.
- Bulls senior forward Nick Perkins has averaged 14 points per game in three career NCAA Tournament games, including 20 vs. Miami during his freshman year in 2016.
- Bulls senior guard Dontay Caruthers has drawn 25 charges this season.
- UB is getting good production from sophomore Jayvon Graves. He’s scored more than 10 points in five of his last seven games.
- The Bulls rank 5th in the NCAA in points per game (84.9). They have shot the 8th most three pointers of any team, and have pulled down the 4th most rebounds in the nation.
- This is the first ever meeting between Buffalo and Arizona State.
- Despite the coaching connection between Nate Oats and Bobby Hurley, Massinburg says the two teams only have “1 or 2” of the same plays. Oats has made significant adjustments to the style Hurley brought to UB in 2013.
- According to the basketball analytics site kenpom.com, the Bulls run their offense the 5th fastest in the country, shooting on average in 14.4 seconds per possession.
- At 6th, the Bulls are the highest seeded MAC team in conference history.
- The Sun Devils have won seven of their last nine games, and are in the NCAA Tournament for back to back seasons for the first time since 1980-81.
- The only current player on the UB roster that Hurley had contact with is Perkins. He was part of Nick’s recruiting before leaving for the desert.
- ASU is in the top twenty in the NCAA in rebounds, and top ten in free throws made and attempted.
- Arizona State’s basketball alums include James Harden, Byron Scott and Lafayette “Fat” Lever.