by Paul Peck, Buffalo Sports Page
Tulsa, OK: The Bulls will go for their first ever trip to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 today, when they play Texas Tech in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It’s a contrast in styles, and whichever team can play closer to their style will be the one heading to Anaheim, CA to play Michigan next week.
— UB Men’s Basketball (@UBmenshoops) March 23, 2019
Here are some storylines, tibbits and facts to get you ready for the game:
- Bulls senior C.J. Massinburg set the record for points in a season in the win over Arizona State. Now, his target is the school’s career mark. He is 24 points away from 2000 in his career. His is 28 points away from Javon McRea’s career mark of 2,004. A big game today, or a very good game that sends the Bulls to the Sweet 16 will make Massinburg’s the school’s alltime best.
- Jeremy Harris, “Mr. March,” continues to dominate this month. He scored 21 points in the win over Arizona State. That ups his NCAA average to 18 points in his three NCAA contests. Add in the MAC Tournament, and in 9 postseason career games, he is averaging 19.9 points per game. Thus, the nickname.
- Harris and Nick Perkins both had 21 points and 10 rebounds in the win over the Sun Devils. It’s the first time since 2011 that the Bulls had two players with double-doubles in the same game.
- Sophomore guard Jayvon Graves has been a critical scoring option for the Bulls. He had 13 vs. ASU, the 6th time in the last 8 games he’s reached double-figures. Graves is averaging 13 points in each of his last four games.
- The Bulls average 85.1 points per game, that’s 4th in the NCAA. They have scored over 80 points in a game 25 times. They have topped 90 points eight times.
- In contract, Texas Tech allows only 59.2 points per game. That’s the 3rd best figure in the NCAA. The Red Raiders have allowed over 70 points in a game just 5 times, over 80 points just once. 11 Tech opponents have been held under 55 points.
- But Bulls Head Coach Nate Oats points out that Texas Tech did not face a lot of high-powered offense in their conference, the Big 12. That may have a lot to do with those stats. Iowa State, at #65, is the highest ranked scoring team in the conference. They are almost 10 points less per game than UB. Eight of the ten Big 12 teams rank 100 or higher in points per game.
- Red Raiders sophomore guard Jarrett Culver is the Big 12 Player of the Year, and a likely high draft pick in this year’s NBA Draft. Most experts predict him to go somewhere between fifth and tenth. He averages 19 points per game, and scored 29 in the Red Raiders win over Northern Kentucky on Friday.
- The Red Raiders are one of the better shot blocking teams in the NCAA. They rank 14th in the country. Six-foot-ten inch Tariq Owens is 12th in the NCAA, and has had a block in 33 straight games. He had eight in game against Memphis in December.
- UB’s Harris picked the Bulls over Texas Tech when he was coming out of junior college. Massinburg was an AAU teammate of Culver in Texas, although they didn’t play on the same team due to their age difference.
- A Bulls win would send them to Anaheim, CA for Thursday’s Sweet 16 for a matchup with WNY native John Beilein and the Michigan Wolverines. Former UB Athletic Director Warde Manuel holds that current job in Ann Arbor.