Bulls have MAC quarterfinal matinee
Tip-off: 2:30 p.m., Wednesday, Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland. TV: ESPN+
Radio: ESPN 1520.
Records: No. 4 Buffalo 20-9 vs. No. 5 Kent State 19-11.
Last time out: The Bulls and Golden Flashes faced each other just last Saturday at the M.A.C. Center in Kent, Ohio. Kent State won 62-53, holding UB to its lowest-scoring game of the season. UB was limited to 20 field goals, just four 3-pointers and a 38.5 field goal percentage. While UB had a bye, Kent State defeated Bowling Green, 86-62, at home on Monday in the first round of the MAC tournament.
History: Kent State owns a 2817 advantage in the rivalry with
UB. However, UB is 13-2 against the Golden Flashes since Felisha Legette-Jack became the Bulls’ coach in 2012-13, including the first nine. Under coach Todd Starkey, Kent State is 1-4 against UB. In
MAC tournament games, UB is 2-2 against Kent State including a 72-50 triumph in the 2018 quarterfinals in Cleveland.
Offense vs. defense: UB is averaging 74.4 points a game, which ranks third in the MAC and 26th in the nation. The Bulls have scored 80 or more points 11 times including six times over 90. They are 9-2 when they score 80 or more. Kent State is limiting opponents to 61.3 points a game, third in the MAC and its 37.5 defensive field goal percentage is first in the conference.
On the boards: UB is second in the conference with 41.2 rebounds per MAC game. Junior Summer Hemphill is second in the MAC with a 10.4 rebound average in conference games. UB is 15-4 in games where it’s won the rebounding.
The Treasure of Cierra: UB senior Cierra Dillard was named first team All-MAC this week. Hemphill was a second team choice. Both Dillard and Hemphill had below-par performances in last week’s loss to Kent State. Dillard, who averages 25.3, was held to 18 points by the Golden Flashes, only the fourth time all season she was under 20. Hemphill had no field goals and four points. Dillard made only 12 of 44 field goal tries, 5 for 24, in the last two games.
Turning it over: UB forces 19.3 turnovers a game, second in the MAC and 41st in the NCAA.
Flashy Flashes: Kent State had no first team All-MAC selections but junior guard Megan Carter was a third team selection, freshman guard Asiah Dingle made the MAC All-Freshman team and senior guard Alexa Golden made the MAC All-Defensive team. Carter averages 15.9 points, Dingle 13.1 and had 76 steals. Lindsey Thall, a 6-2 freshman, is Kent’s top 3-point shooting threat. She leads the team with 59 made threes and a .410 percentage from outside the arc. Dillard’s .346 percentage on threes is UB’s best.
Dance card: No. 1 seed Central Michigan is the defending MAC Tournament champion and the favorite to receive the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Chippewas defeated UB in the championship game last year, but the Bulls received an at-large bid to the NCAAs and advanced as far as the Sweet Sixteen with wins over Florida State and South Florida. Barring an early exit from the conference tournament, UB would seem to be an at-large candidate should it fail to gain the automatic bid.
Next: The UB-Kent State winner will the face the winner of Wednesday’s first quarterfinal game between No. 1 Central Michigan and No. 9 Eastern Michigan at 11 a.m. on Friday.
University at Buffalo forward Summer Hemphill is averaging a double-double this season.