Every bubble team will have an eye on the Mid-American Conference Championship game. Saturday’s tilt between the No. 3 Bowling Green State Falcons (22-11) and the No. 1 Buffalo Bulls (30-3) should be a great one. However, the Bulls are already a lock to get into the NCAA Tournament, The Falcons need one more win to join the MAC regular season champion into the Big Dance.
Bowling Green State (22-11) vs. No. 18 Buffalo Bulls (30-3)
When: Saturday March 16
Tip Time: 7:30 p.m.
Where: Quicken Loans Arena
Betting Line: Buffalo -10 o/u 159
Bowling Green State Breakdown
The Falcons split with the Bulls during the regular season. They won 92-88 during a home game in the beginning of February. The Bulls returned the favor on the final day of the regular season with a 84-73 loss. Now, it’s a winner take the automatic bid.
Bowling Green defeated Ball State 99-86 in the quarterfinals. They returned Friday night to defeat upset-minded Northern Illinois, 71-67. The game was close at the end. However, the Falcons held a 23-point lead at halftime. Were they looking ahead to a matchup against the Bulls? Probably. Now, they are 40 minutes plus whatever is needed to earn that automatic bid.
Dylan Frye led the Falcons with 25 points on 4 of 8 shooting from 3-point range. Justin Turner didn’t need to be an offensive force with such a big lead. He finished the game with 14 points on 4 of 8 shooting. The Falcons have three players scoring in double figures on a nightly basis. However, it may take an unsung effort from a role player to get this victory.
We already know the Bulls don’t have much to play for. They already have a school record 30 wins. Anything else before the NCAA Tournament is just the icing on the cake. Who are we kidding? The Bulls are attempting to win their second straight MAC Championship. They are also going for their fourth automatic bid in the last five seasons.
The Bulls defeated Akron, 82-46 in the quarterfinals. They held on for an 85-81 win over Central Michigan Friday night. We almost had a bid stealing moment before C.J. Massinburg took over down the stretch. Although Massinburg scored 21 points, he struggled throughout the game. He shot 5 of 17 from the field. Yet, he came through in the clutch, making 8 of 10 foul shots. The Bulls had five players reach double figures overall. Davonta Jordan scored 16 points.
However, they shot 6 of 32 from 3-point range as a team. Once again, it displayed their toughness in games when shots aren’t falling with regularity. The Bulls are (11-0) when shooting below 30 percent from 3-point range. They still don’t have to take as many 3-pointers if the shots aren’t falling early. There were a couple of iffy attempts as the game closed in the second half.
Picks and Prediction–
The Bulls are scoring 84.9 points per game. The Falcons are scoring 78.6 points per game. If the first two games are any indication, the championship contest should be well-played on both ends. The Bulls have had a habit of jumping out to big leads then letting opponents back into the game. It wouldn’t be shocking to see that happen again.
Buffalo 86 – Bowling Green 82