Another fun and good mid-major bows out of the Big Dance.
It has not been the best opening weekend for teams that this site has covered all season long. With Wofford falling to Kentucky, Florida besting Nevada, and Utah State losing to Washington, we’ve seen a lot of the teams from the top of our Other Top 25 Rankings go down early.
Unfortunately, the Buffalo Bulls — winners of 32 games this season — met a similar fate this evening at the hands of the Texas Tech Red Raiders. It was ultimately the TTU defense, which is unequivocally the best in the nation, that caused the Bulls’ downfall in a 78-58 Buffalo loss.
While the game was competitive in the first half, TTU came out after the break firing on all cylinders. They emerged with a 28-7 run over the first nine minutes of the half, effectively burying the Bulls right then and there.
Ultimately, it was a disappointing offensive performance for the Bulls, a team that both boasts a top-20 offense on KenPom and has looked like world-beaters in recent weeks, especially following a dismantling of Arizona State in the first round.
Perhaps the saddest part of this loss is that Buffalo, a team full of veterans and senior players, will be drastically different next season. Players such as CJ Massinburg, Nick Perkins, Jeremy Harris, and Dontay Caruthers will have graduated, and questions will certainly be raised about whether or not Power-5 schools will offer Nate Oats a better deal than Buffalo’s most recent five-year, $837,000 per year contract extension.
For now, we should celebrate the great season they have had and recognize the wonderful things they accomplished, chief among them being knocking PAC-12 teams out of the NCAA Tournament in two consecutive years.