In the second round of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, two teams looking for their first win of the season will be paired up when the Buffalo Bulls take on the Florida State Seminoles at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
Buffalo dropped its season opener, which was also the first home game, with a 57-53 loss to Princeton. A loss like that was a surprise for a Buffalo team that has had 20 or more wins in three of the last four seasons and finished 12-2 on its home court a year ago.
The Bulls' home loss was nothing compared to the stunner that Florida State was handed in its season opener. The Seminoles, fresh off an ACC Tournament title, lost 76-71 at home to a South Alabama squad that won 17 games last season. Florida State will travel to the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn, New York for the next leg of the tournament where the Seminoles face BYU.
This marks the first time the Seminoles and Bulls have gone head-to-head.
Perhaps it was off-season rust, but Buffalo struggled on offense early in its loss to Princeton. The Bulls failed to score for almost the first eight minutes and shot only 31.6 percent shooting in the first half. The Bulls improved only slightly in the second half, hitting on 37.5 percent of its field goal attempts.
Offensive struggles were not something Buffalo is accustomed to dealing with. Last season the Bulls led the Mid-American Conference in a slew of offensive categories, including scoring (73 ppg), assists (16.5 pg) and field goal percentage (.465). The Bulls also dominated on the boards with the fourth best rebounding average in the country (40.2 ppg). Much of that effort came from MAC Player of the Year Mitchell Watt (16.3 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.2 bpg). Watt is now gone but that didn't leave Buffalo devastated. Forward Javon McCrea (14.7 ppg, 6.9 rpg) was a Player of the Year candidate himself with his ability to score and rebound. McCrea played sparingly in the first half due to foul trouble against Princeton and had just a single rebound and no points. He erupted in the second half for 22 points, seven boards and three blocks. Another important holdover from last season was Jarod Oldham who led the MAC in assists last season (6.0 pg). With the offense struggling Oldham managed only three assists, while scoring seven points in the opener.
It came down to three-point shooting for Florida State in its loss to South Alabama. Despite the teams being just about even in field goal percentage, the Jaguars were more successful from beyond the arc and outscored the Seminoles 27-15 on points from the three-point line.
Last season's sparkplug, Michael Snaer was a big reason Florida State lost. After averaging 14.0 points per game last season, Snaer finished with only 10 points, while turning the ball over five times. What was particularly worrying was Snaer's inability to convert from beyond the arc. A career 37.4 percent shooting from long range, Snaer missed all six of his shots from long range. Ian Miller (10.3 ppg) pairs in the backcourt at the point with Snaer but he also struggled in the opener with just eight points on 2-of-7 shooting. He did manage to pass the ball somewhat well with four assists. There is a great deal of size on the roster for Florida State with a pair of seven-footers, although both Michael Ojo (7-1) and Boris Bojanovsky (7-3) combined for just two points and a rebound in 11 total minutes. Okaro White (nine points) and Kiel Turpin (four points ) are likely t get the majority of the frontcourt minutes this season.