Buffalo (18-13) at Quinnipiac (22-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, March 14th, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: TD Bank Sports Center (3,570) -- Hamden, Connecticut. Television: FCS. CIT Record: Buffalo 0-0, Quinnipiac 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The first Division I postseason game of 2011 is set for this evening in Hamden, Connecticut, as the Quinnipiac Bobcats host the Buffalo Bulls in first-round action of the third-annual CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
Reggie Witherspoon's Bulls had a nice season posting an 18-13 mark, including an 8-8 record in Mid-American Conference play. The team was ousted in the quarterfinals of its conference tournament last week by top-seed Kent State, 73-62. This is the Bulls' third postseason appearance at the Division I level, having participated in the 2005 NIT and the 2009 CBI.
The Bobcats had a strong season under fourth-year coach Tom Moore. Quinnipiac finished 22-9 overall and 13-5 in the Northeast Conference. The Bobcats were bounced from the NEC Tournament in the semifinals, by third-seed Robert Morris, 64-62. Quinnipiac is making its second straight postseason appearance, the only ones for the team at the Division I level. The team dropped a first- round matchup with Virginia Tech in last year's NIT.
This is the first-ever meeting between these two teams on the hardwood.
The Bulls come into the postseason as a solid unit at the offensive end of the floor. The team is averaging a modest 71.4 ppg, but makes the most of each trip up and down the floor, converting .477 from the field overall and .382 from behind the arc. It is a three-pronged attack in terms of scoring, headlined by Zach Filzen. The junior guard ranks third nationally in three- pointers (3.4 per game) and comes in averaging 15.7 ppg. Byron Mulkey can fill up the basket as well at 13.5 ppg, but is also known for his defensive grit, leading the MAC in steals this year (2.6 per game). Freshman forward Javon McCrea is the ultimate weapon on the bench, averaging 11.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, en route to being tabbed MAC Freshman of the Year. He scored a freshman school-record 28 points in the last game against Kent State. McCrea finished tops in the MAC this year in field-goal percentage at .637.
The Bobcats had plenty of success this season and the duo of James Johnson and Justin Rutty were the primary reason why. Both players earned All-NEC First- Team honors, while Rutty was also tabbed NEC Player of the Year. Johnson represent's the team's backcourt catalyst, showing the ability to both score (16.1 ppg) and distribute (3.6 apg). Rutty is tops in NEC history in rebounding and comes into this game averaging 14.6 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Deontay Twyman gives the team a third option in terms of scoring at 12.3 ppg. A real area of strength for Quinnipiac this season has been rebounding. The Bobcats led the nation in offensive boards (16.1 per game) and finished second in rebounding as a whole (42.3 rpg).
The Bulls have not had great success on the road this year, winning just five times in 15 games outside of their own building. On the other hand, the Bobcats were a solid 12-5 in Hamden. Still, McCrea has been a difference-maker all year long and if he can build off his huge game against Kent State, expect Buffalo to move on in this event.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Buffalo 71, Quinnipiac 66
03/14 10:36:13 ET