For a moment, allow yourself to be transported back to the 2014-15 college basketball season. Way back then, Kentucky was pursuing an undefeated season, Coach K was busy earning his 1,000th career win, and Buffalo was still a member of the Never Made the Tournament Club.
Of course, that last fact changed later that season, thanks largely to the work of Head Coach Bobby Hurley. In his second season with the Buffalo Bulls, he was able to take the MAC squad to its first NCAA Tournament in school history.
Now, only four years removed from that moment, Buffalo has found itself in the NCAA Tournament once more, sporting a 6 seed and facing off against Arizona State in the first round. Arizona State is led, of course, by none other than Bobby Hurley.
Today, Buffalo managed to continue its dream season, doing so by defeating the Arizona State Sun Devils and their former head coach by a score of 91-74. Doing so via a combination of respectable three-point shooting and domination on the glass, the Bulls were able to pencil themselves in for a second round matchup against the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
While Buffalo might have been beset with some shaky performances down the stretch this season, today’s game indicated they have plenty of the talent and offensive firepower necessary to mount a deep NCAA Tournament run.
Now, their three-point shooting wasn’t overwhelmingly efficient, but the volume of threes they managed to make enabled them to gain plenty of separation against a Sun Devils team that went 3-22 from behind the arc on the day. Of course, much of the perimeter success could be owed to CJ Massinburg, whose 4-8 mark from three contributed to the 18 points he posted in today’s victory.
To those who have followed the Bulls throughout the season, today’s performance should come as no surprise, even as Buffalo managed to command the rebounding battle by a 42-26 margin. However, one should be heartened by the bench production Buffalo was able to rely on (33 points today), as they’re a team that doesn’t often lean too heavily on its non-starters. That detail alone should give Bulls fans even greater optimism about this special team.
Buffalo fans can now rest easy after a second straight dismantling of a PAC-12 team from Arizona in March.