#84 Buffalo Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Buffalo Bulls

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #84
Conference Rank: #2 Mid-American

Buffalo Team Page#84 Buffalo Men's Basketball 2015-2016 PreviewBuy Buffalo Basketball Tickets

Buffalo had another great season under Coach Bobby Hurley. They won another MAC East title and cruised through the conference tournament to earn the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Once there, the Bulls gave fifth seeded West Virginia a good game, eventually losing 68-62. The Bulls had an inflated RPI due to smart scheduling, but they were still a very good team. Coach Hurley parlayed that success into a bigger job at Arizona State and the Bulls promoted top assistant Nate Oats to the head coaching position.  

2014-15 Record: 23-10, 12-6
2014-15 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Nate Oats
Coach Record: 0-0 at Buffalo, 0-0 overall

Who’s Out:
Buffalo did lose one player, Shannon Evans, with the coaching change. Evans followed Coach Hurley to Arizona State. The point guard averaged 15.4 points, 4.6 assists and 1.7 steals. It is a significant loss for Buffalo since Evans did knock down a team high 66 three-pointers. Xavier Ford and Will Regan leave less depth in the frontcourt. Ford ranked third on the team with 9.7 points and second with 6.2 rebounds per game. Regan added 6.1 points and 4.1 rebounds.

Who’s In:
Despite the coaching change, Buffalo’s solid recruiting did not stop. Frontcourt depth is a big need and the Bulls add a variety of options. Junior college transfer David Kadiri is an active big man who can get up and down the floor. That athleticism will make him a solid shot blocker and rebounder in the MAC. Redshirt freshman Ikenna Smart is the biggest newcomer at 6-10 and 225 pounds. Smart is a tough power forward who has the potential to be a dominating force on the glass. Nick Perkins is relatively polished for a 6-8 incoming freshman. All three have the possibility to make an impact this year. C.J. Massinburg and junior college transfers Blake Hamilton and Willie Conner will add depth, and possibly more, on the perimeter. Hamilton is a big 6-6 wing who is very dangerous in transition. His size and length on the perimeter will be problematic for most teams in the MAC. Conner is a major scoring threat who can shoot from long range or use his 6-5, 200 pound frame to attack the basket.

Who to Watch:
The newcomers will make an impact, but Buffalo is still built around senior 6-7 forward Justin Moss. The reigning MAC Player of the Year averaged 17.5 points and 9.2 rebounds and had a massive breakout year. Keeping up those numbers will not be easy, but Moss has proven to be extremely tough and efficient in the paint. Moss shot 52.1 percent from the floor in 2014-2015 and has more than enough post moves to be just as effective this season despite the fact that the MAC knows what is coming. Senior Raheem Johnson, who averaged 2.8 points and 2.5 rebounds last year, is the only other returning forward with any experience. Lamonte Bearden had a great freshman campaign, averaging 8.3 points and 4.4 assists. Bearden started beside Evans last season, but Buffalo is certainly in surprisingly good hands even without Evans. Jarryn Skeete is the team’s top returning shooter. He knocked down 38.6 percent of his 158 attempts from beyond the arc. Eventually Skeete may be relegated to a shooter off of the bench role, but he did start 28 games last season. Rodell Wigginton earned a handful of starts as a junior, averaging 7.3 points and 4.3 rebounds. He is another big wing, but struggled with his shot last season.

Final Projection:
What makes Buffalo especially dangerous is the potential depth and size on the perimeter. Players like Skeete and Wigginton are logical choices to be full-time starters this year, but they will be pushed by Hamilton and Conner. The frontcourt has less experience, but building around Moss is a great place to start. The Bulls may not start off as well as they finished last season, but by February and March, this could be the best team in the MAC.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

Projected Starting Five:
Lamonte Bearden, Sophomore, Guard, 8.3 points per game
Jarryn Skeete, Senior, Guard, 9.1 points per game
Rodell Wigginton, Senior, Guard, 7.3 points per game
David Kadiri, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
Justin Moss, Senior, Forward, 17.5 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 74.6 (28th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 68.3 (228, 6)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.5 (165, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.3 (132, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.0 (211, 9)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.1 (183, 8)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.9 (79, 4)
Rebound Margin: 2.9 (82, 3)
Assists Per Game: 13.1 (131, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.5 (71, 3)


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