Buffalo Men's Basketball 2016 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Buffalo Bulls
Mid-American (20-14, 10-8)
It turned out Buffalo played a very, very difficult nonconference schedule. There is no shame in losing to St. Joseph’s, St. Bonaventure, Duke, Iowa State and VCU. But all those losses kept the Bulls under the radar. Losing five of seven in late February into early March, did not help. Buffalo ended up finishing 10-8 and tied for third in the MAC East. First year coach Nate Oats got the most out of his team in the conference tournament though and the up and down season ended on a very high note with big time wins over Ohio and Akron to earn the conference’s lone bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Big Wins: 1/8 at Kent State (76-67), 3/11 vs Ohio (88-74), 3/12 vs Akron (64-61)
Bad Losses: 1/23 at Western Michigan (71-91), 2/9 Toledo (69-71), 3/1 Miami OH (59-67)
Coach: Nate Oats
Why They Can Surprise:
Buffalo boasts four dynamic scorers who can shoot the ball and attack the basket. Lamonte Bearden is not the best shooter on the team and is better off staying inside the arc, but the speedy point guard is the team’s top scorer and averages 13.6 points and 4.3 assists per game. Blake Hamilton, CJ Massinburg and Willie Conner are the better outside shooting players on the team. All three are big and tough and will get to the basket with ease. The MAC has learned that the best way to stop those three is to foul them, but Hamilton, Massinburg and Conner are solid free-throw shooters. Hamilton is especially important to the team since he leads the way with 7.0 rebounds and adds 2.5 assists. His versatility makes the 6-6 junior a very tough matchup for most opposing players.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Despite the emerging talent, Buffalo has a lot of flaws. The defense is average at best. The Bulls also rank dead last in the MAC in turnovers per game. Foul trouble is often an issue and the team relies way too much on their three-point shooting, yet shoots just 33.7 percent from long range. This is a team that will get up and down the floor and will not spend too much time looking for their shot, so it is not surprising that the field-goal percentage is low and the turnovers are high, but that must change during the NCAA Tournament. Buffalo will keep running, but they cannot afford turnovers or too many missed shots. Players like Jarryn Skeete, Rodell Wiggington and Nick Perkins need to ramp up their game when they are on the floor. And the team full of wings will need freshman Ikenna Smart, David Kadiri and Perkins to swat away some shots and play tough defense in the paint.
Probable Starters:
Lamonte Bearden, Sophomore, Guard, 13.6 ppg, 4.3 apg
Jarryn Skeete, Senior, Guard, 8.0 ppg, 2.2 apg
Blake Hamilton, Junior, Guard, 13.1 ppg, 2.5 apg, 7.0 rpg
Willie Conner, Junior, Forward, 12.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg
Ikenna Smart, Freshman, Forward, 3.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg
Key Roleplayers:
David Kadiri, Junior, Forward, 3.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg
CJ Massinburg, Freshman, Guard, 11.3 ppg, 1.7 apg, 4.1 rpg
Nick Perkins, Freshman, Forward, 7.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg
Rodell Wigginton, Senior, Forward, 7.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 78.0 (62nd in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 75.6 (266, 12)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.0 (184, 8)
Field-Goal Defense: 75.6 (266, 12)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.4 (136, 6)   
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.7 (226, 9)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.7 (139, 7)
Rebound Margin: 2.7 (93, 5)
Assists Per Game: 12.9 (204, 7)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.6 (264, 12)
Recent Postseason Appearances:
2015    NCAA Second Round loss to West Virginia
2012    CIT      First Round win over American
2012    CIT      Second Round loss to Oakland
2011    CIT      First Round win over Quinnipiac
2011    CIT      Second Round win over Western Michigan
2011    CIT      Quarterfinal loss to Iona
2009    CBI      First Round loss to Wichita State
2005    NIT      Opening Round win over Drexel
2005    NIT      First Round loss to St. Joseph's
*all team stats through 3/6