Buffalo vs. BYU
Tip off: 9 PM EST
Spread: BYU -13
M/L: BYU -1000, BUF +700
Buffalo had a pretty decent year last year for a MAC team. They finished .500 in conference play, and 20-14 overall, but their trip to the CIT quarterfinals was a nice highlight to what would have been an otherwise pretty forgettable year.
Javon McCrea, who last year was an 18 year old freshman, put together a freshman year that might have been one of the best in the MAC…ever. He shot an absurd 63% from the floor while using 29% of the possesions while on court, and he ranked 5th in D-1 offensive rebound percentage, while also ranking top 50 in blocks and top 100 in steals.
His great defense has carried over into this year, as he is averaging roughly a steal and a half and a block and a half per game, while also grabbing 8.6 boards per night. That’s not even to mention the fact that he leads the team in scoring with 16.8 points per game and he has put up big numbers in all but the 8 point loss to Niagara. A week and a half ago, against Youngstown State, he put up 29 points on 14 of 17 shooting. He has shot over 50% from the floor in all but the Niagara game and is again shooting 63% from the floor this season.
He isn’t doing it alone. Zach Filzen and Mitchell Watt combine for another 30.1 points per game and Filzen, a 6’3″ senior guard from North Field Minnesota, has put up 16.1 per game while scoring in double figures in all games so far. He has posted two 20+ point games agaisnt Dayton and Saint Bonaventure and undoubtedly is looking to see what he can do against the first tough team they have played this season in BYU.
For a team that is 8-3 and in the top 50 in all major statistical categories, you would expect the Cougars would be getting more respect. They did lose the best player possibly in school history in Jimmer, but still have a talented team that includes Matt Carlino (18.0 ppg) and Noah Hartsock (17.1 ppg).
Part of the reason the Cougars aren’t being taken that seriously is that they never have a very tough schedule, but they hung with #7 ranked Baylor a few days ago, losing by only 3 points in a game in which the two teams put upa a combined 167 points. They gave up 28 points pt Perry Jones, but he has looked to be a lottery pick in this upcoming draft, so that is forgiveable. Their scoring was concentrated, again, as Hartsock, Carlino, Brandon Davies, and Abouo put up 68 of the Cougars 83 points. Save Davies, they all shot above 50% from the floor.
BYU is 4-1 at home this year and will be looking to get back on track after the disappointing loss to Baylor. Prior to that loss, they had reeled off four straight wins (Northern Arizona, Oregon, Weber State, and Utah), and they will not face another ranked opponent all season. That might leave them unprepared for Tournament play (should they qualify), but that has become the norm for the Cougars…
If you feel inclined to back up a bet on either the favored Cougars or lowly Buffalo covering the spread, you will want to check out Bookmaker — they offer a 5% return on lost bets. Also, our handiappers are killing the books once again, so you will want to consider a paid pick package for 2011-2012!