Buffalo at Western Michigan, 7:00 PM Eastern, ESPNU
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It is time for some #MACtion tonight at the Under the Radar Game of the Day features a matchup of two of the top teams in the Mid-American Conference. The visiting Buffalo Bulls enter with an impressive 13-5 overall record (5-0 in MAC play) and feature the best metrics in the conference, including a top 30 RPI. Nick Perkins has been leading the way for the Bulls including a career-high tying 26 points last time out in a win over Northern Illinois. With their sole games against Toledo and Ball State already in the books as wins, tonight’s contest in Kalamazoo, Michigan is likely Buffalo’s toughest test left this season.
Western Michigan enters tonight’s game at 11-7 overall and 3-2 in MAC play. The Broncos have lost 2 of their last 3, including a tough two point loss last time out at Kent State. WMU did have four payers score in double figures in that game, led by 16 from Josh Davis. Thomas Wilder was held to only 10 in the loss, tied for his second lowest point output on the season, and needs to get the ball through the hoop more if his team wants to pull off the upset in tonight’s contest.
OTHER GAMES AND NOTES
-INDIANA AT MICHIGAN STATE (Big Ten). Michigan State has been slumping, but not to the point to where I’d expect them to lose at home to a sub-NCAA team.
-ST. BONAVENTURE AT DAVIDSON (Atlantic 10). The lights aren’t completely out on the Bonnies’ at-large chances, but a loss at Davidson (who is 5-0 at their campus home arena) may cause us to take them off of our board.
-IONA AT MONMOUTH (MAAC). Both Metro Atlantic co-leaders are on the road tonight and Iona has the easier of the two games on paper. Even though Monmouth is rebuilding, this rivalry still has a little heat remaining from the past couple of seasons.
-YALE AT BROWN (Ivy League). Only in the Ivy League would you have travel partner games scheduled back-to-back. We highlight this game because it is only one of 7 games being played in Division I tonight.
-ILLINOIS AT WISCONSIN (Big Ten). Hard to believe that Wisconsin is a game under .500 overall, but it would be even harder to imagine them losing at home to an Illinois team that is in freefall mode in the B1G.
-CANISIUS AT MANHATTAN (MAAC). Not only are the Golden Griffins playing to retain a share of the lead in the Metro Atlantic, they’re also looking to avoid falling into a tie with the Jaspers in the league standings.
-It was a big night as far as UTR Games go. Belmont held off Murray State at home in an OVC showdown between two of the three best teams, William & Mary was blown off the court at home for the second game in a row after earning our praise on UTR the other week, Vermont held on to beat New Hampshire in a game between two teams near the top of the America East Standings, Western Kentucky had to come from behind to hold of UAB at home to remain atop Conference USA, East Tennessee State held of Furman in a thriller between two top SoCon teams, FGCU held off Lipscomb to stay atop the Atlantic Sun, Wright State is continuing to blow through Horizon League play (with NKU not far behind), Middle Tennessee fell at Marshall and is now almost certainly relegated to needing the auto-bid to make the NCAAs, and Louisiana had to come from behind to win at UT Arlington.
-In non-UTR news, Saint Mary’s picked up their biggest signature win of the year, which will also end up being their biggest regular season win of the year, with a close win at Gonzaga. The game was a great game to watch between two rivals who seesawed back and forth. SMC clearly needed the win more than the Zags. They now have a much needed signature win on their resume.
-Of the Pac-12 bubble teams last night, the only team that stood out in a good way was USC – they came from behind to win at Oregon last night. Both UCLA and Washington took hits to their profiles with respective losses on the road at Oregon State and Colorado.
-Nebraska is starting to look like a homecourt hero with a decisive win against Michigan last night. Whereas it may keep the Wolverines out of a protected seed for the time being, it gives the Huskers some momentum going into their game at Ohio State on Monday night. This will be their last shot at beating an NCAA Tournament-caliber team away from home until the Big 10 Tournament in March.