Ontario Sandwich Trophy week: Q & A with Bull Run
Alrighty, folks, with the end of the first round-robin of divisional play, it’s time to turn our attention east, and what better way to get started than with a rivalry game! In fact, it’s a pair of rivalry games, because after EMU’s men’s basketball team plays in
Buffalo Amherst (where the UB main campus is located) tonight, the women will play there tomorrow night. As always, we took advantage of the opportunity to interrogate Tim Riordan of Bull Run.
1. Compare where the Bulls are as a team to where you thought they’d be at this point. What’s gone right so far, and what’s disappointed you?
In terms of their record UB is about where I thought they would be, they lost the games I thought they might lose and won at home when it mattered. Whats been difficult to watch are the close losses to Temple (OT Giveaway Loss), Saint Bonaventure (Choke down the stretch loss), and Miami (Epic Fail Loss).
The Bulls have been awful on the road. It seems Reggie-ball has a lot of trouble establishing its rhythm outside of Alumni Arena.
2. It seems like Buffalo’s stars are the forwards: Javon McCrea and Mitchell Watt. How would you describe the Bulls’ offense?
Reggie-ball has not changed. There is a lot of ball movement aimed at pushing McCrea or Watt down low. It’s a little different this season because our point guard Jarod Oldham, is not much of a shooting threat. He does an ok job moving the ball around and setting things up but one less perimeter shooter has made the offense play a lot more in the paint than when Mulkey was running the show last season.
3. Have they faced any zone teams this year? (If so, how did they handle it?) How do you expect them to handle EMU’s 2-3 zone and slow pace?
Well we just Beat Bowling Green, a team who runs the most effective zone in the conference. Also UB ran the zone for a good chunk of the non conference schedule. So one assumes that they practiced against it pretty regularly.
How they handle it is usually up to the outside shooters. If the Bulls can present any kind of permiiter threat that can really use that, and McCrea, to break the zone.
3a. How good a three-point shooting team are the Bulls? (I think I read that the Bulls made 8 of 10 second-half three-pointers at Bowling Green Saturday?) It looks like shooting guard Zach Filzen can really knock them down; is there anyone else EMU will need to guard closely outside the arc?
Filzen has been missing for weeks. He had a great game against Akron, and a solid effort against Buff State but his shooting has been off since midway through December. Zach is a streaky shooter if he is on he can break your back, if not than the guy you need to watch is Barnett and Watson. They have each been taking more 3’s in the wake of Filzen’s disappearing act.
4. What about defense? What’s Buffalo’s defensive identity?
I’ll let you know when they settle on one. UB has traditionally been a man-to-man team. As I alluded to above this season coach Witherspoon has pushed a lot more zone this season but when it goes badly they tend to fall back into the man defense.
5. Care to make a prediction?
I have little faith in the MAC West but I am relieved that UB gets the top three west teams at home this season. If Akron and Kent could be badly beaten at Alumni I am not giving EMU a whole lot of hope
Buffalo 60 – EMU 53
You can also read my response to Tim’s questions at Bull Run.