Recently, there haven’t been too many things to get excited for in Buffalo. The city just experienced one of the worst snowstorms in recent history, the Bills have once again failed to make the playoffs, and let’s not get started on the Sabres. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, as the Buffalo Bulls have made the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.
Led by former Duke standout, Bobby Hurley, this as a very well-coached Bulls team. It’s to be expected from someone such as Hurley, who was a 1993 first-team All-American. Now, he is hoping to lead his Bulls into the Final Four, something which he did three times as a player.
It was Hurley’s competitive nature that led the Bulls through the NCAA regular season. He brings that same fire he had as a player to his coaching, something which his team has picked up on, especially Xavier Ford.
“Just the intensity and the passion, man. He holds you accountable for winning. You’ve got to be held accountable for losing and winning. When we lose, we hear about it. When we win, we hear about it.”
This is a tough Buffalo team, one which has played against the best NCAA talent in the nation.
The Bulls have played both Kentucky and Wisconsin this season, and while they lost both games, the team most certainly gained valuable experience for games in the NCAA Tournament.
Buffalo led the MAC conference with a 12-6 conference record, and ranked 3rd with 75 points scored per game.
A key component for the Bulls potent offense is junior forward Justin Moss, whose 17.7 points per game are a team high. In addition, Moss leads the Bulls with 9.3 rebounds per contest.
With Moss doing a sensational job as the Bulls main front court option, you can’t have a Bobby Hurley-led team without a fantastic guard. Such a player for Buffalo is sophomore, Shannon Evans. While he isn’t as prolific of a passer as Hurley was during his tenure at Duke, the 6-1 guard does a fantastic job at running the offense, as his 4.7 assists per game would indicate.
The Bulls go into the NCAA Tournament as a 12 seed, and will face the West Virginia Mountaineers. Buffalo has the highest RPI of any 12 seed in this year’s tournament, which will make them one of the most primed team’s to make a big second-round upset.
This is a very talented Buffalo squad, one which is led by a very hard-nosed coach, whose winning ways have rubbed off on the Bulls.
“So he brings a winning attitude and a winning system to a group of guys who bought into his system,” stated Ford.
Sometimes, it takes the influence of one man to change the culture of a program. Luckily for Buffalo, they have a proven winner in Bobby Hurley leading the charge.