Saturday at Alumni Arena
UB Women vs. Central Michigan, noon.
UB Men vs. Western Michigan, 2:30 p.m.
WOMEN'S GAME: This is a rematch of last year's Mid-American Conference championship game, won by UB, 73-71, on Stephanie Reid's last-second bank shot. Central Michigan is favored to win the MAC this year and whipped UB, 88-71, several weeks ago. Just like last year, Central Michigan is superior to UB on offense. Central Michigan ranks second in scoring (76.4) and first in three-point percentage. It has four double-figure scorers, led by star Presley Hudson (No. 3) at 19.7 ppg. UB's formula for winning is the same as ever, even moreso vs. CMU -- defense and rebounding. The more the game gets into the 80s, the less UB has a chance to win. UB ranks No. 1 in the MAC in scoring defense, No. 1 in rebounding, No. 2 in three-point defense.
MEN'S GAME: Just like the UB women, the formula for the UB men is defense and rebounding, because the Bulls have limitations on offense. Western Michigan was picked for fifth out of six in the MAC West. But the Broncos are improved over last year and weren't awful last year, when they went 7-11 in league. Western also has played tough teams in the MAC, with losses to Akron, Ohio and Eastern Michigan, the top three teams in the league at the moment. Western is a pretty good offensive team and a suspect defensive team. The Broncos are last in the MAC in shooting-percentage defense. They're 305th in the nation in three-point defense. (But UB is 308th in three-point offense, hitting only 31.3 percent.)
The top WMU player is point guard Thomas Wilder, a second-team all-conference player last year who averages 17.5 ppg. He is strong and attacks the rim. Last year he shot 25 more free throws than anyone else in the MAC. Can UB's Dontay Caruthers and CJ Massinburg keep him from crashing the paint over and over? WMU small forward Tucker Haymond (16.4 ppg) is good. Western has seven freshmen on the roster. UB likes to play faster than Western. The Bulls need to defend and get some baskets in transition. Western has a 6-10 center in junior Drake Lamont (8.0 ppg).