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UB men's hoops has RPI-boosting chances on its schedule

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The University at Buffalo men's basketball team will have good chances to boost its resume in its non-conference schedule in the 2016-17 season.

The Bulls plays two major-conference teams that went to the post-season last year and two other teams that went to the National Invitation Tournament. The Bulls aim to become the first team in Mid-American Conference history to win a third straight MAC Championship. The full 2016-17 MAC schedule was released Tuesday.

UB's top non-conference road games are at Xavier Nov. 14, at Creighton Nov. 29, at St. Bonaventure Dec. 3 and at Pittsburgh Dec. 7. Creighton went 20-15 last year, finished sixth in the Big East and made the NIT quarterfinals. Most of its team returns. Xavier went 28-5, placed second in the Big East and earned a No. 2 seed to the NCAA Tournament. Bona went 22-9 and reached the NIT. Pitt, of the Atlantic Coast Conference, went 21-12 and earned a No. 7 seed to the NCAA tournament.

The MAC has been a one-bid conference to the NCAA tournament every year since 1999. But UB was just outside the bubble for an NCAA at-large bid two years ago, when it had a strong Ratings Percentage Index and made the NCAAs by winning its first MAC tournament.

UB will travel more than 8,200 miles across the country over the first two months of play.

The Bulls open on Nov. 11 at Niagara. After a home game Nov. 18 against Nazareth, UB plays three games in the Great Alaska Shootout. The first is at Alaska-Anchorage. The second game is against either Nevada or Oakland. Weber State and Iona, two teams that made the NCAAs last year, also are in the event.

UB plays Canisius in the Big 4 Showcase at First Niagara Arena on Dec. 17.

UB's MAC schedule opens on the road at Toledo. Four of UB's last five MAC regular-season games are at home, inclouding a Saturday night game Feb. 25 against Akron, which lost to UB in the MAC title game last year.

Buffalo will open the season with an 8:30 p.m. exhibition game on Nov. 4 against Daemen.


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