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UB moves up in polls and NET ratings, plays at Northern Illinois

The University at Buffalo gained more support in the two major men’s college basketball polls and climbed to 10th in the NCAA Net rankings on Monday.

The Bulls jumped from 16th to a tie for 14th with Texas Tech in the Association Press Top 25 media poll. They also went from 18th to their all-time high of 14th in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

Perhaps even more impressive was the Bulls standing in the NET rankings, a computer generated rating that is reported daily.

UB, which takes a 17-1 record and a 5-0 Mid-American Conference mark to DeKalb, Ill., for tonight’s game against Northern Illinois, gained increased support on the majority of the 64 media ballots cast in the AP Poll.

Forty-seven voters gave the Bulls a higher ranking than last week. This week, UB collected 743 points compared to 625 points last week. Only four voters placed the Bulls lower than last week and 13 kept them the same. The four voters that graded UB lower did so by one place.

UB was ranked as high at eighth by Cecil Couch of the Lansing (Mich.) State Journal, and as low as 22 on two ballots, one by Seth Davis of CBS Sports Network and one by Thuc Nhi Nguyen of the Los Angeles Times.

The Bulls are coming off a week when they gained two conference victories, on the road at Western Michigan (88-79) and at home against Eastern Michigan (77-65) in a nationally televised game.

With three of the four teams — Duke, Michigan and Virginia — that received first-place votes in the AP Poll a week ago suffering losses last week, there was movement at the top of the rankings. Tennessee (16-1) moved into the No. 1 spot for the first time since 2008. The Vols received 48 first-place votes. Duke had 11, Virginia 3 and Michigan State 2.

Duke dropped to No. 2, Virginia to No. 3, and Michigan to No. 5. Gonzaga gained one place to No. 4.

Tennessee received 30 of the 32 first-place votes to claim the top spot in the coaches poll, too. Duke stayed at No. 2, Virginia fell from No. 1 to No. 3 and Gonzaga moved up one notch to No. 4. Michigan State climbed ahead of Michigan to No. 5.

UB moved in front of Auburn and Florida State this week in the AP poll but dropped behind Maryland.

In the USA Today Coaches Poll, UB passed Auburn, Houston, North Carolina State and Florida State.

After playing Northern Illinois, UB will stay on the road and take on Kent State, which over the years has been one of its fiercest rivals in MAC-East competition.

Five of UB’s next seven conference games will be on the road.

UB had won 13 straight against NIU until the Huskies claimed the last meeting, a 90-88 overtime contest in DeKalb last year.

Buffalo will be the highest ranked team ever to play in DeKalb and the first ranked team to play at Northern Illinois since No. 18 Temple visited in 2009-10.

NIU (10-8, 3-2 MAC) had won its first three conference games before losing to Central Michigan at home last week. Then came a loss at Kent State, 78-68, on Saturday.

The Huskies have the leading scorer in the MAC in Eugene German, who is averaging 20.7 per game. Levi Bradley is next among the Huskies at 15.8 ppg and Dante Thorpe averages 12.8.

Northern is shooting .373 percent from 3-point range.

German scored 28 points and Bradley 22 in Northern Illinois’ victory over UB last season.

The Huskies were picked to finish fifth in the MAC West in the preseason poll.

Niagara begins home stand

Niagara (9-10, 2-4 MAAC) will begin a four-game home stand in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play when Saint Peter’s (5-12, 2-3 MAAC) comes to the Gallagher Center for an 8 p.m. game today. The game was originally scheduled for 7, but St. Peter’s flight was cancelled Monday.

The Purple Eagles are coming off a road win at Quinnipiac, 75-72, in which senior forward Marvin Prochet tied his career high with 24 points. Prochet averages 17.2 points per game.

The Purple Eagles shot 58 percent on 3-point tries at Quinnipiac, but missed seven straight foul shots in the final minute to make it interesting.

Davauhnte Turner of the Peacocks is second in the MAAC in scoring at 17.5 points per game. Six-foot-7 senior Samuel Idowu (11.1 ppg) is next and is second in the conference with 1.5 blocks per game.

Saint Peter’s is winless in nine road games this season while Niagara is 5-4 at home.

The teams split their season series last season with Niagara winning at home, 73-70. Turner had 22 points for Saint Peter’s in that game.

Reese gets MAAC honor

Canisius junior guard Isaiah Reese was named MAAC Player of the Week, the first time this season a Golden Griffins player was honored.

Reese led Canisius to MAAC victories at Quinnipiac and Fairfield. In tthe wo games, the Miami, Fla., native averaged 13.0 points, 8.0 assists, 6.5 rebounds, 2.5 blocked shots and a steal per game, while shooting 40.9 percent from the field, 36.4 percent from 3-point land and 80.0 percent from the free-throw line.

 

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