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Now ranked 18th, UB set to host Ball State

Losing on the road to Northern Illinois last week cost the University at Buffalo three places in the Associated Press Men's Basketball poll, but the Bulls were not beat up too badly.
UB fell from a tie for 14th with Texas Tech to 18th in the AP poll of 64 media members. The Bulls dropped from No. 14 to No. 17 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. UB ranks 20th as of Monday in the NCAA NET ratings. A week ago, UB was 19th.

Although they lost, 77-75, at Northern Illinois on a basket with two seconds left, coach Nate Oats' Bulls team must have redeemed themselves with a conference road win at Kent State last Friday.

UB (18-2, 6-1 in Mid-American Conference) resumed their MAC campaign at 7 p.m. Tuesday night against Ball State (11-9, 2-5 MAC) at Alumni Arena.
Again this week, all 64 media members who voted in the AP Poll this week had UB on their ballot. The Bulls were ranked lower on 60 of the 64 ballots and remained the same on two. They actually gained in the ranking of two poll participants -- Seth Davis of CBS and Sports Illustrated and Jeff Call of the Deseret News in Salt Lake City. Davis had UB 20th on his ballot this week after ranking them 22nd last week. Call moved UB up one not to 15th on his.
UB got its best grade again from Cecil Couch of the Lansing (Mich.) State Journal, who had them at No. 11. The Bulls were 25th on two three ballots.
The Bulls gained on Maryland in both the AP and USA Today polls, but dropped behind Texas Tech, Houston, Villanova and Louisville.

Tennessee stayed at No. 1 in both polls, with Duke at No.2. Virginia was No.3 in both. Those three were the only teams to receive first-place votes in the AP Poll. Just Tennessee and Duke had first-place votes from among the 32 coaches who vote in the USA Today poll.

UB was ranked in the AP Poll for the 12th straight week, a record for a Mid-American Conference team. Bowling Green made it 11 straight weeks in the 1961-62 season with a team that included two future NBA players, center Nate Thurmond and high-scoring guard Howard Komives.

The Bulls will be putting a 20-game home win streak on the line against the Ball State Cardinals. UB has won five of the last six meetings with Ball State. The loss came at Alumni Arena in the 2016-17 season.

Buffalo is 23-4 in its last 27 MAC games dating back to the end of the 2016-17 season. The four losses were by a combined 10 points.

Senior CJ Massinburg of the Bulls is just one point away from 1,700 for his career. He would be just the 22nd active player in the country with at least 1,700 career points. Massinburg is also just 10 points shy of surpassing Mike Martinho (1994-98) for fourth place on UB's all-time scoring list.

Ball State started its sixth season under coach James Whitford with a 9-4 mark with three losses to teams from Power 5 Conferences. The Cardinals have struggled in MAC play after being picked to finish second in the West Division ont he MAC Preseason Coaches Poll. Three of the league losses have been at home, but both wins were on the road, at Toledo and Central Michigan.
The Cardinals have three players averaging in double figures led by 6-foot-3 senior Tyler Persons who is averaging (17.0) with 4.5 assists per game). Tahjai Teague, a 6-8 sophomore, is second at 14.7 points and leads the team with 7.8 rebounds. K.J. Walton, a 6-3 transfer from Missouri, adds 14.3 points per game.

After Ball State, UB will face a key conference game at Bowling Green at 8 p.m. on Friday. The teams are currently tied at the top of the East Division with 6-1 MAC records. Bowling Green, which lost its last game at Miami (Ohio) on Saturday, is not scheduled until the Falcons face UB on Friday.



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