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UB moves up in hoops polls, awaits first MAC Tourney opponent

The University at Buffalo climbed one place to 18th place in the last Associated Press Men's Basketball Poll before the 68-team field for the NCAA tournament is announced Sunday.
The Bulls (28-3) will take their nine-game winning streak into this week's Mid-American Conference Tournament after losing out the regular season with triumphs over MAC opponents Ohio U. and Bowling Green.

UB is the No. 1 seed for the MAC Tournament and will face the winner of Monday night's first round game, No. 9 Miami (Ohio) at No. 8 Akron, in the quarterfinals at noon on Thursday at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

Besides the AP ranking, the Bulls are 16th, up from 20th, in this week's USA Today Coaches Poll and stand at No. 16 in the NCAA NET rankings compiled through games on Sunday.

Adding more luster to the winningest season in UB men's basketball history was Monday's announcement that seniors CJ Massinburg and Nick Perkins are first team All-MAC selections for the second year in a row.

Massinburg leads the Bulls in scoring at 18.5 points, Perkins, who already has been named national Sixth Man of the Week by the online Bleacher Report, is averaging 14.9 points and a team-high 7.3 rebounds.

UB's Senior Jeremy Harris made the all-conference second team for the second straight season. He is averaging 13.2 points and 6.1 rebounds per contest.

Seniors Dontay Carruthers and junior Davonta Jordan of the Bulls made the MAC All-Defensive team. Carruthers returns to the honor he won in 2017 before he was left off last season. Jordan is a repeat selection on the defensive team.

Besides Massinburg, a candidate for MAC Player of the Year, and Perkins, the likely MAC Sixth Man of the Year, other first team all-conference selections were: sophomore Justin Turner of Bowling, senior Jaylin Walker of Kent State and senior Jaelan Sanford of Toledo.
Demajeo Wiggins (Bowling Green), Larry Austin Jr. (Central Michigan), James Thompson IV (Eastern Michigan) and Eugene German (Northern Illinois) joined harris on the second team.

The teams were voted on by the MAC's 12 head coaches.

Specialty awards will be announced over the next two days beginning with Sixth Man of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and Freshman of the Year on Tuesday amd Player of the Year and Coach of the Year on Wednesday.

UB coach Nate Oats, a semi finalist for the Werner Ladder Naismith National Coach of the Year Award presented by the Atlanta Tipoff Club, is a strong candidate for MAC Coach of the Year.

Ironically, in the AP Poll, UB climbed past Marquette, the first team it lost to this season. The other two losses were in conference play at Bowling Green and Northern Illinois.

In the USA Today poll, the coaches moved UB past Kansas, Marquette, Nevada and Cincinnati.
The Bulls were voted as high as ninth in the AP media poll. That vote was cast by John Feinstein of the Washington Post. Dick Vitale of USA Today had the Bulls at No. 18. Buffalo made the AP Top 25 rankings for the

Heading into the conference tournament, UB had the highest NCAA NET rating by far, at No. 16. No. 2 seed Toledo is next 60. Then it's Akron (113), Bowling Green (116), Central Michigan (120).

Besides UB, the other Western New York Big 4 team NET rankings are: St. Bonaventure (129), Canisius (283) and Niagara (301).

Gonzaga, Virginia and North Carolina were 1-2-3 again in both the AP and USA Today polls. Kentucky moved up to fourth and Duke is fifth in both polls. Tennessee dropped out of the top five in both after its loss at Auburn.

 

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