Kent State currently sits in first place in the MAC conference standings, and they will play host to a high-powered offensive team in Buffalo tonight. We’ll preview the game before going over why I’m targeting a team total in this one.
Up until Tuesday night, no MAC team had been able to take down Kent State. The Golden Flashes entered the week with a 6-0 conference record but couldn’t get the win on the road against Northern Illinois. The Huskies scored the most points a conference opponent has been able to manage against the Golden Flashes as they finished the game with 86 points on 52% shooting from the field.
Northern Illinois being able to put up those numbers is significant since Kent State is ranked 27th in the country in defensive efficiency rating, according to KenPom. The Golden Flashes are the best defensive team in the conference, and on the season, they have held opposing teams to an average shooting percentage of 40.5%.
Defensively the Golden Flashes can suffocate teams with their pressure, as they rank 16th in the country in steals and 19th in turnovers forced per game. If there were one game this season that those defensive numbers were needed the most, it would be tonight against a top-45 ranked scoring offense in Buffalo.
The Bulls are the definition of fast-paced as they run at the 8th-highest tempo in the country and are averaging 62.7 field goal attempts per game. Shooting percentage-wise, the Bulls don’t have any numbers that will blow people away, but they get so many possessions that they still average 77 points per game.
Buffalo has had to rely primarily on their offense to beat teams this season, as they rank 349th in the country in points allowed per game. Their tempo has also worked against them as opposing teams have been able to average 27.2 made field goals per game, leading to the Bulls allowing 42.1 points per game in the second half this season.
For my play in this one, I’ll be taking the Buffalo team total of over 70.5 points. The Bulls have not scored under 75 points in a conference game this season, and despite the Kent State defense being impressive, I still think the tempo at which the Bulls run will lead to another high-scoring night.
Buffalo will enter tonight off a game in which they had 62 shot attempts and managed to shoot 60% from the field and 50% from three. Leading scorer Curtis Jones has 27 points that game, and over his last ten games is shooting 43.5% from three while averaging 16.6 points per game.
Jones isn’t the only player the Bulls have to rely on either since three other Buffalo starters are also averaging in double figures over the past ten games. The Bulls' ability to have an even scoring distribution will play a significant factor tonight since that is how Northern Illinois was able to find a lot of offensive success against the Golden Flashes. NIU had five players finish the game scoring in double figures, and the Bulls have the ability to do that while also attempting more shots from the field.
Buffalo Team Total Over 70.5