Central Michigan vs. Buffalo - MAC Championship Final - 3/14/15 Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Buffalo Bulls (22-9) at Central Michigan Chippewas (23-7)
College Basketball: Saturday, March 14, 2015 at 7:30 pm (Quicken Loans Arena)
The Line: Central Michigan Chippewas +3.5 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
TV: ESPN 2
The Buffalo Bulls and Central Michigan Chippewas will battle at Quicken Loans Arena this Saturday night in the finals of the Mac Men’s Tournament.
The Buffalo Bulls (22-9) were able to get by the pesky Akron Zips 68-59 with a big second half to advance to the championship game of the MAC Tournament. Buffalo, who earned the 2nd seed with a 12-6 conference record, was able to hold Akron to just 23.3% (7-30) shooting from beyond the arc while outrebounding the Zips by a 47-35 margin. Leading the way for the Bulls was Xavier Ford who had 17 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 steals. Buffalo is ranked 35th in the RPI Standings and has played the 70th ranked SOS. On the season, the Bulls have been led by Justin Moss (18.4 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 1.1 spg) and Shannon Evans (15.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 4.8 apg). Buffalo averages 74.8 ppg (ranked 26th) on 43.6% shooting (ranked 173rd). The Bulls average 6.0 three-pointers per game (ranked 206th) on 34.0% three-point shooting (ranked 188th). Buffalo shoots 72.8% from the free-throw line (ranked 48th) and commits 11.5 turnovers per game (ranked 67th). Defensively, Buffalo is allowing their opponents to average 68.1 ppg (ranked 226th) on 42.1% shooting (ranked 125th). The Bulls pull down 38.2 total rpg (ranked 22nd) and have a rebound margin of 2.7 (ranked 88th).
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The Central Michigan Chippewas was able to hold off the Toledo Rockets by a score of 75-66 and advance to the championship game of the MAC Tournament. Central Michigan finished the season with a 12-6 conference record and earned the top-seed for the MAC Tournament. Central Michigan shot 45.6% from the field and won the turnover battle by a 12-5 margin. Leading the way for the Chippewas was Chris Fowler who had 26 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. Central Michigan is ranked 76th in the RPI Standings and has played the 246th ranked SOS. On the season, the Chippewas have been led by Chris Fowler (15.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 6.0 apg, 1.5 spg) and John Simons (12.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.1 spg). Central Michigan is averaging 78.1 ppg (ranked 15th) on 46.7% shooting (ranked 44th). The Chippewas average 10.3 ppg (ranked 3rd) on 37.7% three-point shooting (ranked 56th). Central Michigan commits 10.4 turnovers per game (ranked 15th) and shoots 72.1% from the free-throw line. Defensively, Central Michigan is allowing their opponents to average 67.0 ppg (ranked 182nd) on 43.9% shooting (ranked 224th). The Chippewas pull down 34.17 total rpg (ranked 183rd) and have a turnover margin of 3.3 (ranked 18th).
The Bulls are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games and 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games overall. The Chippewas are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning S.U. record however, are just 4-10 ATS in their last 14 games following a ATS win.
Central Michigan was able to defeat Buffalo in both of their matchups this season (84-73 @ Home, 75-74 @ Buffalo). This game will feature two of the beat players in the league in Buffalo’s Justin Moss (MAC Player of the Year) and Central Michigan’s Chris Fowler (finished 2nd in the MAC POY voting). Both of these teams can really score the basketball as Buffalo likes to run and get into Moss and Evans to damage inside as Central Michigan depends on the three-pointer to really hurt teams. Central Michigan has had a great season, however they are just 7-6 away from home (1-0 Neutral Court) on the season, as Buffalo is 11-7 (2-0 Neutral Court). Buffalo does a decent job defending the three-pointer, holding teams to just 33.3% from beyond the arc, and I think that although they won’t completely stop the strong Chippewas offensive, I think Moss will rebound from a tough game against Akron and lead the Bulls to a victory. I’m taking Buffalo to cover this small spread and earn a bid into the NCAA Tournament.