NCAA Second Round Kentucky vs. Buffalo: Preview and Prediction

Kentucky-Buffalo Preview!

Buffalo Bulls (27-8) vs Kentucky Wildcats (25-10)

Game time: 5:15 pm EST on Saturday, March 17th.

TV: CBS

Location: Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho

Announcers: Brian Anderson, Chris Webber, and Lisa Byington will have the call.

Projected Buffalo starters:

  • G Davonta Jordan (7.0 PPG, 4.2 APG)
  • G Jeremy Harris (15.6 PPG, 5.9 RPG)
  • G CJ Massinburg (17.3 PPG, 7.4 RPG)
  • G Wes Clark (14.1 PPG, 5.4 APG)
  • F Ikenna Smart (3.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG)

Projected UK starters:

  • G Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (13.2 PPG, 4.9 APG)
  • G Hamidou Diallo (10.4 PPG, 3.7 RPG)
  • F Kevin Knox (15.7 PPG, 5.3 RPG)
  • F PJ Washington (10.4 PPG, 5.4 RPG)
  • C Nick Richards (5.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG)

Buffalo busted a lot of brackets being led by senior guard Wes Clark, who scored 25 points, while junior guard Jeremy Harris added 23. The two shot a combined 20-of-34 from the field and 6-of-14 from three-point range. Senior guard CJ Massinburg leads the team in scoring at 16.9 ppg to go with 7.4 rpg. He finished with 19 points against Arizona. Buffalo’s ability to defend in the paint and to cause havoc outside in the passing lanes led to numerous Arizona turnovers on Thursday night. Kentucky, on the other hand, had the expected trouble from a dangerous Davidson team before pulling away in the final couple of minutes. So while this is not the big-time matchup everybody expected, it definitely is an intriguing matchup.

How can Buffalo win?

Buffalo will use a similar defensive strategy against UK that worked against Arizona in loading up the paint and forcing them to win with jumpers and three-pointers, something they struggled mightily to hit against Davidson. UK does not shoot the ball well from behind the arc, meaning Buffalo may have a real chance to win this game.

How do the Wildcats win?

Against the Buffalo four-guard attack they will have to defend the perimeter well which the Wildcats have done all year. Look for Buffalo to front the low post players for Kentucky the same way they did Arizona. Fronting the Wildcats will force the Wildcat guards to make difficult passes into the post. The Kentucky guards MUST take care of the ball. If they don’t it will be a long night for the Cats.

Prediction: I expect this to be a close game and the key will be the Wildcats ability to defend the three. In the end that ability leads me to give the nod to Kentucky.

Kentucky 81  Buffalo 77

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