Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Before and After: 1/27



Buffalo at Western Michigan: I'll be perfectly honest: this isn't the best game on tap for tonight. And it's not like I didn't write about the Bulls in this same series just recently. I'd rather pick something else.

But it's a light slate tonight, and K-Dub has already covered the CAA first-place mega-tilt, so that leaves us with limited options. And Buffalo traveling to Kalamazoo isn't really a bad fallback when you consider the following:

1. This is a match-up of not only the hottest teams in the MAC, but two of the three division co-leaders--Buffalo leads the East, and Western is tied with Ball St. for the top spot in the West. Winner grabs the lead in the outright MAC race.

2. Western is something of an unknown quantity, having limped--that's putting it politely--through a 3-10 nonconference performance before turning it on for their 4-1 conference start in a manner more traditionally befitting MEAC or SWAC teams finally putting their paycheck barnstorming tours behind them. But thanks in large part to junior guard David Kool (16.5 points, 4 boards a game) and the rest of the gang, you can't exactly call the Broncos' start a fluke--those four wins came by 8 and 9 on the road at Eastern and Central Michigan and by 18 and 19 at home over Toledo and Northern Illinois. If WMU beats the best team in the league tonight, they're officially a threat.

3. A win for Buffalo very likely means another week in Joe Lunardi's mock brackets, and another week of glee for the Bull-obsessed Hoops Junkie, one of the JCCW's very first bloggin' buddies and someone who makes my own righteous anger at the slings and arrows suffered by mids look tame by comparison. As I've never had the privilege of reading the Junkie when the Bulls were actually good, I'm hoping the current state of affairs continues.

So it might not be Northeastern-VCU. But it'll do.


VMI 87, Radford 72: Mentioned this in brief yesterday, but the battle for the Big South lead and inside track on home-court advantage throughout the Big South tournament unsurprisingly went to the school with the military background. Twins Travis and Chavis Holmes combined to score 42 and the Keydets romped to a 18-point lead at the half. With the Highlanders confirmed pretenders-to-the-throne and the roller-coaster squad from Liberty dropping a fourth conference game over the weekend (at home to Radford, no less), it will be a major shock at this point if VMI doesn't go on to wrap up the league crown.

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