NCAA Basketball Pick: Buffalo Bulls vs. Bowling Green Falcons

LT Profits Sports Group

Sunday, February 2, 2014 5:00 AM GMT

A couple of teams going in opposite directions meet when the Buffalo Bulls, 7-2 in their last nine games, visit the Bowling Green Falcons, who are 3-6 that same span, on Sunday.

Two teams appear to be heading in opposite directions as they face off on Super Bowl Sunday as the hot Buffalo Bulls (11-6, 2-4 away) pay a visit to the cold Bowling Green Falcons (9-11, 5-5 home) at the Stroh Center in Bowling Green, OH at 2:00 ET.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Buffalo as a road favorite for this contest with the current line at -2½ with odds of -115.

The Bulls did not have the best of starts this season beginning the year at 4-4 with losses to the likes of Canisius and Niagara, but they have gathered themselves nicely by going 7-2 in the last nine games including 5-2 inside the MAC, and a win here would put Buffalo in a three-way tie with Ohio and Akron atop the East Division.

Bowling Green has been just the opposite. The Falcons surpassed expectations with a 6-5 start but have since regressed to their expected level, a shocking road upset of Ohio notwithstanding, losing six of their last nine games to drop to two games below .500. Bowling Green is 3-4 in MAC play, although besides the stunner at Ohio, the other two conference wins came over a Central Michigan team ranked 263rd on Pomeroy and 174th ranked Western Michigan.

Buffalo is coming off of a 14-20 season, but the Bulls did win two games in the MAC Tournament before losing to Kent State and that led to bigger expectations for this season with three senior starters led by Javon McCrea and a top recruit in Shannon Evans. McCrea is leading Buffalo points (17.7 per game), rebounds (9.3) and field goal percentage (57.8 percent) and has been a key reason for the turnaround in the last nine games.

Meanwhile the freshman Evans has had some growing pains, but the guard comes off of a 17-point, 7-assist, 3-rebound effort in an 84-63 blowout of Western Michigan so he may be ready to start fulfilling his potential.

The strength of the Buffalo team so far though has been a defense that ranks 87th nationally in efficiency, 30th in effective field goal percentage allowed at just 44.7 percent and third in three-point defense at a mere 26.8 percent. That three-point percentage allowed amazingly drops to 25.0 percent during MAC play, and it is one of the keys to victory here as Bowling Green is third in the conference in three-point shooting offensively at 35.3 percent.

The Falcons still rank 330th in the country in scoring overall though at only 63.0 points per game, an average that plummets to 57.6 points in MAC play. If you take away Bowling Green’s three-point shooting, which Buffalo certainly seems capable of doing, then the Falcons have nothing to fall back on offensively.

Looking at conference games only, Bowling Green is ranked 11th in offensive efficiency, 10th in effective field goal percentage, ninth in offensive turnover percentage and 11th in two-point shooting at a dreadful 39.5 percent. In fact, even the three-point percentage inside the conference could be an aberration that will correct itself as the Falcons are still at only 30.4 percent from beyond the arc for the whole season.

Thus, luck for Buffalo to stay hot by shutting the Bowling Green offense down en route to a nice road win on Sunday.

[gameodds]14/256593/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

NCAA Basketball Pick: Buffalo -2½ (-115)