NCAA Scouting report: Buffalo Bulls

Buffalo junior guard Jeremy Harris goes in for a layup during the game against Arizona in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday, March 15, 2018, in Boise, Idaho. Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

After getting through their first-round matchups of the NCAA Tournament, UK and Buffalo will meet in the second round with a trip to the Sweet 16 on the line.

No. 13 seeded Buffalo earned its trip to the second round by knocking off four-seed Arizona 89-68 on Thursday. The Bulls knocked down 15-30 threes in the game and shot 55 percent from the floor overall.

The win was Buffalo’s first victory in the NCAA Tournament in just the Bulls’ third appearance in program history. Buffalo will be looking to make its first Sweet 16 in program history as well and keep the Cinderella story going against UK on Saturday at 5:15 p.m. ET.

Head Coach: Nate Oats (third season at Buffalo)

Oats has been an NCAA division-one coach for three years, which have all been at Buffalo. In his time with the Bulls, Oats has led the Bulls to a 64-38 record as of Saturday morning and has made two NCAA Tournaments. 

Before becoming the head coach, Oats was an assistant coach at Buffalo under Bobby Hurley, and before that spent 11 years serving as the head coach of Romulus High School in Michigan. Oats led Romulus to a 222-52 record.

Record: 23-8 in the regular season, 15-3 in Mid American Conference play. Winners of the MAC Tournament.

Likely starters

Wes Clark: Senior guard, 6-0. 15 PPG and 5.4 APG.

Davonta Jordan: Sophomore guard, 6-2. 6.7 PPG and 4.1 APG.

CJ Massinburg: Junior guard, 6-3. 16.9 PPG and 7.3 RPG.

Jeremy Harris: Junior guard, 6-7. 15.6 PPG and 43 percent 3FG 

Ikenna Smart: Junior forward, 6-10. 3.6 PPG and 67 percent FG.

Buffalo’s offense is a threat

Buffalo took down Arizona with an offensive blitz that those Wildcats couldn’t handle, and the Bulls will look to do the same thing to UK on Saturday afternoon.

Before Thursday’s first round win, however, Buffalo had been putting up pretty good numbers all year offensively. The Bulls are sixth in the country in scoring offense, and tied for 13th in assists per game.

Good offenses such as UCLA and Florida have beaten UK this year, and if Buffalo gets their way like they did against Arizona, the Bulls will be in a good spot to pull off another upset. 

Nate Oats not backing down from shots to John Calipari

It’s no secret that UK’s team is historically young this year, and Oats wasn’t afraid to point it out with everyone listening after Buffalo beat Arizona.

Oats called Calipari “whiny,” referencing the fact that Calipari has spent a lot of time this season talking about UK’s youth. Oats had a chance to clarify his comments on Friday, not really backing down from what he said.

“We’re experienced, they’re inexperienced, it’s no disrespect, it is what it is, it’s facts,” Oats said.

Oats’ players are also taking that same mindset of not backing down to Saturday’s game against UK, even though UK is the favorite.

“They’re real good, but they put on their shorts just like we put on our shorts,” junior guard Jeremy Harris said.