As part of its preview of the 2016 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, SI.com is taking a look at all 68 teams in the field. RPI and SOS data from realtimerpi.com. Adjusted offense and defense statistics are from kenpom.com and measure the number of points scored and allowed per 100 possessions, and the team’s national rank. All other advanced stats are also from kenpom.com (unless noted otherwise), and are through March 14.
Record: 20–14 (10-8 MAC)
Adjusted offensive/defensive efficiency: 105.1 (148th)/102.5 (148th)
Seed: South No. 14
Impact Player: Blake Hamilton, Junior, Guard, 13.1 PG, 7.0 RPG
The Case For: Bobby Hurley has gone to Arizona State, but his former team is back in the NCAA tournament after defeating Akron in the MAC tournament final. The Bulls sport four scorers who average double figures and are incredibly balanced offensively. Buffalo also has a tremendous amount of depth, with nine players who play at least 12 minutes per game. The Bulls enter playing their best basketball of the year, having won four games in a row for just the second time all season.
The Case Against: Buffalo can really struggle on both sides of the ball, ranking 148th in adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency, per kenpom.com, and it’s 262nd nationally in points allowed. Its first-round opponent, No. 3 Miami, is also a matchup nightmare, with veteran players and skilled ballhandlers who can pick apart the Bulls defensively. They’ve played competition similar to the Hurricanes this year (Duke and Iowa State) and they were run out of the building. The Bulls do shoot 44% from the field, but they’re going to need an uncommon performance to get past the first round.
SI Prediction: Lose Miami (Fla.) in the first round