After a 15-point win over Northern Kentucky, 3-seed Texas Tech is set to face 5-seed Buffalo at 5:10 p.m. Sunday, March 24, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
A win in the second round of the NCAA tournament would secure Tech a spot in the Sweet 16 in Anaheim, California.
Bulls’ head coach Nate Oats has led his team to an overall 96-42 record during the four years at Buffalo. Oats has guided the team to two regular season conference championships and three conference tournament championships, according to sports-reference.com.
Buffalo is 32-3 on the year after defeating Arizona State, 91-74, in the first round of the tournament, according to sports-reference.com. The win extended the Bulls 13-game win streak, not having lost since Friday, Feb. 1, to Bowling Green State.
The Bulls are a fast-tempo team, which vastly differs from how Tech plays. The Bulls have shot 2,292 field goals this season, the most in the country, according to sports-reference.com. In that is 995 three-point attempts which lands at sixth-most in the country.
Buffalo is fourth in the nation in pulling down rebounds with 1,437, according to sports-reference.com. The Bulls are the second best total scoring offense with 2,979 points scored, showing their high-shooting average is effective.
One area that the Bulls struggle in is that Buffalo is 298th in fouls, meaning the team plays harsh defense and tends to get into foul trouble. The players on the team lack size, instead favoring a "small ball" approach that relies on guard play and fast-tempo.
The tallest player on the team in senior forward Montell McRae at 6-foot-10. Not one player on the Bulls' roster weighs over 200 pounds, according to Bulls Athletics. Other players include senior guard Jeremy Harris at 6-foot-7, sophomore guard Jayvon Graves at 6-foot-3 and junior guard Davonte Jordan at 6-foot-2.
Despite shooting many three-pointers, the Bulls leading scorer, senior guard C.J. Massinburg, is the only player on the Bulls shooting .400 or better from the three-point line, with exactly .400 shooting from outside. Massinburg is averaging 18.3 points per game, according to sports-reference.com. The senior from Dallas has the top free-throw percentage on the team at .785 and averages .3 blocks per game.
Senior forward Nick Perkins is behind Massinburg with 14.5 points per game. He pulls down the most rebounds on the team with 7.3 per game, according to sports-reference.com. While Perkins has the second most points and the most rebounds, the senior has only started one game this season, instead supplying a sixth-man spark off the bench. Perkins sits at .9 blocks and has an average of .7 assists per game.
While Jordan is a starter for the Bulls, he averages just 7.2 points per game but leads the team with 3.7 assists per game, indicating his role is to keep the ball moving. He averages 1.5 steals per game on the season, which is the most on the team, according to sports-reference.com. The junior is the only player on the team who is averaging more than two turnovers and fouls per game.
If the Red Raiders can overcome the small ball, fast-paced approach of the Bulls, they will advance to the Sweet 16 and play Michigan on Thursday, March 28, in Anaheim, California.