Princeton (0-0) at Buffalo (0-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 10, 12 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Alumni Arena (6,100) -- Buffalo, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Princeton 0-0, Buffalo 0-0. Away Record: Princeton 0-0, Buffalo 0-0. Neutral Record: Princeton 0-0, Buffalo 0-0. Conference Record: Princeton 0-0, Buffalo 0-0. Series Record: Series tied, 1-1.
GAME NOTES: The Princeton Tigers begin their 2012-2013 campaign on the road as they head to Alumni Arena for a non-conference bout with the Buffalo Bulls.
Princeton seems to be headed in the right direction under alumnus Mitch Henderson. The second-year coach is looking to build upon the 20-12 overall record and trip to the College Basketball Invitational quarterfinals he accumulated during his inaugural year with the program. Henderson, who was a member of the Princeton team that upset UCLA in the 1996 NCAA Tournament, spent time as an assistant at Northwestern before taking over the Tigers' program.
The Bulls are once again led by the Mid-American Conference's longest tenured coach, Reggie Witherspoon, who is entering his 14th year at Buffalo with a 184-208 overall record. Witherspoon may have a sub .500 career winning percentage, but he has led Buffalo to just under 20 wins per season over the last four years. It suffered a three-point loss to the eventual champion Ohio University in the conference playoffs before playing a pair of games in the CIT. The Bulls are not easy to tame in Alumni Arena. They went 12-2 at home last season.
This will be just the third meeting in history between these schools on the hardwood. Princeton evened the series, 1-1, last season with a 61-53 victory in New Jersey. In that contest, the Tigers jumped out to a big first half lead and the Bulls chipped it down to single digits in the final 20 minutes.
The Tigers have plenty of talent returning from last season's accomplished unit. They have back three starters in Brendan Connolly, Ian Hummer, and T.J. Bray. Hummer is the go-to-guy in the offensive scheme. The senior forward filled up the stat sheet last year, ranking in the top-10 in the league in scoring (16.1 ppg), rebounding (7.3 rpg), field goal percentage (.467), assists (3.2 apg), steals (1.4 spg) and blocks (1.2 bpg). Bray is a solid point guard who averaged 3.7 apg as a sophomore. Princeton also gets back Will Barrett, who started four of eight games before suffering a foot injury. Senior forward Mack Darrow started half of the team's games last season as well.
The Bulls have three starters back from last season's unit, including second- leading scorer and rebounder Javon McCrea (14.7 ppg, 6.9 rpg). McCrea is expected to pick up the slack as four of Buffalo's top five scorers graduated at the end of last season. The Bulls will revolve around point guard Jarod Oldham (4.7 ppg, 5.9 apg) as he aims for his second straight MAC assist title. Oldham set a UB Division I era record with 183 assists last season. Corey Raley-Ross played only 85 minutes last season, but his work ethic and improvement over the off-season did enough to earn him the starting shooting guard job. Former Virginia forward Will Regan is going to start this year after sitting out last season to honor NCAA transfer rules.
The Tigers are a very strong team, especially from the Ivy League. Buffalo's homecourt advantage may be too tough to overcome. The onus will be on McCrea, who needs to establish himself as a leader early on to open things up for his teammates.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Princeton 67, Buffalo 65
11/10 10:32:49 ET