• Buffalo will matchup with Eastern Michigan for the second time this season on Friday night as the Bulls won the first meeting 74-58 on Jan. 8 in Ypsilanti. Senior Montell McRae finished with a career-high 18 points. UB is currently in a stretch with five of the first six games against the MAC West.
• The Bulls have won 19 straight games at Alumni Arena, dating back to last season, the fourth longest home winning streak in the country. The only teams to have longer winning streaks at home are Houston, Utah Valley, and Nebraska.
• UB moved up to 16th in the latest AP Top 25 rankings on Monday, the 10th straight week the Bulls have been in the polls. The 10 straight weeks are the second longest ever by a MAC team, just one week shy of the 11 straight weeks from Bowling Green in the 1961-62 season.
• At 16-1, the Bulls have their best record in school history through 17 games. UB had a 15-1 season in 1929-30 and a 15-0 campaign in 1930-31, but have never won 16 of their first 17 games to start a year. UB is the first MAC team to start a season 16-1 or better since Western Michigan started 19-0 in 1975-76.
• Head coach Nate Oats claimed his 80th career win on Tuesday night at Western Michigan. He is now 80-40 in his career and has won 30 games over the last year. Oats is the fastest head coach in UB history to 80 wins and he is already tied sixth place in school history in career victories.
WATCH A RECAP OF THE BULLS LAST GAME vs. WESTERN MICHIGAN IN VIDEO PLAYER AT THE TOP OF PAGE
• Eastern Michigan is 8-9 on the season and 2-2 in league play following a 51-49 loss at Akron on Tuesday night. After falling to the Bulls to open league play, the Eagles had won two straight beginning with a double overtime victory over Ball State followed by a 95-61 win over Kent State.
• Eastern Michigan has three players averaging double figures, led by 13.6 points per game from Elijah Minnie and 13.3 points per contest from Paul Jackson. James Thompson IV is averaging a double-double for EMU with 10.9 points and 10.3 rebounds per game.
• Eastern Michigan was picked as the preseason favorite to win the MAC West as they received 183 points and 17 first place votes. Five of the six teams in the MAC West received at least one first place vote in the preseason All- MAC voting. EMU leads the MAC in offensive rebounding at 14.4 per game.
• Rob Murphy is in his eighth season as head coach at Eastern Michigan. 2017-18 saw the Eagles reach tremendous heights, finishing with an overall record of 22-13, an 11-7 mark in Mid-American Conference play, a trip to the MAC Tournament semi-finals, and an appearance in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. Murphy has been on the staff of two college basketball programs and was also a highly successful high school head coach in Detroit, leading Crockett to the Class B State Championship in 2000-01 and was the associate head coach on the staff of the Detroit Central High School team that won the Class A state title in 1997-98. Murphy joined Kent State University for two seasons, 2002-03 and 2003-04, and the teams turned in back-to-back 22-9 seasons on the way to two MAC East Division crowns. Murphy joined Jim Boeheim’s Syracuse University men’s basketball program as an assistant. During his seven years on the staff, the Orange recorded a 180-67 overall record and played in the post season every year, with five NCAA appearances and two NIT stops.
Bulls Look For Fifth Straight League Win Friday Night
The Bulls return home on Friday night for their second meeting this season with the Eastern Michigan Eagles. UB joins Bowling Green as the only two teams in the MAC undefeated in league play through four games. In the first meeting, UB defeated EMU, 74-58 at the Convocation Center in Ypsilanti, MI. UB used a 12-0 first half run to take the lead for good in the contest, including 10 straight points from senior Montell McRae, who had a career-high 18 points in the victory.
Eastern Michigan is 2-2 in league play, having won two straight conference games before dropping its last contest to Akron. The Eagles are one of two MAC West teams that Buffalo will play twice, as UB will also head to Toledo for a second meeting in mid-February. Last season, Buffalo went 7-1 against the MAC West during conference play and 9-1 including the MAC Tournament.
Buffalo went over 100 points for the second time this season, tying a season high with 110 points against Toledo on Tuesday, its most ever against a MAC opponent. Now in his fourth season, head coach Nate Oats had recorded 100 or more points eight times, including seven against Division 1 opponents. Prior to Coach Oats taking the job, it took Buffalo between 1993-94 through 2014-15 to score 100 points seven times against D-I schools.
Tuesday marked the fifth time Buffalo has scored 100 points in a MAC game since 2015-16 when Coach Oats took over. All five of those performances have come in regulation. Central Michigan is the only other team to do it five times since 2015-16, but used overtime in four of those occurrences. Ball State had done it three times (two in overtime), and no other MAC school has done it more than twice.
UB In the National Rankings
Buffalo has become the 10th different MAC program to be ranked in the national AP poll in their history. All schools have been ranked at least once, except Akron and Central Michigan, however since 2000, only Kent State and Ball State have found their way into the national rankings. The Golden Flashes were the last program to do it, as they were ranked #23 in 2008, while Ball State spent four weeks in the polls during the 2001-02 season, peaking at #15. This is the ninth straight week in the AP poll for Buffalo. No MAC team has been in the polls for nine consecutive weeks or longer since Bowling Green during the 1961-62 season, when they were ranked for 11 straight weeks, the longest ever by a MAC program.
Three MAC programs have been in the Top 10 in their program’s history as Bowling Green was seventh back during the 1961-62 season. Toledo, who has spent 22 weeks in the Top 25 in their history, was ninth in 1963-64, and Ohio has the highest ranking ever by a MAC school as they were fifth for two weeks in 1969-70.
As for Western New York programs in the Big 4, Canisius was ranked for 11 weeks during the 1956-57 season, while Niagara has spent 20 weeks in the polls, most recently in the 1969-70 season. St. Bonaventure has had the most success in the AP Poll as they have spent 82 weeks ranked over their history, ranking as high at #2 in the country. The last time they were ranked was during the 1970-71 season 48 years ago.