Iowa State has played a sneaky tough schedule to date, but the competition is about to take a fairly significant jump beginning later this week when the Cyclones host in-state rival, Iowa. Standing between that showdown with the Hawkeyes is Buffalo, who is coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance a year ago.
The Bulls are coached by Nate Oats, who coached at Romulus High School in Michigan. Oats coached former Cyclones Dominique Buckley and Will Clyburn as preps and former Cyclone assistant, Charlie Henry, and current graduate assistant, Nate Schmidt, both coached under Oats while at Romulus.
Oats' wife, Crystal, is unfortunately battling lymphoma and Cyclone Fanatic set up a GoFundMe page to help with the medical bills the Oats family is facing. If you're interested in donating to the cause, please visit the page.
About the Bulls
Buffalo comes into the contest at 4-4 on the year, having just lost at Duke on Saturday. Back-to-back games against top-10 competition on the road would certainly figure to be less than ideal and the Bulls will need a monumental effort to spring the upset on Monday night.
Buffalo is a far cry from the team that made the tournament a season ago and Iowa State shouldn't have a problem manufacturing points as the Bulls have surrendered 70 or more points in 5 of their 8 games. And even if the Cyclones are a little cold from the field, Buffalo is allowing opponents to grab offensive rebounds on nearly 35% of their shot attempts.
Offensively, Buffalo isn't much better. The Bulls as a team have an effective field goal percentage of 42.8%, which is 326th in the country. They also have been especially dismal from outside, hitting only 29.7% of their looks from deep.
The Bulls are led by sophomore guard, Lamonte Bearden, who is pacing Buffalo at 13.1 points per contest. Rodell Wigginton (11.3), Blake Hamilton (11.0), and CJ Massinburg (10.6) are the other three Bulls averaging double figures.
So Who Wins?
Could the "caught looking ahead" factor be in play with the Iowa game looming?
Buffalo will bring a gritty crew into Hilton Coliseum, but Iowa State outclasses the Bulls in the second half.
Iowa State 87 - Buffalo 68
Tip: 8 p.m. CST
Radio: Cyclone Radio Network
Cyclones.com Game Notes: Available here