No. 2 seed Toledo will face No. 1 seed Buffalo in the MAC tournament championship on Saturday night at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.
BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH Enlarge
No. 2 Toledo vs. No. 1 Buffalo
■ Time: 7 p.m.
■ Records: Toledo is 23-10; Buffalo is 25-8
■ TV: ESPN2
■ Radio: 1370 AM
■ Series: Toledo leads 15-10
When Buffalo has the ball: Buffalo is second in the conference in offensive efficiency behind Toledo and has a balanced offensive attack led by CJ Massinburg (17.3 ppg) and Nick Perkins (16.6 ppg). Swingman Jeremy Harris adds 15.6 ppg and guard Wes Clark averages 14.1 ppg. … The Bulls’ guards can beat defenses off the dribble and Buffalo leads the league in shooting percentage at 47.6 percent. The Bulls are the league’s top scoring offense at 85.2 points per game. When Toledo and Buffalo met in the MAC opener, the Bulls scored 104 points, so Toledo will have its hands full defensively trying to slow down a potent offense that KenPom.com ranks the 42nd most efficient offense in the nation.
When Toledo has the ball: The Bulls rank 11th in the league in scoring defense, allowing 76.7 points per game, but they finished the season second in defensive efficiency during MAC play. Buffalo did allow Toledo to score 94 points in the lone matchup between the teams, so the Rockets should be able to generate some offense. In that first meeting, Tre’Shaun Fletcher scored 27 points, Jaelan Sanford scored 18, and Willie Jackson had 16 off the bench. Toledo shot 54.1 percent from the field in that game. The Rockets could be without Fletcher, who injured his knee in the semifinal game. If so, Toledo will need contributions from Sanford, Nate Navigato, and Luke Knapke and will need Marreon Jackson and Willie Jackson to build off their outstanding games against Eastern Michigan. There should be plenty of offensive fireworks as the teams battle for an NCAA tournament bid.
Notes: Toledo is playing in its first MAC title game since 2014. Toledo fell to Western Michigan in that game. … The Rockets have not won the MAC title and made an NCAA tournament appearance since 1980. … Toledo’s 23 victories this season are tied for third most in school history. … The Rockets’ 12 3-pointers in a 64-63 semifinal win over Eastern Michigan on Friday were a school record for a MAC tournament game. … Freshman Marreon Jackson scored 26 points and Willie Jackson added 18 points and 10 rebounds. … Toledo is 13-0 this season when holding its opponent to less than 70 points. … Toledo lost at Buffalo 104-94 in the MAC opener on Jan. 2. … Buffalo cruised by fifth-seeded Kent State by a 78-61 score in its MAC semifinal game. … Harris had 22 points and Perkins had 12 points and seven rebounds off the bench in the win over the Golden Flashes. … The Bulls are the regular season MAC champs. ... Buffalo won the MAC tournament and made NCAA appearances in 2015 and ‘16.
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