What kind of team will Kentucky face? And that's not really a fluke, you know. Many of those same experts penciled their favorite group of Wildcats, those from Arizona, in for a likely trip to the Final Four, giving neither Kentucky or Davidson any chance of sending Arizona home early.
But at a practice Monday, a day before USC opened the NIT with its double-overtime win over UNC Asheville in the first round, he changed his mind when McLaughlin told him he planned to play. There are distractions aplenty. And Buffalo ran them off the court.
The Bulls shot 54.8 percent from the floor and made 15 of 30 3-point attempts.
Kentucky coach John Calipari has produced 24 first-round National Basketball Association draft picks over his past eight seasons as coach of the Wildcats, and this year there will be more.
From the jump, Buffalo was the more aggressive team and capitalized on both the boards and behind the arch, connecting on 15 3-pointers on the night, nine of which came in the second half. Buffalo is not lacking for confidence.
"We play fast. We had great guard play".
"Their record indicates what they are, which is they are an outstanding team", Calipari said. But at least one person was excited about the replacement game: United Kingdom playing Buffalo in a second-round game of the NCAA Tournament.
BTW, I couldn't reach Alex Barcello or Dylan Smith to ask them about their futures before they left the locker room, but Smith and Chase Jeter have already burned their redshirt seasons, making it tough to transfer even if they wanted to. "If we play and they play, it's probably going to come down to who has the ball last".
Buffalo coach Nate Oats isn't anxious about his team's mentality after pulling off the unexpected upset to open the tournament.More news: Stephen Hawking's Theories On Everything, In His Own Words
Kentucky struggled a bit, beating Davidson by five points. That's a rare feat.
Junior guard CJ Massinburg leads Buffalo in scoring at 16.9 points per game followed by junior forward Nick Perkins at 16.5. He spent his first three collegiate seasons with Missouri, a period over which the Tigers went 0-4 against Kentucky, losing by a combined total of 104 points.
Harris has transformed his game with the Bulls.
"They were 312th in the country in percentage of points from three", Buffalo head coach Nate Oats said.
Buffalo is 20-3 since a loss to Texas A&M on December 21st. Miller returned after the one-game absence and vigorously denied any wrongdoing. Massinburg banked in a 3-pointer to stretch the lead to 13 and the Bulls kept building it, racing off to the program's biggest victory. And those losses were all on the road.
The #4 seed Arizona trailed at halftime to 13th-seeded Buffalo after being out-rebounded and out-played in the first half. So what are some aspects of the Bulls that are less than impressive?
If Buffalo's performance against Arizona on Thursday wasn't the most impressive of the first round, it was certainly close.
UCLA enters the women's NCAA Tournament with something to prove after a disappointing loss to OR in the semifinals of the Pac-12 Tournament.
Defensive rebounding is also a vulnerability for Buffalo.