Sunday, June 17, 2018
USF Bulls

It’s Bulls vs. Bulls in NCAA’s opening round

A look at 11th-seeded Buffalo, which faces USF in an NCAA Tournament first-rounder Saturday in Tallahassee

Nickame: Bulls

Record: 27-5

Conference: Mid-American (MAC). Finished 16-2 in conference play; lost to Central Michigan, 96-91, in MAC Tournament final

Coach: Felisha Legette-Jack (sixth season at Buffalo, 117-75; 16th season overall, 258-238)

RPI: 22

Record vs. RPI top-50 teams: 2-2

Players to watch: G Stephanie Reid, Sr. (11.8 ppg, 7.0 assists); C Cassie Oursler, Sr. (13.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg); G Cierra Dillard, Jr. (15.9 ppg, 2.9 spg, 5.3 assists)

Need to know: While Monday night's tournament selection show left USF steamed (No. 6 seed), Buffalo was stimulated. Last year, the Bulls finished 22-10 and reached the MAC Tournament semifinals, but were shut out of postseason play. The Bulls' fate probably rests on the sore ankle of Reid, who went down late in the MAC final against Central Michigan. Reid, who ranks seventh nationally in assists per game, told The Buffalo News she'll be ready by the weekend. If she's healthy, look for the Bulls — who set a program single-season record for victories — to employ a brisk tempo. They rank 26th nationally in scoring (77.5 ppg) and have scored at least 80 points 16 times. Four players average at least 10 points, and six average at least seven. On the other end, they rank ninth in the country in 3-point percentage defense (27.0), making for an intriguing matchup against a USF squad that sinks nearly nine treys a game.

Odds and ends: Buffalo typically employs an all-upperclassmen starting lineup (three seniors, two juniors). … Legette-Jack was the first hire by then-Buffalo athletic director Danny White, who now holds the same job at UCF. … Buffalo becomes the second team from upstate New York's "Big 4" (Buffalo, Niagara, Canisius, St. Bonaventure) to receive a women's NCAA at-large bid. The other? St. Bonaventure's 2012 club, which also played its first- and second-round games in Tallahassee and reached the Sweet 16.

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