It’s almost a must-win situation facing the University at Buffalo men’s basketball team against first-place Akron in its Mid-American Conference clash in Alumni Arena (7 p.m., TWCS, Radio 1270 AM)
In Olean, the St. Bonaventure men (15-10, 5-6 Atlantic 10) will renew their long, intense rivalry with Duquesne (11-13, 3-8) at 7 p.m.
The Bulls (14-8, 8-4 MAC) trail the Zips (17-8, 9-3 MAC) by only one game, but the schedule favors Akron after tonight. Three of UB’s five remaining conference games will be on the road, at Kent State, Ohio and Akron. Akron has only one road game in its last five, at Miami (Ohio). A win would put UB into a tie for first in the MAC East. Ohio could make it a three-way tie by winning its home game tonight against Western Michigan.
Ohio plays at Akron on Saturday in another huge MAC game this week.
UB dropped out of a tie for the division lead by losing to Ohio, 73-70, on Saturday, a bitter loss.
Akron, the two-time defending MAC regular season champion, has gone 36-8 in conference play the last three seasons. The Zips are led by 6-foot-7 senior forward Demetrius “Tree” Treadwell, who is averaging 14.5 points and 8.8 rebounds. Seven players on coach Keith Dambrot’s roster have started games this season. Treadwell is the only one to start all 25. The Zips may be missing Reggie McAdams, their leading three-point shooter (40.6 percent), who has mononucleosis. No. 3 scorer Nick Harney also may be out. He was suspended indefinitely last week.
St. Bonaventure and Duquesne have had some historic games over the years. None was more dramatic than the Dukes’ 83-81 victory over the Bonnies in Pittsburgh last month on a three-point shot at the buzzer by sophomore guard Derrick Colter. It was even tougher to take than the 72-70 loss at Siena in December.
Duquesne guard Micah Mason leads the nation in three-point shooting (.581). He’s made 50 of 81 from beyond the arc. Duquesne’s leading scorer is 6-8 senior Ovie Soko (18.4) who played three seasons at Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) before transferring.
On the women’s basketball front, both St. Bonaventure and UB will play conference games on the road. Bona (20-7, 9-3 A-10) will face VCU (19-7, 7-6) for the first time since the Richmond, Va., school joined the Atlantic 10. After their seven-game win streak ended last week at Saint Louis, the Bonnies came from behind to defeat Duquesne, 63-62, on Saturday. UB (13-9, 7-5 MAC) will play at Kent State (7 p.m., Radio 1270 AM). The Flash is 5-18 overall, 2-10 in the MAC.