CIT Tournament Preview - Buffalo (18-13) at Quinnipiac (22-9)

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The 2011 CollegeInsider.Com Postseason Tournament tips-off tonight at 7 p.m. Eastern when the Buffalo Bulls travel to Hamden, Connecticut to take on the Quinnipiac Bobcats in an opening-round contest.  Buffalo was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the MAC tournament, losing to Kent State 73-62, while Quinnipiac bowed out of the NEC tournament in the semifinals, falling to Robert Morris 64-62. 

The Bobcats have been very strong at the TD Bank Sports Center this season, going 12-5.  Coach Reggie Witherspoon’s Bulls have struggled away from home, losing the last six games they have played away from Alumni Arena (0-5 in road games and MAC tournament loss to Kent State on neutral court).  The Bulls are also staggering entering the postseason, having gone 4-7 since an 81-58 win over Toledo on February 3.  Conversely, coach Tom Moore’s Bobcats surged down the stretch, winning seven games in a row prior to the loss to Robert Morris. 

Quinnipiac is led by All-NEC First Team picks Justin Rutty and James Johnson.  Rutty is a rugged interior player who averaged 14.6 points per game on 53 percent shooting from the floor.  He also averaged 9.5 rebounds per game, helping the Bobcats to lead the nation in total rebounds per game at 42.3.  Although, the Bobcats relatively poor shooting from the field, they shoot only 43 percent from the field and 34.2 percent from three-point range may have something to do with that.

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Senior point guard Byron Mulkey, an All-MAC Second Team selection, leads the Bulls.  Mulkey averaged 13.5 points, 4.5 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 2.6 steals per game.  Junior marksman Zach Filzen sank a school-record 106 three-pointers, and actually leads the Bulls in scoring at 15.7 points per game.  All-MAC Honorable Mention pick Javon McCrea and Mitchell Watt anchor Buffalo’s frontcourt.

If the game comes down to free throw shooting both teams may be in trouble, as both the Bulls and the Bobcats make significantly less than 70 percent of their free throws.  Buffalo shoots 66.2 percent from the charity stripe while Quinnipiac is even worse, converting just 61.3 percent of its’ free throw opportunities. 

By Matt Zemek
DFN Sports Senior Staff Writer




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