BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo men's basketball team has been picked to win the Mid-American Conference East Division and received nine tournament championship votes, it was announced Thursday morning by the league office. Juniors CJ Massinburg and Nick Perkins were named to the preseason All-MAC East Division Team. The polls were voted on by a panel of all 12 MAC head coaches and 18 media members.
The Bulls, who are led by third-year head coach Nate Oats, received 166 points and 24 of the 30 first place votes in the East Division to finish atop the preseason poll. This is the second time that Buffalo has been picked as the preseason winner of the MAC East and the first time since prior to the 2004-05 season. Buffalo also received nine votes to win the 2018 MAC Tournament Championship, just one behind Western Michigan.
In the East Division, the Bulls received 166 points while second place Kent State received 139 points and two first place votes. Followed by Kent State is Ohio, Akron, Bowling Green, and Miami.
In the West Division, Western Michigan was picked to win the division with 169 points and 22 first place votes. They are followed by Ball State, Toledo, Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, and Central Michigan.
The league also announced their preseason All-League teams with Massinburg and Perkins both finding their way on to the East squad.
Massinburg was named All-MAC Honorable Mention last year as he averaged 14.5 points and 5.6 rebounds a year ago. He is Buffalo's returning leading scorer and despite missing eight games during non-conference play last year, he is in striking distance of 1,000 career points in just his third season with the team. Massinburg had many key performances last season, including scoring the final six points, breaking a 93-93 tie and earning a road victory at Central Michigan. He also hit the last two free throws to seal a road victory at Ohio.
Perkins was named the MAC's Sixth Man of the Year last year, just the second player in school history to earn that honor. Perkins averaged 12.4 points and a team-high 6.7 rebounds last year as he came off the bench in 14 of 32 games, including 14 of the last 15 games of the year. Known for his 20 points in the NCAA Tournament against Miami as a freshman, Perkins has always played some of his best games against top competition. He had 23 points last year at Pitt and a career-best 24 points at St. Bonaventure. He also had 21-point games against Western Michigan and Ball State.
Massinburg and Perkins are joined on the East Division Team by Jordan Dartis and Jason Carter from Ohio and Jaylin Walker of Kent State.
The West Division team is made up of James Thompson IV from Eastern Michigan, Thomas Wilder of Western Michigan, Tayler Persons from Ball State, Toledo's Jaelan Sanford, and Eugene German of Northern Illinois.
The Bulls will begin play this Saturday when they head to Rhode Island for a Charity Exhibition against the Rams, who were the preseason pick to win the Atlantic 10. Tip off will be at 1pm. UB will be at Alumni Arena a week from Friday (Nov. 3) for an exhibition against Daemen at 8pm.
MAC East Division MBB Preseason Poll (first place votes)
- Buffalo – 166 points (24)
- Kent State – 139 points (2)
- Ohio – 127 points (3)
- Akron – 84 points (1)
- Bowling Green – 82 points
- Miami – 32 points
MAC West Division MBB Preseason Poll (first place votes)
- Western Michigan – 169 points (22)
- Ball State – 156 points (8)
- Toledo – 107 points
- Eastern Michigan – 103 points
- Northern Illinois – 57 points
- Central Michigan – 38 points
MAC Tournament Champion: Western Michigan (10), Buffalo (9), Ball State (5), Kent State (2), Toledo (2), Bowling Green (1), Miami (1)
MAC East Division Preseason All-MAC Team
C.J. Massinburg, Buffalo, Jr., Guard
Nick Perkins, Buffalo, Jr., Forward
Jaylin Walker, Kent State, Jr., Guard
Jordan Dartis, Ohio, Jr., Guard
Jason Carter, Ohio, So., Forward
MAC West Division Preseason All-MAC Team
James Thompson IV, Eastern Michigan, Jr., Forward/Center
Thomas Wilder, Western Michigan, Sr., Guard
Tayler Persons, Ball State, Jr., Guard
Jaelan Sanford, Toledo, Jr., Guard
Eugene German, Northern Illinois, So., Guard