Ranked nationally since mid-November, Buffalo heads into the NCAA Tournament as the No. 6 seed in the West, but will have to wait a bit to find out who they're playing. Arizona State and St. John's will fight for the distinction of being No. 11.
The Buffalo Bulls are one of the most-feared mid-majors in the field. The Bulls, ranked No. 18 in the country heading into the tournament, put together a 31-3 record that included a 16-2 record in the MAC. They scored a number of solid non-conference wins as well - including a big one over Syracuse. The Bulls are led by star senior guard CJ Massinburg, who averaged 18.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.
St. John's may have been a bubble team coming into the tournament, but the Red Storm proved throughout the season that they can rise to the occasion. They are the only team to own a season-sweep of Marquette, and have wins over Villanova and Seton Hall on their resume to boot. This will be Chris Mullin's first NCAA Tournament appearance as a coach, so the Golden State Warriors legend will need to get the team out of its current slump quickly to manage its way through March Madness.
After their second straight seasons of 20-plus wins, the Arizona State Sun Devils are in the NCAA Tournament for a second-year in a row. Arguably the team's biggest win came in December when they upset No. 1 Kansas to end the Jayhawks' 10-0 start. But the Sun Devils quickly fell back down to earth with back-to-back losses against Princeton and Utah. Nevertheless, the team managed to regroup and finished with a 21-9 regular season record and the No. 2 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament, losing to eventual tournament winner Oregon.
Date: Friday, March 22
Time: ~4:00 p.m. ET
TV Channel: TNT
Location: BOK Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Announcers: Brad Nessler / Steve Lavin / Jim Jackson // Evan Washburn
Prediction: Buffalo has crushed just about every team that's come their way and will be demanding respect throughout their NCAA tournament run.
Buffalo will beat the winner of Arizona State/St. John's to move on.