Tim was under the weather and had to keep his answers brief but I hope this exchange will give you a better sense of who and what the Tigers are up against come high noon Saturday. It will be interesting to see if Buffalo's final home football game of the season improves attendance (kickoff is at 3:30 pm ET) or keeps fans away from Alumni Arena.
If you cover a team the Tigers will face down the line, let us know. Especially if you follow Northeastern! Coming up dry trying to find someone willing to talk Huskies with me...
Hello again! Welcome back to the site. I appreciate you taking the time to do this. With this being the first game of the season there are always a lot of unanswered questions still to be resolved for both sides. What do you think some of the bigger question marks are for Buffalo coming out of this preseason?
The big problem is not talent, it is maturity. Mitchell Watt had an ability to raise his game to the next level just when we needed it most. Buffalo fans affectionately called it "Beast Mode." Watt could become dominant at both ends of the court and it's not clear if UB has someone to fill those shoes.
The talent is there, Coach Reggie Witherspoon has done a fine job building this team but aside from Javon McCrea it's a very young squad.
What are the fan/media expectations going into this year? Step forward? Step back? Status quo from a 20-11 campaign a season prior?
This season is going to be a step back. The MAC East has three potential Top 100 teams and one or two that might mange to get ranked by the time all is said and done. Combine that with a grueling non-conference schedule and 20 wins seems unapproachable. I suspect when all is said and done UB will win between 15 and 18 games.
How good is junior forward Javon McCrea? It seems that like Ian Hummer for Princeton, the Bulls will be leaning on him a whole lot in 2012-13.
The Bulls need McCrea to fill the hole left by Watt. He certainly can play at Watt's level but he has never had to be "the guy."
Losing four of their five top scorers from a year ago, who do you expect to pick up that slack?
Buffalo has Will Regan, a former forward for Virginia. We do return our point guard Jarod Oldham, who is not a shoot-first guard. But he does a great job distributing the ball and running the offense.
Are there non-McCrea players Tiger fans should prepare to frequently hear the names of?
I've already mentioned Regan. He was not happy with his situation in Viginia and he is from the Buffalo area. So he transferred back last season and sat out a season per NCAA rules.
On paper, what do you expect this team's major strength and weakness to be?
The defense without Watt is going to be the biggest weakness. The strength should be shooting.
You get the honor of the first "fill in the blank" of the season. Buffalo starts the season off with a victory if...
If Regan's defense is as good as his offense is supposed to be.
Likewise, Princeton heads back to New Jersey 1-0 if...
If McCrea is not up to being the sole star. I'm leaving your last two questions blank because I've been pretty sick and just don't feel up to writing anything else...
Have a nice trip.
Thanks, Tim. Feel better!