- Buffalo is a 6.5-point road favorite over Ball State on Friday night
- Buffalo has won two games in a row
- A look at the odds and matchup can be found below with a prediction
Buffalo will try to build on a modest winning streak when it visits Ball State at 6:00 p.m. ET Friday in a Mid-American Conference game at Worthen Arena in Muncie, Ind.
Buffalo (8-6/2-2 MAC/3-4 road) is coming off back-to-back victories, including winning at Western Michigan 78-64 on Tuesday. Also Tuesday, Ball State (7-8/2-2 MAC/5-1 road) lost for the second time in its last three games, falling at Akron 84-74.
Buffalo is favored in a game that will be televised on CBS Sports Network.
Buffalo vs Ball State Odds
|Buffalo||OFF||-6.5 (-110)||Over 162 (-110)|
|Ball State||OFF||+6.5 (-110)||Under 162 (-110)|
Odds as of January 13th at DraftKings.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the win over Western Michigan was Buffalo showed it could succeed without a big scoring effort from senior forward Jeenathan Williams.
Williams was held to a season-low 10 points on 3-of-14 shooting. He also had five rebounds.
Williams is scoring a team-best 18.2 points a game and averaging 5.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists.
He's been one of the top players in the MAC this season.
— UB Men's Basketball (@UBmenshoops) January 3, 2022
Buffalo wound up having five players score in double figures, led by senior guard Ronaldo Segu with 17 points. He made 6 of 8 shots while improving his scoring average to 16.4
In addition to scoring in double figures in 13 of 14 games this season, Segu is also Buffalo’s top playmaker with an average of 5.1 assists.
Sophomore David Skogman had second consecutive double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Senior forward Mballa had 13 points and senior guard Keishawn Barton added 12 points and five steals.
Barton spearheaded a defensive effort that forced Western Michigan into 18 turnovers. While Broncos shot 51.0% (26-51), Buffalo outrebounded them 35-25.
Mballa continued his strong season as the Frenchman is averaging 15.0 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.8 steals. A fourth Buffalo player scoring in double figures is senior guard Maceo Jack at 10.2 points a game.
JOSH MBALLA! SHEEESH 👏 pic.twitter.com/wbO4uiuEMx
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) January 16, 2021
Befitting a team with so many scorers, the Bulls are 49th in the nation in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency with 111.2 points per 100 possessions.
Ball State Outlook
Center Payton Sparks might have had his breakout game in the loss to Akron.
The true freshman had the first double-double of his collegiate career with 23 points and 10 rebounds. That raised his season averages to 11.3 points and 6.5 rebounds.
— Ball State Men's Basketball (@BallStateMBB) December 12, 2021
Senior forward Miryne Thomas was 5 for 5 from the field and finished with 12 points.
Junior guard Luke Bumbalough and senior guard Demarius Jacobs added 10 points apiece. Jacobs, a Saint Louis transfer, also dished six assists.
Bumbalough is Ball State’s leading scorer with a 12.7 average and is also handing out 3.3 assists a game. Junior guard Tyler Cochran has been a stat sheet stuffer with averages of 11.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.9 steals.
— Ball State Men's Basketball (@BallStateMBB) January 8, 2022
While Akron shot 53.4% (31 of 58), Ball State held Zips leading scorer Ali Ali without a point. Averaging 15.0 points coming into the game, Ali was 0 for 5 from the field.
The Cardinals were outrebounded 40-27.
Buffalo vs Ball State Prediction
Buffalo has dominated the series recently, winning three in a row, six of seven, nine of 11 and 12 of 15. In the most recent game last Feb. 2, the Bulls rolled to a 78-58 victory in Muncie.
Mballa had a huge game for Buffalo with 22 points and 16 rebounds. Segu scored 20 points and Williams contributed 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
While Buffalo has won consecutive games, it has not looked like a team many analysts believe is the best in the MAC. While the Bulls are talented and deep, Sparks could provide a real, ahem, spark for Ball State to stay close in this one.
The Pick: Ball State +6.5 (-110)