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UB basketball begins MAC tourney, March Madness this week

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The University at Buffalo men’s and women's basketball teams are preparing for the Mid-American Conference tournament, now that the playoffs are back from a pandemic hiatus.

The UB men's team holds the 2 seed and will play 7-seed Miami (Ohio) Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m.

UB guard Jayvon Graves said the threat of COVID this year has motivated players to seize every opportunity. 

“Whenever a team gets cancelled and you can finally play again its like-- we’re happy to play. Got to cherish every time we get on the court together,” Graves said.

After three months of cancelled games and various shutdowns, the UB’s women’s college basketball team enters the MAC tournament as a 4 seed.

UB women are scheduled to face 5-seed Kent State Wednesday afternoon. 

Senior forward Summer Hemphill said after making it through a season with a pandemic, team members are taking nothing for granted.

“The tournament is a tournament at the end of the day," Hemphill said. "Like within the past few years, either you win or you're going home. And this time, it could be going home for good. So I'm not gonna be leaving anything on the table."

If either team wins the MAC tournament, they will play in the NCAA National Tournament starting March 18.

The NCAA recently announced due to COVID, if a team is unable to compete prior and notifies the conference within 48 hours of the first game, the bracket will be re-seeded to ensure that the top seed gets a bye in the first round.

Nick Lippa leads our Arts & Culture Coverage, and is also the lead reporter for the station's Mental Health Initiative, profiling the struggles and triumphs of those who battle mental health issues and the related stigma that can come from it.