AMHERST, N.Y. (AP) — Buffalo has promoted Nate Oats' top assistant, Jim Whitesell, to take over its men's basketball program.

The Mid-American Conference Bulls announced the move Saturday, 10 days after Oats ended his four-year run at Buffalo to become coach at Alabama. Whitesell was associate head coach on a Buffalo team that reached the NCAA Tournament three times in four years and spent 19 weeks this season in the national rankings.

The 59-year-old Whitesell has 34 seasons of college coaching experience, including 24 as head coach. He went 387-301 with Loyola-Chicago, Division II Lewis University and Division III Elmhurst College, all in Illinois.

Before joining Oats' staff, he spent two seasons as an assistant at St. John's. He also was an associate head coach at Saint Louis under the late Rick Majerus.

Buffalo won a conference and school-record 32 games this season, including its second consecutive NCAA Tournament first-round victory, before losing to Texas Tech.

Whitesell faces an immediate challenge of having to restock the Bulls after losing five seniors — including MAC MVP CJ Massinburg — to graduation. Several recruits rescinded their commitments to playing at Buffalo following Oats' departure.


More AP college basketball: and