Syracuse basketball will tip off against Buffalo for the first time in nearly 16 years on Tuesday. In the seven games the Orange and the Bulls have played against each other all-time going back to 1973, SU is undefeated.
Syracuse’s average margin of victory over Buffalo is more than 22 points.
While SU has played in 38 NCAA Tournaments, including six Final Four games, three National Championship games and earning one national title, Buffalo has been in two NCAA Tournaments (2015, 2016). Buffalo lost in the first round both times.
And while Syracuse faces some of the top opponents in the nation in the ACC and still comes out with a winning record on a yearly basis and Buffalo is competing against teams in the MAC, it is fair to say that the Orange is a higher-caliber team than the Bulls.
But these are mostly facts of the past.
This year, Syracuse cannot take a mental ‘W’ before the game even begins. Buffalo has five weapons to utilize against the Orange.
And those five weapons are named CJ Massinburg, Nick Perkins, Jeremy Harris, Dontay Caruthers and Davonta Jordan.
These five players see most of the Bull’s playing time and all are averaging points in the double digits right now. All juniors but Jordan (sophomore), these five players have Division I basketball experience and know how to put the ball in the net. Each of them is shooting well, and threes can be considered a specialty for each of them.
A point of comparison: Syracuse faced a barrage of shots from the Colgate offence a week and a half ago. With four perimeter shooters, Colgate wore out the SU defense in the second half and continued to make shots the Orange knew the Raiders were going to make.
Buffalo has five of these guys. And they shoot close to the basket as well. With five good three-point shooters, the Syracuse 2-3 zone has to spread out. This then can open up some room for the Bulls to get the ball inside the SU defense and into the paint for a closer shot.
No one should take this game for granted based on the past. Look at what (and who) will be on the court Tuesday.
Syracuse needs to be ready.
Published: David Edelstein