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Ready or not, No. 14 Buffalo visiting next with Syracuse trying to regroup after upset

Davonta Jordan [left], Nate Oats [center] and Nick Perkins [right] answer questions after Buffalo's win over Southern Illinois on Saturday. (PHOTO: UB Athletics)

Ready or not, the Syracuse Orange hope to regroup Tuesday night after a shocking home loss to unranked Old Dominion.

However, Tuesday's opponent is no pushover.

The Buffalo Bulls have started the year 10-0 overall, including non-conference road wins over West Virginia and Southern Illinois so far on the young season.

Again, the Bulls are no slouch.

Buffalo is now ranked No. 14 in America, climbing in the national polls as the wins pile up.

The Bulls are led by four different players who average double figures in scoring.

CJ Massinburg leads all UB scorers with 17.5 points per game, followed by Nick Perkins (13.8 ppg), Jeremy Harris (13.6 ppg) and Jayvon Graves (11.6 ppg).

During last year's meeting at the Carrier Dome, Buffalo pushed Syracuse to the brink, but a late Orange push helped lead to an 81-74 win -- a win that very well may have helped Syracuse get into the NCAA Tournament as one of the last four teams in.

This time around, Buffalo has all the momentum and the undefeated record.

The Orange know what's coming.

"They're going to play hard," Syracuse junior Tyus Battle said when asked about the Bulls. "They're good defensively -- tough defensively. They've got good guards and they're well-coached. It's going to be a good game. They're a really good team and we've got to come out ready to play."

"They're a great team," Syracuse sophomore Oshae Brissett explained when asked about Buffalo. "They're a great defensive team. They do a lot of things that really change people's offense. I just know for this game Tuesday, we've got to be razor sharp and make the right play when we can. We can't have any off possessions."

Buffalo has not started off this well since 1931.

At 10-0 overall, it's the start of a big week for the Bulls, with road trips to Syracuse and Marquette, respectively.

Bulls head coach Nate Oats fully understands what type of Orange team he's going to see Tuesday.

"The coaches told me Old Dominion beat them [Syracuse]," Oats articulated. "I said that's the worst thing we needed right now. It's definitely not good that they lost to Old Dominion, I don't think. If you beat them it's not as much of a quality win either because they just lost to Old Dominion, so they're probably going to be playing way harder. So it's probably the worst thing we needed to have happen, but it is what it is."

The Bulls have continued on an upward trajectory in recent years, following in the footsteps of former coach Bobby Hurley's success.

With the Orange seemingly struggling out of the gate with a 7-3 overall record, they firmly understand a win over No. 14 Buffalo would lift them to finish out the non-conference slate strong.

"We need to get better," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim responded. "They're better. I think they're a top-10 team in the country. So, we're going to have to play a lot better than this.

"A lot better," Boeheim concluded.

Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. Tuesday night from the Carrier Dome, and will be nationally televised on ESPN2.

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