UB’s trend of scheduling up continues in year three of the Nate Oats regime. Although the full non-conference schedule is months away, Bulls fans will see an opponent that they’ve been waiting a long time for. For the first time since the 2001-02 season, Buffalo will travel to the Carrier Dome to take on the Syracuse Orange.
News of the matchup comes from a tweet that flew under our radar last week from TBN’s Geoff Nason:
UB coach Nate Oats, at Pearl Street alumni event, says the Bulls will play Syracuse at the Carrier Dome this upcoming season.— Geoff Nason (@BuffNewsGNason) June 1, 2017
The last time the Bulls made the trip to the Carrier Dome was a decade and a half ago when the Orange squashed the Bulls 83-62. But of course, that was an era where Buffalo still needed a few more years to be competitive in the MAC, let alone against a basketball powerhouse like Syracuse.
It’s been known that Syracuse has refused to play the Bulls in the past and you can’t fault them. There’s been too much to lose and not enough to gain but perhaps missing the NCAA Tournament last year made the Orange schedule a tad better, trading a match-up against a bottom-feeder like Colgate for one against an RPI 100 MAC team.
This will probably be the last time Syracuse will face the Bulls with longtime head coach Jim Boeheim at the helm. Boeheim announced back in 2015 that the 2017-18 season will be his last.
As always, UB will be a significant underdog in this type of game and especially since they will play the 2-3 zone that Boeheim is known for. The Orange will be in the NCAA Tourney conversation yet again after reloading with a pretty good freshman class and USF grad transfer Geno Thorpe.
With Syracuse already the highlight of UB’s non-conference schedule, we also know of a road trip to play Texas A&M. The Bulls played the Aggies last in the 2013-14 season and the first of the Bobby Hurley tenure in an 82-58 affair.
UB will also participate in the eight-team Cayman Islands Classic on November 20-22. The other seven teams in the tourney will be Iowa, Cincinnati, South Dakota State, UAB, Wyoming, UL-Lafayette, and Richmond. That tourney should be a great indicator of the Bulls’ level of play considering the wide scope of opponents.