So uh...in case you were living under a rock last night, this happened:
The Buffalo Bulls came out with a statement and proved they are for real with an exciting 71-59 road win over the Syracuse Orange on Tuesday night. It was the first time since 1963 that UB took down the perennial college basketball powerhouse.
What’s unbelievable about this win for the Bulls is the same reason that West Virginia was such a shock—UB played pretty poorly for a large majority of the game. The only thing that Buffalo consistently did right was rebound the ball like crazy (which ended up in a gaping 48-35 margin for the Bulls).
Despite that poor play yet again and STILL coming out with the big win, it’s safe to say that this team is one of the best in the country at staying in games. There’s only a handful of teams in college basketball right now that are as focused as this veteran-filled Bulls squad.
But how does a team that shoots 37 percent from the field and give up 16 turnovers win a game by a dozen points? Look no further than to UB’s effort. The Bulls undoubtedly wanted this win and almost every play that was up in the air went their way because of the gritty style that is #NateOatsBlueCollar. Just think back to that MASSIVE offensive rebound Nick Perkins brought down late in the game.
Just like Oats has preached over and over to his players, the shots will eventually start falling. Buffalo completely took over the game in the last ten minutes and also shut down Syracuse’s tepid offense.
So how significant is this win? Well, I’d go as far as saying that this is the biggest win in school history because of the impact it has.
For one, even with a loss to Marquette, I expect Buffalo to stay ranked in the AP Poll next week, which means barring a few ugly losses in MAC play, they could finish the season there. Being ranked for almost a full season is huge for national exposure and will only benefit UB Athletics in the long run. That exposure will surely convert a lot of WNY ‘Cuse fans and make Alumni Arena a hot entertainment destination during Amherst winters. Also, expect another batch of even smarter kids to apply to UB and make your degree worth more.
Second, it increases the likelihood of retaining Oats in the short term. Buffalo obviously needs something facilities-wise to show that they’re committed to building this program in the long-term. But, being a ranked program at mid-major UB at this stage of the season definitely lets Nate wait for a really good job, and not a mediocre Power 5 job.
Finally, think of how this win will affect recruiting. A win over SU is huge recruiting fodder to keep New York recruits, especially the highly-touted ones coming out of Rochester as of late, to come to WNY instead of CNY. Rochester has been killing it lately with hoops talent and more kids like Jeenathan Williams will continue to pour out of that area.
This was huge for the University at Buffalo, and it’s all thanks to another big win by the handsome guys.