Bulls Head East To Face Syracuse At The Carrier Dome

UB MBB Huddle

#14/#15 Buffalo (10-0) at Syracuse (7-3)
December 18, 2018

Carrier Dome
 - 8:00 pm

Bulls on the Air

Radio - ESPN 1520-AM WWKB/WHTK 1280 AM Rochester/TuneIn App

Television - ESPN2

Opening Tip

• Winners of 10 straight to open up the season, the Bulls will embark on their toughest trip of the non-conference season with road games at Syracuse and Marquette this week.  This will be the second straight season UB has played at Syracuse dropping an 81-74 decision last year.  UB is looking for their first win over the Orange since January 15, 1963.
• Buffalo will become the first non-conference ranked team to play in the Carrier Dome since Villanova on Dec. 28, 2013 and they are the first non-conference ranked team to play an unranked Syracuse team at the Dome since Oklahoma on Jan. 7, 1984.
• Buffalo is 10-0 on the season, its best start to a year since 1930-31 when they went undefeated with a perfect 15-0 record. UB is the first MAC team to have started a season 10-0 since Toledo in the 2013-14 season when the Rockets were 12-0 to begin the year. 
• Buffalo is one of just nine undefeated teams remaining in the country, joining Kansas, Michigan, Texas Tech, Virginia, Houston, Furman, St. John's, and Nevada. Of that group, Buffalo and Furman are the only two to win at least three true  road games.
• The Bulls are ranked 12th in the latest NET rankings, release on Monday by the NCAA.  The Bulls are the highest program in the MAC by 90 spots. Buffalo currently has one win in Quadrant 1 (San Francisco) and two wins in Quadrant 2.

The Opponent

• Syracuse enters Tuesday night's game with a 7-3 record following a 68-62 home loss to Old Dominion on Saturday afternoon, their first loss at the Carrier Dome this year.  The Orange's best win of the year came on the road in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge as they scored a 72-62 win over nationally-ranked Ohio State. SU's other losses came at Madison Square Garden to UConn and Oregon.
 
• Syracuse is led by All-American candidate Tyus Battle, who is averaging 18.5 points per game through the first 10 contests. Oshae Brissett is averaging 14.9 points per contest, while he leads the Orange in rebounding at 8.2 boards per game. Elijah Hughes is the third player on the team averaging double figures at 14.3 points per game.  As a team, Syracuse is allowing just 62.8 points per game.
 
• Syracuse was picked to finish fourth in the preseason ACC poll, receiving one first place vote as they got 1,268 points.  Duke was picked to win the ACC in the preseason, while Virginia and North Caroline were picked second and third, respectively.
 
•  Hall of Fame member Jim Boeheim has had a remarkable run as head coach at his alma mater, Syracuse University. Boeheim has guided only winning teams in his tenure and has pushed the Orange into the postseason in all but two of his 41 years. SU has made 32 trips into the NCAA Tournament, including Final Four appearances in 1987, 1996, 2003, 2013, and 2016, and the NCAA championship in 2003. Boeheim achieved the ultimate basketball tribute in 2005 when he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He was honored again during the postseason, receiving the John R. Wooden "Legends of Coaching" Award in April. That spring he and Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun were the "Spirit of Jimmy V" honorees at the annual V Foundation Gala.
 
Bulls Head East To Face Syracuse At The Carrier Dome
The Bulls will head to the Carrier Dome for the second straight season on Tuesday evening when the Bulls face Syracuse.  UB is ranked #14 in the nation by the Associated Press and is still undefeated at 10-0, while Syracuse is coming off a home loss to Old Dominion on Saturday afternoon, knocking the Orange from the AP poll, where they were in a three-way tie for 25th.
Last season, the Bulls dropped a close affair to the Orange, 81-74. Nick Perkins led Buffalo with 18 points in the meeting last season.   Buffalo had the lead against Syracuse with 3:16 remaining, but Syracuse was able to end the game on a 14-6 run.
 
Buffalo will be the first non-conference ranked team to enter the Carrier Dome in just under five years since the #8 Villanova Wildcats played Syracuse on Dec. 28, 2013.  An unranked Syracuse team has not hosted a ranked non-conference team since the 1983-84 season when they played two in the Carrier Dome, including Oklahoma and North Carolina.  The Bulls will be the highest ranked non-conference team to play an unranked Syracuse team since North Carolina, who was ranked first nationally on Dec. 18, 1983.  That Tar Heels team feature a player by the name of Michael Jordan!
 
UB In the National Rankings
Buffalo has become the 10th different MAC program to be ranked in the national AP poll in their history.  All schools have been ranked at least once, except Akron and Central Michigan, however since 2000, only Kent State and Ball State have found their way into the national rankings.  The Golden Flashes were the last program to do it, as they were ranked #23 in 2008, while Ball State spent four weeks  in the polls during the 2001-02 season, peaking at #15.  No MAC team has been in the polls for six consecutive weeks or longer since Western Michigan during the 1975-76 season.
 
Three MAC programs have been in the Top 10 in their program's history as Bowling Green was seventh back during the 1961-62 season. Toledo, who has spent 22 weeks in the Top 25 in their history, was ninth in 1963-64, and Ohio has the highest ranking ever by a MAC school as they were fifth for two weeks in 1969-70. Bowling Green holds the MAC record for most weeks in the polls in one season with 11 during the 1961-62 campaign.
 
As for Western New York programs in the Big 4, Canisius was ranked for 11 weeks during the 1956-57 season, while Niagara has spent 20 weeks in the polls, most recently in the 1969-70 season. St. Bonaventure has had the most success in the AP Poll as they have spent 82 weeks ranked over their history, ranking as high at #2 in the country.  The last time they were ranked was during the 1970-71 season nearly 48 years ago.
 
I'm A Man, I'm 40!
Senior CJ Massinburg has done it all so far through the non-conference portion of his final season as he had a career night in the win at nationally-ranked West Virgina as he scored 43 points and 14 rebounds.  His 43 points are the sixth highest total by a player in the nation this year.
 
Massinburg is only the second player to surpass the 40-point mark against a Bob Huggins coached team at West Virginia and he is the first to do it since Andrew Wiggins of Kansas had 41 points on March 8, 2014.  He is just the 10th player in that time frame to have at least 14 rebounds in a game against West Virginia and the first to do it from the guard position.
 
Massinburg then recorded the first triple-double of his career and just the second in school history in the win over Le Moyne as he had 13 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists against the Dolphins.  The triple double was the first for a UB player at Alumni Arena and the first since Shannon Evans had one at Binghamton on Dec. 30, 2014.  Massinburg is one of 15 players in the nation this year with a triple double.
 
Massinburg currently has 1,508 career points, which is sixth all-time in school history as he passed Turner Battle (2001-05) in the game at Southern Illinois. Next up on the list is Yassin Idbihi (2003-2007) who is in fifth place with 1,514 points.  
 
Bulls Take Down Mountaineers In Morgantown
The Bulls are coming off one of their best wins in school history as they defeated West Virginia on Nov. 9 in the first road of the year, 99-94, in overtime.  It was UB's first ever road win over a team in the top 25 as the Mountaineers entered the game ranked 13th.  Over the last four years, Buffalo is the only non-Big 12 team to come into Morgantown and leave with a win over West Virginia while they have been ranked in the Top 25. Dating back to 2011-12, the only other unranked non-conference opponent to go into Morgantown and leave with a win while West Virginia was ranked was LSU as they came away with a 74-73 win on Dec. 4, 2014. Also dating back to 2011-12, no opponent has scored more points against West Virginia than the 99 scored by UB. 
 
Bulls Unanimous Selection To Win MAC East
For the second straight season, the Bulls have been the preseason pick to win the MAC East Division and this season the Bulls were a unanimous selection, getting all 35 first place votes and 210 point.  They are the first MAC program since Ball State in 2002 to receive over 200 points.  Buffalo also received 25 of the 35 votes to win the MAC Tournament.
 
Buffalo had three selections on the preseason All-MAC East Team in CJ Massinburg, Nick Perkins, and Jeremy Harris.  UB is the first MAC program ever to have three players on the preseason all-league team.  All three players were also named preseason All-Big 4 First Team players with Massinburg the preseason selection as the Big 4 Player of the Year.
 
I Love The 80's
Last season the Bulls averaged 84.6 points per game, the highest scoring total in school history for a single season.  UB scored 80 points in 26 of its 36 games last season, which was tied for the second most 80-point performances with Duke.  Villanova was the only team in the country with more 80-point performances at 29.
 
No other MAC team had more than 16 80-point games last season and that was Central Michigan and Toledo. As for MAC East programs, Buffalo's 26 performances are more than double any team in the division as Ohio was second with 12 80-point games. 
 
Buffalo continued right where it left off in the season opener, scoring 82 points in the win over St. Francis and 99 points against West Virginia.  UB exploded for 110 points in the victory over Dartmouth and had over 80 points in each of the two games in Ireland, including 96 against Milwaukee. The Bulls have now scored 80 or more points 61 times in the 113 games with Nate Oats as head coach.  The Bulls are 53-8 in those games when scoring at least 80 points.
 
History On The Horizon
The Bulls are looking to accomplish something this season that has never been done in Mid-American Conference history as no MAC school has ever won four conference tournament titles in a five-year period.  Buffalo became the first MAC school to win three in a four-year period since Kent State did it in 1999, 2001, 2002. The MAC Tournament dates back to the 1979-80 season.
 
Perks And Recreation
Senior Nick Perkins was named the Most Valuable Player at the Belfast Classic and was named the MAC East Co-Player of the Week following back-to-back 20 point performances against Milwaukee and San Francisco.  He earned MAC Player of the Week honors again following his 20-point, 11-rebound game over Southern Illinois and he now has 1,383 points for his career, good for 10th place in school history in career scoring.  He is two points shy of Louis Campbell for ninth place in school history.  
 
Perkins was named first-team All-MAC last season and he was named the MAC's Sixth Man of the Year for the second straight season.  Perkins scored in double figures in 25 straight games last year after returning to the bench.  Over the previous two years, Perkins has scored 20 points or more nine times as a reserve, the sixth highest totally nationally.
 
Perkins was Buffalo's leading scorer in MAC games last season as he averaged 18.2 points per game and 6.6 rebounds per contest.  
 
The Harris Poll
Senior Jeremy Harris had a breakout year for the Bulls last season in his first season with the Blue and White.  Harris was a second-team All-MAC selection as he averaged 15.5 points per game, including 17.4 points per contest in league games only.  Over the 18-game MAC season, Harris led the league in three-point shooting at .463.  Harris was one of just 11 players in the nation to shoot over 46% from three in conference games, while attempting over 100 three-pointers. He joins Pat Andree from Lehigh as the only two to do it, while also pulling in over 100 rebounds.
 
Harris began the season slowly from three-point range as he didn't hit more than two threes in any of the first five games, but over the last four games, Harris has shot at least 42% from three-point range in three of the last five games, including going 4-of-5 against LeMoyne.  
 
Crossing Jordan
One of the most improved players in the entire Mid-American Conference last season was junior point guard Davonta Jordan.  After averaging under 3.0 points per game during his freshman season, Jordan averaged 6.5 points per game last year as a sophomore, while adding 144 assists, the most on the team.  Through two years, Jordan is the only player in the Mid-American Conference to record 200 career assists over his freshman and sophomore seasons.  He is currently UB's active career leader in assists with 229.
 
Jordan picked up his scoring last year, including his first career 20-point performance, which came in a win at Delaware.  Defensively, Jordan was selected to the All-MAC Defensive Team as well.  Jordan had 16 points in the win over Dartmouth on 8-of-12 shooting, while also adding four assists in the win. He recorded a season high seven assists against St. Bonaventure.
 
Jordan leads the Bulls with 15 charges drawn this season, taking four in the win over Southern Illinois.  He also had 11 points in the game, all in the second half.
 
Dontay's Inferno
UB's senior guard Dontay Caruthers is one of the top defenders in the Mid-American Conference as he was named the 2016-17 MAC Defensive Player of the Year, but last season, Caruthers played in just 25 games, missing 11 with a leg injury.  When playing, Caruthers averaged 6.7 points per game, including a pair of 20-point performances.
 
Overall, Caruthers shot .598 from the floor, which was the best of any player on the Bulls that took over 100 shots.
 
Caruthers has given the Bulls a huge lift this season on both sides of the ball, capped off by his 20-point performance against Le Moyne where he was 7-of-8 from the floor and 6-of-7 from the free throw line.
 
Graves Digger
Sophomore Jayvon Graves is averaging 11.6 points per game through the first nine contests, which is fourth on the team. He scored 14 points in the win over West Virginia, including a few monster dunks right over the Big 12 caliber foes while tying his career high against Dartmouth with 16 points, making his first appearance on Sportscenter's Top plays this season.  He added 16 more points in the win over Marist, tying his career high with four three pointers. Graves recorded a new career high with 19 points in the win over St. Bonaventure, knocking down a new career best five three-pointers.
 
The Real McRae
Senior Montell McRae is averaging 7.3 points per game through the first nine contests for UB, including going 11-of-20 from three-point range.  After shooting under 30% from three last year, McRae has been the most improved shooter on the team, shooting .550 from behind the arc, which leads the MAC.  McRae had 11 points in the win over Southern Illinois, while adding eight more in the victory over Dartmouth. He had eight points and 10 boards against Milwaukee and went 3-for-3 from three-point range and had 11 points in the win over San Francisco.