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Can Syracuse basketball afford a loss to Buffalo? Maybe...

Not to get carried away but there’s growing urgency.

NCAA Basketball: Buffalo at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Obviously, there’s no reality where we WANT the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team to lose to the Buffalo Bulls on Tuesday. However, the question is whether or not the Orange can take sustain another loss as they’re starting to stack up here in non-conference play.

Syracuse already has three defeats on the year, including the most recent game against Old Dominion. A second straight home loss — even to a top-15 Buffalo team — would be devastating in many ways. It’s not only our last chance at a marquee non-conference win (though we do already have a road victory over Ohio State), but it largely kills off our excuse for the poor showing at Madison Square Garden last month.

For as much as those two losses to UConn and Oregon looked terrible, they were without Frank Howard. The win streak and improved play afterward seemed to indicate his presence had helped us right the ship and you could virtually eliminate those defeats when evaluating this team in March. Losing to ODU on Saturday calls that thinking into question now. Picking up another ‘L’ against Buffalo would completely eliminate it (yes, despite the Bulls’ ranking right now).

So yes, this game is critical. Is it a ‘must-win?’ No, the ACC schedule can fix that. But we can breathe at least a little easier going into league play if we can grab a win over UB and create a little more margin for error.

The rest of your Syracuse-related news below:

Syracuse basketball can’t afford another non-conference loss (

“Every game is important,’’ Syracuse forward Oshae Brissett said, “but it holds high value now.’’ That might be an understatement. Prior to this season, Syracuse had suffered three non-conference losses just six times in the last 27 years. In five of those years, Syracuse didn’t go to the NCAA tournament.

AP Coach of the Year: Notre Dame’s Kelly wins for 2nd time (AP)

Twelve coaches received at least one first-place vote and eight received at least three for the award announced Monday. Washington State’s Mike Leach finished fourth with 26 points (three first-place votes) and Syracuse’s Dino Babers was fifth with 25 (five first-place votes).

Why Gonzaga, UCLA and Syracuse should be concerned (ESPN)

The Orange might need a midseason trade if things don’t improve. After missing early action with an ankle injury, Frank Howard has made just six of his 29 3-point attempts. Oshae Brissett, who averaged 17.0 PPG in the NCAA tournament last season, has made just 42 percent of his shots inside the arc this season. The team has made less than 30 percent of its shots beyond the arc.

Syracuse football: WR Sean Riley back, TE Ravian Pierce out as bowl prep continues (

Junior slot receiver Sean Riley was a full participant after watching the first session from the sideline on Dec. 7. Two other key contributors, senior tight end Ravian Pierce and freshman corner Trill Williams, remain out due to undisclosed injuries. Junior safety Evan Foster and redshirt sophomore safety Devon Clarke wore green jerseys, indicating limited availability.

Tim Green’s ALS: Is it fair to blame football? (

Dr. Ann McKee, a Boston University researcher who has examined the brains of hundreds of deceased NFL players, believes repeated head trauma may cause some cases of ALS. “But we haven’t proven it beyond a shadow of a doubt,” she said. “We just think there’s a clear association.”

Syracuse football recruiting: 4-star New York DE Adisa Isaac commits to Penn State (

Jerami Grant on the defensive intensity: ‘Communication is big for us’ (OKC Thunder Wire)

An inside look at the search for Urban Meyer’s successor (The Blade)

Notre Dame’s Rex Pflueger to miss remainder of season with torn ACL (Sporting News)

Doug Marrone: ‘I don’t know’ if my job is in jeopardy (