When the Buffalo Bulls knocked off Arizona and spearheaded one of the worst NCAA Tournaments ever for bracket challenges, the memory of the Bulls pushing the Syracuse Orange to the brink last December at the Carrier Dome easily resonated (with us).
Oshae Brissett dropped 25 points and pushed the Orange ahead 81-74 in what proved to be a crucial resumé-padding win in Quadrant II against 27-9 Buffalo. The game featured 10 lead changes and questions afterward for Jim Boeheim about whether Syracuse would push for more games against New York opponents in the future.
“We’ve offered to play them several times and they didn’t want to play,” Boeheim said at the time. “They’re good, it’s a good game. I think they have a good chance to be a tournament team.”
Now they’ll face the Bulls again next season at the Carrier Dome, on December 18, 2018.
The 2017 matchup was their first since 2001, and 2018’s will mark their 34th meeting going back to the pre-Boeheim days (yes, they existed) of 1918. The Orange have won the last 18, and hold a 28-5 advantage in the series.
They met routinely through the 1970s, before the Bulls reclassified to Division III from 1978-1991. Then they met in 1996, 1997 and 2001.
This now leaves four unknown non-conference opponents, with one almost assuredly being Syracuse’s regular meeting with Colgate. Buffalo rounds out what should be another competitive non-conference slate that includes Cornell, Old Dominion, Georgetown, a Big 10 school, two lesser 2K Classic opponents at home and then two of UConn, Oregon or Iowa at the Madison Square Garden rounds of the series.