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Syracuse vs. Buffalo preview: Four things to watch

What you need to know - no bull.

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

Well... Wednesday was interesting. Just days after blowing the doors off BC, the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team (5-1, 1-0) struggled to beat Northeastern at the Dome. Now, they’ll try to put all of that behind them when they face the Buffalo Bulls (3-2, 1-1) on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET.

Before that game tips off, however, the TNIAAM staff looks between the margins to tell you what to watch out for when the Orange and Bulls play.

Kevin: Will we continue to see the press?

Despite the numbers the Syracuse zone hasn’t looked very good so far this season. Teams are getting lots of open looks from 3 against the Orange but the press has created some turnovers and seems to get the Syracuse offense engaged. We know the talk of the season is about pushing tempo so I’m interested to see if Jim Boeheim is willing to live with Buffalo getting some easy points if he can get better shots for his team.

Christian: Creating space for the guards

The Orange guards didn’t get many open looks from three against Northeastern. Yes, they didn’t hit the open looks they had either, but that’s not the point here. What was worrying is that Northeastern was playing Syracuse’s guards so tight that they couldn’t get a non-contested shot up from range in the half court setting. The Orange need to find a way to get the guards open on the arc through on and off ball screens. What Syracuse desperately needs is a confidence three just to get those guys rolling from deep.

Szuba: Bounce back game

In Wednesday’s game against Northeastern, Buddy Boeheim and Alan Griffin combined to score only two more points than the entire TNIAAM staff, going 1-16 from the floor. Credit to Syracuse (read: Marek Dolezaj and Quincy Guerrier) for gutting out the win, but those two guys will need to play better for Syracuse to beat Buffalo. We all know Boeheim missed two weeks of practice, but was Wednesday’s game a sign of a slump or will the two juniors prove it was an aberration with a bounce back effort on Saturday?

John: Let Quincy Guerrier cook

According to KenPom, Guerrier’s nearly a top-50 offensive player in the country (by way of efficiency rating) and he’s managed double digits every game this year on 67% shooting from the field. We know he’s improved by leaps and bounds, but his teammates don’t always seem to recognize it. After his latest 18 points/16 rebound line on 6-of-10 shooting vs. Northeastern, SU’s guards need to defer to the team’s top offensive weapon inside the arc when their shots aren’t falling.