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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Syracuse starter Frank Howard has been suspended for an indefinite period for violating sports department policy, the school announced Wednesday afternoon.

Syracuse (20-13), eighth seeded, will face the seed of 9th Baylor (19-13) in the first round of the Western Region of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday night.

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim was shown vague as to whether Howard had made the trip to Salt Lake City, saying he would not be here (Thursday). Boeheim refused to say who would leave in Howard's place.

Howard, a 6-foot-5 senior with an average of 8.9 points per game and a total of 84 assists, played one of the best basketball games of his career last week. He scored 28 points on 11 out of 20 shots in a 84-72 loss to Duke in the ACC tournament.

If there is a good side of things, it is that Syracuse has already played without Howard.

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He missed the first four games of the season due to an injury. In his absence, junior goalkeeper Tyus Battle scored the goal. This will probably happen again on Thursday and potentially with the rest of the post-season.

"We played without players before," said Battle, who missed the ACC tournament. "Bad problems, you must play without players, injuries you must play without players. If we play our game, everything will be fine. "

The players told reporters that they had heard of Howard at the same time as the media. When asked if the players had spoken to Howard, Battle said he was not going to "get into the subject too much now.

"It's a difficult situation," said Battle. "We know we will have to take over."

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In the absence of Howard, the roles of student guards, Jalen Carey and Jim's son Buddy Boeheim, will increase dramatically. Buddy Boeheim has averaged 6.9 points in 16.4 minutes per game, but averaging 14.3 points in his last four games, with a career-high 20 points against Pittsburgh in the ACC tournament. Carey has not played in five of Syracuse's last eight games and averages only 3.6 points.

Syracuse Guard Frank Howard has been suspended indefinitely. (Photo: The associated press)

"Buddy is getting better and has improved all year," said junior striker Elijah Hughes. "Even on the defensive side, people gave him a lot of bullshit before the season, explaining that he would not be good at defense. He has defended well in the last two games.

"Jalen has not had the opportunity this year, but he's always in a good mood, he's working, he's starting to train early, he's getting better and better, I'm excited for these guys."

Jim Boeheim said the team had been training without Howard earlier in the week after receiving "indication" that he might not be available for the tournament.

"It's very similar to last week when we discovered that Tyus would not play (in the ACC tournament)," Boeheim said. "I thought the players had made an excellent adjustment. We played very well in both games and we will have to make the same adjustment this week with another player. "

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