No rest for the weary in the Big East. Coming off a week when you played two Top 20 teams? Guess what, you've got #4 Pitt waiting for you on Big Monday. Oy vey.
The last time Syracuse played Pittsburgh, well, this is what it pretty much felt like:
If you need a verbal interpretation of what happened, you can listen to Jim explain it here. The game ended so memorably on Paul Harris' inbound pass that it won the SOB Award for "One Play We Wish We Could Do Over." Well, it's do-over time.
The #4 Panthers are coming off their first loss of the season, which knocked them off their perch as the #1 team in the land. Donna Ditota warns that Syracuse is going to have to contend with the Pitt brutes all day long.
The Panthers present three of the league's luminaries in center DeJuan Blair, forward Sam Young and point guard Levance Fields.
On Saturday, Blair's foul trouble, Young's relative ineffectiveness and Fields' uncharacteristic sloppiness helped doom the Panthers at Louisville. Blair, the stout sophomore center, played just 20 minutes because of foul trouble. He still managed to score nine points and grab 10 rebounds.
The Panthers are the in the same relative boat as the Orange when it comes to free throws. The Orange shoot(I think)-135% from the line while Pittsburgh is 14th in the conference. Something will have to give in that department.
CuseOrange points out that the game will have more to it than just big men. It might be decided in the backcourt:
In the backcourt, the spotlight will be on the battle between Jonny Flynn and Fields, two very different yet productive point guards. Fields has a stockier build not unlike Kansas’s Sherron Collins and takes more of a pass first approach compared to the more aggressive Flynn. For what it’s worth, Fields went just 1-8 from the floor in last March’s game while Flynn went crazy for 28 points, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a heated battle.
On the offensive end, Pittsburgh’s defense will not allow the Orange to get out on the break at a level remotely close to Notre Dame’s defense (or whatever you want to call it). I’ve been saying for awhile that SU’s offense operates most efficiently when the guards look down low first, establishing the post game, before firing from outside, as opposed to the other way around.
Ultimately, it will come down to the most obvious reasons...who smiles better, Jonny Flynn or DeJuan Blair.
Check out the Daily Orange game previews and Mike Waters' Scouting Report for more info. I'll probably be staying online here for the game during the GameThread and I assume the Three Idiots will be hosting a chat as usual. If you need some last-minute info from the other side, Pitt Blather is your best bet.
It's Big Monday, folks, no excuses...