The Syracuse Orange (16-9, 8-4) have now won five straight, in increasingly stressful fashion. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Panthers (13-11, 2-9) just halted an eight-game losing streak with a win over BC. So yeah, we’re in the exact same place...
What’s going to happen when the Orange and Pitt face off at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday? The TNIAAM staff takes some guesses:
Pitt 72, Syracuse 70
With Louisville looming on Monday and the Panthers struggling, this has the makings of a trap game. We've been spoiled by this run and many expect the winning to continue on the road, but I think Pitt will adjust from the first meeting. It's going to be another nail-biter, but in the end the combination of Michael Young and Jamel Artis make enough shots to stop the Syracuse streak.
Syracuse 62, Pitt 54
Coming off one of the craziest games of the season the Orange are looking to continue this hot streak. Everyone is finding there groove as Tyus Battle's game winner will hopefully improve his confidence from beyond the arc. Pitt will be loud and rowdy, but this is when Tyler Lydon makes his name known this season.
Syracuse 78, Pitt 70
Pitt has long been Syracuse and Orange coach Jim Boeheim’s kryptonite, but that was when former Panthers coach Jamie Dixon was still running the show. With Dixon now at TCU, Syracuse is poised to replicate its mid-season 77-66 win over Pitt. Since that Orange win, these two teams have gone in vastly different directions, with Syracuse currently riding a five-game win streak and Pitt going 2-8 in its last 10 contests. Expect Syracuse to continue its run and leave The Pete with another win.
Syracuse 77, Pitt 70
I just don't think Pitt has enough defensively to get a win against Syracuse. The Panthers have proven they can score as Young and Artis average over 40 points per game, but defensively it leaves much to be desired. The win against BC was... a win, but don't expect Pitt to put a winning streak together. Syracuse wins by three possessions even on the road.
Syracuse 73, Pitt 66
Pittsburgh lost eight in a row before defeating Boston College on Wednesday. That losing streak all started with Syracuse back on January 7. Jamal Artis injured his ankle against BC, but still managed to play 18 second-half minutes. I expect him to be OK for Saturday’s game. Again, without Jamie Dixon, I like SU against Pittsburgh. The Panthers still have the three zone-killers, but Syracuse is playing at such a high level it’s hard to pick against them.
Pitt 74, Syracuse 70
I’m going to be just as much of a #disloyalidiot as Kevin. This is definitely a trap game, and Syracuse has played things far too close of late to make me think they aren’t "due" to lose one of these tight games. Maybe that’s not the worst thing? The Orange struggle coming out of the gate in this one, tighten things up in the early part of the second half, but then the Panthers hit the needed shots down the stretch. The horrors of the Pete continue.
What about you?