Day & Time: Tuesday, January 16, 2018, 9 p.m. ET
Location: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.
TV/Streaming: Check your local RSN affiliate/ACC Network Extra
Radio: Syracuse IMG Network, WAER 88.3, Sirius 93/XM 193
Pitt blog: Cardiac Hill
Rivalry: 66-45, Syracuse
Current Streak: 1, Panthers
First Meeting: As OrangeHoops tells it, Pitt led Syracuse 28-27 with 16 seconds left in a 1914 contest. However, Pitt received a technical for calling an extra time out. The Orange would eventually tie the game at 28 to force OT, then win 36-29 in overtime. Lew Castle scored 20 points for SU.
Last Meeting: The Orange lost 80-75 on the road to a bad Pitt team that still managed to shoot over 44 percent from three on the game. Four Panthers starters scored 14 points or more, while the majority of SU’s scoring was confined to Andrew White III and John Gillon (20 points apiece). Syracuse shot poorly and was out-rebounded by 16, leading to the sort of surprising loss.
Head Coaches: SU: Jim Boeheim (42nd year, 1,016-363); Pitt: Kevin Stallings (2nd year, 24-27)
Coach Bio: Stallings went from a player at Purdue to an assistant with the Boilermakers, where he served on the bench for six years before moving on to Kansas for another five. His first head coaching gig was at Illinois State, where he turned the team into a Missouri Valley contender before taking the Vanderbilt job. While things went well enough with the ‘Dores for 17 years, VU won 25 or more games just twice, and only made two Sweet 16s (last in 2007). Vandy only made the NCAAs just once in his final four seasons. Pitt hired him before last season to replace SU kryptonite Jamie Dixon.
Last Year: The Panthers started off well enough, then collapsed to a 4-14 record in ACC play. Pitt did win a game in the ACC Tournament, which is nice. However, the team didn’t respond all that well to Stallings and a good deal of players transferred out at the close of the year.
Last Game: Georgia Tech sprinted out to a 40-29 lead by halftime and never looked back. Pitt was out-rebounded by 19 at home, and shot 40 percent from the field. Tech just sort of sat on them in the second half, however. And the misses (and lack of Pitt rebounds) were enough to keep distance between the teams en route to a 69-54 win for the Yellow Jackets. So much for the Panthers’ one-time “vaunted” home-court advantage.
”Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: Jared Wilson-Frame is the team’s lone dynamic scorer, but he’s also not overly efficient. The junior guard scores 12.9 points per game, though on just 36 percent shooting. He also grabs 3.6 rebounds per game, and doles out an assist per game too. This is really it in terms of guys who regularly take over games since Ryan Luther was lost for the season with a foot injury.
Jack Ferguson Memorial Random Three-Point Performance: Not necessarily random, since he’s a regular rotation player. However, Khameron Davis hits over 50 percent of his threes on 31 attempts. This team doesn’t have a lot of ability from outside, but Davis is among the few that can hit threes.
If Syracuse Wins: SU stops the bleeding and picks up their first win of 2018. While Pitt’s not great, a win is a win at this point. The Orange just went through a tough start, but now play four straight winnable games in a row before a home date with UVA. A victory over the Panthers is essential, though we’re far from out of the woods just yet.
If Syracuse Loses: Uhhhh... help? Once Syracuse lost to Notre Dame, a 1-4 start was sort of expected. The payoff was the four-game stretch starting with Pitt. A loss here would put every subsequent game into question.
Fun Fact No. 1: Pitt hasn’t made the Final Four since 1941 -- a streak that’s about to hit 77 years. It’s up to you whether that’s as embarrassing as the fact that Boston College has never made the Final Four (same goes for other schools too, but BC’s the one we’re most content to point and laugh at).
Fun Fact No. 2: Despite a history that hasn’t been all that interesting, Pitt’s been oddly consistent in the coaching department. Over 111 games thus far, Stallings is only the 11th coach for Pitt. Every single Panthers coach the Orange have gone up against has participated in at least six games between the teams. However, Stallings is already on thin ice in year two. He may break that streak.