After shocking the nation with a win at Cameron Indoor Stadium over the No. 1-ranked Duke Blue Devils on Monday, the Syracuse Orange will now look to build off of that win with another victory over the Pittsburgh Panthers.
The Panthers and the Orange are doing similar things this season, as they both come into this game with a 12-5 record and are also both coming off of wins against ranked opponents (Pittsburgh just beat No. 11 Florida State Seminoles). Sure all the ‘experts” got their predictions wrong in the Duke matchup, but it was well worth it for a win like that one. Let’s see what the TNIAAM team has to say about the Orange’s return to the Carrier Dome:
Pittsburgh 66, Syracuse 60
I’m still waiting to see what this Syracuse team is capable of against an ACC team that packs a punch but doesn’t carry an elite title. Georgia Tech sported one of the best defenses in the country despite six losses and a poor season a year ago. Now this Panthers team comes to the Dome, as Syracuse rides high after beating No. 1 Duke, and quietly sports one of the better defenses in the country alongside a top-10 free-throw-generating offense. There may not be a team on the Orange’s conference schedule that could be overlooked more easily than Pitt, winner of 0 ACC games a year ago and an opponent Syracuse in particular beat twice handily with far from their best performances. This year they’ve bounced back with a new cast of players, a close road defeat to Iowa, a win over No. 11 Florida State and a competitive fight with No. 15 North Carolina State. This group is dangerous and I’m eyeing Syracuse’s play in these comfortable home games that they’re favored in. Jim Boeheim and the players have said recently that nobody in this conference can be overlooked, now they need to show it.
Syracuse 69, Pittsburgh 59
If the Orange get the kind of play from Frank Howard and Paschal Chukwu as we saw against Duke consistently, then this team will be able to play like the team we thought they were before the season began. Syracuse has the tendency to allow their opponent’s shooters to get hot from deep, so it’ll be important to slow down Xavier Johnson and the other perimeter players early. I see this one being in question for the most part, but a late run sparked by Tyus Battle will be the difference in this one.
Syracuse 67, Pittsburgh 62
Both teams come into this game off wins over ranked opponents. I think the Syracuse zone will have to find Xavier Johnson and Trey McGowens, but if they can contain those two the Orange should be able to score enough to win. Hopefully Monday night was just the beginning for Frank Howard and Pascal Chukwu returning to their form from last season.
Pittsburgh 68, Syracuse 66
This game is going to be trickier than what most expect. I think Syracuse will be riding high after its win at Duke on Monday and on paper, this matchup is going to be very similar to Georgia Tech. Pittsburgh plays at a slower pace and is in the top 25 in defensive efficiency (Ken Pom). Jeff Capel brought in a talented freshman class that’s very Capel-ble (sorry) of scoring.
The Panthers have already taken down Louisville and Florida State. I think the Syracuse offense will revert to the mean in this one and Pitt leaves Central New York with a win.
Pittsburgh 70, Syracuse 67
Like some others here, I’m going to take a wait-and-see approach on whether Syracuse is “back” or not until they take care of business against a team like Pitt. Right now, they’re playing a little too up/down to opponents, and that can hurt you in ACC play — especially when playing a Panthers squad that already knows how to take down strong teams. Xavier Johnson gets his for Pitt, while the Orange shoot a few too many threes again. It’s close throughout, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see SU fall by a handful in a predictable letdown spot.
Who will win the Syracuse vs. Pittsburgh game?
This poll is closed
The Orange, and they start to look like the team we thought they were.
The Panthers, and it’s another disappointment at home for Syracuse.