It’s Tournament Time! The Syracuse Orange (19-12, 10-8) will take on the Pittsburgh Panthers (14-18, 3-15) tonight at 9:30 p.m.-ish. Syracuse swept the regular season series winning 74-63 in the Dome and 65-56 on the road. As John pointed out yesterday, it’s not always easy to beat a team three times in a season so we’ll see if the Orange can get it done tonigh.
Can the Orange win an ACC Tournament game for the second consecutive year? Here are our TNIAAM predictions:
Syracuse 71, Pitt 62
I won’t do the whole “it’s hard to beat a team 3 times in one season” thing and I also won’t don’t be doing the hail to Pitt thing. Syracuse is a better team than Pittsburgh and proved that twice this season. Tyus should be able to get going in this game on the offensive end without much strife. The Orange will need to key in on Trey McGowens on the perimeter within the zone and the Syracuse front court should be able to establish itself on both ends of the floor. If Syracuse does those things it will advance to play Duke for the third time this season.
Syracuse 76, Pitt 65
Even as someone down on Syracuse right now this matchup should work for them. The Orange worked this matchup with relative ease before and the Panther’s freshman-reliant scoring largely fizzled after an encouraging start. At 3-15 I frankly wouldn’t know what to say if Cuse dropped this one at this point. Yet, these are the opponents that have made the Orange look like their best, balanced selves. Their undefeated record against the likes of Notre Dame, Miami, Pitt, BC makes me feel good about this even after the 2-4 debacle to close the year.
Syracuse 68, Pitt 64
The Panthers dominated BC to advance so they’ve got a little confidence heading into this game. Syracuse has had a couple of days to prepare and hopefully put their second half woes behind them. Despite their secure status in many bracket predictions, Syracuse knows a win tonight will remove a lot of anxious moments on Sunday evening. Look for Tyus Battle to be aggressive early on and for the Orange to force the younger Panthers into some turnovers down the stretch.
Syracuse 70, Pitt 65
Pitt isn’t a team that will run you out of the gym with a barrage of threes, but guards Xavier Johnson and Jared Wilson-Frame still have some abilities to hit from out there (each shooting better than 35 percent from three). Whether they connect or not could end up dictating a lot. But really, the game comes down to Syracuse doing what it struggles to with consistency: Hit shots, keep the bigs out of foul trouble, move the ball around. Do two of those three, and they’re moving on. Fail to, and add another chapter to the Orange’s ACC Tournament struggles.
Who will win the Syracuse-Pitt game?
This poll is closed
Syracuse wins and we get Cuse-Duke III
Pitt wins and we convince ourselves that the committee will do the right thing