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Syracuse men’s basketball: predictions and poll vs Pitt

Can the Orange end 2023 on a high note?

Pittsburgh v Syracuse Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images

The Syracuse Orange (9-3, 0-1) and Pittsburgh Panthers (9-3. 0-1) enter tomorrow’s game looking to get their first ACC win of the season. Both squads are looking to create some early momentum as they try to play their way into NCAA Tournament consideration.

Here’s what we expect to happen tomorrow:

Kevin: Pitt 82, Syracuse 80

The big question to me is how will the Syracuse frontcourt hold up against the Panthers? I don’t know that this is a game where Maliq Brown can play big minutes at the 5, so Naheem McLeod and Mounir Hima need to be able to give Adrian Autry some rebounding and interior defense. Both teams like to push the pace, so this could be one of the more entertaining games between these two rivals. The Orange need to crash the boards if they want to close 2023 with a win.

Finn: Pitt 68, Syracuse 65

Both sides come into this matchup on the back of four-game win streaks and will have equally strong aspirations to pick up their first ACC win this season. Pitt’s defense has been one of the best in the nation, ranking just outside of the top 30 according to ESPN. It's been even better during their streak, where they have held opponents to 58 points per game. Pair that defensive excellence with Cuse’s struggles from three and lack of cohesion in the half-court offense, and I expect the Panthers to squeeze by with a win in the Dome.

Dom: Syracuse 76, Pitt 70

I’m usually the one to be conservative on these predictions, but I’m not buying most of Pitt’s advantages on the stat sheet because their resume just isn’t that good. The one concern I do have is the rebounding — someone on Syracuse needs to control the glass. But Adrian Autry knows this is a golden chance to get a quality home win before the schedule really ramps up. Autry looked visibly frustrated with the mistakes in the second half versus Niagara, and it’s hard not to see the Orange come out with greater urgency.

Max: Syracuse 77, Pittsburgh 76

The Orange should have a bad taste left in their mouths after losing twice to the Panthers last year. In addition to the revenge aspect, Syracuse has played a much tougher schedule (65th hardest) than Pitt (310). We’ve really seen SU grow after getting blown out by top-notch competition at the Maui Invitational, and that recent success will carry over here. Judah Mintz and J.J. Starling will speed up the Orange transition game, and a few free throws by the former will salt the game away in the Dome.

Szuba: Syracuse 78, Pitt 72

While the Orange looked like it had better things to do last week against Niagara, I think the team comes back from break refreshed and locked in for ACC play. Pittsburgh comes to the Dome after a subpar showing in its last game, we’ll see if it can do the same. The Panthers have played a soft schedule to this point and Jeff Capel’s team doesn’t have a quadrant one or two win, nor a win over a top-100 KenPom team. As a result, Pitt hasn’t played in a close game yet this season. I’ll say Syracuse gets to the rim and puts pressure on the Panthers defense, protects home court and remains undefeated at home.

Mike: Syracuse 72, Pitt 66

Judah Mintz and Blake Hinson are going to pop off and have both offenses humming throughout - but the question is, who will be more motivated? Mintz only had one bad game so far - a forgettable five-point outing at UVA. The future NBA Draft Prospect can play to his strengths much more effectively here, and he will do so here, capitalizing at the line enough to boost the Orange to an important win.

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Now it’s your turn

Poll

Who wins the game between Syracuse and Pitt?

This poll is closed

  • 84%
    Syracuse wins and we want more in 2024!
    (396 votes)
  • 15%
    Pitt wins and 2023 is mercifully over...
    (72 votes)
468 votes total Vote Now