Syracuse Orange at Pittsburgh Panthers
Syracuse Orange Preview
The Syracuse Orange had lost five of six games before shooting 64 percent in the second half to defeat visiting Georgia Tech 79-72 on Saturday. Syracuse defeated Pitt 69-61 at home on Jan. 25 and will be looking for its seventh consecutive victory in the series.
Buddy Boeheim scored a game-high 21 points in the first meeting against the Panthers, making 4 of 8 from 3-point range while his teammates were 1 of 13 from behind the arc. Syracuse’s top scorers — Elijah Hughes (18.6 points per game), Boeheim (15.5) and Joseph Girard III (13.0) — are all 3-point snipers. Long-range shooting is always key on the other side of the court, as opponents often settle for 3-pointers against the Orange’s zone but make just 31.8 percent.
Pittsburgh Panthers Preview
The Pittsburgh Panthers have one more victory than last season, but their improvement this year has been blunted by a four-game skid that has left them stuck on 15 victories in coach Jeff Capel’s second season. They are 17-1 under Capel when holding opponents below 60, although that one loss came Saturday against grind-it-out Virginia in a 59-56 home setback.
Pitt’s poor 3-point shooting (29.2 percent for the season) doesn’t seem like a good match against Syracuse, which was how things played out in the first meeting, when the Panthers made only 5 of 21 from behind the arc. Freshman wing Justin Champagnie, who averages a team-high 12.3 points, had 14 points and nine boards against Syracuse last month.