Last time Syracuse played Pittsburgh, a new name was solidifying on the Orange. Tyus Battle had just given SU the win over Clemson four days earlier with a game-winning, buzzer-beater, three-point shot.
Now, Tyus Battle is the veteran of an entirely different team—a team that started off strong but has recently been slipping.
But Pittsburgh has not been on a hot streak itself this season. This will be a game of teams hoping to start heading in a different direction.
Here are some aspects of the matchup to keep in mind:
The Panthers Have Been Playing Poorly Since the Start of ACC Play
The Panthers are digging themselves out of a pit(t).
After starting the season 8-5, Pittsburgh has lost all five games since the start of ACC play (Miami, Louisville, Virginia Tech, Duke and Georgia Tech).
The Panthers haven’t just lost these games, but they have been crushed. They have been averaging less than 56 points per game while giving up over 76 points per game. In each of the games against ACC opponents (except for the most recent against the Yellow Jackets on Saturday), Pitt has given up more points than in the previous game.
Don’t Take Offense, but Pitt’s Players Just Aren’t the Same Scorers as Last Year
Just 11 months ago, Pittsburgh featured the top two scorers in the ACC.
Now, the Panthers top scorer sits at 38th in the conference. Jared Wilson-Frame is averaging 12.9 points per game.
Ryan Luther is averaging 12.7 points per game but does not have a rank in the ACC (10 games played).
While Pitt’s field goal and three-point percentages (.432 and .334, respectively) look okay at a first glance, the Panthers have been averaging under 66 points per game this season.
They also are averaging 15 turnovers per game, simply giving away scoring chances.
So, Pittsburgh’s résumé isn’t sitting at the top of the pile, but fans should keep in mind that Syracuse has been slipping a bit itself.
There should be an exciting game in the Dome tonight with the winner finally breaking its losing streak and the other still searching for satisfaction.
Published: David Edelstein