Syracuse men’s basketball opponent preview: What to know about Pittsburgh

first_imgWith a chance at its third consecutive road win, Syracuse (16-9, 8-4 Atlantic Coast) visits Pittsburgh (13-11, 2-9) on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Panthers, reeling since the first time these two teams met, are near the cellar of the ACC while SU has surprised many in its recent resurgence to the top four of the best conference in college basketball.Here’s what you need to know about Kevin Stallings’ team before the game.All-time series: Syracuse leads, 66-44Last time they played: In a somewhat surprising twist given the horrid nonconference slate Syracuse was coming off, the Orange jumped out to a 21-point halftime lead against Pitt in the Carrier Dome on Jan. 7. The Panthers scored 24 more points in the second half than they did the first, but it wasn’t enough as SU cruised to a 77-66 win. Jamel Artis and Michael Young led the visitors with 23 and 17 points, respectively, while Andrew White and John Gillon both topped 20 for SU as the Orange moved to 2-1 in league play with a second straight home win.The Pittsburgh report: The Panthers are coming off an 11-point win at Boston College, its first win in league play in over a month after eight straight losses. Among those defeats was a 106-51 thrashing at the hands of No. 4 Louisville, one of several unexpected eviscerations in conference play this season. Pitt ranks in the bottom three in the country, according to, in steal percentage – amount of opponent possessions that end in Pittsburgh steals. Syracuse has been pretty good at taking care of the ball (top 100 in the country in turnover percentage) and shouldn’t have a problem doing so in Pittsburgh on Saturday. Pitt big man Ryan Luther won’t play due to injury and Artis, who twisted his ankle in the win against BC, is expected to play.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHow Syracuse beats the Panthers: Protect the 3-point line. On Jan. 7, Pittsburgh missed all seven of its long balls in the first half and it gave Syracuse enough cushion to allow six makes from behind the arc in the second half. Artis and Michael Young, along with Chris Jones and Cameron Johnson, are certainly capable from lighting it up from 3-point range. While Pitt ranks 12th in the ACC in 3-point field-goal percentage (36.9), the Panthers have tied for the fourth-most 3s taken in the conference. Syracuse just has to hope Pitt has another off day from deep or else that could spell the end of its winning streak.Stat to know:53 — Kenpom gives Pitt a 53-percent chance to win Saturday’s game since the Panthers are at home, despite Syracuse being five and a half games up in conference playPlayer to watch: Michael Young, forward, No. 2Young leads the ACC with 20.8 points per game and he chips in over seven rebounds per contest. He shot 6-of-15 from the field last time the two teams played, and his four offensive rebounds contributed to a 17-7 Pitt advantage on the offensive glass. Young takes 32.5 percent of the team’s shots, a percentage that ranks 33rd in the nation for an individual player. Comments Published on February 10, 2017 at 5:46 pm Contact Matt: | @matt_schneidman Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more