Game 14: Syracuse (10-3, 0-0) vs. Pittsburgh (10-1, 0-0)
All-time series: Syracuse leads 65-41
Date: Wednesday, Dec. 30th
Time: 9:00 p.m. ET
Location: Petersen Events Center (Pittsburgh, PA)
Junior forward Michael Young leads the Panthers with 17.2 points per game, which is also good for fifth best in the ACC. Senior guard James Robinson is second in the ACC in assists with 5.4 per game. Fellow forward Jamel Artis is second in scoring on Pitt, averaging 15.5 points per game. The Panthers' front court is scary and could offer mismatches against the Orange all night.
As a team, Pittsburgh averages 85.5 points per game. They make, on average, seven 3-pointers a game on eighteen attempts, which is good for 38%. They also shoot 80% from the free throw line, which is easily the best in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Panthers only loss came to No. 11 Purdue on December 2nd, 72-59. Despite being 10-1, Pittsburgh doesn't have any impressive victories over top competition. The Orange will be their toughest opponent yet.
Three things to watch:
1. Rebounding: Pittsburgh averages 42 rebounds per game, which is second best in the ACC. Syracuse, on the other hand, averages 37, which is twelfth best. Forwards Michael Young and Jamel Artis could cause problems for the Orange Wednesday night, meaning Tyler Roberson, Tyler Lydon and Dajuan Coleman will need to be factors on the glass.
2. 3-pointers: SU has struggled from deep of late, and outside from the Battle 4 Atlantis, they haven't had much success from 3-point range all season. Their 35% average from behind the arc is seventh best in the ACC. Syracuse has no choice regarding their offense; the 3-pointers will need to fall, otherwise SU will struggle night in and night out. There simply isn't enough consistent inside scoring to provide a healthy balance for the Orange. In his last three games, Michael Gbinije is 7-for-25 (28%) from 3-point range.
3. Malachi Richardson: Syracuse needs Richardson to implement himself as a legimate scoring threat. In his defense, Malachi has put up some impressive scoring numbers so far this season. However, his 35% field goal percentage is better than only Frank Howard and Kaleb Joseph, who are both under thirty percent, and his twenty six percent from 3-point range is better than only Joseph. Look for Malachi to get off to a good start tomorrow as it's very important for SU's success.