Syracuse Orange vs. Pittsburgh Panthers Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 30th 2023

Nearly a month after playing their Atlantic Coast Conference openers, Syracuse and Pitt will resume league play Saturday when they convene on the Orange’s home court in Syracuse, N.Y.

The Orange (9-3, 0-1 ACC) dropped their first conference affair to Virginia on Dec. 2, suffering an 84-62 road defeat. However, they have rebounded to win their past four contests, most recently an 83-71 triumph over Niagara on Dec. 21.

Judah Mintz (18 points) and Maliq Brown (15 points, 10 rebounds) were among the standouts for Syracuse, which received nearly as many points from its reserves (40) as from its starters (43).

“I think we’ve made some big strides from Game 1 until now. We’re improving,” said Syracuse coach Adrian Autry. “I like where we’re at.”

He continued: “My bench was great again today. … They’re starting to really know who we are as a team.”

The Panthers (9-3, 0-1) have authored a similar story as the Orange, as they also dropped their ACC opener in early December — a 79-70 loss to Clemson — before recovering to win four in a row.

Most recently, Pitt suffocated Purdue Fort Wayne 62-48 by holding the Mastodons to 33.9 percent shooting from the field, including 5 of 26 from 3-point range. Guillermo Diaz Graham led the Panthers with 13 points and eight boards, while Zack Austin and Carlton Carrington chipped in 12 points apiece.

Pitt overcame poor shooting of its own from the field (36.4 percent) and the 3-point line (2 of 20) by playing terrific defense and dominating the boards (54-33).

“It’s really, really good to win a game when you’re not as good offensively as we have been — and as we are,” Panthers coach Jeff Capel said.

The Panthers have won five of the past six meetings with the Orange, including both matchups last season. Pitt nipped Syracuse on the road 84-82 last December before thumping the visiting Orange two months later, 99-82.

–Field Level Media

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