Jan. 16, 2014
GAME 18: #22 PITT (16-1, 4-0 ACC) at #2 SYRACUSE (17-0, 4-0 ACC)
Saturday, January 18, 2014 4 p.m. ET
Carrier Dome (33,000) Syracuse, N.Y.
Television: ESPN (Dave O'Brien and Doris Burke; Producer: Scott Matthews).
Pitt Radio: Pitt IMG Sports Network (Bill Hillgrove and Dick Groat). 93.7 The Fan, 93.7 FM; Satellite Radio: Sirius-Channel 132 (SU feed), XM-Channel N/A.
Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com.
Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 15th year at Pitt, 11th year as head coach (278-87); Syracuse: Jim Boeheim, 38th year at SU (937-314), 38th year overall (937-314).
Rankings: Pitt: AP-22; USA Today-21; Syracuse: AP-2; USA Today-2.
Series: Pitt and Syracuse meet for the 103rd time in series history with Syracuse holding a 63-39 advantage. Since 2001, Pitt owns a 14-5 record vs. Syracuse. Since Jamie Dixon became head coach, Pitt is 10-4 vs. Syracuse and 5-1 vs. the Orange in Syracuse. In games played against SU at the Carrier Dome, Pitt has won four of the last five and six of the last eight meetings. That span also included a five-game Pitt win streak vs. Syracuse in the Carrier Dome.
SYRACUSE, N.Y.-- No. 22/21 Pitt (16-1, 4-0 ACC) travels to Syracuse, N.Y. to play No. 2/2 Syracuse (17-0, 4-0 ACC) for a Saturday, January 18 contest at the Carrier Dome. Tipoff is at 4 p.m. ET.
The game will be nationally televised on ESPN. Dave O'Brien (play-by-play) and Doris Burke (color analysis) will make the call. Scott Matthews will handle production.
The matchup features two former Big East teams who are presently atop the Atlantic Coast Conference with identical 4-0 records. Both teams enter with national rankings. Pitt has had recent success against Syracuse, sporting a 10-4 record vs. the Orange under Jamie Dixon (5-1 in Syracuse). Also, the Panthers have won six of the last eight meetings vs. Syracuse at the Carrier Dome, including a five-game win streak from Jan. 24, 2004-Jan. 16, 2012. The five-game win streak ranks as the all-time longest win streak for an opponent at the Carrier Dome. Villanova won four consecutive games from Jan. 6, 1990-Jan. 29, 1994. Pitt ranks tied for the most wins by an opponent since the Carrier Dome opened: 1. Villanova 13; 2. Pitt/Connecticut 10; 3. Georgetown 8.
Pitt has won its 16 games by an average of 17.2 points per game. Fifteen of Pitt's 16 wins have come by nine or more points and 11 of its 16 are by 17 points or more. Offensively, the Panthers are averaging 77.3 points per game, converting 48.8 percent (463-948) of field goals, 34.5 percent (82-238) of 3-point field goals and an amazing near school-record pace of 73.2 percent (306-418) of free throw attempts. Pitt is also outrebounding its opponents by a sizable plus-9.4 margin. Defensively, Pitt is holding its opponents to 60.1 points per game and yielding a 39.6 (361-911) field goal percentage. Fifteen of Pitt's 17 opponents have been held to 70 points or less and nine have been limited to 60 points or less.
Through four Atlantic Coast Conference games, Pitt has outscored its four opponents (Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Maryland and NC State) by a plus-13.5 margin. Pitt is shooting 51.6 percent (110-213) and 41.5 percent (17-41) from 3-point range. Interestingly, the Panthers have averaged 9.0 steals per game. ACC Player of the Year/First Team candidate Lamar Patterson is averaging 20.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game and Talib Zanna averages a near double-double in points (16.5) and rebounds (9.8).
Pitt is a perfect 11-0 at home this year, on a 13-game home win streak and 19-game consecutive win streak against non-conference opponents at home. Pitt also owns a 110-3 record vs. non-conference opponents at the Petersen Events Center and has won 131 of its last 135 home games against regular season non-conference opponents.
Pitt plays at Syracuse after registering an 81-74 win at Georgia Tech on Tuesday. Pitt took advantage of a 9-2 rally in the second half to take a 41-37 lead with 16:40 to play. The Panthers shot 65.4 percent from the floor and 12 of their 17 field goals were layups in the second half. Pitt was led by Talib Zanna's 22 points (8-10 FG) and nine rebounds, James Robinson scored a career-high 16 points, Cameron Wright added 14 and Lamar Patterson scored all 12 of his points in the second half. Pitt outrebounded Georgia Tech 38-18.
Syracuse is a perfect 17-0 on the year and 4-0 in the ACC. The Orange are led by C.J. Fair (17.1 ppg./5.8 rpg.), Trevor Cooney (14.1 ppg./52 3-pointers), Jerami Grant (12.5 ppg./6.6 rpg.) and Tyler Ennis (11.6 ppg./5.6 apg.). The Orange is holding their opponents to 58.4 points per game and 41.4 FG shooting and outscoring its foes by a plus-14.4 points per game margin. The two teams feature two groups of high school teammates: Pitt's James Robinson and SU's Jerami Grant (DeMatha H.S.) and Pitt's Michael Young and SU's Tyler Ennis (St. Benedict's Prep, N.J.).
SATURDAY'S TOP STORYLINES
With identical 4-0 records, Pitt and Syracuse rank atop the ACC standings.
At 4-0 in ACC competition, Pitt is off to its best start in league play since the 2010-11 season when it began its Big East regular season with a 7-0 record.
Pitt coach Jamie Dixon owns a 15-0 record vs. previous ACC teams and a 31-10 overall record vs. current ACC teams (including Syracuse and Notre Dame).
Lamar Patterson has emerged as an ACC Player of the Year candidate.
Pitt plays its third road game of the 2013-14 season. Pitt has claimed each of its last four road games, eight of its last 10 road games and compiled one of the Big East's best road records (59-43, 57.8%) over the last 12 seasons.
When comparing ACC basketball programs over the last 13 years, Pitt ranks second among league programs in overall winning percentage (335-97, .775), league winning percentage (145-63, .697), homecourt winning percentage (.897) and NCAA Tournament appearances (11).