Free Picks for Monday Jan 16: Pittsburgh Panthers vs Syracuse Orange
Monday, January 16, 2012
by Joe Rodriguez
Pittsburgh, losers of six straight games, play perfect 19-0 Syracuse, who remained just one of three undefeated programs in the nation after a 78-55 win over Providence on Saturday.
Pittsburgh is coming off a five-point loss to Marquette, succumbing to the Golden Eagles' press down the stretch. The Panthers take on another press-heavy defense, with the Orange throwing pressure, traps and zone at their opponents.
However, Syracuse may be just what the doctor ordered, with Pittsburgh winning five straight meetings against the Orange.
Pittsburgh Panthers (11-7): The Panthers couldn't pick up their first conference win against the Golden Eagles despite a career-high 29 points from senior guard Ashton Gibbs. He was 8-of-16 from the field, including four made 3-pointers. His third trey of the game moved Gibbs past Jason Matthews (1987-91 – 260 3-pointers) to become the Panthers' all-time leader in 3-pointers made. Gibbs went 3-of-6 from beyond the arc in his last game versus Syracuse.
Syracuse Orange (19-0): With the victory over Providence, Syracuse tied the 1999-2000 squad for the best start in school history at 19-0. A big part of that success is Syracuse's deep roster. Head coach Jim Boeheim goes six players deep off the bench without suffering a letdown. Reserves C.J. Fair and Dion Waiters have provided a major scoring spark, combining for 21.6 points per game off the bench. Waiters scored in double figures for the seventh straight game versus the Friars and is the only Syracuse player to have scored double figures in every Big East game this season.
1. Despite its recent struggled with Pittsburgh, Syracuse still leads the all-time series 61-38.
2. Jim Boeheim picked up career victory No. 875 Saturday and is one win away from tying famed Kentucky head coach Adolph Rupp for fourth all-time in coaching wins.
3. Pittsburgh’s average margin of victory in its five-game winning streak over Syracuse is 9.8 points.
BASKETBALL PREDICTION: Orange 75, Panthers 63.
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