Teams ranked in the Top 5 have a tendency to lose games when they enter the Peterson Events Center, including #4 the University of Connecticut earlier this season, and, on Monday, one Top 5 team is a sure bet to lose as #4 Syracuse (18-0) versus #5 Pittsburgh (17-1) in a Big East conference war.
Syracuse ran their record within the conference to 5-0, with a convincing 67-52 victory over the Cincinnati Bearcats on Saturday. The Orange feature All-American forward Kris Joseph, who averages 14.6 points per game, but he will not make the trip to Pittsburgh, out with recurring headaches. The team will have to have guard Scoop Jardine (13.7 ppg) and big forward Rick Jackson, averaging a double-double with 13.2 ppg and 11.7 rebounds per game.
Pitt , known for rebounding and tough defense, once again is a top rebounding team, ranked second in the nation with 42.7 per game, but, this season, the team can shoot the ball, ranking 19th in field goal percentage and 80.3 points per game. The Panthers are led by guard Ashton Gibbs (16.3 ppg), guard Brad Wannamaker (12.8 ppg), and Gilbert Brown (11.2 ppg). Center Gary McGhee has also been a pleasant surprise and will play a huge role in this game guarding Jackson in the paint.
Syracuse and Pitt have played in some classics over the years and Pitt handed the Orange their first loss a year ago, with an 82-72 win in Pittsburgh, and the Panthers should be favored in this match-up with Joseph out.
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