The No. 1-ranked Syracuse Orange will be shooting for a school record 20 consecutive victories Monday night, as they host the Pittsburgh Panthers in a Big East Conference men's basketball showdown at the Carrier Dome (7:30 p.m. on ESPN). The Orange (19-0, 6-0 Big East) will also enter the contest atop the college basketball rankings for the sixth consecutive week, a feat that also ties a school record, while the Panthers (11-7, 0-5) will be hungry for a victory after dropping six straight.
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Other milestones Orange milestones that can be reached Monday night feature head coach Jim Boeheim vying for his 876th career victory, which would time him with legendary Kentucky Wildcats head coach Adolph Rupp for fourth on the all-time Division I list; it would also be the 34th time in Boeheim's 36-year tenure that the Orange collect a 20-win season (first all-time on the Division I list); and snap a five-game home losing streak to the Panthers.
On Saturday, Syracuse easily defeated the Providence Friars, 78-55, for the second time in nine days. Senior guard Scoop Jardine tallied 10 points and dished out nine assists, while senior forward Kris Joseph led the way with 13 points.
Joseph enters the game as the Orange's leading scorer (13.7 points per game), while sophomore guard Dion Waiters, who has yet to start a game, is the only other SU player averaging double-digits (12.7 ppg). The Orange's leading rebounder is sophomore center Fab Melo, who's is collecting 5.7 per game. Jardine's turnover to assists ratio is a solid 4.5 to 2.1.
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Meanwhile, surprisingly the Panthers enter the contest sitting in last-place in the Big East standings. Senior guard Ashton Gibbs paces Pitts averaging 16.9 ppg, while senior forward Nasir Robinson is averaging 12.4 ppg and a team-best 6.8 rebounds per game.
On Saturday, Pitt gave the No. 21 Marquette Golden Eagles a run for their money but lost 62-57. A few days before that, the Panthers were embarrassed on their home floor by visiting Rutger Scarlet Knights, who earned a 62-39 victory.
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