5 Keys to Victory for No. 22 Pittsburgh at No. 2 Syracuse Saturday

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5 Keys to Victory for No. 22 Pittsburgh at No. 2 Syracuse Saturday
USA TODAY Sports
Despite falling to Syracuse in its final Big East Tournament appearance, Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon still owns a 10-4 lifetime record against the Orange.

The best thing that can happen to No. 22 Pittsburgh (4-0, 16-1) on Saturday afternoon is further vindication of its spot in the AP poll, which it earned with wins over N.C. State, Maryland and Wake Forest during its ACC honeymoon.

The worst that can happen is that no one will be able to say it "hasn't played anybody" anymore.

No. 2 Syracuse (4-0, 17-0) hosts the Panthers at 4 p.m. ET for the first time since knocking them out of their final conference tournament as Big East rivals. The Orange are one of three remaining unbeaten teams in the country, and one of two from "power" conferences, but the Panthers, if history is any barometer, are the biggest threat to their perfection thus far.

That disappointing postseason affair notwithstanding, Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon is 10-4 against the 'Cuse since relieving Ben Howland, including five victories in six trips to the Carrier Dome. They averaged 74.4 points in those five outings, and they bring the third-best team offense in the ACC to upstate New York, where the home team ranks third in the conference defensively (58.4 points per game).

Thanks to the diligence of B/R featured columnists Gene Siudut and Justin Neuman, you can take a gander at this longtime rivalry through Orange-tinted glasses, but now it's time for the Panther point of view.

Here are five keys to Pitt passing its toughest test since joining the ACC.

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