Yes, there is hope for Pitt tonight against No. 1 Syracuse

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If Pitt’s thought a six-game losing streak was bad, here’s worse news: Jamie Dixon’s team makes a trip Monday to No. 1 Syracuse.

Except … maybe it’s not so bad.

Saturday’s loss at Marquette was a world away from recent defeats at DePaul (DePaul!) and Rutgers (by 23). The Panthers (11-7) actually showcased some decent offense helped by moving Ashton Gibbs back to shooting guard and using freshman Isaiah Epps to point guard. The defense is still soft, but it’s improving.

It just hasn’t been enough. Yet.

“We’re not used to this,” Dixon told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We lost to some good teams, but we’ve had chances to win. We were up for most of the game. …

“The losses are more than we’ve ever had. Our kids are very disappointed because they played hard. They played well. They just didn’t play well enough to win.”

So where’s the good news? Consider these two random factoids: Dixon’s never lost at the Carrier Dome and no current Syracuse player has beaten Pitt.

Neither will cause the Orange to lose their first game. But if Pitt’s always had a knack against ‘Cuse and if the Panthers have finally reached that stage where desperation turns them into a dangerous team, Monday night’s game might actually go down as a Pitt-Syracuse game worth watching.

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