Syracuse, New York – Pittsburgh has had a long time to reconnect with Syracuse.
The Panthers defeated the Orange in the Carrier Dome on January 6. This match had been hastily reorganized after opposing teams for each schedule encountered issues with Covid-19, forcing postponements.
Pittsburgh has not played a basketball game since. His game against Florida State has been postponed. His game against Georgia Tech has been postponed. Both of these situations resulted in positive cases of Covid in these programs and the contact tracing quarantines that followed.
So now, within 10 days, Pittsburgh will play Syracuse and only Syracuse.
“Sure, it’s something we hadn’t considered, but it is what it is,” said Pitt coach Jeff Capel. “It’s a long time between games. It’s something that I don’t like – not having competition.
“I know (Syracuse) will be better. Look, they led most of the game. They did good things and did things that sometimes made us look bad. And I hope we can be a little better – we can be a lot better than we were in Syracuse. We know it will be an incredible challenge.
Capel said if Wednesday’s Panthers game with Georgia Tech had taken place, he wouldn’t have a full roster. Pitt was without four fellows when he played SU on Jan.6 due to Covid / contact tracing issues in his own program.
The most important player in this group – Justin Champagnie – suffered a knee injury. Originally, Champagnie was to be away for 6 to 8 weeks. But Capel has said he will likely return to action before that period is over. (Champagnie, who averages a double-double, was injured on the weekend of December 19 in training.)
A Pitt teammate recently reported that Champagnie was diving in training.
“I expect him to come back before 6-8 weeks. I still don’t know exactly when it will be, but he is progressing very, very well, ”said Capel. “He doesn’t practice. He is able to do certain things individually. We’re starting to integrate it again to do things individually. Just shooting. No contact. He’s able to do a little of that.
“The injury was an injury to his LCL, to his knee. We want to be very careful. We’re not going to put him back on the pitch until we think he’s perfectly healthy. He fights against us every day. He wants to play now.
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Syracuse under-muscled and under-worked on boards lost to Pittsburgh