As a showdown with top-ranked Syracuse looms, Pittsburgh must be careful not to look past Saturday afternoon's tilt with visiting Virginia Tech. With the sting of a five-point loss to the Orange three weeks ago still fresh in their minds, the No. 22 Panthers come into weekend action fresh off a thrilling 59-55 overtime triumph over Miami. The Hokies have lost nine consecutive games and are 1-9 in ACC play.Lamar Patterson was the hero for Pittsburgh in what was supposed to be a slightly easier go of it in Miami. He scored 10 of his team-high 25 points in the extra period to help the Panthers bounce back from consecutive home losses to Duke and Virginia. "Being a senior leader I didn't want to just become a ghost when it came to overtime," Patterson told the school web site. "My team looked to me and I just wanted to come through for them."TV: Noon ET, Root Sports (Pittsburgh), Regional Sports Network, ESPN3ABOUT VIRGINIA TECH (8-14, 1-9 ACC): In fairness to the Hokies, they kept the outcomes close following their 72-52 loss to Syracuse on Jan. 7; each of their next four defeats came by fewer than eight points. That all changed Jan. 25 at John Paul Jones Arena, when Virginia Tech was squashed 70-50 by host Virginia to kick off a stretch of four straight defeats by 20 or more points. Part of the Hokies' problem: a major lack of efficiency, with each of their top three scorers - swingman Jarell Eddie and guards Ben Emelogu and Adam Smith - shooting less than 40 percent from the floor.ABOUT PITTSBURGH (19-4, 7-3): The Panthers do many things well at both ends of the floor, but passes that lead to baskets have been their specialty. Pittsburgh is 19th nationally in assists per game (16.1), with Patterson (4.4) and guard James Robinson (four) taking on an active role in that regard. Patterson has been one of the most well-rounded players in the conference, averaging 17.7 points and 4.7 rebounds while shooting 43 percent from beyond the arc and just below 80 percent from the free-throw line.TIP-INS1. Pittsburgh's average margin of victory is 13.4 points.2. Eddie is shooting a combined 3-of-22 from the field over his past two games, including 1-of-12 from 3-point range.3. Patterson's next field goal will move him past Curtis Aiken (1,201) for fifth on the Panthers' all-time scoring list.PREDICTION: Pittsburgh 76, Virginia Tech 59