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December 8, 2016

Averting The Epic Collapse

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:33 am

I just don’t know.

It’s not that beating Buffalo is worse than losing to Duquesne. (Clearly, it isn’t.) It is just the way this game went down was oddly more disheartening. The loss to Duquesne was frustrating and created anger.

But this game. This game was disheartening.

To be up 26 points with under 4:30 left in the first half and end up with only a one point lead at 6:30 left in the entire game. That was some epic frittering.

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December 7, 2016

Take It Out on Buffalo

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 6:23 pm

7pm, ACC Network Extra/WatchESPN

After the Maryland win last week, I wrote that this was still going to be an up-and-down season with frustrating losses. I just didn’t think Pitt was going to prove my point the very next game.

You can put an asterisk by this game if you want because Jamel Artis was suspended for the game, but there is no excuse to lose that game. Pitt, as a team, played a really lousy game and never seemed to care that they were. Up until the end when they realized they were going to lose and it was too late.

As a fan, there is nothing more frustrating to watch then when your rooting interest is visibly disengaged.

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(For Immediate Release)

CLARIFICATION ON TV CREW FOR NEW ERA PINSTRIPE BOWL

(Bristol, CT) Due to the number of questions, ESPN, the Worldwide Leader in Sports, wishes to address the surprising number of questions that were directed to the ESPN Media Zone with regards to the announcing crew of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Following the press release of the announcing crews for all of the 2016-17 college football bowl season, there was much reaction to Mike Golic and Mike Golic, Jr. serving as co-analysts in the booth with game caller Ryan Ruocco and sideline reporter Paul Caracaterra.

The combination of the co-host of ESPN’s morning radio show Mike & Mike in the Morning with his son is in no way a stunt or nepotism. Mike Golic is a well-respected voice in sports and we feel that Mike Golic, Jr. is a rising star in the broadcast of college football.

This decision was made with the full support of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl organizers and sponsors.

“When ESPN approached us with the idea of Mike Golic and his son working the game from the broadcast booth, we were very excited,” said Pinstripe Bowl Executive Director Mark Hozman. “The idea of two Notre Dame alum and partisans talking about Northwestern and Pitt seemed ideal.”

“Northwestern is located in a suburb of Chicago,” Hozman continued, “The epicenter of Notre Dame subway fans. The idea of not being able to escape Notre Dame references and discussions of Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly for even one game has to be a tremendous incentive to attend the actual event to avoid hearing such sparkling conversations.”

“For Pitt fans, Mike Golic only reads quick summaries of teams in the AP top-10 to effect a knowledge of college football. This year, that includes Penn State, who we fully expect him to confuse with Pitt during the game.”

“You don’t want to hear these morons? Buy a damn ticket,” added New York Yankees Chairman Hal Steinbrenner.

December 5, 2016

Pinstripe Bound

Filed under: Bowls,Football — Chas @ 8:38 am

I have no big complaints about Pitt going to the Pinstripe Bowl. Well, other than 2pm on a Wednesday.

The Sun Bowl would have had the amusing storyline of the epic 2008 game against Oregon State, and a “name” opponent from the Pac-12. But it is not a bowl game for travel (for any ACC team), and the whole “Pitt doesn’t travel to bowl games” gets reinforced.

The Russell Athletic Bowl would have been a solid destination game in Orlando. Plus the storyline of the Backyard Brawl would make it extra compelling nationally. The downside, though, would be Pitt’s pass defense against Holgorsen’s offense. That allegedly came into play in the bowl officials calculations. Which I would love to take offense to, but… I just can’t.

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December 2, 2016

I’ve tried. I’ve really tried. I’ve wanted to care about the City Game as more than just another non-con. I’ve made fun of their rebranding efforts and derisively referred to them as the Stage Magicians. I’ve written a few posts about their ineptitude over the years

Moving it to the Con Paint Store, was a good effort to try and make it special. But other than the humiliation of losing to a bad team and ending a 15-game winning streak against the Dukes, it’s hard to feel any animosity or hate towards Duquesne that should go with a rivalry game.

Maybe it’s me. Maybe as a non-native I just don’t get the same impact of friends and families torn apart by their loyalties and the importance of this game within the area. The trash talking that must go on between the two sides.

/thinking

/pondering

/contemplating

Nah.

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November 30, 2016

Feeling A Bit Better About Pitt Basketball

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:31 am

Don’t get me wrong. This is going to be a bit of an up-and-down season (and that’s not a tempo joke, I swear). There are going to be some frustrating losses. And probably a blowout loss or two. But that shouldn’t take away from a very good and satisfying win last night.

Pitt went on the road to a top-25 team in a power conference and won. They didn’t just scrape by. They blew the Terrapins off the court late in the first half and could get away with coasting most of the second half. For god’s sake, Ryan Luther and Sheldon Jeter were playing at the same time in the second half. That’s how big the lead was.

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November 29, 2016

7pm ESPN2.

Small sample size and all, but after six games, Pitt’s tempo is ranked 256th nationally per, KenPom. Maybe — and I’m just spitballing ideas here — the players have as much to do with the pace as the coaching style. The players always say they want to get up-and-down the court. But they also want to score and win.

Pitt can score. The offense is still one of the most efficient nationally. The defense, though, is something else.

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On the heels of breaking into the AP Top 25 at #24, Pitt players and a coach picked up some nice accolades.

In something that has become a regular occurrence, Quadree Henderson picked up his 5th ACC Specialist of the Week honor (yes, it is really called “specialist”).

He earned his latest award by compiling a career-high 257 all-purpose yards against the Orange, averaging an incredible 21.4 yards per touch.

Henderson averaged 18.7 yards on three punt returns (56 yards), 24.5 on four kickoffs (98 yards) and an incredible 20.6 on five rushes (103 yards). He had a 66-yard touchdown burst off a jet sweep to give Pitt a 49-21 lead in the third quarter.

Henderson’s (Wilmington, Del./Alexis I. du Pont) performance helped the Panthers achieve their highest single-game point total since 1977. His five Specialist of the Week awards are the most by an ACC player this season. He was previously honored for his performances in the Penn State, Virginia, Miami and Duke contests.

A highly viable All-America candidate, Henderson has four returns for touchdowns this season, including a nation-leading three on kickoffs. He ranks second in the country in combined kick return yards (1,121), fifth in kickoff return average (31.1) and 11th in all-purpose yards per game (159.75).

I’m assuming the ACC has a Specialist of the Year honor, which Henderson is a shoe-in to get. Along with 1st Team All-ACC recognition.

Speaking of which

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November 27, 2016

Vomiting Points, Hemorrhaging Coverage

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 4:20 pm

… Or…

I took my son to Pitt and a Big 12 game happened.

Thanks again, to Wally for the tickets. My boy had a great time. Good to see you again and to talk.

Where to begin — or end — with that game?

Tons of points. Even more yards. Volume, volume, volume of explosive plays. Too many mistakes by the defenses to count. And at times, it felt like the game was never going to end.

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November 26, 2016

12:30 pm. ACC Nework syndication.

Thanks to everyone who offered tickets so that my son and I can attend the game (as fans) today. Much bigger response than I expected. He’s excited about going, even if it is going to be cold and had to get up very early.

Pitt is the heavy favorite. The Syracuse offense does not look to be in good shape with QB Eric Dungey doubtful for the game. That leaves Zack Mahoney as the starter. Additionally, players not listed on the injury report are question marks.

Junior wide receiver Steve Ishmael, redshirt freshman center Colin Byrne and redshirt senior guard Omari Palmer are not included. It’s unclear if and how much each will play against the Panthers.

The Syracuse defense is not exactly its strong suit. It averages giving up 35+ points a game.

Time to send the seniors off with one more home win, and finish with an 8-4 record.

November 25, 2016

Open Thread: Morehead St.-Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 4:44 pm

I have to believe nearly every blogger who has seen their school getting this team on the schedule has at least considered the James Bond/Austin Powers-esque jokes about this school’s name. “We’re getting Morehead? … Wonderful.”

I may have started drinking before starting this post.

Morehead wasn’t expected to be a big challenge coming into the season. It seems less likely with their head coach suspended.

Morehead State basketball coach Sean Woods has been suspended with pay, effective immediately, while the school investigates complaints it has received.

“Resulting from complaints received, the institution has begun an investigation involving the head basketball coach. While we continue through the formal process, we believe it is prudent to suspend the coach until the investigation is finished,” Morehead State athletic director Brian Hutchinson said.

In his first season, Woods was suspended for a game for shoving a player. Woods was 75-63 in his first four seasons and received a contract extension this past offseason through the 2019-20 campaign.

Seems like we are looking at a David Rice or Mike Lonergan situation. Those always end well. That they suspended him and are having a formal investigation after the season is underway does not bode well for his future.

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November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving and Senior Notes

Filed under: Football,Players — Chas @ 12:47 pm

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Hope you are enjoying it with friends, family and those who make you happy. I have been doing little things in preparation for the full-blown day of cooking (and maybe a bit to drink). The way things work out this time of year, we can’t travel to be with the entire family, so it is just the wife and kids. Which is much more peaceful, but we do miss out on the fun (usually) chaos of a house full of family.

There’s a game on Saturday, and I’m taking my son to it. He went with me to the spring game and had a great time. It just hasn’t worked out most of the season, but I promised him his first game this year so it is do or die time. On that note, does anyone have a couple extra tickets they aren’t using? Dragging him to the pressbox doesn’t seem like a good idea. I don’t think I can sell him as my intern. That means I have to pick a couple up. I know it won’t be hard to get a couple, but I might as well ask here first.

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November 22, 2016

Open Thread: Yale-Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 3:17 pm

7pm, ACC Network Extra/WatchESPN.

Mike Young picked up his second consecutive ACC Player of the Week honors.

The cynical part of me is going to watch with an eye towards whether Pitt can put forth a decent and consistent defensive effort this game, or do they revert to type.

As much as Coach Kevin Stallings emphasized up-tempo and offense in the offseason, once the season started he’s like most coaches: time to play some dang defense.

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The line on this game started at Pit -23.5. It has since risen to -24.5. I wonder how much of it is confidence in Pitt versus a lack of confidence in Syracuse.

Normally the Syracuse-Pitt “rivalry” game is a time for us to make fun of the ACC for declaring this the rivalry game. Point out how neither side really views the other with deep hate in football. That the series tends to shift one-sidedly for quite a while — and right now it is on Pitt’s side.

That’s still all true. But, at least the ACC went and moved it to the end of the season when there is a chance the game could means something in terms of wins and losses.

With that in mind, it isn’t a game that should produce the usual apathy and “meh” commentary. This is a game that could get Pitt to 8 regular season wins. Another nice step in year two under Pat Narduzzi, considering the strength of schedule took a noticeable jump compared to last year (and, yes, the frustrating closeness of some losses (and wins)).

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November 21, 2016

The Steady Drumbeat of a Blowout

Filed under: Football,Opponent(s) — Chas @ 8:39 am

The points didn’t come in one wild quarter or half. There wasn’t a defense that completely overwhelmed and demoralized Duke. Instead, they were steady consistent blows on both sides of the ball. It didn’t even feel like a blowout until you looked up at the score in 4th quarter.

Duke never quite seemed out of it in the first half. In part, because, Pitt fans have been conditioned this year to understand that no lead is truly safe. But primarily because while Pitt was dominating, they weren’t destroying.

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