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March 1, 2015

Open Thread: Pitt-Wake

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 1:46 pm

I feel like I have to repeat this every time I post on basketball. The most important — and only — thing Pitt can do to make sure it gets into the NCAA Tournament is to keep winning. All bubble talk is reactionary and about “if the season ended today” speculation. That’s why I don’t worry or put much stock in the “last four in, last four out” stuff that every ESPN broadcast (and to be fair I caught similar stuff on CBS and Fox yesterday).

You can make yourself frantic for no reason by whipsawing between NC State losing to BC to BYU beating Gonzaga to Texas failing at Kansas while Boise beats SDSU meanwhile… oh, you get the picture.

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February 27, 2015

Football Notes, 2/27

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 8:19 am

The football team has workouts at 5:30 am. In a nice publicity move, the media was invited to attend today’s workout.

Oh, no. I wasn’t invited. I’m up at that hour, but I wasn’t invited to attend. No, it doesn’t bother me at all, why do you ask?

I wonder about these extremely early workouts. I get the team building. And making sure they get those workouts in early before a full day. Seems the best reason for it is to cut down on the risk of bad things happening with the kids. Especially on a Thursday night.

Sure, they are college kids, young and strong, who can occasionally pull the full partying and show up for a solid workout without flinching. But even the kids can’t keep that up for long. Instead, in the back of their minds they know about that coming workout. Having to be ready to go. An easy way to minimize the chances they put themselves in bad situations.

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February 26, 2015

No PITT fan likes it when a young man, who mutually agreed with PITT to enroll as a student athlete leaves the program. Whether it is on his own, he gets moved on by the staff or can’t handle the disciplinary requirements and are dismissed before they have a chance to complete their full four years toward a degree, it always seems a disappointment to all concerned.  We fans get attached to these players as early as their recruitment and then we’re sometimes surprised and disappointed when players are here one minute and gone the next.  Poof!

Since the recent, not totally surprising, news of rising rsSO DB Titus Howard being dismissed by the Narduzzi for cause, and the departures of rsSR QB Trey Anderson, SO OL Conner Hayes, rsSR DE Devin Cook (transferred to the Richmond Spiders) and rsSR Luke Maclean this may be a good point in time to look at what kind of attrition we have had in the past and what we may see coming out of this year’s spring practices and fall camp.

Addressing the four players above it seems as if at least two of them who played their HS football in Michigan, Conner Hayes and Luke Maclean, may have designs to join their old coach Paul Chryst. That will be an interesting thing to keep an eye on as neither was recruited by Wisconsin or by Narduzzi’s Michigan State before signing with PITT.

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Assorted Basketball Items, 2/26

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:15 am

Not quite VT. Almost, but not quite.

The Louisville Chris Jones was suspended, reinstated and then booted off the Cardinals Sunday. Rick Pitino said he would have nothing more to say on the matter. I’m guessing he won’t be able to play that card very well in light of the news.

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of former University of Louisville basketball player Chris Jones on charges of raping one woman and sodomizing another.

The warrant, obtained by University of Louisville police, was signed Wednesday by Jefferson District Judge Katie King.

The warrant says that one of the women was hospitalized Sunday and able to identify Jones as her assailant. One of the women is 19 and the other 20, according to the warrant.

Ugh.

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February 24, 2015

9pm

ESPNU

Late night for those of us in the East who are getting up there in years — or have small children.

Olivier Hanlan has been very hot for BC lately. In the last three games he had 32, 32 and 19 points. He went for 18 last time they played. That hasn’t helped BC too much as they have lost 8 straight and have not won a game in a month.

9-17 overall record, 1-13 at the bottom of the ACC. Needless to say a home loss would be devastating to Pitt.

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It has been a couple decades since Pitt the waning days of the college basketball season wondering if they did/will/can do enough to make the NCAA Tournament. It has been rather straight forward for Pitt. Either they were clearly good enough that the issue was seeding. Or the Panthers were simply bad and not in the conversation. As such, the understanding of the bubble can be a bit confusing.

So, to simplify things, I’m going to put a little primer on Pitt’s situation. It’s not all encompassing, but it hits the key point.

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February 23, 2015

Titus Howard Gone

Filed under: Football,Players — Reed @ 10:49 am

According to sources closer to the program than me,  CB Titus Howard has been dismissed from the team.

Apparently he didn’t learn from last year’s full-season suspension.  Will add more info as it comes in.

UPDATE: From wbb @ 3:26 below:

“Trey Anderson, Devin Cook, Connor Hayes and Luke Maclean have left the #Pitt football team and Titus Howard has been dismissed.

February 22, 2015

Remember when Chris Jones was given a late scholarship after an excellent senior season of high school? A versatile player who was clearly going to be a development project. Along the lines of Brad Wanamaker and Lamar Patterson?

Well, it might be happening.

One game does not mean he’s arrived. But what Jones has been doing in the month of February has been a couple notches above his January. Which was better than his wretched December. In other words, he’s actually been developing and improving as the season has continued.

It’s been a theme for this squad, the entire season. Young players developing. From the leap Jamel Artis has made. To Sheldon Jeter coming into his own. Michael Young’s consistent work. Josh Newk — okay, there is an exception. Back to Jones.

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February 21, 2015

It’s a nooner on ACC syndication. That’s a problem because they ACC has two noon games to syndicate. In addition to Pitt-Syracuse there is the GT-UNC tilt. Sure that’s a beat-up-on-an-old-hobo kind of game with the disparity between the two teams and it being a home game for UNC. Still, that messes things up.

What I’m saying is that my local affiliate in Cleveland is opting for the hobo beating game. Which means I’m stuck watching on ESPN3.com. Which could be tolerable with the news that DirecTV now has the ESPNWatch authentication complete. Which means I could stream it through my TV. If I had taken the time to install it earlier. If I wasn’t looking at a likely DVR delay because of all the weather this week messing things up so badly I have to do a slew of other things all morning and into the beginning of the afternoon. Oh, hey, snow today. Fantastic.

/end self-pity complaining

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February 20, 2015

PITT’s Running Backs from ’75 on…

Filed under: Football,Players — Reed @ 11:39 am

PITT TOP TEN RUSHERS OF ALL TIME

Name Seasons Total Yards YPC TD:Carry Ratio
  1. Tony Dorsett
1973-76 6,526 5.6 19.7
  1. Ray Graham
2009-12 3,271 5.5 18.6
  1. Curvin Richards
1988-90 3,192 5.5 34.3
  1. Craig Heyward
1984, 86-87 3,086 4.5 28.5
  1. Dion Lewis
2009-10 2,860 5.3 18.1
  1. LeSean McCoy
2007-08 2,816 4.8 16.7
  1. Billy West
1993-97 2,803 4.9 28.6
  1. Elliott Walker
1974-77 2,748 5.7 16.5
  1. Curtis Martin
1991-94 2,643 5.1 34.5
    10.  J. Conner 2013-14, 2,564 5.7 13.0

 

I find this listing interesting as it shows pure stats and, in turn productivity, yet you can’t tell what factors affected these RBs in producing those stats.  Did the fact that Curvin Richards played two years with Alex Van Pelt cut down on the number of TDs he had?  In 1989-90 they played together and during that stretch Van Pelt threw 31 TDs and Richards only scored nine so most probably yes. (more…)

February 17, 2015

Spring ’15 Two Deep?

Filed under: Football,Players — Reed @ 3:26 pm

Since we have less than four weeks until the PITT Spring Practices begin let’s start speculating on who we will see as starter and in the two deep for next season.  Obviously not etched in stone and pretty much off the top of my head.  We’ve been up and down with BB lately so here is a post with no emotion attached…  My “stars”: Rori Blair on D and James Conner on O.

OFFENSE

1st Team

2nd Team

WR Boyd, Tyler JR Zeise, Elijah rsFR
WR Ford, Dontez rsJR  Weah, Jester rsSO
LT Bisnowaty, Adam rsJR Jones-Smith, Jaryd rsSO
LG Johnson, Dorian JR Baker, Carson rsSO
C Rowell, Artie rsSR Roberts, Gabe rsJR
RG Officer, Alex rsSO   Roberts, Gabe rsJR
RT Bookser, Alex rsFR   Jones-Smith, Jaryd rsSO
TE Holtz, J.P. SR Edwards, Devon rsSO
H-BACK Parrish, Jaymar JR Orndoff, Scott JR
QB Voytik, Chad rsJR   Bertke, Adam rsFR
RB Conner, James JR James, Chris  SO

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February 16, 2015

It’s supposed to be a nasty evening in that region. There was actually talk of postponing the game. Pitt made it to Charlottesville, however, and the game goes on. It may be a smattering of locals and the students only, but they will play tonight. No one wants to miss out on Big Monday. That’s ESPN at 7pm.

Both teams play slow tempo. It needs to be repeated. Even as Pitt’s offense seems to have opened up, their tempo hasn’t noticeably increased. Virginia is simply one of the slowest tempo teams in all of college basketball. Counting on what can be an insanely stingy defense and offensive efficiency.

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February 15, 2015

That Was Oddly Dominating

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 2:52 pm

If I told you Jamel Artis would be held to 11 points on 3-6 shooting. That Pitt would only go 7-13 from the free throw line. That Derrick Randall played 18 minutes, while Josh Newkirk only played 6 and was 0-2 shooting. That the Tar Heels would shoot a single basket under 50% (29-59). That UNC would hold the edge in rebounding for the game and turned the ball over less than Pitt. You wouldn’t have to look, to know…

…Well we all know what really happened.

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February 14, 2015

Open Thread: UNC-Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 9:45 am

So, UNC has size and rebounds well.

North Carolina leads the ACC in offensive rebounds (15.1 per game), defensive rebounds (27.7 per game) and total rebounds (42.8 per game). North Carolina also is first in rebounding margin (plus-9.7).

It’s no coincidence that the Tar Heels will be one of the tallest teams the Panthers will play this season, featuring six players 6 feet 8 or taller.

Dixon said there is no secret to what he has emphasized in practices leading up to this game. He said if the Panthers don’t rebound well, they will not win.

“We have made it very clear to our players that this is a strength of theirs,” Dixon said. “They are a very good rebounding team, and we are coming off a game in which we got outrebounded. We did a lot of drills at practice that we normally do when we don’t get it done on the glass.

“We have talked about it, and we have made it very clear that we need to match their size and their intensity in going up and getting rebounds.”

Oh, and a top 3-point shooters in the country.

They also have to limit point guard Marcus Paige, North Carolina’s leading scorer.

Paige is one of the top 3-point shooters in the ACC — seventh in 3-point shooting percentage and sixth in made 3-pointers per game — but is streaky. Even when he misses, though, North Carolina’s rebounding ability allows the Tar Heels to turn his missed shots into second-chance scoring opportunities.

What could go wrong?

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February 13, 2015

Fun With Numbers: Close Losses

Filed under: Football,Numbers — Chas @ 8:22 am

Offseason football stuff means digging around the numbers.

Earlier in the week, ESPN.com writer David Hale started tweeting out some stuff about close losses. Surprise, Pitt was one of the hardest luck teams when it came to that.

The number is already engrained in the minds of every player at Pitt: 20.

That’s how many points separated the Panthers, who finished 6-7, from being 11-2 last season. It’s a number that defines their failures in 2014 and their motivation for 2015.

“Our new strength coach actually wrote it up on the board,” Pitt quarterback Chad Voytik said. “So we’re using that as fuel for the offseason. If we don’t finish a drill or finish team conditioning, we’re saying, ‘If you don’t finish a spring, you’re not finishing a game either.’ But there’s a level of frustration, too. We know we could’ve been a whole lot better, and we’re looking to change that.”

Pitt and VT both had five losses by seven or fewer points. No other team in the major conferences had that many. Pitt was 1-5 last year in games decided by seven points or less (thanks again, VT), culminating in the blown Armed Forces Bowl.

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