February 15, 2004

Media Round-Up — Quick and Dirty

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chas @ 9:57 am

Not a lot of time today. As luck would have it, Erie, PA has the Pitt game. Friends of my wife get both Cleveland and Erie stations out in Geneva, OH. Geneva is about midway between Cleveland and Erie (roughly 50 miles either way) off of I-90. So we have to leave a little early, and still do some things around the house.

Here’s the news.

Pittsburgh beat

Tickets are going for as much as $500 dollars per. The winningest teams in the Big East the last 3 years. The loser is just about assured of not getting a #1 seed (for what it’s worth). This is probably the best article about the actual game from Pittsburgh papers. A little bias on the match-up breakdowns, perhaps, but not unexpected.

“It’s Round 2,” said Pitt freshman center Chris Taft. “We took a blow in Round 1, but we felt we could have had that game. It’s for first place.”

Said Pitt senior guard Julius Page: “It’s the top two teams in the league. We’ve been beating up on each other the last couple of years. The crowd will know it’s a big game, and everybody’s going to be watching. Let’s see who steps up to the challenge.”

Somehow, another Pitt beat reporter must have missed those quotes

While Pitt coach Jamie Dixon and his players shied away from calling this game any more significant than any of the other final five games on the regular-season schedule, Calhoun and his players reveled in the pregame hype and spoke openly about its importance.

“It’s definitely a big game for us,” Connecticut junior guard Ben Gordon said. “It’s not just another game. It’s a game we need, and we’re going to approach it like that.”

Pittsburgh Columns

Last year it was talent vs. toughness. The differences aren’t so clear this time. Paraphrase of the opening lines of the column, and the general gist. Pitt is more talented than last year, and UConn is tougher. Pitt is still a bit more physical, but UConn has a bit more talent. Pirusta is already thinking of a third game in Madison Square Garden.

Cook argues that Pitt-UConn is a rivalry. Sorry. No. It’s not. We all wouldn’t mind it becoming a rivalry, but rivalries are not made in a couple years. Rivalries take a couple decades, minimum with ebbs and flows — not one side dominating for a period while the other is in the doldrums. Time is a key component of any rivalry. Clearly that is missing. Otherwise, all you do is look back at a brief period and say, “yeah, those were some good games.” (I’m dangerously close to going off on a tangent I don’t have time for, so I’ll move on.)

Final column is a feature on Chevon Troutman. Kind of typical. Troutman is the soul of the team perspective. IT’s been done. With Page, Brown, and even Krauser.

UConn beat

Focusing more on the intensity between the two teams then the potential rivalry, is a good option. This piece sees the game being decided on tempo and fast break points for UConn, which jibes with their scouting report

he quickest way for UConn to quiet the crowd will be to stop Pittsburgh from scoring. If the Huskies can do that, they should be able to run. If the Huskies can get near 20 in fastbreak points, this one is over.

In another story, the key is also seen to be pace.

The Huskies will try and get a lead today by running their vaunted fast break at every chance.

“It’s about will,” Calhoun said. “If we make up our mind that we’re going to run after every basket, every time up the floor, we can set the pace.”

Pitt, meanwhile, loves to slow the game down and work the 35-second shot clock before shooting. The style suits their physical frontcourt, featuring 6-foot-11, 250-pound center Chris Taft, 6-7, 236-pound power forward Chevy Troutman and 6-4, 229-pound small forward Jaron Brown.

Dictating the pace is point guard Carl Krauser, Pitt’s leading scorer at 15.2 points.

“We did a good of controlling the pace the last time we played them,” Dixon said. “We know we have to limit their transition and that we have to grind it out and attack at the right opportunities.”

And one passage about this Pitt team that should makes every Pitt fan feel good

That’s Pittsburgh. Get the Panthers down and they don’t blink an eye. And when they have a big lead, you won’t see any chest bumping until the final horn sounds.

“They’re old-school,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “And that’s meant in a flattering way.

They never stop coming at you and that’s the most intimidating type of team to play. No matter what, they keep executing on offense and defense.”

Let’s Go Pitt!

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