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January 21, 2007

Sitting on the newly assembled couch some Bell’s Hopslam Ale (it’s a double IPA with 9.5% ABV) in hand, ready for this one. Should be a very good, very close game. I expect Gray to be forced outside a lot on defense, so it will be up to the forwards to help on rebounding.

Can’t believe a second straight week of Pitt’s game going opposite an NFC playoff game.

3:13: Pitt leading 10-9 13:33 to the half. Gray looks very aggressive on the offensive side and is 4-4. Only a couple double teams so far. As expected, Marquette is trying to bring Gray as far out on the perimeter on defense as possible.

Forward Hayward already on the bench with 2 fouls, meaning the ineffectual Fitzgerald in. Some early flops from Marquette against Cook one worked the other didn’t.

3:24: Now down 15-10 and Marquette is looking very sharp. They are pestering Pitt’s offense now that they seem to have some confidence going right at the hoop. Pitt seems a little stunned to be put back on their heels.

3:30: Pitt now down 24-17 with 7:39 left, but Ramon heading to the line. I’ve seen and read their struggles shooting the 3. So naturally they are burying some really deep ones right now. Sigh. Pitt’s shifting to the 2-3 zone to keep them from penetrating was correct. It’s just that with those deep 3s, it’s hard to stop.

3:40: Well the crowd is fired up by some very questionable calls going against Pitt. The tech on Dixon and an offensive foul on Gray for backing down Barro were both stunners to even the CBS play-calling crew. Usually on coaches techs, the play-callers are talking about how a coach needs to chill. Apparently these refs have a short fuse. I’m still confused about the offensive foul call against Gray. Frustrating, as Fields then (legitimately) picked up his 3d foul.

Mike Cook has been very sloppy with the ball. 3:55 29-23 Marquette.

3:48: Pitt down 32-27 with 55.2 seconds left. Graves and Ramon are doing a very good job. Starting to get some calls on the inside as Marquette keeps shoving in the back. No, I’m not frustrated.

3:51: Halftime. Marquette leads 32-27. I am not ready to be overly concerned yet. Marquette has done what I expected. Just that their 3s have been falling 5-11 (technically 5-12, but the last one was an attempt before the buzzer) and a 5-6 FT shooting for a team that shoots about as well as Pitt. Dominic James has been the story with 14 points on 5-9 shooting (4-6 on 3s).

Kendall has 4 assists along with 3 rebounds and 5 points. Gray hasn’t had many more opportunities as the Golden Eagles have been double and triple teaming him.

The second half, Pitt needs to bury a couple 3s (only 2-7) and do better with the ball. If you are wondering about Sam Young, well when he was out there briefly, all he did was keep the ball and turn it over because he never even pretended that he was passing. I’m guessing Dixon wasn’t going to let him do that. Aside from Fields (3 fouls) the starters are going to play a lot in this tight of a game.

4:14: Pitt down 40-35, 15:33 in the game. Gray heading to the line. This is just going to stay tight the whole way. Hayward and Matthews for Marquette have 3 fouls.

4:20: 44-37. Pitt not hitting free throws for this game. Oy. Benjamin’s ball handling against Marquette is not exactly inspiring for earning more minutes.

4:35: Pitt still down 50-45, 8:48. Just not able to finish closing the gap. Got to within 3, but then Marquette got another spurt. 4 fouls on Mathews.

4:38: Does CBS actually have instant replay? I’m just curious.

4:47: Pitt still down 54-51. Got it within 1, but again, couldn’t get the lead. Marquette is doing a great job at denying many good looks from outside.

4:53: WTF? Fitzgerald for Marquette draining 3s? This is a Bryan Butch nightmare repeat. A guy who has been a bitter disappointment finally comes up large when facing Pitt.

Fields has received a harsh lesson this week about where he really stands in the Big East with the top guards.

Graves has been good on defense, but only 1-7 shooting 3s. A credit to Marquette’s guards that they have the speed on defense to keep Pitt from getting good looks on the perimeter.

 5:31: Crap. Lost in OT. 77-74. Marquette suddenly shoots lights out from the FT line. Pitt shot like it usually does at the line. That’s it. Frustrated by the loss.

Gray was 2-8 from the line, to unfortunately be the big goat. When he doesn’t even come close to his season average of somewhere near 60% from the line, that kills. Especially with the misses in OT. I don’t know if it was the sore wrist or not, but that killed Pitt. Hate to say it about the guy when he had 16 points and 9 rebounds. The fact is, though, he only shot 50% and had 4 turnovers. It wasn’t a particularly strong game from him despite the hot start.

I think some of why Pitt didn’t get him the ball as much in the first half was that Fields was forced to sit with foul issues early. The point guard and guy who gets it inside to Gray — or at least starts things.
Pitt’s inside game suddenly looked weak when the guards from Marquette were keeping Pitt from getting good looks at 3s.





I also think this could be a close game, particularly with Gray not at 100%.

I don’t think Billy Packer will talk about Kendall’s piano playing skills.

Comment by Sean 01.21.07 @ 3:04 pm

Hearing the CBS hoops theme song brings back many bad Sweet Sixteen memories.

Comment by steve 01.21.07 @ 3:05 pm

James is killing us. I’m happy were playing tough though, no quit on this PITT team.

Comment by Panthoor 01.21.07 @ 3:31 pm

Looks like they are playing like they did against UConn. Looks like they expect to win and don’t feel that they have to put in any effort. Hard to believe this is the team with the top Assist/TO ratio.

Comment by Jon C 01.21.07 @ 3:37 pm

Only down by 5 is not bad considering the way we have played. Back to Gray to start the second half is the duh thing to do right now.

Comment by Panthoor 01.21.07 @ 3:50 pm

Tim Higgins sucks! I said this for years now and some things never change. Our record with him calling games is well under 500 in the last 5 years.

Comment by Tony in Harrisburg 01.21.07 @ 3:52 pm

Pitt needs to ge the ball to Gray and Ramon. kendall is 2 for 7. he missed severl wid eopen shots and now is taking bad shots.

Comment by TMGPanther 01.21.07 @ 3:53 pm

Gray threw an elbow as he turned to his right on that move to the basket, hence the foul. It was actually a good call.

What drives me nuts is watching a team bury deep threes OFF THE BACKBOARD. Banked 3-pt shots are a sign of bad luck for Pitt.

I do not want to see Kendall post up for another wide-open 18 foot jumper. Cook needs to get his head in the game. Graves is playing well.

Given that the Panthers did not capitalize on either stretch of Marquette offensive ineptitude, they’re lucky to only be down 5.

Comment by JLA 01.21.07 @ 3:55 pm

Why did Kendall take the last shot with about 7 seconds left in half? Too many turnovers killed Pitt in the first half.

Comment by Sean 01.21.07 @ 3:56 pm

Jamie Dixon does another big game choke. Dixon leaves Kendall have 17 first half minutes and he is Marq best asset. What genius coaching having Gray defend on the perimeter instead of staying near basket. Ramon is Pitt’s gut player while most of his team lacks heart to be great.

Comment by frank diulus 01.21.07 @ 3:59 pm

Someone please, please explain to me how Kendall scored 40 while playing for the mens canadian league french basketball organization or whatever the hell it was. Is there no one over 5’5″ in Canada so he just stood under the basket the whole game? That is the only thing I can think of. He should never ever be allowed to shoot the ball under any circumstances.

Comment by Jon C 01.21.07 @ 4:01 pm

My observation – Pitt’s D clamped down and held Marquette while Fields was out of the game with his 3 fouls.

Comment by Kevin 01.21.07 @ 4:06 pm

Billy Packer go to Marquette?

Comment by steve 01.21.07 @ 4:07 pm

Somebody like Biggs or Benjamin needs to hit a few buckets for us.

Comment by Panthoor 01.21.07 @ 4:13 pm

We need to knock down a few 3’s to open things up for Gray. Someone please step up

Comment by TMGPanther 01.21.07 @ 4:21 pm

Marquette seems to be hitting every 3-point attempt and Pitt can’t answer.

Comment by Sean 01.21.07 @ 4:24 pm

The problem is that we don’t have a guard that can macth up to James. And also it was bound to happen sooner or later but we need a PF that can dominate inside so we’re stuck with terrible outside shots.

Comment by Panthoor 01.21.07 @ 4:26 pm

This free-throw shooting is giving me gas.

Comment by JLA 01.21.07 @ 4:42 pm

Just a terrible game, all around. Even if we win, not a game that makes you feel good about our chances this year. I hope we can blame it on a lack of motivation that won’t be there come tournament time.

Comment by Jon C 01.21.07 @ 4:51 pm

Absolutely right. This game will mirror the way we lose in the first or 2nd round of The Tournament. Except the officiating will be even more biased and the loss will be double digits…

Comment by geeman2001 01.21.07 @ 4:55 pm

Marquette is not a better team, we just haven’t made our shots. Turnovers and depressing FT% are burying us.

Comment by Panthoor 01.21.07 @ 4:55 pm

It just wouldn’t be Pitt basketball if they actually made a FT every once in a while. That’s our identity. Kind of like the football team and never beating anyone.

Comment by Jon C 01.21.07 @ 5:00 pm

I can’t believe we’re going into OT! We need to have another Marquette guy foul out and that’s a possibility.

Comment by Panthoor 01.21.07 @ 5:14 pm

Unbelievable. Can’t believe this mess is going to OT.

Comment by JLA 01.21.07 @ 5:14 pm

we are lucky as hell

Comment by danstrohl 01.21.07 @ 5:14 pm

omfgwtflolpwned!!!!!!

Comment by Matt 01.21.07 @ 5:14 pm

Somehow got into OT … on 2 free throws yet. I’m shocked the refs called that foul.

Comment by geeman2001 01.21.07 @ 5:14 pm

Wow, we may just dodge this loss. Not deserving, but let’s see what happens in OT

Comment by TMGPanther 01.21.07 @ 5:15 pm

Anyone else think Cook is sleepwalking out there?

Comment by JLA 01.21.07 @ 5:17 pm

Our guys should just stand around the basket on D. Any attempt to play any actual D is a foul in this game.

Comment by Jon C 01.21.07 @ 5:24 pm

Oh well. Another OT loss.

Comment by Panthoor 01.21.07 @ 5:32 pm

Pathetic. Gray gets a pass for his FT shooting for his wrist. I can’t wait until Blair develops into the productive PF Pitt so desperately needs.

Comment by JLA 01.21.07 @ 5:35 pm

0-2 in OT games, 0-3 against ranked teams…FANTASTIC! That makes me feel good less than a month and a half away from March.

Comment by Eric R 01.21.07 @ 5:36 pm

As I said before, Marquette is not a better team. We killed ourselves. Ramon is the best player we have and he never dissapoints. Cook should have been more aggressive and Young has clocked out, not sure what’s up with that.

Comment by Panthoor 01.21.07 @ 5:37 pm

Dixon must wake up and start coaching fundamentals for once. Punish this team with 10000 free throws each in practice. A pathetic loss, not because Marquette is awful, but the nature of it. Shaquille O’Neal is a more reliable free throw shooter.

Comment by geeman2001 01.21.07 @ 5:40 pm

Pitt’s head coaching and assistant coaches cannot coach big men. Why not play some zone and keep Gray under basket to block lane and rebound? Obviously in typical Pitt undisciplined practices players are not required to shoot 200 foul shots per day under guidance of a foul shot coach. With Kendall’ horrible play, Dixon gives him ball with 20 secods to go instead of our only great player,Ramon. As long as this staff is at Pitt, Pitt will never advance beyond Sweet 16.

Comment by floyal 01.21.07 @ 5:44 pm

Okay. Pitt shot 28% from 3s (5-18) — well below its season average. They also shot 64% from the FT line — right around their average, like it or not. Which was the difference again?

Marquette also averages around 64% on FTs and instead shoots 77%. A guy like Fitzgerald who shoots 37.5% on 3s hits 4-6 (and Billy Packer hails him suddenly as the second-coming of Steve Novak).

Marquette is a good team and they are on a hot streak. The 3-point shooting more than anything else is the one thing I look at for this game as costing Pitt.

Comment by Chas 01.21.07 @ 5:57 pm

we played like ass and it went to OT and we let a last second foul beat us……im interested in seeing what happens when we play well against a tough team…….

ramon is incredible…he needs to start working to get his own shots…he did it a couple times today…..he’s shooting lights out right now……

our FT shooting is horrific…..embarrassing…..

Comment by schoe 01.21.07 @ 6:10 pm

These are the games that shows this teams metal…they came back, overcame adversity, and then forgot to play defense…the bottom line is this is what this team is…very good team, without a superstar to carry them…great they have 9 average starters, none of whom they can rely on day in and day…(maybe Ramon as exception in regards to shooting)…I love Pitt…but this loss was inexcusable…Pitt should never have lost to an unranked or #24 ranked team at home…never…especially this year.

Without some marque players, which we once again have not recruited…(aka 2008 class) we will be year in and year out a good basketball program…top 15-20…but never an elite (top 5) team that actually has a very good chance of winning the national championship.

As I stated early in the year, Pitt will beat the snot out of teams who are average or below average, but they can’t beat teams that are good or have a superstar….and once again Marquete and James have proven me correct…unfortunately.

So let’s lick our wounds move forward, and take a risk and hold out for a top 25 player instead of giving away scholarships to these top 100 – 150 players….that’s my opinion…

Comment by Marco 01.21.07 @ 6:12 pm

Chas,
Pitt’s inability to make FTs in this game had a direct effect on the outcome. At this level you have to make them, especially if you want to be considered an elite team. We missed 13 free throws in an overtime loss decided by three points. Marquette made 15 in a row to close out the game. It doesn’t get any simpler than that.
You can’t always count on three-point shooting. Particularly against a team like Marquette, which has very athletic perimeter players.

Comment by Dave in Orlando 01.21.07 @ 6:13 pm

I’m not arguing Pitt’s FT shooting didn’t cost them. I’m saying that a bad 3-point shooting game was a bigger deal. Forget, if possible, what the misses meant in terms of points. Not making 3s for Pitt also means more collapsing inside — taking away the big advantage Gray provides on offense. At first when Gray sat so long at the end of regulation I thought he was hurting badly, but it seemed as much to do with getting more players who could penetrate and shoot (not to mention make FT shots since Pitt was in the bonus early).

Pitt’s FT shooting is not a new thing. They shot around their average — so I just can’t say that’s the true fault when Pitt should never — ever — count on FT shooting to win games.

A couple years ago, who bought Dixon’s defense of the poor FT shooting as “making them when they count” defense of players?

Look back on the Pitt Q&A with Fittipaldo and the questions regarding FTs. It’s not like they are ignored. Pitt is just not and hasn’t been a team that has particularly good FT shooters. The last time I remember a good FT shooting Pitt team was the Paul Evans era of the late 80s. How’d that work out?

Marquette got much better FT shooting — especially down the stretch — that only shows the mettle of a team until they don’t do it. The fact is, Marquette couldn’t count on that either. They got it tonight, but if it went the other way, then it would have been a Pitt win that scrapped it out when the shots weren’t falling.

Comment by Chas 01.21.07 @ 6:29 pm

You make very valid points Chas. However, you simply can’t “forget” those points. They’re are easy points that we left out on the floor. Points that prevent the game from going to overtime and secure a win in regulation.
Those are the little things that get you over the hump. Today was a perfect example of poor decision making and a lack of fundamentals costing us a win. I will not be surprised if I see it again in March.
That said, I’m hoping that we get things back on track against Cincy and St. Johns. Two teams we must beat before heading into battles with Villanova and WVU. Go Pitt!

Comment by Dave in Orlando 01.21.07 @ 7:01 pm

Second game in a row they came out overconfident.

Ball protection was atrocious.

Did I say they think too highly of themselves.

For all that Kendall is supposed to be, how can he even comtemplate, let alone do, driving to the hoop and dishing to Gray, with his team having possesion, up a point, and your freakin team can run out the clock and force Marquette to foul so you can go to the line to ice it or at the least put the pressure on the other team????. What the he** was he thinking!!!!

Just pass the ball back out to the guards and let them run the clock down. There was no excuse for that, absolutely none whatsoever.

So much for senior leadership.

Comment by Kenny 01.21.07 @ 7:08 pm

The lack of improvement in FT shooting is inexcusable. FT shooting is a HUGE part of the game. If you can’t shoot better than 70% from the line, you will not make it past the sweet 16 ever, at least not with the type of players Pitt gets. To say Pitt shouldn’t count on FTs to win is basically saying Pitt will never win, at least not the big games.

And there is no longer any excuse to give Kendall the minutes he gets. He makes some good defensive contributions but he is a complete liability on offense. I’d much rather give up the size and finally give Young and Benjamin some real minutes and see if some extended playing time might help them become the impact players we desperately need – the players who are the difference between an L and W against top-tier teams.

And we can no longer hide behind “They’re 17-3 and in first place in the Big East.” The fact is they have lost to the three ranked teams they have played and at the rate they are going, they will make the Sweet 16 – maybe – and then lose.

I enjoy having a team I can root for that I can expect to have good seasons, make the tournament, and play some entertaining basketball on occasion. But there comes a time — and the opportunities — when a team needs to move beyond that. And, honestly, I don’t think Dixon is the coach that can make that happen. I hope I’m wrong, but these losses are too frustrating and give me no confidence that I am.

Comment by Carmen 01.21.07 @ 7:13 pm

That play from Kendall happened with 6 seconds left on the shot clock, Kenny. Someone had to do something. Granted, it should not have been Kendall but he had the ball.

How much did Gray’s wrist hurt the FT shooting? I’m thinking maybe more the fact that Marquette’s guys were making him run. And I agree with Billy Packer – why did Gray hedge so much today? It really meant nothing, and hurt more because it gave up penetration. He should have stayed anchored in the paint.

Comment by Kevin 01.21.07 @ 7:14 pm

My bad! I was kind of hot there at the end of the game. I have TMJ and was grinding my teeth!!!

Comment by Kenny 01.21.07 @ 7:40 pm

What did Dixon say to Ref.to get techincal foul?

Comment by Buzz 01.21.07 @ 7:43 pm

Went to game and was amazed by 1.Gray starts off game like a house of fire.8pts first couple of minutes.Then misses 4 easy ones again, and then they stop going to him.It wasnt Marq.double teaming him either.He misses bunnys with the best of them.Then cant make a foul shot either.He is very unathelic and soft.Marq.was making him run up and down the court and Gray was tired, Dixon had to get him rest. Then we went with small lineup.Ramon,Feilds,Graves,kendall and Benjamin. Young not getting any minutes either. As soon as he touches ball, he stumbles,young is very one dimensional. He doesnt dribble with the ball,cant pass worth a damn,doesnt take his man to the hoop, and cant get an open shot.His only play is the run and dunk from one side or the other. And as you can see,that is not working but once a game.We need Biggs to come up Big,W/O another bigman we will be in trouble come MarchMadness or BigEastTourneytime.

Comment by Buzz 01.21.07 @ 7:55 pm

wow, another PITT loss in front of a home crowd on tv – these guys been watching too much football or something????

Comment by paulhackett 01.21.07 @ 8:07 pm

Did Tony Dungy have any association with Pitt? He looks like he’s about to puke on national TV after his team gagged it up for a half. The Colts may be the only team that chokes more than Pitt sports programs do in high-profile games. That said, kudos to Marquette players for hitting their FTs in a supposedly hostile environment that didn’t sound so hostile most of time today..

Comment by geeman2001 01.21.07 @ 8:19 pm

Tough loss. Hope we get all of the bad luck out of our system. One of these games the ball is going to bounce our way. Most of the luck was on Marquette’s side today (the banked three by James).

Nice comeback, but we really didn’t play well until the last five minutes. Very, very disappointed with Fields play this afternoon. Cook played awful as well. An area where we seriously miss Krauser is awareness. We were in the bonus with over 13 minutes in the second half and nobody recognized it and drove to the hole. We should have shot a lot more free throws. Secondly Matthews picked up his fourth foul midway through the second half and nobody took it too him. Stupid! On a positive note I thought our defense was very good today. We held James to something like 3-4 points in the second half

I don’t think this loss is at all indicative of Pitt not being capable of beating a ranked team. We didn’t play very well and were one foul call away from winning the game. Not a horrible situation. We are still 5-1 in the conference and get to play Marquette again. I’m not worried about this team at all. We are very good.

Comment by Omar 01.21.07 @ 9:18 pm

I also went to the game – my first at the Pete, actually (lame, I know, but I’ve only been back in da’ Burgh for 15 months or so).

Despite my earlier rant (which was made before I had my first sip of a Brooklyn East India Pale Ale, 6.8% ABV), there were some very good things from this game. Ramon is really beginning to emerge and look more for his shot, even trying to create his own shot. Graves played a solid game on both sides of the ball and he and Ramon made James a nonfactor for much of the game after that fucked-up banked 3. And that gritty comeback from 9 down late in the game really showed me something.

I think this is a fairly talented bunch of players – not the most talented, but pretty good players with some real big-game experience. If they can just pull it altogether and do it with some consistency, they will make a real run in the tourney. But we all know about Ifs and Buts…

Comment by Carmen 01.21.07 @ 9:51 pm

More Marquette luck, Wesley Matthews is a 64% free throw shooter. Today he goes 10-11 from the line.

Comment by Omar 01.21.07 @ 9:57 pm

I don’t want to make Cook the goat, because he was not, it was a team full of goats today (except Ramon who was excellent on O and D), but I agree with JLA. I have been saying to a buddy of mine that Cook plays with no sense of urgency, not just today, but every game. Someone needs to piss him off to get his motor going. Some other general observations: Gray can not shoot layups and he never will be able to. He is far more effective 3 to 8 ft from the basket. Cook should not shoot 3’s, he is far more effective when he shoots mid range jumpers. I’m OK with Ramon being the 6th man if we play a team with tall guards (I think he should get the start in games where he matches up well defensively), but he should get more shots…and they should be set plays for him. Kendall should not shoot from any more than six feet from the basket. In crunch time, we have to have plays to get the ball into the hands of players that can shoot FT’s (Ramon and Cook seem to do well in crunch time, not Gray, Kendall or Graves, etc.) This team seems to be in a funk, hopefully this loss will pull them out of it.

Comment by HbgFrank 01.21.07 @ 10:55 pm

My wife and I went to all the Big East tourney games last year and she summed up Gray with two words (weak and lazy). Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad he’s on the team and he’s really improved. But in the end he just isn’t that athletically talented.

As for the game, relax. These are college kids. They are going to have ups and downs. Marquette is a quality team. Pitt didn’t play well and Marquette probably played their best game of the season. Did you expect Pitt to go undefeated??? I say they finish the Big East season with at least 3 losses. But that’s expected.

Cook is a liability on defense and for every nice pass he makes on O, he either turns the ball over or takes a bad shot.

To me, the big difference in this game was how poorly Fields played.

Comment by Matt T. 01.22.07 @ 12:57 am

I haven’t read this blog since the Rutgers football game I think. But I’m back baby, and I still love you. That’s right.

Marquette is one of those Big East teams that seems to have little fear of Pitt. UConn used to be that way, but now they fear us, because I think Calhoun talks us up. Georgetown and St Johns sometimes act unafraid as well. It seems like some teams see themselves as better “ballers” than Pitt’s guys. There were always guys who didn’t think Krauser was as good as they said, but they kept it quiet so as not to make him mad. But now it might get worse because Levance and Ronald are shyer than CK, so it could ferment during the games.

What do yinz think?

Comment by Bill 01.22.07 @ 1:54 am

That was a tough loss, but after reading the tenor of most of these posts, I have to ask…

What did PITT fans think this team would do prior to the season starting? We are 17-3 with the three losses coming against very good teams and two of those went into overtime. Did we really expect this team to be that much better? I can only surmise that any basis for those types of expectations would be centered on Gray returning for his senior year, and since we hadn’t shown that we were national championship caliber in the last few years with Gray – what made this year so much different?

This is a serious question as I just began to really follow the team after this year’s play started – but I think they are doing very well so far, and am kind of amazed at the negative tone of these posts after a close loss like this game.

Comment by Reed 01.22.07 @ 5:19 am

reed – i agree…..people need to calm the f down, and realize that you can play bad games in january…….take the positives from the loss – ramon, graves, the comeback, along with the fact that they hit EVERY ft – and move on….its not like we lost to a scrubby team……….

but, at some pt, we have to prove we can beat a top25 team………

Comment by Schoe 01.22.07 @ 8:16 am

Frankly I think they were lucky to even get to OT. They still have a game lead in the BE and are in good shape for a decent seed in the tournament. They can afford to lose a game or two so long as they don’t totally fall apart, all that matters is that they peak at the right time. If they get hot in the tournament they can go a long way, if they play like last night the’ll be lucky to get past the sweet16.

Comment by B.B. 01.22.07 @ 8:36 am

Reed,

Gray only started as a junior. He didn’t play much his sophmore year. Fans probably thought he was going to improve by leaps and bounds again this year, but that is not realistic. He won’t get any better until he gets his body in better shape and that will be in the NBA.

I thought Pitt had a chance to get to the Final 4 last year. Honestly we were a very good team and ran into a hot team in Bradley in Round 2. I think we would have been better off playing Kansas rather than Bradley. I think we can get to the Final 4 this year as well. Pitt fans are a negative bunch, for a reason I believe. I think the negativity is missed place with this team.

Comment by Omar 01.22.07 @ 9:48 am

Jamie Dixon is not as goog acoach as 20 of his peers. His strategies are often poor, adjustment capability is as weak as football staff, and he cannot inspire players who lack desire to be best.

Comment by floyal 01.22.07 @ 10:20 am

This just got me thinking that – as a whole – Pittsburgh fans, Pirates, Steelers, Penguins, and U of P are pretty savvy & tough fans to begin with. I guess it’s always been that way, and always will be. With that comes a quick trigger finger with the negativity.

Comment by Reed 01.22.07 @ 11:29 am

Reed, I think that the source of the negativity that you see in posts is frustration. That frustration is rooted in the fact that Pitt is not just a “good” team, they are a great team (not elite). It is very disappointing to see them lose games based on poor fundamentals, such as having more turnovers than assists (the last time they put the stat up, this was the case), or shooting horrible from the FT line, or having your coach get a T when the call went your way on the current play. These are games that Pitt has to win, particularly at home. Lose a few more games like this at home and it will hurt our tournament seed. Also, it adds to what I believe is a belief among some national writers that Pitt is just not that good. The AP story on this game contains the following statement “Pitt is 0-3 against ranked teams”. There is no clarification as to how the losses occurred. If I thought that Pitt was an average team, and they lost a game like this, then I would say “at least we made it close”…”way to come from behind”…”get em next time”! We are not average, we are a great team, so I say “knock it off”…”focus”…”concentrate a the FT line”…and “don’t lose again this season at home” because there is no team on the schedule that should beat you at home.

Comment by Frank 01.22.07 @ 1:12 pm

Thanks…

Comment by Reed 01.22.07 @ 1:41 pm

Frank you are right. That was a very frustrating loss. Even more frustrating than the loss was the poor play from everyone not named Ramon or Graves.

The coaches are really going to have to do something about Gray on the defensive end. I feel bad for the kid. Every team is just dragging him out to the three point line or running the pick and roll. I think we should not hedge and make our guards fight through the pick or trap the guard on the pick. Nobody has a dominant big man so I am not worried about leaving the cutter on the pick, furthermore we can rotate to cover the cutter if need be. Gray obviously is not quick enough to recover so we have to counter somehow.

Comment by Omar 01.22.07 @ 4:17 pm

Omar- I think hedge and under is what we were all looking for Dixon to go to. I tell you what- PITT sure stays with its system- even if it creates unbelievable penetration or mismatches when guys like Cook and Fields can’t matchup with quick guys..

Comment by slikk 01.22.07 @ 10:48 pm

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