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February 6, 2007

By the end of Wednesday, WVU might pass Pitt in the recruiting rankings. Not for anyone Pitt lost. It would appear that Noel Devine has verballed to the Mountaineers. There are issues of qualifications academically (and let’s keep in mind the concerns with LeSean McCoy before getting too snide on that aspect).

If he does sign and get qualified, that backfield could be a terror to defense — even worse than before.

Which, generally, is the best thing to do. Just keep driving and don’t stop.

Well, despite the Oakland Zoo sending a contingent to Morgantown, Pitt returned some unused tickets (couldn’t make some more available to the Zoo?). In case you were unaware, WVU is 11-0 at home this season, but faces it’s toughest back-to-back home games (ever?).

But the Mountaineers’ spotless streak appears to be in jeopardy with old rival Pitt invading the Coliseum at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The No. 7-ranked Panthers (20-3, 8-1) hold first place in the conference standings. They’re 13-1 at home and 6-1 on the road this season.

And then the Mountaineers (18-4, 7-3) remain at home to host No. 5-ranked UCLA at 1 p.m. Saturday in a nationally televised tiff. Coach John Beilein thinks that this probably is one of the toughest back-to-back set of games in WVU’s hoops history.

Coach Beilein also has a birthday this week. Along with the low expectations for WVU, he got to avoid Syracuse and Louisville this year.

You can expect the popular theme for the game broadcast will be the youth of WVU versus the experience of Pitt.

Ron Cook continues his lauding of Pitt with a, slightly, confusing puff piece to Levance Fields. Comparisons to journeyman infielder Tim Foli and Peyton Manning in the same column to just further addle. I don’t know, it just feels weird to keep reading these positive Pitt stories. Where’s Smizik with some backhanded smacks  to restore the equilibrium?

Closing On Signing Day

Filed under: Football,Recruiting — Chas @ 11:59 am

I get a perverse kick out of watching regular media cover recruiting. Especially in the area of rumors. Recruiting is such a big, high traffic thing that paying attention to it has been almost forced on them at times. People go nuts for the news and it will generate plenty of attention.

So, apparently there have been rumors that have been getting a lot of buzz on the message boards that maybe LeSean McCoy might be lured to Penn State at the last minute (gee, I guess his academic qualification is no longer an issue). This, despite attempts to dispel that rumor by McCoy’s prep school coach a few days ago.

Still, the rumor won’t fade. Forcing another story on the matter.

“He’s going to Pitt,” Daphne McCoy said by telephone from her Harrisburg home. “There’s not going to be any surprises. We’re all looking forward to him going to Pitt. My husband (Ron) is very, very excited. That’s all he talks about. A lot of people in this area aren’t very happy, but we feel this was a good move for him.”

But Daphne McCoy said her son never considered changing his mind, despite late overtures from Penn State, among others. In fact, he unofficially visited Pitt this past weekend, staying with former Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt teammate Aaron Berry, a freshman cornerback.

“LeSean changed his mind before, but everything here seems right,” Daphne McCoy said. “He said he feels so comfortable with the players, that they welcome him and are excited about him coming.”

If we can counter a rumor with another rumor. This can be lots of fun, huh? McCoy’s father, Ron is a big Pitt fan and really hoped LeSean would choose Pitt before. It’s not worth worrying about at this point.

In more from the article.

Pitt is trying to complete its recruiting class by landing Jabaal Sheard, a 6-4, 240-pound defensive end from Hollywood Hills (Fla.) High School who will choose from Pitt, Rutgers, Arizona State and Florida International.

Both Scout.com and Rivals.com have him as a 3-star prospect. Scout ranks him as the 65th best DE. Rivals.com puts him at #60 in the state of Florida and #23 at the weakside DE position. Scouts, Inc./ESPN (Insider subs.) puts him as the #82 best DE in the country.
Regarding Wayne Jones, the project DT out of Johnstown, PA. Rivals.com has him accepting Pitt’s offer to grayshirt.

Down To Morgantown

Filed under: Basketball,Big East,Conference,Opponent(s) — Dennis @ 11:38 am

No need to worry about Mike Gansey. No worries about Joe Herber. None about J.D. Collins either. No need to worry about Pittsnoggle; he calls the Pete his new home.

Above: Pittsnoggle in all of his West Virginian (and now Pittburgh Xplosion [current record of 2-26. Woo!]) glory. Photo courtesy of myself.

And yet, after graduating all of their key players last year as well as their twin sisters/girlfriends, the Mountaineers can still beat us. The fashion they’ll try to do it with will be the same too.

West Virginia coach John Beilein still has his team shooting 3-pointers at a breakneck pace, and his new-look Mountaineers are one of the surprise teams in the Big East through the first half of the season.

“It’s funny,” Pitt junior Keith Benjamin said. “You see the exact same plays, but it’s not Pittsnogle out there making 3s. He used to kill us. Now, it’s someone else. They have more athletes, better jumpers and the same number of shooters.”

Their offense has kept pace when everyone believed it would drop off, but Pitt’s defense is very good as always. When push comes to shove, which team will get knocked off their normal scheme.

The defense is better than last year while using the same odd zone as always.

They are yielding five fewer points per contest and are among the top scoring defenses in the Big East (58.2 points per game).

Dixon is going to be a nice guy to everyone, even our Morgantown “buddies”.

“They’re new kind of like Aaron [Gray] and Levon [Kendall],” Dixon said. “They were in the system and they were good players. They were just waiting their turn. I think that’s the case with these guys. They’re comfortable with the system and are putting up the numbers. It’s a similar situation. It’s not surprising that they’re doing a good job.”

I’m not ready to say anyone on the Mountaineers can be compared to Gray, or at least yet. They could make some sort of run in the Big East or NCAA tournament and that would be enough to open my eyes a little more towards them. Of course, beating us tomorrow would also make me look a little deeper at who they have down there.

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