February 25, 2007

How many of you thought we were going to win yesterday’s game before tipoff? (Not me; my prediction was G’town 78 Pitt 68 but obviously the defenses made my score look bad points-wise.) So let’s not get too upset that we lost the game. Instead, we should be a little more concerned about what this all means going forward.

We’ve had our share of problems in the last 5 games or so. What we need ASAP is a game where we play very solidly for all 40 minutes. We’re going to be playing teams that need to win as much as we do though so we’re not going to be walking down easy street.

We also need to be strong up in New York City. It’s not imperative that we win the Big East Tournament — we’ve done that before and it doesn’t automatically put us past the Sweet Sixteen — but it’s not something the Panthers can just blow off. We can’t play like clowns for the rest of the regular season and in NYC and then expect to flip a switch going into the NCAA Tournament. As commenter Stuart said, “We can’t play bad down the stretch and then ‘turn it on’ in the tournament.”

But once again, don’t get too worked up. This wasn’t a game we could have expected to win anyways. We’re still a Top 25 team and looking at past years, we can see that right now any Top 25 team has a legit shot at the Final Four.

Other things from yesterday:

As much as I hate to complain about refs, yesterday’s game caused me to scream at the TV more than I usually do. It seems like every foul called on Levance Fields was complete crap. To sum up yesterday’s calls, look at this picture (courtesy of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).

Levon Kendall being held by Roy Hibbert. I don’t know if this was a shot by Kendall (the PG caption says it was a drive to the basket) but if it was, it wasn’t called — Kendall shot 0 foul shots.

Round of applause to Aaron Gray. He showed some big time guts yesterday buy playing the kind of minutes he did. Forget it that he was slower than ever, he’s committed to the team and wants to leave Pitt knowing he did whatever he could.

Lastly, a little update on a few teams we saw back in December. Auburn upset 25th ranked Alabama yesterday while Florida State has a very good chance of making the field with an at-large bid. Does that brighten up your day at all? Probably not.

i think there was a foul called on that play…it was after a rebound by Kendall. but i thought the game was refed like an NCAA game. or rather i should say, unlike a typical BE game.

never-the-less, it doesnt mean the calls overshadowed recurring deficiencies as of late: poor guard play, poor foul shooting, and a lack of concentration when it comes to valuing a possession.

this team has the ABILITY to make a deep run. what it needs is a little contageous confidence. and those that should be supplying it…the seniors…need to step up. THAT is the kind of step up player they need right now. its not that a prototypical NBA player is needed as a go-to option, but rather the players we have need to step up and make a difference.

i have faith that they will find it and make a run.

Comment by ECH 02.25.07 @ 2:18 pm

Let’s tell it like it is. Dixon’s strategic preparation, unwillingness to go to zone when appropriate, and end-game coaching are all very poor. He has been greatly outcoached in all 5 defeats and in many wins.

Comment by floyal 02.25.07 @ 5:36 pm

This is what I see: Lots of open shots, lots of open misses, and refusal to turn off the green light, force the ball down low. We’re definitely not passing the ball around like we used to down low with Troutman, etc.

Comment by Stuart 02.25.07 @ 6:11 pm

And i thought we were going to win when we were up by 8…until the team celebrated the win…win 12 minutes left… then proceeded to get tripled up.

Comment by Stuart 02.25.07 @ 6:11 pm

Observations from courtside….GT/Pitt
* Pitt lost to a better team
* Dixon put in 2 new inbounds plays, 3 set plays (a doublescreen which Ramon hit a nice 3 on)and a new O set against the “man D”. Teams have scouted us to death and we need some new ammuntion…glad to see it.
* Speaking of scouting, it was obvious they had
Field’s moves down to a T, including his “dribbling exhibitions” (ala Krauser)where he puts his shoulder down and either goes toward or directly away from the basket. Refs will call the charge every time! Cost us 4 turnovers as they trapped him unmercifully!
* Fields was a “head case in the second half” dropping F bombs galore. Dixon had to pull him just to try to settle him down.
* Pitt got absolutely mugged! Ref’s no -calls were criminal…still, you have to keep your poise.
* GT guards traveled at least 6 X with no-calls.
You cannot carry the ball on your spin dribble!
* After coaching HS and AAu for 16 yrs., my heart
went out to Dixon. He had to make some very
unwanted substitutions just to try to control some
aspect of a game the officials just let go.
He did NOT just sit there. Tried all he had
in the last 10 minutes to turn the game around.
* Ramon at the point for almost 13 minutes (and Fields amazingly at the 2 for 4minutes) helped cost us the game. You can never make up for turnovers at the top of the key by your 1 or 2.
* Agree with Stuart….this is a team in trouble.
Tired of the Cook rants on or near the bench
and saw a lot of dissent on players faces with
the subs. This team has turned on Dixon.
* That said…I agree they were never more than a
top 15 team. Athletic backcourts will eat them
* One thing I cannot get over…foul shooting form by Pitt. I cannot believe our coaches cannot
take Gray, Kendell, Cook, et al aside and say,
this is the way you are going to shoot fouls…period. It is a miracle when they go in.
Form and balance are everything when legs are tired.
* Has anyone else noticed that Pitt stands around when Gray is in the game on O. They seem much more lively when Kendall is in at center.
* WVU win on senior night is a must. Anyone remember last year’s senior night…Seton Hall loss I think.

Great blog and thoughts…

Comment by Dan 72 02.25.07 @ 8:47 pm

Pros of Big East reffing: The games go fast. You can watch a whole game over some wings with your buddies at B-Dubs and still be home in time for (ummm whatever comes on at about 9:30)…

Cons: Pitt has no idea what it’s like to play in a game where they actually call fouls. Thus, they are confused come tourney time.

Comment by Jimbo Covert's my dad 02.26.07 @ 3:25 am

I was at the game, there was a nice Pitt contingent throughout the upper level. Pitts horrible shooting continues. Thats the biggest reason for our losses. Im not a stats guy but I would be willing to bet that if you look at our shooting over the last 2 weeks its been much worse than earlier in the year. Nobody is consistently scoring. Also, it seems like Pitt can never put teams away. They make a lot of bad plays late, turn the ball over, miss free throws, and generally dont look comfortable when the game is on the line. As usual in Pitt games, the refs were not on our side. I think we beat wvu and lose to Marquette to end the year.

Comment by Rex 02.26.07 @ 7:00 am

After a few days to recover, I think that Gray’s injury was most obvious on defense. He was a liability, and I could have dribbled around him, but needed to be in the game thanks to the fouls on Kendall. The color commentator actually called out Sam Young for a blown defensive play that led to Kendall fouling Green.

If Gray can regain ANY mobility on defense we should do allright against WVU.

Comment by Kevin 02.26.07 @ 7:31 am

One question about kendall, does his defense ever involve doing anything other than standing there with his arms raised in the air as the opponent scores and then usually goes to the foul line for a three point play?

Comment by Rex 02.26.07 @ 9:02 am

I actually like Kendall’s defense. He’s long and moves well and is a sneaky shot-blocker. That rejection he had in the 1st half againt G-town where he threw it hard off the board was awesome. His weakness on D is his tendency to get “happy hands” and reach in — and he always gets called for it. Standing there with your arms raised, as you put it, is often what constitutes good defense. Bailing the offensive player out by reaching is Kendall’s problem. If he could resist that urge, and just play with his feet and keep his arms up around the hoop, that would help pitt’s internal D.

Comment by tiger paul 02.26.07 @ 10:42 am

I think Pitt and Georgetown are even. Pitt is probably a better team with a healthy Gray. Fields foul trouble cost us the game, in my opinion. Ramon and Graves also missed a ton of wide open threes. Ramon had a wide open look with us up 47-45 and missed it. That shot may have sealed it for Pitt.

Comment by Omar 02.26.07 @ 11:59 am

disappointed in the shooting lately, but certainly not the effort–22 offensive rebounds against a bigger team is a true indicator of how hard we played.Make a few more shots, and we win.
Look at games over the weekend-NC blows a 12 pt lead against an unranked opponent with 7 minutes left,Fla shoots 2 for 17 from 3pt range, and gets blown out by a team without their best player, Wisconsin gets hammered on the road by MSU–I guess Pitt is not the only team that is not hitting on all cylinders right now.Losing to a top ten team on the road in a game that went right down to the wire, when we had our best player at 50%–honestly can’t feel that bad about that.

Comment by tph60 02.26.07 @ 2:10 pm

I think if Pitt had been playing better the past few weeks then fans and critics wouldn’t have much to say. The fact is Pitt has played mediocre basketball for two plus weeks now. They have time to recover, but it has to start with tomorrow’s game. No more excuses, Pitt has to play with a sense of urgency. We need to get on track before the post season. Pitt needs to put together two solid halves tomorrow and on Saturday.

Comment by Omar 02.26.07 @ 4:21 pm

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