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February 28, 2007

I don’t know if you’ve watched the SportsCenter Highlights or the same thing on College Gamenight. It’s kind of funny to see the analysis of the game essentially be that Pitt did a better job of defending the 3 in the second half than in the first; and that was the difference defensively.

To support the claim, they showed Ramon and Benjamin late getting out on a shooter in a couple made 3s in the first half. Then they showed Pitt getting a hand in the face of shooters in the second half. Now, try and forget that cherry-picking some plays as illustration does not prove anything. It’s the boxscore that points out the silliness. WVU shot 4-12 on 3s in the first half and 7-21 in the second half. The exact same shooting percentage from outside.

That wasn’t the area they played significantly better defense. They played a little better on defending outside, but the big shift was denying the lanes to try and go in off the dribble and not allowing cuts to get easier baskets. Yes, as a general rule, the Mountaineers live and die on 3s, but they weren’t particularly far from their normal shooting on 3s. What killed them, was that Pitt stopped letting them find space for other shots (only 2-10 from the rest of the floor in the second half versus 9-12 in the first). That’s where they win a lot more games, by shooting at least 50% from spots inside the arc. They are going to have more games shooting in the 30-40% range from outside then they are shooting better than that.

I’m very glad we swept the Hoopies this year. Not just because it’s always a good thing and we can also enjoy the idea that Pitt probably knocked their hopes of making the NCAA out cold. The other reason is that WVU is going to be very good next year, so get some licks in now. Considering how much they lost from last year’s team — Herber, Gansey, Pittsnogle — that they are this good already is kind of scary.

I have noticed several comments about getting the ball to Gray more — a constant complaint all season — that he is getting open and they just aren’t passing to him. For this particular game, I’m not so sure that would be the best thing. WVU’s defense is very good at jumping the lanes and getting a hand on the ball where it looks like an easy pass. It’s part of the nature of the 1-3-1.

Generally, this is the area of the game where Carl Krauser is really missed. Say what you want about his game and everything else (and I know everyone has), but Krauser was one of the best inside passers. It was his biggest strength that he could get the ball inside with such ease and consistency. He did it with Troutman and Taft. Then he did last year with Gray. All players that don’t exactly move a lot once they get/got into the post area, so it’s not like they could lose their man. Part of that was because Krauser was always a threat to drive the lane and penetrate. It created space for him to pass.

Fields is getting better, but he is nowhere near as good as Krauser was with that part of the game. Considering Pitt can’t afford to give away too many possessions, it’s arguably good that he doesn’t force that too many times a game.

Mike Cook is a talker and a woofer. I know it bothers a lot of people but I think it gets made into something that it isn’t. It’s part of how he gets himself going, and motivated. He gets a little hyper and emotional. I also think Dixon, the coaches and even the other players know that, and generally let it go. Pitt has been on TV all season. They have had national coverage and media attention. It’s been a non-story. Now, maybe everyone is missing this story — and if it was just the local media I might be more inclined to agree. I’m just more of the opinion he’s kind of like Brett Hull was. Always talking, and his teammates and coaches just ignore it. The only way I can put it is this, until he’s sitting on the floor with his shoes off or undone that’s not going to be a big issue for me





For those who want to see the game, espn has posted the entire game without commercials:

link to sports.espn.go.com

Comment by Chris 02.28.07 @ 10:06 am

Stuart, Want to take this post back after Florida’s 3rd loss last night

Florida has done something in the past and has shown they are able to put together a run. Remind me when Pitt has done that in the history of its program – this team was supposed to be “different.”

And Florida will win its conference. We can’t even do that.

My point remains, even final 4 caliber teams go thru slumps and shoot poorly. Evidently Florida is no different, even though they can still end up as a #1 seed.

Comment by TMGPanther 02.28.07 @ 10:29 am

I think it’s funny that he is talking about how good of a passer Krauser was.

Comment by Chris 02.28.07 @ 10:47 am

Is that a Donatas Zavackas reference?

Comment by B.B. 02.28.07 @ 11:20 am

Perhaps it is the die-hard Panther fan in me that refuses to give ANY credit to the Hooples…but I fail to see how they are going to be much improved next year. Sure, guys like Alexander and Butler are going to be pretty good (and will get better)…but their ‘match-up difficulty guy'(the center that hits the 3s)…Smalligan…was 3-4 from downtown and they still got beat by 14 points. If anything, they will have less of a post presence next year that they do this year (and they very little this year). Running the system that they do, I can’t see how they will ever be more than what they currently are…if the 3s are falling at a 45% clip, you will have a game on your hands…if not, put a fork in them. The athletic (and well-coached) Big East teams have seen the 1-3-1 and the back door cuts (Cripes…even Cincinnati did a good job of putting a stop to it) and have adjusted accordingly.

Sure, Morganhole will be a tough place to win with the inbreds yelling racial and sexual taunts…and sure, OOC and tournament (if they get that far) teams, ones that arent’t used to seeing that system, will have some trouble. But, like any fastball/curveball pitcher, the book is getting written and people are figuring out what to look for, and when.

Comment by George 02.28.07 @ 11:31 am

Let’s see about my previous post:

“Florida has done something in the past and has shown they are able to put together a run.”
Still true the last time I checked. As I recall they lost their last 3 in feb, then rolled. Am i wrong? They have NBA caliber athletes. Wrong?

“Remind me when Pitt has done that in the history of its program – this team was supposed to be ‘different.'”

Hmm…let me check…. Wrong about this?

“And Florida will win its conference. We can’t even do that.”

Is this the part that’s wrong? I guess we MAY be able to scrape out a tie (but not 1 seed in our own tourney) or with some help we MAY win… So, IF this becomes true (don’t bet on it), i’ll “take back” this part. I’m thinking i’m safe though…

You said “My point remains, even final 4 caliber teams go thru slumps and shoot poorly. Evidently Florida is no different, even though they can still end up as a #1 seed.”

I don’t disagree, my point has simply been this:

Pitt does not have the atheletes to “turn it on” when they need to – haven’t in the last 8 years, don’t now. We don’t have several NBA type atheletes. Watching that games last night, did you ever think Florida was out of it until the last couple of minutes? They played amazing for a few minutes, just didn’t get all the way back. I haven’t seen anything like that out of Pitt, even for 5 minutes. We can’t afford to have poor shooting in a tournament game, that only works against weaker teams. I don’t see Gray in the full court press, making steals, slamming it down…

Your remember “If A then B” does not mean “If B then A”? “If Final Four contender Florida has shooting slump”, does not mean “If Pitt has shooting slump, then Final Four Contender.”

Pitt still has a lot to prove – luckily, the forum to do so is upcoming…

And Florida could turn out to be a dog this year, like Uconn last…but i’d still put money on Florida going further than Pitt.

BTW, being sensible does NOT mean that i am not a Pitt Fan. Contrary to some peoples belief, realism and logic can still be applied even while being a Pitt fan. Although it hurts the chance for fanaticism/lunacy. And sometimes breeds contempt.

Comment by Stuart 02.28.07 @ 12:16 pm

Taking a discreet math class are we? While I love the logic reference, I don’t think TMG was advocating your B implies A example above, but rather a counterexample to disprove a slump => not deep tourney run statement.

I’m just being a dork, but as long as I’m amused, I guess I don’t care : )

Comment by B.B. 02.28.07 @ 12:45 pm

I took discrete mathmatics long after that intro to logic i thought almost everyone had to take.

My original argument was never “slump prevents tourney run,” it was “not nba caliber atheletes and/or not able to ‘turn it on’, in a slump, prevents tourney run.” I think one of my first points was a slump doesn’t matter to a Florida like team. Therefore i inferred the only thing he could be saying that wasn’t in agreement with me was “If Pitt has shooting slump, then Final Four Contender.”

This is way too retarded for a college sports blog. I’d like to stick with “prove me wrong pitt, show me something new, so i don’t scream at my TV anymore, have to complain about f*cking pitt blowing it, AGAIN.” I’d love to be wrong. Please, let me be wrong. I want to come on here in a month and say “i didn’t have to cancel my hotel reservations for the final four,” but recently, i’ve been very concerned.

Comment by Stuart 02.28.07 @ 1:54 pm

“I think it’s funny that he is talking about how good of a passer Krauser was.”

haha, yeah I’ll take Fields thank you. I don’t know, but I just have a thing for point gaurds who have more assists than turnovers and can run an offense and shoot.

Driving wildly to the hoop and then having to dump the ball off before you get your shot blocked is not the same as being a good interior passer.

That’s amazing this team could lose one of the best players in the Big East without adding anyone and be better. Hmm…I wonder why don’t you see that happen when other “great” players or even “good” players leave their program.

Comment by J-Maile 02.28.07 @ 3:16 pm

HA! great post J-Maile. completely agree.

Comment by matt 02.28.07 @ 6:00 pm

Stuart,

I have trouble following your logic. I thought one of your issues was that Pitt didn’t sustain the effort for 40 minutes yet you give credit to Florida for playing amazing for 5 minutes. I watched the game and saw Fl play horrible for at least 20 of the 40 minutes and solid for 15 minutes. The fact is all college BB teams have ups and downs. i’ not saying Pitt has the horses that Fl or NC have, but our ups and downs are no different than any other teams. I agree one of our deficiencies is that we don’t have the NBA caliber player than can take over a game and this is a concern as we have learned in the past. None the less this is an excellent team and I belive we have what it takes to make it to the final 4. It doesn’t mean we will make it. As we all know a lot of it comes down to getting on a roll, getting the right match-ups in the tourney and a little bit of luck as well.

let’s hope we have all three. By the way Co-champs of the Big East with 5 top 25 teams and possible 6 or 7 tourney teams is an accomplishment that should be applauded, if it happens.

Thanks for the dialogue. I enjoy your posts. let’s Go Pitt.

Comment by TMGPanther 02.28.07 @ 7:37 pm

J-Maile,

We all know that you hate Carl Krauser. You have only stated that every single chance you have had over the last 2 years. Enough already. Please give it a rest.

Carl Krauser is good enough to play professionally in Europe. He was a good player for the program and many Pitt fans enjoyed watching him play.

I am not sure why you enjoy busting on Carl every chance you get but I would like you to take the above statement into consideration before posting the the flaws that you feel he had with his game.

Comment by Tony in Harrisburg 02.28.07 @ 10:16 pm

J-Maile,

I love Fields too, but Chas is right. We don’t have anyone who can even try to penetrate the middle with their dribble. Fields needs to work on that part of his game. I’m not sure what to make of your reference to Krauser having more TO’s than Assists, because Krauser had a very respectable 1.5 TO/A ratio last year (Fields is an excellent 2.5 this year (33 games for Krauser last year, 30 games for Fields this year. You can figure the numbers per minute and they are similar). Actually, the two are very similar in their assists per game, Krauser had more TO’s, in part because of those “wild” drives to the basket. Note: Krauser also had about double the number of FT attempts that Fields will have. Driving to the basket and drawing fouls is a good thing (even if it means getting the occasional charge called on you). Krauser had twice the number of steals that Fields will have this year. Part of that is due to a coaching decision to keep the player in front of you and not gamble on a steal. But Krauser was a good, aggressive defender on the ball and forced a lot of turnovers and picked some pockets. Also, while Krauser did have nearly twice the number of PF last year that Fields will have this year, he fouled out of the same number of games that Fields has fouled out of this year, two. Krauser was easily a better rebounder then Fields, which also contributed to some of his fouls. When you mix it up with the big men, be it a drive or a rebound, you are going to commit some fouls. While Krauser took many more shots, their shooting percentages are similar (Krauser last year: FG – .40, 3P – .37, FT – .73; Fields this year: FG – .44, 3P – .37; FT – .80). Who cares who’s shooting as long as it is going in. As a team, we scored about 72 points a game last year and this year. I also think that Krauser was better at running the fast break. Fields holds the ball too long on the break and often gets trapped under a taller player before he can make a pass. Lastly, Krauser always seemed to hit the big FT’s at the end of games, Fields struggles with this a bit. This is where the rubber meets the road. If both were on the team right now, Krauser would still be starting. Given that Fields is only a Soph, and will get better, I think his upside is better than Krauser’s top game (which was damn good). I’m betting the point guards that will replace Fields will have an even higher upside, because our recruiting continues to get better. Bottom line, for you to continue to try to make the point that Krauser hurt this team does make Tony in Harrisburg’s post above appear accurate. Lastly, this team has “added” Mike Cook, who is right now the second leading scorer on the team behind Gray. I think that he has been an important addition. I guess you don’t?

Comment by HbgFrank 03.01.07 @ 12:20 am

One of my issues with Pitt *is* that they don’t sustain intensity for 40 minutes, and because they don’t have the atheletes to “turn it on” they’ll be in trouble in any game in the tourney they don’t play a solid 40. Whereas, even I think Florida, if they’re playing like crap, does have the atheletes to just turn it on – I’m not saying that the best strategy for them is to sandbag a game, but i worry less about them having some off nights than i do pitt. That may also be due to the fact i don’t really care what Florida does in the tourney, but would kill to see Pitt do well for once. We just need 40 minutes a game, 4 games in a row, of absolute intensity to make the final four. Im just tired of hearing things like “kansas lite” – and having to agree with it.

Tony in H – i think he probably doesn’t like the fact that Krasuer turned the ball over on every other posession. He was a good player in many respects, but would have been much better without the driving sillyness and TOs. Especially at the point.

Comment by Stuart 03.01.07 @ 2:00 am

Tony: I had to sit through Krauser sabatoging our seasons year after year so if you have a difference of opinion, express it but don’t try to tell me I can’t have mine.

It’s funny, you’re right about one thing: I do bust on him every chance I get and have been doing it since he was a freshman. The guy started off incredibly selfish and never progressed as a player. At first, I was one of the only people who noticed it, but by the end, thank god, most everyone seemed to catch on.

Were you at the UConn-Pitt Big East final where he backed the ball out and dribbled the clock down to 8 seconds for the entire 2nd half before driving into the teeth of the defense? What about OK State in the NCAA tourney when he did the same? I almost gave up my tickets I was so sick of watching his remarkably selfish, inefficiant play. We had dominant inside players who when the gaurds delivered them the ball killed but it always just seemed to stay in Krauser’s hands.

If you are going to dominate the ball to that extent, especially on a team with a lot of talent, you better be damn productive with it, and that means making a high percentage of your shots and having a good asst/TO ratio.

I don’t know who you grew up watcing play point gaurd, or who you admire on the b-ball court, but I like gaurds who can run a team without having to dribble the ball into the ground, can make their shots, and don’t turn it over. Again, there’s a reason we’re better this year after losing him. I can’t think of another top team that has ever lost their “best” player who was a PG, didn’t add much, and was better for it.

ALSO HBGFrank:

There are so many false premises in your post I don’t know where to begin. First of all, in ’05 his last year as the full time PG he had 4.2 TOs a game which would put him 10th in the NATION this year. For more info here are the assist leaders in the country.

link to sports.yahoo.com

“Krauser had a very respectable 1.5 TO/A ratio last year (Fields is an excellent 2.5 this year (33 games for Krauser last year, 30 games for Fields this year. You can figure the numbers per minute and they are similar).

1. 1.5/1 asst./TO is NOT RESPECTABLE for a PG.

2. The ratio remains the same no matter how many minutes they play.

3. Krauser used a lot of posessions to get his bad ratio, making it even more damaging.

SIMILARLY:

“While Krauser took many more shots, their shooting percentages are similar (Krauser last year: FG – .40, 3P – .37, FT – .73; Fields this year: FG – .44, 3P – .37; FT – .80). Who cares who’s shooting as long as it is going in.”

Actually this is where you are most wrong, and that’s saying something. First of all, having an edge from 44% to 40% from the field and 73% to 80% from the field is pretty damn significant. They actually wern’t going in.

And when you add in how many more times Krauser was shooting it becomes even more damaging. Because everytime he shot, or turned the ball over, someone better wasn’t shooting or getting to touch the ball. Try to understand it this way: Pitt is shooting 48% on the year as a TEAM. Every shot a player who is shooting 40% takes, and every turnover they make, keeps someone who is much, much, better from shooting. We saw it last year when all of the other shooters on the team were in the high 40s and 50s and we saw it the year before when Krauser took 12 shots a game at 40% while Taft and Troutman took 9 a game at 58%!!!

I remember saying “Yeah, but when Krauser leaves we’ll see if these guys can get those same shots!” Well, he’s gone, thank god, and now we’re seeing that they can and that they’re shooting even better without him. Had we established a low post game and run the ball through our actual best players things may have looked different against Pacific, OK State, and Bradley. OK State being the most painfull as Carl went 6-17 and the beasts of Troutman, Taft and Brown went a COMBINED 12-24… SOMEONE [ie Carl] needed to get these guys the ball or at least needed to quit jacking up bad shots.

And finally: “If both were on the team right now, Krauser would still be starting.”

If we’re talking about him being such a good point gaurd WHY DID DIXON MOVE HIM OFF OF THE POINT HIS SENIOR YEAR?!?!??!

Comment by J-Maile 03.01.07 @ 4:29 am

J-maile,

We got it. You don’t like Krauser. Noted, posted, over & over again. Now please go dead another dead horse.

Comment by Tony In Harrisburg 03.01.07 @ 9:35 am

Sorry,
go beat another dead horse.

sorry it’s early and I have not had my coffee yet.

Comment by Tony In Harrisburg 03.01.07 @ 9:36 am

J-Maile,

I note you don’t address Fields inablility to drive to the basket, or Krausers higher number of FT attempts, steals and rebounds. Also, I note that you don’t address at all that the team is averaging the same number of points per game this year as last, with a team that has added Cook to it’s lineup. One would think that if Krauser was damaging this team as bad as you say, and “better” players are shooting this year, then our average score should be a little higher. Lastly, Gray and Kendall will wind up this year with as many attempts as last year (maybe less), so who is not getting the ball to them? We do agree on this point, I am all for 2 FT shots over 22 FT shots, and running our offense through the big men. I think that the other teams are taking that away from us a lot with their defense and we take what they give us.

Comment by Couches of Morgantown 03.01.07 @ 11:04 am

Actually, I did address Krauser’s FT attempts. He made one more a game than Fields but had to shoot many more and shot a worse percentage to do so. As far as steals, Krauser was more active in terms of gambling (which some would argue hurt the overall team defense) gor more and was a marginally better rebounder but no minor edge in peripheral numbers can offset his terrible 40% FG, turnovers, FT%, when he’s leading the team in shots per game.

Team PPG: Again, a completely flawed premise to just look at how many ppg we’re scoring. You have to look at “pace factor” to see if we’re playing faster or slower overall than last year. What you’ll see is, even playing a much harder schedule that we’re far more efficiant. Meaning we score more points per offensive possesion than we did last year. And again, that’s with playing better teams.

Tony: STFU

Comment by J-Maile 03.01.07 @ 4:02 pm

J-Maile,

So if I am interpreting you correctly, it’s not how many points you score, it’s how efficiently you score them that counts?

Comment by HbgFrank 03.02.07 @ 5:21 pm

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