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March 3, 2007

Well, Pitt is playing to be co-Big East Regular Season Champs with G-town’s beating of UConn. Pitt’s also trying to stay as a #2 seed in the Big East Tournament.

Marquette is playing in front of the home crowd on Senior Night. ESPN GameDay on hand. On a night they are honoring the 1977 team — with most of them on hand — and trying to snap out of a funk. They have lost 4 of 5. They are locked in as the #6 seed.

8:28: A rare pre-game update. Marquette Guard Jerel McNeal is out for this game. Injured thumb.

9:12: Fitzgerald has his 2nd foul inside of 3:30, so naturally a 7′ senior drops a 3 in his place.

9:21: No, ‘effin’ way. I will not be able to handle it if yet another 6’11” – 7′ suddenly finds his 3-point stroke against Pitt after never doing anything before. Kinsella — a senior — hits the second 3 in his entire career. Both in this game.

9:36: Pitt struggling, on offense. Gray is getting doubled, and he’s not handling it well. The guards aren’t getting great looks but forcing shots. Fields has to drive. Marquette is vulnerable to penetration. Cook was able to do it. Fields and Graves have to at least try.

9:45: This is frustrating to watch. Pitt has allowed itself to be pushed to the perimeter on offense, where Marquette can beat Pitt. Whether it’s on offense off the dribble, or on defense and getting Pitt to take jumpers.

9:57: Pitt down 43-30 at the half. Unbelievably bad half by Pitt. A combination of some sloppy defense and Marquette hitting some deep 3s to open things further for them to penetrate and drive. On offense, Pitt keeps settling for jumpers. You can’t stop repeating that. Fields, Ramon and Graves are not getting good looks, and when they do, they are rushing their shots. Sam Young is clearly hobbled right now and can’t drive. That puts it all on Cook to try and penetrate as Graves has totally lost confidence in his shooting — whether jump shots or driving.

The problem, though, is on defense. 43 points. That’s frustrating.

10:32: Even if Pitt wasn’t playing crappy in the first half, seeing Marquette nail back-to-back deep 3s like that just about convinces me that this is Marquette’s night. 57-40, 11:28 left. Oy.

11:16: 75-71 Pitt loses. Damn. Why did this go quiet? Well, Pitt started coming back after I stopped posting. Had to hope.
Let me just get one small little thing out of the way. How did Matthews not get called for that forearm into Benjamin’s chest on the last inbound? That was pathetic.
That said, Pitt dug itself too big of a hole. After Dominic James went out, Pitt got back into it, but it was too far for Pitt to come back. James went out with a 57-42 Marquette lead. Obvious, now, how valuable he is to the Golden Eagles. He played the kind of game that will put him back in the discussion for a 1st round NBA pick with 11 assists.

Simply put, Pitt’s guards didn’t come close to even being adequate. Fields 2-13, Ramon 3-9, Graves 1-8, Benjamin 1-5.

That doesn’t even begin to describe the problem with the guards. They failed to get the ball into Gray or over to Cook or any of the forwards too often. You do have to credit the Marquette guards and defense for denying it, but they didn’t respond to being challenged.

At halftime, Erin Andrews reported that Fields was the one to try and fire up the team. Hate to bust on a kid, but if you do the talking you have to match it with the play.

More later after I go find a cat to kick.





3 stops …3 possessions…3 Pitt turnovers..0 points
Graves and Cook pulling MR plays…don’t we have any offensive other set to run against this defense???

Comment by Dan 72 03.03.07 @ 10:45 pm

I’m generally a positive person, so here’s some good things about today:

Washington defeated UCLA;
Florida State and UMass both won on the road; and
Orlando Antigua is wearing a cool tie.

All of these (except for possibly Antigua’s tie) should help Pitt’s RPI even if they end up losing tonight.

Comment by Sean 03.03.07 @ 10:46 pm

Its a good think Gray gets some rebounds because only the backboard is passing to him.

Comment by Stuart 03.03.07 @ 10:46 pm

good things happen when you penetrate on offense

Comment by matt 03.03.07 @ 10:48 pm

Pitt may end up with a better RPI going into the NCAAs but it is more likely they will end up with a RIP early!

Comment by Kenny 03.03.07 @ 10:49 pm

a pulse…aaron going nuts on the boards

Comment by slikk 03.03.07 @ 10:49 pm

if we hit that 3 it would have been a much much different rest of the game

Comment by matt 03.03.07 @ 10:50 pm

Forget the positive, how was that not a foul when Young went up for the dunk?

Comment by Sean 03.03.07 @ 10:53 pm

I am feelig mostly negative. We will lose to a team playing without its second leading scorer and its leading scorer not playing most of the last 10 minutes of the game.

Comment by Carmen 03.03.07 @ 10:56 pm

What foul? There are no fouls on MU! Tackling is fine!

Comment by Stuart 03.03.07 @ 10:57 pm

down to 4, do they pull it out or give us some hope before ripping out our heart?

Comment by matt 03.03.07 @ 11:01 pm

Well, that 3 was it. Hey, there’s always next year!

Comment by Stuart 03.03.07 @ 11:01 pm

what next year? we’re still playing basketball next week.

Comment by Panthoor 03.03.07 @ 11:04 pm

holy s! Jamie Dixon actaully has the team in a full court press. wow!

What a concept.

Comment by DFrizzle 03.03.07 @ 11:04 pm

So, who do we have coming back next year? Anyone think the freshman can take over the center position? What will we end in the big east conference?

Comment by Stuart 03.03.07 @ 11:04 pm

we didn’t lose this game yet. Not likely we can pull it out, but I’ve seen it happen.

Comment by TMGPanther 03.03.07 @ 11:08 pm

At least the women won tonight.

Comment by Ann 03.03.07 @ 11:08 pm

guys lets not try and get too negative yet. We still have the REAL season ahead of us starting THU. Maybe this game will shake them up and they will be more focused for the rest of the season. I can only pray!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Comment by Tom 03.03.07 @ 11:10 pm

Does this make 0-5 against ranked teams?

Comment by Joe 03.03.07 @ 11:12 pm

I just hope all of this nonsense is making us tougher for the real season

Comment by TMGPanther 03.03.07 @ 11:14 pm

no, we beat georgetown, although they werent ranked at the time. pitt is showing alot of heart, im impressed. but it really pisses me off when this crappy foul shooting team starts shooting like mark price against pitt

Comment by matt 03.03.07 @ 11:14 pm

Im not bailing on this team like most of you i think the come back was vailant. But why does market not miss a free throw against us despite being terrible against everyone else?

Comment by John 03.03.07 @ 11:15 pm

Next year we’ll be deeper inside, Junior College transfer starting(Diggs)…also we will have consistent guards. And give these guys credit for fighting back…it was too much of a deficit to overcome though.

Comment by Panthoor 03.03.07 @ 11:15 pm

Eric R – did you watch until the end? I know, it’s painful.
Sorry for the disrespect earlier…I love this school and this team, so the emotion of watching them gets to me…especially when they are losing.

Let’s get it done in the BETourney and let’s please not lose to a team we never heard of in the NCAA.

Much respect.

Comment by DFrizzle 03.03.07 @ 11:15 pm

“Maybe this game will shake them up and they will be more focused for the rest of the season.”

I can think of 5-7 other games where they should have been shaken/wakened up but it did not.!

Comment by Kenny 03.03.07 @ 11:17 pm

We shot 7/25 from the 3 pt line. it wasn’t all do to the defense by marq

Comment by TMGPanther 03.03.07 @ 11:17 pm

Anyone have an injury report on Kendall?

Comment by slikk 03.03.07 @ 11:17 pm

Like i said, after we lose to MU on thursday or Friday, how are we looking next year?

ONE good HALF in the last 6 or 7 games does not a season make.

IF by chance of god, we make it past the sweet 16, i’ll say this team is better than the 02-03 team, which was BY FAR the best team we’ve had in the last 8 years. MARQUETTES BACKUPS ARE NO DWADES. I’m going to cry now.

Comment by Stuart 03.03.07 @ 11:18 pm

Panthoor…..do you really think inside game with be a strength next year? I know Diggs and Mcghee mean 2 big guys, but I thought that would be our major position problem next year…..at this point i think graves leaving wont hurt even a little and i think blair/young will be as good or better than kendall/young…..just curious for your thoughts cause although im not quitting im kinda already looking to next year as i think we should be hoping for a sweet sixteen this year, not elite eight

Comment by Joe 03.03.07 @ 11:18 pm

Actuallt TMGP it has everything to do with the other teams defense when you shoot that bad. Credit Crean the bean.

Comment by slikk 03.03.07 @ 11:18 pm

I’m just happy we showed some heart at the end. There was a stretch that we turned the ball over a few times in a row that if it went the other way we could have pulled this game out. See you all at the BE tournament – WHERE ALL GAMES COUNT. Forget about this one! NO F’N WAY THESE FAGS BEAT US 3 TIMES

Comment by Tom 03.03.07 @ 11:19 pm

Nice comeback…but what on earth are we doing in a 2-3 zone for 9 of the last 10 minutes of the game with their two best players out?? where is that great man power Pitt has. Differ with Dixon on the strategy but I understand he’s trying to protect Gray.

Agree w. DFrizzle…where was the press??

We’ll get Marquette again in the opener…we better try something different.

Comment by Dan 72 03.03.07 @ 11:21 pm

Slikk, the defense was part of it, but we missed a lot of open uncontested 3 pt shots. so it wasn’t ALL defense oriented.

Comment by TMGPanther 03.03.07 @ 11:22 pm

This is terribly deflating. It’s no longer just a trend. We cannot shoot. All of the other problems aside, if our shooting was just 42-43%, we would have beaten Gtown and won this game.

I’m seriously considering not watching the BE tournament. Not because I’ve given up – well, not entirely – but because maybe it will allow me to have a little bit of a fresh outlook going into the Big Dance. Maybe I’ll go volunteer at soup kitchens or homeless shelters or something during the games so I can’t watch.

this.just.sucks.

Comment by Carmen 03.03.07 @ 11:22 pm

fair enough…seems like Marquette was happy to let us shoot them though. Bad shooters are always open…

Comment by slikk 03.03.07 @ 11:22 pm

DID ANYONE SEE THAAT PUSH OFF BY MARQUETTER QITH LIKE 10 SECONDS LEFT!?!?!?!? WHAT THE HELL SHOULD OF BEEN OFFENSIVE

Comment by PITT 03.03.07 @ 11:24 pm

I think with Diggs, McGhee and Blair…and hopefully Wallace, we will have depth..so we don’t rely on only Gray and Kendall like this year. Depending on who we play we can throw Biggs and Young inside, so yes we should have at least 2 people that can play inside.

Comment by Panthoor 03.03.07 @ 11:25 pm

unfortunately, we seem to have gone from having good shooters to bad shooters. I was hoping the WVU game was a turnaround for our shooting. Doesn’t look that way, does it

Comment by TMGPanther 03.03.07 @ 11:25 pm

“Fuggly” – a term my daughter taught me..describes the night and how I am going to feel after 10 Scothes…

Comment by Dan 72 03.03.07 @ 11:27 pm

I agree – that was a blatant offensive foul by Marquette on the inbound play and it got ignored. The trend I’ve seen in this game, the Louisville game, the GTown game, is..we have a great last 15 minutes of the game. Seems like we figure out what to do. The problem is we’re too far behind and can’t get over the hump.

Hope for more fire and focus in the tourneys.

Comment by Kevin 03.03.07 @ 11:29 pm

First off, much better second half. We worked our way back into the game with a pretty good zone defense (Note: The announcers didn’t even mention that).
That said, let’s not forget the McNeal and James were out. They’re ability to penetrate probably would have changed the face of the game.
Unfortunately, moral victories are not acceptable for a team of Pitt’s caliber.
Another six-day layoff before the first round of the BE tournament. Hopefully we can come out of the gate and play 40 minutes of inspired basketball when it counts.
Most likely we’ll be the three seed. That’s a little tough to swallow. A big-time choke in the grand scheme of things. To think we were perceived to be a Final Four contender before the year started and then finished third in the conference is disheartening.
Hopefully, we have a lot of basketball left to play. But I can’t be optimistic based on the lack of improvement I have seen from this particular team.
Anywho… Go Pitt! Let’s make a run!

Comment by Dave in Orlando 03.03.07 @ 11:30 pm

“Its a good think Gray gets some rebounds because only the backboard is passing to him.”

My thoughts exactly. GET HIM THE BALL!!!!

Comment by J-Maile 03.03.07 @ 11:31 pm

I am so livid about that non-call on the final in-bounds I can barely see. Pitt played awful for most of the game, no question, but that was absolutely reprehensible. I guess it’s either a credit to our “sportsmanship” or else a sign of our self-loathing that nobody else is as p*ssed off about it as I am. Imagine UConn or Syracuse not getting that call…you can’t, because they would.

Comment by geeman2001 03.03.07 @ 11:32 pm

Wow, this was really horrendous. I don’t even know where to start.

I’m not even going to mention the guards (Fields/Graves/Ramon/Benjamin. Okay, maybe I will. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen all four of these guys have the off nights they had. Ramon shot the best – and he was only 33%. The good news is that if even one of those guys has a decent game, it’s a pretty close game at the end. The bad news is…well, they didn’t.

This can easily happen in a tournament game. Usually, Pitt’s depth helps them win some games when guys struggle. But when ALL of your guards struggle, there’s absolutely nothing you can do. There’s basically no way you can win on the road against a ranked team (not even to mention, it was a nationally televised game, so they’re hyped up as it is) when all of your guards play like crap.

This team is truly an anamoly to me. Even though it may be the best team of the Pitt teams of the 2000s, I think I felt more confident going into the tournament with some of the other teams in the past. I have no idea what to expect right now. If you held a gun to my head, I’d say that Pitt will probably win its first game and MAYBE its second in the NCAA tournament. But who can honestly guess right now with this team?

The good news for us is that it’s looking like we’re going to get some production out of Kendall. I’ve really been impressed with his play recently and he and Young are doing a great job at the PF spot.

Quick random thought – Even though Mike Cook seems to have some good games in the box scores (and he’s definitely played very well at times), it seems to me he makes a lot of stupid plays…i.e. turnovers and fouls. Anyone else see this? He shot 4-8 from the field and finished with 13 points and about 3-4 rebounds, but he made some silly mistakes tonight.

I like the fact they battled back, but that was without James in the game and Marquette was also missing probably their 2nd best player. I think the close score will fool a lot of fans into thinking we played decently tonight. The frontline did, but Marquette basically made this a ‘guard’ game when they forced us into they’re style of play. And when you look at our guards’ offensive numbers tonight, you see why that didn’t work out too well for us. They didn’t get Gray enough looks early tonight and that cost us.

I am so confused about this team.

Comment by PittHoops 03.03.07 @ 11:48 pm

One final point (as if that last post wasn’t long enough):

Geeman is completely right when he mentioned early in this thread about the TYPES of fouls we seem to give. Teams would complain so much about Pitt just beating them up. It seems the days of the hard fouls are over and so many of them now are just little touch fouls (a lot of times giving teams an ‘and 1.’

You would hear players and coaches before talking about how physical we were. I really don’t hear that much of that type of stuff anymore…maybe I’m missing it. Maybe Dixon is trying to shed that label and getting his players to play a different style, but I really think it’s just the fact we don’t have the types of players we did before. Kendall is probably more athletic, but not as physical as Chevy. Cook isn’t as physical as Jaron. Graves isn’t as physical as Page. The list goes on and on.

How many truly physical players do we have on this team that kind of wear down the other team? I don’t know…maybe Fields…sometimes.

Just a thought.

Comment by PittHoops 03.03.07 @ 11:54 pm

could anyone just imagine what this team would be like with chris taft… what a mistake he made to leave two years earlier

Comment by PITT 03.04.07 @ 12:09 am

I’m really surprised to see Cook taking heat. He made his usual bone-head play in crunch time, but he played well for most of the game (50% FG, 4-5 FT, 3 AST, 1 TO. This game was lost by Fields, Graves ( A combined 3 – 21 FG, 2 of 11 3 PT, 6 TO and 2 AST, and a combined 2 Pts from the FT line) and Dixon. I throw in Dixon becuase while we were down big with 10 Min and 6 Min, he stayed in that half court set, passsing the ball around the 3 PT line, running the clock under 10. I’ll bet M was so happy to see us run a good 2.5 to 3 Min of the final 10 Min off of the clock for them. One one posession we had a shot clock violation, on another we had 1 second to shoot off of an inbounds. That’s on the coach for not getting them to pick of the pace and take shots when they were there. And the shots were there, they just kept making the extra pass. Lastly, I think that it is time for Ramon to start. Graves is really tanking.

Comment by HbgFrank 03.04.07 @ 12:37 am

HbgFrank – I do think Cook had a good shooting game, but he also had a silly touch foul that led to an and-1 play and he seems to have a lot of those along with the bad turnovers.

I think Dixon will go with Graves starting because of his defense. He’s repeatedly said that Graves is possibly his best defender other than Kendall and at times, Graves covers the opponent’s top player if they’re a guard. At this point, I don’t know who I’d start. Neither one of them (Graves or Ramon) have been great recently. Ramon’s value before was that he’d hit the open shot, but teams are catching on and he’s not getting nearly as many as he has been. He’s still taking about the same number of shots, but many of the early games in the season, he’d be wide open. Now, most of his shots are at least partially contested.

Comment by PittHoops 03.04.07 @ 12:57 am

I’m not sure what to think. It’s hard to swallow. Will just have to wait to see what happens in the Big East tourny. Hopefully they play well enough to change people’s minds about this team.

Comment by Eric R 03.04.07 @ 12:57 am

As i sat down for the game and saw Jerel McNeal (the real catalyst of MU) was out i immediately counted it as a loss. Its just good to see that your third and sixth scoring options can get it done for you though, Hope to see you all next week!

Comment by Belated MU Fan 03.04.07 @ 1:02 am

Wouldn’t it be enjoyable to see a guard penetrate for Pitt, draw the defense toward him and dish to Gray, Kendall or Young for a dunk? Does anyone else besides me find it strange that we never see that?

I’ve been slowly coming around to the realization that Pitt’s guards stink and now I’m sure of it. Fields had me fooled for a bit early in the season, but I suspected Graves was coming back to earth……which he has with a giant thud. Ramon is a one-dimensional player, so I never expected anything more than the shooting from him.

They just have no upside, because these guys have no speed and explosion to use to penetrate. Fields has a strong body, but he’s just too slow to get past anybody and cause problems once he’s inside a defense. All the dangerous teams have a pt guard who can blow by people and either get fouled or find a way to get his big people the rock. Sherrod Collins and Ty Lawson are both built strongly like Fields, but they can move. Fields can’t, and because of that he prevents our big people from beating teams down. No, I don’t want Krauser back……I just want better backcourt recruits.

The fact is, with the short three-point line in effect, the college game is dominated by good guard play and at least half the teams we’ll all watch in the Big Dance will have better guards than Pitt’s. That’s scary.

Comment by tiger paul 03.04.07 @ 1:09 am

Well, its 4.32 am, i’m back from drinking, trying to prevent memories of this game. Too bad i didn’t drink enough. When i wake up around 4 or 5 pm tomorrow, i’ll comment more. Until then, i’ll be vomitting – from the play i saw tonight, not the alcohol.

Comment by Stuart 03.04.07 @ 4:33 am

The tough Pitt teams are gone. This team is a reflection of its coach – uncertain and timid.

The guards aren’t super fast, but they can penetrate; unfortunately, they’d rather hang around the three point line when they come off of a pick instead of trying to make a quick move to the hoop or actually look for the man on the roll.

Our big men would sooner put their arms up on defense instead of challenging somebody driving to the hoop, and our 7 foot center is incapable of dunking unless there is absolutely nobody within two feet of him.

Our small forwards don’t know what their role on the team is and rarely are within the flow of the offense.

Marquette’s 7 foot bench player – who, of course, hit the first two 3s of his college career – showed more emotion in a few minutes than the rest of the Pitt team combined. No emotion, no intensity = losing every game against a truly quality opponent this year. And not withstanding the players short comings, I put that all on Dixon.

Comment by Carmen 03.04.07 @ 8:57 am

I want to say that I’m oficially over the marquette debacle and starting to look forward to the big east tournament, but I just realized our first game on thur at 9Pm is likely to be against marquette. It is making me sick, just thinking about a third game against the Warriors!

Comment by TMGPanther 03.04.07 @ 9:53 am

My 4th grade team lost in overtime yesterday and Pitt lost.I play at 6pm against P-T and it a new day.Remember all Pitt plays again and hopefully will win for our seeds sake.It is all about the seeding and March Madness. Lets go PITT

Comment by Buzz 03.04.07 @ 10:41 am

The season is far from over. The Big East Tournament is coming this week. I for one am looking forward to a rematch with Marquette on a neutral floor with a referee who will call a foul when someone is grabbed and thrown to the ground or pushed in the back while in the act of shooting.

If you want to complain about anything, complain about the number of times Pitt stops playing when they think a foul should be called, or the number of times Pitt lets the ball fall to the floor and waits for the ref to decide who gets the ball on the out of bounds play. These guys play like they have been reading their own press clippings, rather than a team that wants to win a National Championship.

Comment by joepitt 03.04.07 @ 11:21 am

Pitt played like poop. Ramon, Graves, and Fields have let the team down. Marquette had a week to prepare and embarrassed us. Horrible. That team lost 4 out of 5 games. Pitt is not a top-25 team right now.

Comment by Omar 03.04.07 @ 11:30 am

I beg to differ in respect to MU embarassing Pitt. No, Pitt helped in the emabarassment by once again having a dismal first half of play.

Some have posted that Pitt made a valliant comeback in the second half. Now why did the have to mount a comeback? Because once again they come out looking lost offensively, making unforced TOs, and playing truly uninspired BB.

Looking over the whole season, as I have stated, this team is an enigma. It was an enigma to me primarily for 3 reasons. 1)The preseason hype 2)Their recent run of success 3)Style of play (tough nosed D, rebounding, and inside play)

The preseason hype just turned out to be that. The recent run of success turned out to be a measuring stick for this team (negatively). The Style of Play has not met the expectations of the recent past.

I do not know what this team will do in the BE or NCAA tourney but as I have said many times their erratic play does not bode well for either.

I do know that better players are on the way. These players are talented AND more atheletic. There are guards and wings who can create a shot and slice to the basket. They no doubt will learn the system’s D, and be able to do to other teams what some athletically gifted teams have done to Pitt this year. The future looks bright.

I believe this year’s team has done the best it could do with the players it has. We cannot or should not expect more. Yes, I want them to win the BE tourney and perhaps win a few games in the NCAAs, but if they do not, I can accept it because of the team’s visable weaknesses.

Comment by Kenny 03.04.07 @ 12:04 pm

“The tough Pitt teams are gone. This team is a reflection of its coach – uncertain and timid.”

Ain’t that the truth. Last night reminded me of one of our classic NCAA flameouts. The whole first half was defined by our panic. Playing too quick, getting lost on defense, etc.

I’ve heard it said on here before but I’m going to say it again: the reason the gaurds aren’t shooting as well as earlier in the season is they aren’t as open. And why is that? BECAUSE GRAY ISN’T TOUCHING THE BALL! You’ve got one of the best big men in the country, who is a willing and able passer… put him in the low post (yes, the low post) and let him work. Make them double and triple team.

These gaurds are very smart players and I believe good shooters when open but they are unathletic and not going to create their own shots. Hell, there aren’t too many gaurds in the entrire country who can create their own shots and shoot a good percentage. Pitt’s offense, as currently constructed, does not generate a lot of looks for the gaurds… or anyone for that matter. It’s like a pro style offense where you need to make plays one on one. That ain’t gonna help standstill jumpshooters unless you have a player who can draw double teams and pass out of it.

Comment by J-Maile 03.04.07 @ 12:38 pm

Also:

This game was embarrasing. Not that we lost but the way we played. You don’t often see top 10 teams play lost and scared like that, and after seeing us do it time and time again I’m begining to wonder if that really does start with Dixon.

Comment by J-Maile 03.04.07 @ 12:41 pm

Let’s get the BE tornament thread stared. i’m sick of rehasing yesterday’s game. I’m moving on!!

Comment by TMGPanther 03.04.07 @ 12:44 pm

I have to watch my spelling!!

Comment by TMGPanther 03.04.07 @ 1:18 pm

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