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March 8, 2007

Hello all. Big thanks for everything Dennis has been doing here the last couple of days. It’s been a little chaotic. I actually had a post this morning that got swallowed by the ether. I was too frustrated to recreate it, but might try again later next week.

Any how. Not sure when this game will start with the WVU-L-ville game going like this.

9:19: Double OT for WVU-L’ville.

10:09: Well, Pitt is definitely playing with a lot of energy. Right now, they are clearly controlling the pace and forcing Marquette to play a slow. Good things so far.

10:17: Pitt up 17-16. I’m not exactly the picture of calm right now. This is going to stay tight. It just feels that way.

10:23: Pitt now down 20-18. Ugh. Ramon just panics when he sees a press.

10:26: Some good news. Lazar Hayward committed his 3d foul, and Dominic James has 2 fouls with 9:05 in the half.

10:33: Not the worst strategy, just foul Gray and make him shoot FTs.

10:41: Idle thought, does Fields think that he has to show he’s as good as Dominic James or something at times. It’s probably just the fact that he’s nailing 3s against Pitt, but there’s something about Dan Fitzgerald’s narrow face that annoys the hell out of me.

10:50: Pitt leads 40-37 at the half. The first time this year, Pitt has led against Marquette at the half.

10:53: Kendall is having a fine game. 6 points, 6 rebounds, 1 steal, 0 turnovers and 4 assists.

Young is looking pretty good on offense with 9 points. His defense, though, urgh. He is just impatient and hates to wait and guard, so he keeps leaving and drifting from his guy.

Gray is playing solid. Just wish he could hit a free throw — granted he’s no Terrence Roberts of Syracuse.

Not getting much from the guard play, but on the bright side only 5 turnovers. That’s an improvement.

11:16: Dan Shulman, “Aaron Gray is single-handily getting Marquette into foul trouble here.” Yep.

By the way, they took one of the fouls away from James, so he only has 1 foul (I don’t know).

11:29: Pitt still leading. They keep talking about how Marquette isn’t getting to the line like they usually do. The difference is Fitzgerald rather than McNeal. It’s one less perimeter threat to penetrate. And it seems they are settling for more jump shots in general. It’s also — obviously — the presence of Gray inside to change shots and force more pull-ups.

11:37: 69-57. It’s not over. Marquette’s got one more run at Pitt in them. Pitt just has to stay patient on both ends. Let the Golden Eagles get frustrated.

11:49: Pitt up by 12, still with under 4. Great night for penetration and going inside. Not just Gray, but Cook and Young are having great nights. Just attacking.

11:55: Okay, I’m going to say Pitt has this. 83-69, 1:32 left.

15 straight FTs by Pitt.

I didn’t want to jinx it, but I felt confident Pitt would win, when marquette had the steal and Barro was ahead of everyone and missed the lay-up because he looked back. Like what Fields did in the loss at Marquette.

12:01: Did I speak too soon? They missed 3 straight FTs before Fields made his second.

Well, Gray got his 10th Rebound for a double-double.

Gray, Graves, Fields, Cook and Young all in double digit scoring.

12:06: Is it worth mentioning that the streak of the games being decided by 6 or less points appears to be about over? I think it is.

12:09:

89-79 Final
Yeah, that felt good. I’ll say that win takes a lot of the sting out of losing twice in the season to knock Marquette out of the Big East Tournament. Heh.

12:27: Post-game on ESPNews Coach Dixon was pretty much stock answers.

Mark Jones was feeling Gray up, poking him and checking him for scraps and scratches on his body. Awkward!

Pregame Thoughts

Filed under: Assistants,Basketball,Coaches,Dixon,Opponent(s) — Dennis @ 7:36 pm

–One of the main things working to our advantage is the fact that Marquette played last night. As we’ve already seen twice today from Villanova and WVU, the teams who played yesterday got out to a slow start. Sure Georgetown played very well, but some of that 25-2 lead they jumped out to was a product of ‘Nova’s fatigue. Since Marquette played in the late game last night, it’s an even better advantage.

–I’m not sure how to exploit Marquette main weakness, but they definitely have one. I’m pretty sure it involves an Indian rowing in the opposite direction of the way the man in a robe is pointing.

–I have a good feeling that Dixon and his staff worked hard thinking of ways to take advantage of the fact that Big East Defensive Player of the Year Jerel McNeal is sitting out. If they didn’t, well shame on them.

–Who does the Big East think they’re going to fool by saying the game will start at 9:00? The WVU-Louisville game would need to go at record speed to start on time. Chances are we’ll see a tipoff at around 9:25.

The unbalanced schedule throws team’s conference strength of schedule of of whack but we might be done with that starting with the 2006-07 season. I heard this mentioned by one of the play-by-play guys during Big East tournament coverage yesterday, but wasn’t sure if it was a done deal or just an idea. Well, some random newspaper from the middle of nowhere confirms the story.

A major change will boost the number of conference games from 16 to 18. Two years of an unbalanced schedule, where all schools did not play one another, generated many complaints.

“It’s not the best situation,” Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. “It’s not a league, it’s a corporation. It’s really two leagues.”

Marquette coach Tom Crean said the new schedule is going to be tougher, with more league games replacing breathers against the bottom tier of Division I schools.

So you play the other 15 Big East teams once plus an extra game against three of them which I have no problem with. We didn’t get to play Notre Dame this season and instead played a Florida A&M type team to fill out the schedule.

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