March 8, 2007

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.

Lets just play Marquette every game until we learn how to beat them.

Comment by Rex 03.08.07 @ 10:41 am

There is nothing to learn. We have slow gaurds who can’t d’ up on any of there gaurds, and can’t create any shots for themselves when there gaurds d’ up on us.

Comment by Chris 03.08.07 @ 11:16 am

There is nothing we can do about the quickness of our gaurds, but what they do need to figure out is a way to keep Gray down low on defense. They have been doing a great job of game planning ways to keep Gray out of the pain and uncomfortable on defense.

They also need to get him more touches on the offensive end. He is a great passer from the post, and he should get a touch everytime.

Comment by Chris 03.08.07 @ 11:19 am

This is great news, finally a balanced schedule. If the Pac-10 plays 18 conference games, so can we.

Comment by Aaron 03.08.07 @ 11:30 am

For one, Gray has no business being anywhere near the three point perimeter where he seems to spend most of the Marquette games lately.

Also, Pitt needs to guard the threes closely – Marq lives and dies by the three. They are going to toss it up early so we need to be right in their faces. They’ve also been known for blowing comfortable leads by continuing to shoot threes.

I would love to see Pitt play a full 40 minute game. They seem to have their heads stuck in their asses the first half until theyre down 15 points. Lets get out to a fast start for once – this is March when it counts!

Comment by Rex 03.08.07 @ 11:35 am

Anyone want to take a stab at the final score….I don’t think Pitt has the intestinal fortitude to beat this team, and I don’t believe the players even think they can win…but we’ll find out soon enough.

Comment by Marco 03.08.07 @ 11:40 am

Marq may have the advantage that they played last night, they will have some game rythym. They also may tire out at the end. They should certainly be confident against us since we cant seem to counter their game plan. The only thing we can hope for is that our team actually comes out ready to play and plays hard every minute. I will not even venture a guess on score because Im not going to jinx them.

Comment by Rex 03.08.07 @ 11:43 am

Just an update on Andy Lee guys.

Seems San Fran has matched the Steelers offer sheet, which means Lee is not going to be returning to Heinze Field I think.

Comment by Ryan M 03.08.07 @ 12:10 pm

11:14 left in the first half, Georgetown is winning 22-2. Ouch for Nova.

Comment by Aaron 03.08.07 @ 12:24 pm

If anybody is watching G’Town vs Nova all I can say is WOW! The way G’Town is playing in this one, nobody can beat them. They are so disciplined, they have every aspect of the game. They look unbelievable. Size, quickness, mental aspect all rolling for them in this one.

Comment by Chris 03.08.07 @ 12:24 pm

I think a lot of it is that they are a team built to crush a zone defense. You have to man them up, and Nova isn’t doing that. Horrible coaching.

Comment by Chris 03.08.07 @ 12:29 pm

I think it’s also helping that Reynolds and Cunningham are 0/9 combined from the field so far. But, they’d still be losing by a sizable margin.

Even if they’re manned up, Georgetown is a definite threat to go a long way in the tourney come next week.

Comment by Aaron 03.08.07 @ 12:33 pm

I think the way the Big East schedule will be next season is great. As long as we play WVU twice, I’m OK with it. If we had to pick who we wanted to play twice I would stay with G’town, Marquette and WVU. Those three teams will always be competitive and will help prepare us for tourney time.

Comment by Panthoor 03.08.07 @ 1:39 pm

I like this – we have to prevent drives, and also prevent 3’s, so get up in your mans face, but don’t, so he can’t drive past you. It’s one or the other – or you need help when he goes by, then rotation, hope they don’t make the extra pass and get an open 3 anyways…or let them shoot 3’s and hope they miss, but prevent drives….they’re just much faster than us. I sure don’t have the answer on D. I think we just have to outscore them, which we haven’t been able to do. We have to score on over 50% of posessions. We’re not going to come up with super D plan to shut them down. We don’t need to UNC “run-n-gun”, we need to be ultra-efficient. We haven’t done that yet. If we shoot over 50% and keep FT makes pretty even (within 5 or so), we win. Otherwise we lose.

And Nova got that game close in the end – they would have easily tied or taken the lead if their amazing 80% FT shooters weren’t going 2-6….or missing all the open 3’s….or trying to get fouled instead of trying to make 3’s….Nova just collapsed again at the end, even with GU trying to give it away.

Marquette 76 Pitt 73 – good news is marquette is paying 2:1.

Panthoor – why would we want to play Marq twice? You’ll have to explain this to me.

Comment by Stuart 03.08.07 @ 2:36 pm

Come on guys, we can beat Marquette!

I think we should use the 3-2 zone on defense. It will help us contain their quickness and Gray won’t be forced to defend outside the paint. After watching DJames, I’m convinced he’s lost all confidence in his perimeter shot. I am not saying we shouldn’t defend him though. He’s a great player who can penetrate and do other things for his team. However, if we can get him to take most of the jump shots then I really think we really have a good chance at beating them.

Comment by MoE 03.08.07 @ 2:39 pm

“After watching DJames, I’m convinced he’s lost all confidence in his perimeter shot.” The stats certainly bear that out. James is shooting just 26% from three. That’s blessed awful. McNeal (31%) and Matthews (28%) aren’t much better. The two guys that really need to be forced to dribble are Cubbillon (44%) and Fitzgerald (42%). I am sure Dixon is aware of these stats, though. Fiztgerald is essentaiily a one trick pony. He cannot be left open. I would let James drive and shoot two’s rather than collapse on him and leave another guy open.

Comment by Crackbaldo 03.08.07 @ 3:15 pm

How to win – Antonio Graves fouls Dominic James hard and plants him into the scorer’s table. After all, that’s how we won last year.

Comment by Kevin 03.08.07 @ 3:28 pm

I have actually pondered using a 3-2 set, I called for it the first time we played Marq this year. It was immediatly obvious that the 2-3 wasn’t the answer.

We need more people on the perimeter so put the 3 up there. We can handle them down low with Big Whitey and Kendall, so let them stay down low.

Comment by Chris 03.08.07 @ 3:38 pm


I would play Marquette twice because:
1. Build another rivalry.
2. They are annoying and it only makes us better.
3. There are teams in the tourney with guards like them so we need all the experience we can get.

Plus, I’m looking forward to tonight’s game. It’s an opportunity to smack them in the mouth when it matters the most.
C’mon, why would you want to play cupcakes, when you can get beat up by giants and get stronger down the line.

Comment by Panthoor 03.08.07 @ 3:53 pm

I’d love to just see two things tonight: some real fire and emotion, and players going hard to the hoop. Having watched a lot of basketball over the last week, it really highlights how stagant our offense often is. We just don’t make teams work hard enough on D.

Comment by Carmen 03.08.07 @ 4:36 pm

Panthoor – I think WVU and Uconn is enough of a rivalry (too bad Penn State would drag our RPI down to pound them)- we don’t need another team to give us fits twice a year and hurt our seeding. We need to avoid teams like them in the tourney to go anywhere – we haven’t learned anything losing to them twice. Its like Wanny said last year – “We need to run faster” – it didn’t work then, it won’t work now. Our atheletes are what we say they are – not the fastest guards going…

Comment by Stuart 03.08.07 @ 5:24 pm

Pitt needs to play a match-up zone against Marquette. Especially on the perimeter. They have no inside threats, only penetration and kick out or find the cutter. We need to have a shot blocker like Kendall or Gray stay close to the rim and have our guards match-up with whatever player is in their zone. They aren’t going to beat Pitt shooting threes. Even if they are hot at the beginning we can come back if they are shooting threes.

The offense has to find a way to get Gray the ball on every possession. EVERY POSSESION! Shoot a three after he touches the ball, not before. They cannot handle him, e.g. Spears for St. Johns went for a career high.

We can beat Marquette. Tonight we will see if the Panthers are contenders or pretenders. Biggest game of the year.

Comment by Omar 03.08.07 @ 6:21 pm

i agree, we can beat marquette. its very hard to beat a team 3 times in a year, and lets hope we learned something from the last game. the first game against them was an OT game, so basically that means if 1 extra shot goes down for us in the first 40 minutes we’d have split the series. and they were lights-out shooting FTs, which they usually dont do well. if we can keep aaron gray’s lumbering ass under the hoop and get him touches (and he makes his damn bunnies)we can win.

also, this is a huge game in terms of how far i think pitt will go in the NCAAs. if they come out flat and lifeless in this game i wont have too much faith next week.

Comment by matt 03.08.07 @ 6:51 pm

if its so hard to beat a team 3x in a year, does that mean we’d prefer to play louisville instead of wvu if we make it to tomorrow?

Comment by Stuart 03.08.07 @ 7:15 pm

i’m not saying it cant be done, just that its difficult. and by the way wvu is playing right now, we may not have to worry about them.

Comment by matt 03.08.07 @ 7:18 pm

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