March 22, 2007

There are plenty of similarities and differences between UCLA and Pitt. So stories declaring one or the other should be taken lightly. There are basic similarites.

Brandin Knight is Pittsburgh’s video coordinator. When he began splicing the UCLA tapes, he was in his home theater.

“They’d run a play and I’d say, ‘We used to run that,”’ Knight said Wednesday. “And we run the same stuff they do. The play calls are the same, too. The two teams are mirror images. We’re not going to suddenly become this full-court pressing team, and they’re not going to start playing different defenses. It’s just going to come down to who makes shots.”

How few shots will it take?

“Anybody who thinks this is going to be a high-scoring game,” Knight said, “is a fool.”

Yes, the practices, the drills the basics in how the teams run things are similar. The key is the players.

“We have different personnel,” UCLA wing Josh Shipp said. “They emphasize defense just like we do. I can see where people get the similarities from, but it’s different personnel that is used differently.”

Pittsburgh point guard Levance Fields said he often watched UCLA on television and said “you can call out the plays,” but rarely does a Bruins’ possession end with its center scoring on a low-post move.

“We are striving to become a better inside team, but our guards have really dominated our scoring,” Afflalo said. “We are a little different.”

I’d also hesitate to say they are so different simply because of the superficial things of the teams different histories and players.

Both teams are man-to-man defense. Pitt will throw out the zone when it seems necessary, while UCLA just won’t. Because of the strength of the team at the guard position, UCLA will play much tighter on the perimeter and be aggressive at trying to force steals. They don’t do it by employing full-court, but by the quickness of their players and being tight.

If you look at the Pomeroy Scouting Reports for both Pitt and UCLA,  you will see that they are very close in tempo/pace. Pitt has a bit of an edge in the offensive efficiency while UCLA is stronger in defensive efficiency. A lot of the defensive efficiency difference comes from the fact that UCLA creates more turnovers on defense then Pitt.

Bruin Basketball Report has a nice scouting report on the game, and expects a UCLA win. Bruins Nation expects a tough, physical defensive game.

If Pitt is going to win this game, obviously the defense will have to be there. Just as important — probably more so because I have little doubt about the defensive effort — Pitt is going to have to shoot very well. I fully expect Pitt will get forced into more turnovers. Just looking at the strengths and weaknesses of the teams, UCLA will get some more turnovers than Pitt. This is no knock on Pitt, they do well on controlling the ball, but against quick, aggressive guards like UCLA, Pitt does struggle with turnovers. You almost have to expect it.
That means, Pitt needs to be more efficient in scoring opportunities. Pitt will need to have the higher shooting percentage. If both teams struggle with shooting and scoring, the advantage goes to UCLA because of their ability to generate more opportunities off of turnovers.

Tubby jets from Kentucky to Minnesota. What are the chances the Wildcats come a knockin’ on Dixon’s door?

Comment by Dave in Orlando 03.22.07 @ 4:03 pm

that job sucks..look at tubby’s record there-a national champioship, consec. ncaa appearances, et al. and they were calling for his head?!

Maybe slightly more prestige, but not a better job-although I think I said that about ucla and usc..hmm.

Comment by scoocher 03.22.07 @ 4:15 pm

No chance – Donovan will be their first choice and I would say there is a very good chance that he will go.

Comment by Matt O 03.22.07 @ 4:16 pm

Pitt-UCLA: Alike or Different? Yes….

Trackback by University Update 03.22.07 @ 4:17 pm

A guy in my office who has close ties to Kentucky thinks Pitino could be in their sights again. That would be a blow to the Big East.
BTW – Was anybody else rooting for Syracuse and DePaul last night? Would have been nice to have three of the final four NIT teams from the Big East.

Comment by Dave in Orlando 03.22.07 @ 4:25 pm

I think we also need to control the boards like we should in order to make up for the extra possessions they’ll have from steals. We need to have a higher difference in boards than they do in steals in order to win this game, all else being even.

I’m thinking in the end, this is going to come down to shooting percentage. Whichever team goes cold, loses. Since both teams are so eratic, it could be either team. Hopefully Fields gets his shot back, that was be clutch right about now.

Comment by Stuart 03.22.07 @ 5:21 pm

Here to hoping that Dixon goes to Kentucky and John Calipari comes home to Pitt.

Talk about an upgrade in recruiting…..


Comment by ben 03.22.07 @ 5:46 pm

and an upgrade in NCAA sanctions

Comment by matt 03.22.07 @ 6:27 pm

dickie v and digger both just picked ucla…shocker. my take: if we have fewer than 15 TOs, Gray goes for a double/double and we shoot better than 40%, we win.

Comment by Scott 03.22.07 @ 7:01 pm

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