March 23, 2007

Some Hollowness

Filed under: Basketball,NCAA Tourney,Uncategorized — Chas @ 1:44 pm

Well, that genuinely hurt. I spent a couple hours after the game just trying to put the images of the game out of my head. Not drinking. Not writing. Nothing. Just trying to get to the point where I wouldn’t think.

The good news, was that I reached that point. It led to a complete shut down. It’s a good thing I work from home. Mind and body seemed to be of the same opinion that consciousness was overrated. Dimly aware of the wife muttering some curses at me since I’m supposed to get her up in the morning to go to work.

I’m still not to the point where I’m really ready to write anything about the game yet. I haven’t even read anything yet.

It’s ok man. They had their chances, and they didn’t capitalize. Despite what I first thought, we could have beat that team. They were not that much more talented than us. We could have and should have beat them, but we didn’t. They hit their free throws and made their layups when they counted and we didn’t. Hard to swallow, but swallow it. Swallow it like Gray swallowed it his whole career at Pitt.

Comment by Chris 03.23.07 @ 1:49 pm

It really was a successful season. Pitt did nothing this year that will damage a recruit’s opinion of the school or program. If anything, they enhanced their image and will be more likely to land a star player.

Next year should be interesting. I look forward to watching a completely different type of team. Younger, faster, and more athletic players should lead to some exciting basketball.

All the seniors had wonderful careers at Pitt. Although last nights game was not their best effort, one game does not make a career. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching Graves, Gray, and Kendall play the past 4 years and wish them great success in the future.

Comment by Omar 03.23.07 @ 2:19 pm

By the way, Young and Ramon showed some real toughness and heart last night. They were the only two players that seemed excited to be on the big stage and weren’t intimidated at all. Graves played like that in the first half but got a little passive in the second. I wish the entire team had balls like Ramon. If he was just a little more athletically gifted he would be a real star.

Comment by Omar 03.23.07 @ 2:22 pm

Literally, I wasn’t able to sleep last night due to the constant plethora of images in my head…

In any event, I wish the seniors the best of luck moving forward, as they are now apart of Pitt history and will always be remembered…

Comment by MoE 03.23.07 @ 2:36 pm

From Doug Gottleib:

• There is an obvious reason that UCLA has twice advanced past the Sweet 16 and Pitt has not: NBA talent. Aaron Gray has improved dramatically at Pitt, but he is a bench player at the next level, at best. Arron Afflalo is a solid NBA wing, and when you combine his ability to break you down with Darren Collison and Josh Shipp on the perimeter, once again Pitt is headed home.

Comment by DaveD 03.23.07 @ 4:09 pm

this group of seniors led Pitt to win 80% of their games, which is a tremendous achievement. My biggest concern is that we did not get better at the end of the year, and our lackluster play in the BET championship and the UCLA game–we missed a lot of shots in both games that we normally make. If we make our shots last night, we would be tasting our first elite 8 appearance.
According to kenpom, UCLA is #22 in offense, but #2 in defense. Our offense was #14, and our D was #25. Last year we were #21 offense, and #12 defense. We have not had the same “enter the paint at your peril” attiude, and this is not one of our better defensive teams. And despite having Gray in the post, we are not as strong down low as in past years with Chevon Troutman.
We have lost the prior BET championships and NCAA tournament games primarily to better teams(GTWN, UCONN) except for SU’s magical run last year, or teams with more NBA talent (Marquette and D.Wade) –but maybe we need to try to figure out if there is something different in game and or mental preparation,etc, that would bring out our best in these big games.

Comment by tph60 03.23.07 @ 4:54 pm

Still recovering from that awful effort but some thoughts as a former BBall coach.

Every time my team lost a big game I used to think what our staff could have done differently to win that game.
Bottom line was that usually the other team was simply better. Coaching is about 10% of a specific game and talent the other 90%.

Having said that, as a lifelong Pitt fan, I am appalled at thia Pitt team consistently getting worse as the season progresses, fundamental mistakes (foul shooting, ballhandling, telegraphing passes,
no weak side help on D, falling asleep on inbounds plays as the other team gets easly layins,shooting layups and dunks off the wrong foot, not stopping the ball on fast breaks etc.)
This has been going on for the last 20 games Pitt has played. Sources tell me that Pitt practices are a joke and consist of scrimmages only, some running and little work on fundamentals.

Dixon, I understand has tried way too hard to be a friend and mentor to the players (see Pitt D coach also for this in football). This team played no-where near the fundamental prowess needed to beat good teams. Talent or no talent this will have to be fixed before we can advance further.

Having said that…29-8 may be the limit for this group talent wise, but we will never know because
the basketball fundamentals were never fixed.
what a shame…and that is coaching and coaching
alone to blame.

Comment by Dan 72 03.23.07 @ 5:18 pm

Just have to ask – why did Dixon put Biggs in there at the end of the game after sitting him the entire game. Is that a good coaching decision?

Comment by John 03.23.07 @ 5:26 pm

I think that the combination of the aggressive style of defense that we play, and conditioning can explain some of our late season shooting problems. UCLA plays the same style, and even a great player like Afflalo is obviously exhausted. He is something like 10 of 50 from the field in the last several games. That’s not a “slump”, it’s a collapse! Fields has similar bad numbers. I think that Gray, Fields and to some extent Cook, just ran out of gas. Fields must slim down if he is going to run with the big dogs in the big east. Cook looked a little soft as well and needs to muscle up. If Cook and Fields take conditioning seriously, year round, with our retuning players and new recruits, I see no reason why we cant win 20 – 25 games again next year.

Comment by HbgFrank 03.23.07 @ 5:44 pm

Thank God Kendall is gone. The most over-rated player in Pitt athletics ever. Next year will be easier to watch if for no other reason than not seeing Kendall miss 8 foot wide open jumpers.

Comment by Rex 03.23.07 @ 5:50 pm

I don’t buy the whole “Pitt just didn’t shoot well or make layups last night” argument. That’s a bunch of crap.

They missed a ton of shots because a faster UCLA squad was in their face all night. Think about it — when have we seen Gray struggle to pass out of the post or out of a double team? Last night he did because the D was more aggressive and the double came quicker. Same goes for the layups missed — they’re all tougher when there’s a more aggressive athlete jumping alongside you.

I never bought any of that kenpom crap about Pitt being a solid offense. Those statistics aren’t worth the cyberspace they’re printed on. The fact is, Pitt struggled to score in big games because only Sam Young really has any scoring burst to his game.

I’m hoping next year’s team is quicker and more fun to watch. It should be. The only thing that scares me is that Fields and his girlfriend, Marcedes Walker, move at about the same rate of speed on the court. All good offense starts with a penetrating point guard. When you don’t have that, offensive life on the court is tough. Our PG is almost always at a speed and size disadvantage and that makes for an uphill battle.

Comment by tiger paul 03.23.07 @ 6:31 pm

I disagree with the Kendall haters out there. Yea he had his games where he played like trash but who hasnt. I would love for him to have another year of eligibility then him leave, with the loss of his size in the paint pitt will struggle… tyrell bigs at center can not be our best option next year

Comment by max 03.23.07 @ 6:33 pm

kendall grew on me late in the year when he would do a lot of the little things like taking charges. but he is a bit overrated. the only thing keeping me from being completely bitter is the fact that ill never see aaron gray miss another layup in a pitt jersey ever again. thats a good feeling. the doug gottlieb post is exactly right, we dont have a superstar player to go to, but that will change with recruiting. heres to a great season, and a more athletic team next year.

Comment by matt 03.23.07 @ 8:32 pm

The loss was tough, no question. It’s never easy when you see your school lose a game that was there for the taking, like last night, or losing to schools with less talent like Kent, Pacific or Bradley merely because the team didn’t take them seriously. Watching the MU and Okie State losses were somewhat easier because those teams were equal or better (or at least had star players like Wade). UCLA fits that too but last night they were practically begging someone to beat them. I’m sickened that the team worked hard to put themselves into position to make easy shots (relatively speaking) and blew it. I don’t think it’s any particular ‘curse’ on Pitt, just circumstances. As somebody wrote in one of the daily rags, the 3 is supposed to lose to the 2, and we did. The problem was the lack of talent that made Pitt a 3 in the first place. Blame the coaches for that and blame the players for not executing that night. But let’s give them credit for overall success and thank them, not trash them, for their efforts. When your arrogant Nit neighbors and co-workers (they’re everywhere, like cockroaches) say something snide, remember to mention PSU’s 1-16 record (or whatever) in their conference.

Comment by geeman2001 03.23.07 @ 8:36 pm

“Fields and his girlfriend, Marcedes Walker, move at about the same rate of speed on the court. ”

Now that is funny….LOL

Comment by Kenny 03.23.07 @ 8:44 pm

“Sources tell me that Pitt practices are a joke and consist of scrimmages only, some running and little work on fundamentals.”

Any chance of you revealing your sources…..

Comment by Kenny 03.23.07 @ 8:47 pm

if he’s dating walker clearly he’s a penetrating guard.

Comment by scoocher 03.23.07 @ 9:32 pm

I find that if you only set your expectations for making it to the Sweet 16 your day after the big loss ends up being so much easier. That said, Pitt will never advance until they start getting the marquee recruits. Say what you want about Wannstadt, but at least his recruiting classes get high marks. Can you imagine what a BB recruit akin to Bostick could do for the program? Oh wait, that was Herb Pope. Where’d he end up going? Freakin’ New Mexico State!!!!!

Comment by Bobby 03.23.07 @ 9:32 pm

Herb Pope is a disaster waiting to happen. I’m glad he will never have the honor of wearing a Pitt uniform. You can’t just bring in any flake with talent. That isn’t how you build a program.

Comment by Omar 03.23.07 @ 9:47 pm

Wow, I hope Kentucky is monitoring the site since we have so many top notch Coaches commenting on here.

Comment by TMGPanther 03.23.07 @ 10:02 pm

That loss, especially against Howland who left little Pittsburgh to go off to big flashy LA, was quite the nut-kick I must say.

Comment by Jimbo Covert's my dad 03.23.07 @ 10:12 pm

So…I wonder how spring practice is going?

Comment by HbgFrank 03.23.07 @ 11:49 pm

we actually had a top 25 recruiting class for next year for the first time since we’ve been good. the quality players are coming, jamie just needs time.

Comment by matt 03.24.07 @ 9:12 am

Matt, we want to be a top five team. we are already a top 25 team. I see our recruting class behind at least 4 or 5 BE teams. What stats are you looking at?

Comment by TMGPanther 03.24.07 @ 2:33 pm

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