February 16, 2008

Well, that genuinely sucked.

I’m going to keep this brief.

Poor, poor shooting tonight. The number of misses of open looks and easy baskets  — ugh.

The first half was frustrating, but at least Pitt was playing good defense and keeping it within reach. Then it fell apart in the second half.

The more Pitt missed, the more frustrated they became. That frustration translated into dogging it on the defensive end.  Marquette was getting to every loose ball and Pitt was being outhustled there. The second half also saw Pitt getting out worked for rebounds. No matter which end of the court, when a ball was shot, there were 3 or more white jerseys coming to the basket. Pitt seemed to only have one player inside to fight.

Consider this scary thing. Benjamin had 6 rebounds while Young and Blair each had only 5.

Marquette was killing Pitt all game with the cuts to the basket. Bill Raferty noted that they had watched Pitt practice how to defend that in the walkthrough today. He pretty much nailed it when he said the preparation was there, but the execution was not.

Fields is definitely a step slow right now.  Good thing there’s 6 days before the next game.
This was the lowest offensive output for Pitt this season

The way Marquette was playing, Pitt wasn’t going to win this game. The blowout aspect, though, came from struggling to hit any shot and letting Marquette continually get out front on transition.

There were small things that were good, but the overwhelming craptitude of the overall performance makes it moot.

Ouch, the one response you get is an ad for DVR. That about sums it up.

I’m in northeastern Ohio right now and had to watch the game surrounded by people who just love any excuse to talk shit on Pittsburgh, so it was an especially brutal night for me.

But I am just going to write this one off as an awful game, and I have faith that the guys will get it together for next Thursday. This kind of shit will happen throughout a season. All you can do is keep on moving. I really hope we get these fuckers in the Big East tourney, though.

Comment by Will 02.16.08 @ 1:56 am

Shit happens. We’ve had worse losses than this (2 already this season). This can’t possibly be considered as having Fields available – the kid needs some work to get back in game shape. Hes coming back from a broken foot after 6 weeks – anything we get from him these next 2 weeks is a bonus. But he wasn’t even the cause of this awfulness. Theres enough blame to go around.

Offense comes and goes, but the defense has to be there. And what happened tonight was between us not hitting a single opens shot, marquette seeming to nail everything, and then the refs getting totally out of hand with the “charge” bullshit, we became demoralized. You could see it in the players faces, just like the Rutgers game. At one point i think there were 3 bullshit charge calls in a row against us, and that was the nail in the coffin.

Here’s every bad defensive play from the beginning until it was over sometime in the second period:

Brown misses 3, runs himself out of play, leaves 4 on 2 break.

Blair weak hedge, actually screens Ramon, but they miss shot.

Benji’s man had him beat down on the post, Blair had to help, left barro wide open for dunk.

Zone, Ramon/McGhee left barro wide open on baseline for dunk.

Benji lef this man, went under a screen, someone shot over top for 3.

— Barro hook over McGhee – not bad D, just pointing out the only shot Barro created for himself the entire game.

Ramon/Biggs switched, James took Biggs to hoop for layup.

Zone, Ramon gets caught standing around on the wrong side of the floor, wide open 3.

Fields gets lost on a screen, his man cuts to basket for layup.

Benji and Wannamaker not sure whether to switch or not on inbounds, benjis guy goes free, refs blow call on Wannamaker block and award 2 foul shots.

Biggs leaves low post to try to pressure shooter instead of boxing out, allows easy putback.

Zone, Ramon standing around again, 3.

Fields goes under screen, his man pops back out but misses wide open 3.

Benjis man beats him, and all 4 others collapse, leaving wide open 3, but missed.

Ramon/Benji leave someone wide open in zone, 3.

Fields cheats down, leaves his man wide open for 3.

In transition, Benji and Ramon let one of the guards split for a layup.

Young not paying attention in transition, Blair comes to help, leaves his man open, Brown has to foul.

Young gets beat off dribble in zone for pull up 2.

Ramon gets beat in transition for a layup – while ball is on cylinder, another marq player goes over the bank of benji, leveling him to the ground, and hits the rim which is an offensive goaltend. Of course, refs see nothing, score the bucket for MU.

Weak hedge by blair on screen, screens ramon again, heads wrong angle to prevent pass, his man gets layup off of the pick n roll.

Poor box out by blair on FT miss, allows 2 putbacks.

James beat Benji off dribble in Zone, benji and blair collapse, layup for barro.

Backscreen from Blairs man picks brown, he rolls to basket for layup.

Transition, wide open 3. Blair and Brown jogging, Fields knocked to floor.

Biggs man backscreen on Fields, Fields man layup at basket, no help from Brown.

This next sequence is unreal: Pitt is 5 on 4 – thats right, someone from Marquette wasn’t even up the floor. Young thinks Fields has Fitz, but Fields man is the one that is down and out of the play. Young and Fields both leave Fitz wide open for a 3. Yes, Pitt 5 on 4 leaves someone open for a wide open 3. Fortunately, he misses. They are down 24 at this point, im pretty sure there’s nothing to learn after this point.
First, Barro didn’t “own” Blair – their guards owned our guards, causing Blair to help, or causing him to have to hedge all the time – leaving his man wide open. It was a team defense problem. You could have put the worst player in our league in Barros place and he would look like the POY. Blairs defense against their guards was awful.

So, who’s fault was the defense? Who was the worst? Who’s name isn’t listed above? It was 90% because of screens. Our “hedge and recover” is AWFUL when a team runs backscreens instead of the normal “side” screen. We made no adjustments. They ran the same play (and louisville runs this play too, all the time, we better get it figured out fast) over and over and over again, and we never did anything about it.

When we screen, Marquette traps the guard until he picks up his dribble, then they worry about recovering. When we just hedge, we never make the guard pick up the dribble, allowing him a range of options to destroy us with (curl and pass, take the shot themselves, drive, etc). When its clear that we’re beat on the screen, either A) no one helps, or B) someone helps, but no one rotates to his man, and then we leave that guy a wide open shot after one pass. There are so many problems that need fixed, i don’t even know where to begin. I sure hope Dixon does.

Comment by Stuart 02.16.08 @ 4:26 am

PS – i’m calling it now, we beat ND and end their winning streak. And if we meet MU in the tourney we’re going to beat them. It’ll be “Big East Revenge Tour 08” just like “Big East Revenge Tour 07.”

Fields will get back in the swing of things, start running the offense, taking shots, keeping the team together mentally. We’ll be back to top 10 form by the big east tourney. To me this was just another game missing our best player (the kid in the #2 jersey was a shell of a healthy fields) on the road at a ranked opponent. No shame in losing that…

Comment by Stuart 02.16.08 @ 4:30 am

And just remember in Padgets first game back with Louisville they got another home loss to Cinci, to go with home losses to dayton and byu….since then they’ve won 10 of 12, with only 2 road losses, and 5 road wins. Just cause a guys back for his first game doesn’t mean we’re back to 100% as a team. They’ll get this turned around i’m sure, and maybe for once we’ll peak when its important, and not the middle of the season. I still feel better (even with this loss) after seeing Fields out there than i have since he went down. Look at what their PG did to us (5 points, a DOZEN assists) – it’s the most important piece. We’ll be just fine…

Comment by Stuart 02.16.08 @ 4:48 am

Let’s face it. This team just does not have it! How could they play so well against Providence and suck so bad last evening (inconsistency). I know it was a BE road game but this team lacks the one person who can consistently knock down the 3! I thought Ramon was the man, but he has been inconsistent and has those games where he disappears (his shot looked so good against the Friars it is hard to figure how he cannot hit 3 days later). Actually it is the same problem year after year and the major reason we loose in the tournament. Not enough people to stand-up when the team is having a bad night. I could have predicted last night considering how we have played in the past at Marquette. We struggle they have their best night of the year.

I need to see more at ND, but I am not expecting much. We will compete at home but what road games can we win to wrap up the season?

Comment by J.P. 02.16.08 @ 10:04 am

In my opinion, there is not one damn good thing to say about getting blown out on national TV, in prime time! It’s not OK. I would hope that Dixon runs some very spirited practices leading up to the next game.

Comment by HbgFrank 02.16.08 @ 10:25 am

Hard to say anything optimistic after last night. Lacking a big “true” road win is something the selection committee will notice, which makes the ND game a 110% must win.

Despite the terrible shooting, poor shot selection, dumb turnovers, no hustle, and a defense that was nowhere to be seen…I had one burning question: Why in the (insert many profanities here) was Fields still in the game when we had 0 chance of winning?

The guy is coming back from a fracture a MONTH early and now risked flaring it up more, getting stepped on, landing improperly, etc. The blowouts are the types of games where people get hurt (James’ wrist, Blair went down for awhile). Please don’t anyone say that he needs game experience, because that was not the type of game experience he needs.

I’m looking for him to make a positive impact at the end of the season, and both tournaments. Him playing at the end of the game last night had disaster written all over it. I’m disappointed in Dixon.

Speaking of, he has a huge responsibility to get this team prepared both mentally and with basketball for the next 6 games.

Comment by Hail2Pitt 02.16.08 @ 10:58 am


What game did you DVR to be able to state “at least Pitt was playing good defense” in the first half? The defense was only margiinally better in the first half. I am truly concerned about which direction this team is headed. We are in crunch time ( last 10 games etc) and the EFFORT last night was abysmal. I don’t mind losing an away game to a good team, but when the effort is totally lacking this is real cause for concern. We were out hustled from the tip off to the end of the game. That is unacceptable and squarely rests on the shoulders of the players. I hope they can right the ship and put a string of solid victories together and not just keep beating the bottom feeders of the BE. We need the Duke effort for the remainder of the season.

Comment by TMGPanther 02.16.08 @ 11:27 am

If you want to see a team playing worse than Pitt last night tune into the Syr/GU game. Gu down 18 with 7 min to go in 1st half. they have 12 points on 3 FG and 10 turnovers.

Comment by TMGPanther 02.16.08 @ 12:32 pm

MU just refused to play Pitt Ugly Ball, hit all their shots. Only way Pitt could’ve stayed in the game was to counter with made shots of their own.

Everything else is moot! Again, Pitt simply does not score enough points in big games. If we run into Marq. 20 times they beat us 19. Just a bad
match up for Pitt. We better hope we do not run into the other MU (Memphis) if we are lucky enough to make the tourney.

Last but not least, and I say this every year…change up the “motion” offense. It has been scouted to the point that the other team knows our every cut and tendency. Put in some
“flex” or any other pattern …or look.

We’ll be all right but I wouldn’t get my hopes up for either ND or Louisville.

Comment by Dan 72 02.16.08 @ 1:50 pm

Hey everyone. I came down to LA for the weekend and my sister and all her friends are UCLA alumn. A few of them were telling me the big rumor floating around the UCLA message boards is that Dixon is going to be pursued by USC. I told them it absolutely won’t happen. Dixon hated playing Howland so much last year in the tourney (and vice versa) there is no way he would go to Howland’s biggest rival.
But they insist that Dixon is leaving. So that brings me to my questions. If Dixon leaves: (1) who will replace him? (2) will pitt hoops as we know it be done for? In regards to question 2, i am sure it is much more speculative. No one thought Dixon would be able to continue what Howland started to the point now where Dixon has almost stepped out of Howland’s shadow. Just makes me worry.

Comment by wannstache 02.16.08 @ 2:27 pm

wannstache- that coaching carousel has been going around pretty much all the blogs and message boards. to answer your questions (1) most think sean miller, now at xavier and (2) hopefully not

dan hit on something that is key- we need to put some tweaks in the offense. defensively i think the system is fine but the effort abysmal

Comment by kamesh 02.16.08 @ 3:42 pm

I give Ben-e-dick Howland credit for getting the most out of the talent he had at Pitt…But it truly does drive me crazy that people give Howland ALL of the credit for the recent success of Pitt BB. Just to sum it up, Ben Howland was the HC of Northern Arizona before he came Pitt. NOT ARIZONA, NORTHERN ARIZONA. Pitt, not Howland, built a $129M on campus basketball arena. Many would argue that it is the finest college basketball facility in America. Simply put, our arena and fan base put any coach that we have in a very good situation that lends itself to a high probability of success. Trust me, that arena has as much to do with the resurgence of our BB program as any coach has when it comes to recruiting. Lastly, at this point, to give Ben Howland an ounce of credit for anything Jamie Dixion does is just plain ridiculous.

Comment by HbgFrank 02.16.08 @ 5:06 pm

That fan base didn’t exist until Howland put a winning product on the floor. I’ve been a Pitt hoops fan since the Eastern Eight and the support and interest around this area (and the country) for Pitt basketball was never like this under the regimes that preceded Howland/Dixon. Arenas don’t create fan bases……just look at the Pirates dwindling attendance every year to prove that point.

I’d hate to ever find out, but if Dixon had a couple bad years, you’d find out pretty quickly how fair weather the Pitt hoops fan base is.

Give credit to Howland for the teams he put on the floor and the program he built.

Comment by gb 02.16.08 @ 6:59 pm

This game is emblematic of the problem Pitt has had for the last 4-5 years. If you go back and look at the games Pitt loses, it almost always comes down to poor shooting. And the killer is it’s the wide-open shots, the ones that should be close to automatic for a top-tier team. You look at the Dukes, UNCs, etc. of the world, and they make the large majority of their open shots. Early in the season, so were we, and that was why I was so optimistic about the chances of going very far in the tourney. But this team has now gone backward in its shooting. If we hit the open shots in the first half, we go into the locker room half at worst down a bucket, and then it’s an entirely different ball game.

Going forward, Dixon has GOT to get more shooters. Good defense can only get you so far, and you cannot depend on players developing into good shooters, as has happened with Sam Young. That has got to become a priority.

Comment by Carmen 02.16.08 @ 8:29 pm

Carm, your comments are right on the money. Pitt’s problems are nothing new. They are the same deficiencies that have kept Pitt from advancing beyond the sweet sixteen each year. Again, second tier players can only take you so far, and the sweet sixteen seems to be the end of the road. Jp’s comments are also valid. This team has no consistency, and inconsistent teams usually lose, and this team is getting good in that department. Dan, your comment about Marquette being a poor matchup for Pitt may be an understatement. Aweful may be a better term. Pray they get eliminated before we have to play them in the BE tournament, or there’s going to be a lot of disappointed Pitt fans. Lastly, Hail2Pitt made a super point as to why Fields was in the game after all America knew it was over. Evidently, everyone except Dixon saw the kid limping. Personally, I simply believe we can cure many of the above mentioned problems by recruiting better players. Plain and simply, the cream rises to the top in big games, and right now, we don’t have an abundance of cream.

Comment by ltl 02.16.08 @ 9:17 pm

UAB beating Memphis by 7 with 2 minutes left

Comment by TMGPanther 02.16.08 @ 10:03 pm

Memphis appears to have pulled off the win

Comment by TMGPanther 02.16.08 @ 10:12 pm

This team is beginning to remind me of the 2004-05 squad that lost to Pacific in the NCCA first round. Or maybe they are not as good as the 2004-05 squad.

Comment by TonyinHouston 02.17.08 @ 8:31 am

I read in the trib today that Pastell(sp?) and Webster transferred to Univ of Cal (PA) which opened up 2 shollies for this year’s recruiting class.

Comment by Fcuk Paterno 02.17.08 @ 9:58 am

This is not the 04-05 squad. That team had players who only played when they felt like it. (Chris Taft) That team also got jobbed on having to fly to Idaho. It turned into a 22 hour flight and then they had to play at noon PST or 8:00 am our time.

Comment by Tony In Harrisburg 02.17.08 @ 11:26 am

gb, Are you telling me that the Pete does not play a major role in our recruiting? Or, are you saying that if there never was a Pete and we contiuned to play at the field house, that Howland and Dixon would have had the same success? I can tell you that Howland was using drawings of the Pete to recruit kids before a shovel ever hit the ground. Once again, Pitt put a good coach in very favorable conditions for success (with Howland and Dixon). You are right that success leads to more fan support, but you are wrong to think that the Pete has not had a role in the improvement of our program.

Comment by HbgFrank 02.17.08 @ 12:54 pm

Pitt needs to start getting better athletes in here , I know over the past couple years Dixon has tried! Pitt teams struggle in the NCAA Tourney becasue tey can’t adjust to the game when not being played in the Big East. I mean look at last years class(07) besides Blair and Wannamaker who else has potential. McGhee is a big 7 foot stiff. Diggs, what does he bring to the table? Where these guys recruited by any other D-1 schools. Gil Brown who is a reshirt is the best althlete on the team. He just needs to get more confident on the offensive side. Pitt is in a catch 22 position. Over the last 6-7 years they have one of the best winning percentages in the country, been to 6 str8 NCAA’s, 3 Sweet 16’s but on the other hand lost to lessor teams in the tourney like Pacific, can’t make it past the Sweet 16, lost I think 4 of the last 5 BigEast Championships. They have to start winning games away from home, they have get further in the NCAA’s, they need better recruits. What is Antigua and Knight doing over there. If you look at it team from team as far as athletes around the Pittsburgh area Pitt is third. (1)Duquense, (2)Robert Morris (3)Pitt.

Comment by Jason 02.17.08 @ 2:41 pm

I think everyone is overreacting a bit here. We lost 2 starters for the majority of our season. You can not forget about that! I think this team has done just fine considering the circumstances. Who knows whered we be at with Cook and Feilds the entire year?!?

Anyway, the Marquette game was ugly to say the least. But theres still 6 leagues games left before the post season! Lets let Levance get back into it and see if we can get into a grove before the big dance!

Comment by Matt D 02.17.08 @ 3:07 pm

Boy I wish I had the optimism of some of you guys, but the reality of the matter is, we don’t have the talent to take us deep into the tournament, if we even get there the way we are playing. Size issues inside are beginning to become a glaring weakness. You can’t expect two forwards, and that’s exactly what Blair is, to compete night in and night out with true centers ranging from 6’10 to 7’3. Sorry, but that’s too much to ask of any kid 6’7, let alone a true freshman. And yes Young’s a quality player, but then again good big men will eventually dominate good small on the inside. These guys have tried so hard, but it appears they are wearing down. They need reinforcements and that’s where our recruiting has let us down. Personally, it appears teams like ND. and Louisville are headed in one direction, up, and we are definitely heading in the other direction. To be honest with you, I’ll be very surprised if we even beat the Cuses. Match up problems will again become a issue, and they are gaining confidence while we appear to be losing it. I hope I’m wrong, but don’t count on it.

Comment by ltl 02.17.08 @ 3:59 pm

When we had cook and fields we had a legit chance of making the final four. When you lose two starters and have to play a lot of freshman you are going to be inconsistent and some nights, like fri., look like absolute crap. When fields gets back to 100% we will be fine

Comment by dan 02.17.08 @ 4:24 pm

Jason, what the heck is your point placing duquesne and RM ahead of Pitt for getting “athletes”. Are you serious? You made some good points until you got to the end. did you fall off the bluff and hit your head!!

Comment by TMGPanther 02.17.08 @ 7:42 pm

Yeah, I’m willing to wait until Fields is back and 100% before I write this season off. Even if we lose @ Notre Dame (which a lot of teams seem to be doing), it won’t be the end of the world. Making the tourney is the number one priority, and Pitt has proven that even though the consistency isn’t necessarily there, they CAN run with any team in the country. Just ask Mike Krzyzewski. If we get there, and go on a run, no one will remember that we lost to Marquette by 20.

Comment by Will 02.17.08 @ 9:03 pm

I love it. usually it’s after the ncaa tourney when the complaints about not having enough talent is why we lose. so after all of the injuries, are we expecting too much from this team? who cares, we’re pitt fans…we expect championships.

so i’ll throw another question out there. what will it take to get that top recruit to come to pitt? we recruit guys to fit into our system, thus we don’t go out and get superstars. superstars tend to go to schools where they can be superstars. look at eric gordon for indiana and beasley for kansas state. can dixon get one to sign? or are we going to say after every tourney loss: “we need that superstar to take over a game and win it”?

Comment by Hail2Pitt 02.17.08 @ 9:48 pm

We have to make impermissible phone calls? Recruiting violations? Dixon needs to get a DUI? That’s what i hear when someone mentions schools like that…next we’re gonna complain we don’t get enough fball recruits like U$C.

Contrary to popular belief, the world is not ending. Wait til fields is back to 100%, everyone will be right back on the bandwagon thursday night when we beat ND.

Comment by Stuart 02.17.08 @ 10:23 pm

This season was a question mark to begin with even WITH Cook and Fields. Remember, we lost several key players, including our best one. Then we happened to beat Duke and perceptions did a 180.

As for the MU game, we don’t match up well with them, especially on the road. We probably would have lost this game even with all of our players at 100% health. It’s too bad we were killed, made us look worse than we are.

My biggest long term concern is that Pitt’s defense and physical play have really plunged in quality in the past few years. I was mortified to see how awful D we played on Friday night. Man to Man was dismal and Zone was worse. And how weak and passive overall. Is this the team of Chevy Troutman and Ontario Lett? The MU penetrations were wanton. Past Pitt teams still might have lost, but would have bludgeoned those guys to bloody pulps when they dared enter the lane. I was ashamed of the effort and the lack of physicality. Hopefully it was just an aberration, but I think it’s been the trend. We’ve gotten away from hardnosed D and physical play in an effort to attract more “star” recruits and better shooters. Unfortunately, for whatever reason (Wrong targets? Perception of our program? Lax assistants? Dixon can’t close? Plain bad luck) we haven’t really gotten them. When someone said we are recruiting to fit our program above, I actually don’t think that’s happening. I’m not sure WHAT the thinking is regarding recruiting. I frankly think we are aiming for better talent, not getting it, and settling for less. Maybe that’s the niche we’re destined for … not all can be UNC, Duke and UConn I guess.

Comment by geeman2001 02.17.08 @ 10:53 pm

After all of the above I don’t want to suggest I’m down on the program. I remember the Dark Ages of Kelli Taylor (*drinkee drinkee*) and the punk who stole the jewelry during the Nova road trip. I’m grateful the program is very good to excellent every year for nearly a decade now, largely doing it with legit students and not goons and thugs. Aaron Gray was as fantastic representative for the university as any program could have. As I said, not everyone can be elite. Basketball doesn’t have 40 scholarships. We should also remember that programs like Syracuse and UConn didn’t make the elite jump for many, many years after being merely “very good”. And they had to sell their souls (Anthony, El-Amin, etc.) to do so.

As for the here and now, we have to shore up our D and rebounding to steal 3 more games somehow, or else make some kind of phenomenal run in New York. And I agree the ND game might be critical (need a good road win). Otherwise, face it, the conference is so good, numbers will work against us (the BE usually doesn’t get as many teams as we deserve in the NCAAs). We might just be NIT bound. Wouldn’t be the worst tragedy in the world.

Comment by geeman2001 02.17.08 @ 11:05 pm

Hail2pitt- For pitt to land top recruits we have to show we can get em to the NBA. That is the bottom line.

Comment by dan 02.17.08 @ 11:11 pm

Geeman – thanks for the memory – the punk who stole the jewelry was….Fred Primus. And I agree with you regarding the quality of the kids.

Comment by Kevin 02.18.08 @ 7:24 am

Da in trouble

Comment by Delta Airlines 02.18.08 @ 8:18 am

This could be good news here for both Droney and Patterson:

link to

Comment by Mark 02.18.08 @ 8:27 am

Whoever wrote that the season expectations did a 180 after the Duke win is absolutely correct and I almost wish it hadn’t happened. That game was an absolute mess (yes, admittedly an enjoyable one) and it shouldn’t have led everyone to believe that Pitt was a Top 10 squad.

Even with a healthy Fields and Cook this team wasn’t headed for a great post-season and many of the issues have been rightly mentioned in the thread above 1) They’re not big AND they lack depth inside 2) Their defense is not consistent, 3)They’ve had some nights where they struggle to score (which is normal for the program), but they’re also had some nights where the effort wasn’t there….which is something we’re not used to seeing.

They’ll be marginally better with Fields back, because he’s a good PG, but it’s not like we’re bringing back Chris Paul…….so all the folks that have been idealizing his game while he’s been out need to come back to reality.

I think beating ND is certainly possible and beating L-ville at home is also do-able. Think Pitt will struggle up in the Carrier Dome and could easily lose at the Coliseum. It should be a pretty quiet end to the season, I’m guessing, and I don’t see things radically improving next year with the recruiting class JD has coming in.

By the way, all of this is fine with me. I’m pretty satisfied with a program that goes to the NCAAs every year and at least challenges for the BE title every couple years.


Comment by gb 02.18.08 @ 8:39 am

Gb, I loved your comments. While some will deem you pessimistic, I simply view you as realistic. Just because people make comments about weaknesses Pitt has, and how they think the program can improve, doesn’t make them any less loyal to the program. As gb stated, I also remember when Pitt was a doormat program that couldn’t attract as many fans as a poor class A high school program. And I would hope the fan base now has matured enough during these winning years not to abandon the panthers even if things don’t work out this season as we hope. I will stick to my guns and admit, I still wonder why Pitt can’t attract more four or occasionally five star hoopers. That doesn’t mean necessarily the superstar, but simply the above average player. Too many of our recent recruits appear to be project players. Yes, Dixon has done well with these players, but for every Gray, you have a Diggs. And it’s hard for me to believe that all the so called “Elite Players” can’t fit into Dixon’s system. There was a coach in North Carolina that taught a similiar system and he did quite well with elite players. Does M. Jordan ring a bell? That’s not to say, we need that caliber of player, but my point is, good players can share the ball and play defense. Sometimes it’s a cop out when we say the elite player can’t fit into our system. It’s a poor excuse because I believe Pitt has as much to offer a kid as any school in the nation. The facilities are top notch, the education is great, and you have coaches that care. So you tell me, why shouldn’t we expect to get some of the best high school players? And like Gb, I am satisfied with the program, but should we become stagnant or still dream to get better?

Comment by ltl 02.18.08 @ 12:00 pm

To be clear, I am not writing off this season. And I totally disagree with the idea that this was not a team that could make the last 8, perhaps more, with a healthy Cook and Fields. For all of his shortcomings, Cook was hitting open jumpers and, as importantly, making free throws. Fields is no Chris Paul, but he has proven repeatedly that, in the clutch, he is a go-to guy. If Fields can get back to near where he was prior to the injury, and the poor shooting can be remedied, even just somewhat, this could still be a sweet 16 team.

Comment by Carmen 02.18.08 @ 12:31 pm

pitt out of the espn/usa today top 25 🙁

Comment by chris 02.18.08 @ 2:27 pm

Where is our leader – Chas? Hope everything is ok with him.

Comment by TMGPanther 02.18.08 @ 3:31 pm

hate to say it but the ND game has become a Must Win for our boys. We always play well at ND and must have an inside game to win. Been really upset at Young, Biggs, McPhee et al running away from Blair under the bucket.

If we lose ND, Louisville has MQ guards + Padget,
then a very tough Cinncy team, Cuse on the road and WVU at the snakepit….we could be NIT bound.

Let’s stop it at ND and make a stand!!

Comment by Dan 72 02.18.08 @ 6:54 pm

Anyone else just hear Dixon discuss Blair’s sprained MCL….that is no small injury!!

Comment by Dan 72 02.18.08 @ 7:39 pm

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