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January 3, 2009

Pitt is the Headliner

Not a surprise to be the lead at ESPN.com’s college bball page

My less homerific recap of the game is at FanHouse.

Maybe I’m just negative, but I am holding my breath to find out what the status of Gilbert Brown and his left shoulder is. Hopefully it’s just a stinger and they didn’t feel like risking anything. This and the Rutgers game, was showing how much better and confident he was feeling as he was coming back from various injuries.

It is no exaggeration to say that the only thing keeping Georgetown in the game for the first half was DaJuan Summers. 16 points on 6-9 shooting and 3-3 on threes. And he was doing that even with the defense on him. He was — as Dan Shulman put it — shooting over the defense. Not much you can do when a guy was that hot. The rest of G-town was shooting 3-18, 1-7. Well, the FT shooting helped them too. They went 8-10.

In the second half, even as Georgetown initially got closer and even, I was a little less worried. The refs were letting the teams bang a bit more inside. I was annoyed at first since Pitt was being hacked, but then it became apparent that the refs were calling it both ways, so that only helped Pitt with controlling the paint. Georgetown looked unwilling or unable to battle in the paint.

Georgetown went with the typical strategy of doing everything to keep Pitt on the perimeter. To try and deny the ball inside. The problem was that while Pitt shot poorly on 3s again, Georgetown was in no position to get rebounds. They had no answer for Blair. But Biggs, Young and plenty of Pitt players were getting right in there to grab the ball. Plus, while Pitt may not have made from outside the perimeter, the Panthers were 29-49 inside the arc.

I’m still waiting for Levance Field to come around on offense. His shot has no touch or confidence. Like those of us watching, it seems that he isn’t sure what will happen when he shoots.

It is a joy to see the light go on for players. It’s been that way for Biggs all season. For Brad Wanamaker it seems to have happened in the past couple games. He looks so comfortable coming into the line-up right now. He knows what he’s supposed to do and is embracing it. He doesn’t look intimidated out there.

Almost lost in all of this was Sam Young. He struggled a little in the first half — clearly trying to show friends and family — but was the team player he thrives as in the second half. He finished with 14 points and 8 rebounds.

Oh, and this.

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I think Pitt looked awesome. True balance and great D. After watching the GTown UConn game I thought Pitt was going to be in trouble but wow did they look good. Blair is just an animal and G. Brown has to get more minutes. I wasn’t a believer at #3 but they have it all – point guard, bench, coaching, front court, back court … the only negative is 3 point shooting but if they control the boards like they did it won’t matter. The start of this season is very exciting.

Comment by artj91 01.03.09 @ 5:00 pm

Well-coached, deep, focused, no-fear, defense first. Individual talent subjugated to the needs of the TEAM. To talk about any individual player demeans TEAM.

Chris Dokish, can you say “synergy?” Nah, you don’t even know what it means.

Comment by steve 01.03.09 @ 5:04 pm

Pitt’s Legit > Blair Pitt Project

Comment by merlin 01.03.09 @ 6:35 pm

Why trash Dokish? Of all the media, he has been the most glowing of Pitt basketball over the years. In fact, he recently wrote that Dixon could win a ton of games with the waterboy at point guard because he tuns his players into gold. And the fact that he has the best scoops means the Pitt staff must trust him, too. I don’t get that one.

Comment by Mark 01.03.09 @ 6:46 pm

Great game, but can ESPN PLEASE get rid of Doug Gottleib. Seriously, he was just on Sportscenter talking about how bad Pitt shot from 3 point range, pointing to that as the reason they are inferior to UNC. THEY JUST BEAT THE #8 TEAM IN THE NATION ON THE ROAD! Oh yeah, I forgot, Gottleib thinks the Big East sucks, so I guess neither of these teams is going anywhere. What a moron. Say Doug, how did Oklahoma (the best team in your beloved Big 12) do against SEC bottom feeder Arkansas? Oh, sorry.

Comment by hail2pitt 01.03.09 @ 7:24 pm

Chris Dokish provides great info on recruiting and I thank him for that. However, I think he over-dissects individual players and in the process misses out on cosmic-thingee.

Thus:

“Q: How do you think the team has performed early in the season?

A: Pretty much as expected, though I am impressed with how the big three of Sam Young, DeJuan Blair, and Levance Fields are playing right off the bat. And the staff thinks Sam Young hasn’t even found his shot yet. So he’s only going to get better.

I didn’t think the rest of the team would be anything more than role players this year, especially the young players, and so far that has been the case, but players like Biggs and Dixon could be solid and give about 8 ppg each this year. That’s enough if they do other things well and the big three stay at a top level. If Gilbert Brown comes back healthy then that would be a great addition, to say the least, and he could be starting at the two when the games get tougher.”

etc.

Comment by steve 01.03.09 @ 7:28 pm

It’s been nice to see Wanamaker, Brown and Biggs mature over the last few games. Both those guys are giving the team a lot of solid minutes.

Now if Jermaine Dixon could only find his shot…

Comment by Jeff 01.03.09 @ 7:37 pm

He sounded right on with that. Biggs and Dixon are role players and Brown now being healthy has been a great addition. I think Pitt fans get defended when somebody calls their players role players but that’s what they are. It’s not an insult. It just means the player has a role. Young and Blair are the stars, and Fields is somewhat of one because he can take over a game sometimes, too. But nobody else can. Therefore they are role players. And they do a great job as role players. Biggs has all year and now Wanamaker and Brown are.

Comment by Mark 01.03.09 @ 7:49 pm

Dokish never, ever says anything about chemistry, coaching, motivation, self-sacrifice, defense. Would you disagree that these factors are important to the team’s success?

These are serious errors of omission.

Comment by steve 01.03.09 @ 7:59 pm

Maybe Gottlieb will get kicked out of ESPN just like he got kicked out of Notre Dame.

Comment by Joey D 01.03.09 @ 8:55 pm

Yeah, maybe Gottlieb will steal Dickie V’s credit card and ESPN will be forced to boot him ust like ND did.

Comment by PittinFt.Lauderdale 01.03.09 @ 8:59 pm

Just got back from DC…great Pitt turn-out, at least a third of the crowd turned out to be Pitt homers! The Verizon Center on the other hand is not a great venue, but overall a fun weekend…I would definitely recommend visiting DC for a weekend, especially if it includes a beat down of a Hoyas team!…

Comment by Marco 01.03.09 @ 9:51 pm

When they are hitting the mid-range jump shots, don’t mind the missed 3s as much. Great game. Love seeing Biggs finally playing within himself and seeing Wannamaker really developing into a scoring threat.

Just enjoyable to watch such domination.

Comment by Carmen 01.03.09 @ 10:57 pm

Great game !!! Big Win!!! I Love It !!!

Comment by Joe Pa 01.04.09 @ 12:06 am

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