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January 20, 2010

No liveblog for tonight’s game. I’m on DVR delay with other things that I have to do. I will have a post for an open thread later.

I’m sure everyone saw the Sunday feature on DeJuan Blair. Not a lot to add to it. I didn’t expect him to have any regrets, and he does stand to make even more money with playoff paychecks. Unlike a lot of other rookies on crappy teams.

Slam had a review of some top players from top NE Ohio teams that faced off. This included Pitt commit, Cameron Wright.

Cameron Wright | 6-5 | SG | Cleveland Benedictine | 2010
Killa Cam had a bit of an off night, not really getting too many shots to drop and doing the majority of his damage from the foul line. The athletic wing didn’t get to show off his nasty bounce and wasn’t shooting the ball especially well from the perimeter, but as usual, straight up put the clamps on people defensively. Wright finished with 14 points, in what was a bit of an off night offensively for the Pitt recruit.

He made plays on both ends down the stretch. The defense is what will allow him an opportunity to crack the rotation at Pitt sooner than with just offense.

A mention in Pat Forde’s rundown column at listing teams and people who were not on lists to start the season.

Why we used to care: The Panthers have been models of hard-nosed consistency, winning 25 or more games seven of the past eight seasons.

Why we stopped caring: They lost their leading scorer of the past two seasons (Sam Young). And their leading rebounder of the past two seasons (DeJuan Blair). And their leading assist man of the past two seasons (Levance Fields). Then they lost in December to rebuilding Indiana.

Why we care now: Look who is 5-0 in the Big East, with road victories over Syracuse, Cincinnati and UConn. The Panthers are characteristically among the best in the nation defensively and on the glass, and are sharing the ball beautifully on offense.

While Omar seethes, Gene Collier writes another column on how surprising Pitt is/has been at this point.

For the moment, Pitt seems to revalidate itself every time the lights go on. It has been a short road and somehow an incredible distance from a place where this team was beating Wofford at home by three on Nov. 13. That Pitt has advanced all the way to serious national scrutiny and throbbing local enthusiasm is a wonder, but, further, an unexpected challenge.

“There’s definitely been a lot of support, which is the great thing about Pittsburgh in general and especially from the Oakland Zoo,” Gibbs said. “It’s been great to have that support system. The thing is, you don’t want to get too confident. My parents have always taught me, if you stay humble and work hard, good things will happen. It’s exciting right now; I’m getting a lot more texts, but you can’t lose focus on what we’re trying to do. It’s all about winning games.”

Pitt will lose games (hopefully not tonight), and as I keep repeating, they will stumble. They will even look lost at points. That would happen regardless of whether Pitt was overachieving with a reloaded/rebuilt team or a veteran group. That happens to every team at some point in the season. preview of tonght’s game sees the deciding issue being which backcourt plays better.

Jim Calhoun taking a ten day break for medical reasons. No official reason from the school other than to say it is for “temporary medical issues, none of which involve any previous medical conditions.” The unofficial reason is stress related.

Calhoun has previously had bouts with cancer (prostate and skin), heart problems and broken ribs. I realize it is supposed to reassure in recruiting that the more serious issues haven’t re-occurred, but is it that much better to not disclose the reason other than to say, “Hey, he’s got new health issues, but really they are just temporary.”

That said, I hope he gets well and we can get back to hating him.

I agree with Omar. While this team is ahead of where I thought it would be, I am on record as saying that the team would develop into a very good team by the end of the regular season, and would reach a ninth straight NCAA Tournament. I made the comment after the Indiana loss. I believe Omar also stated early on that this team was headed for the NCAA’s. The reason I felt that way is the talent we have on our roster and in our coaches. Our BB recruiting classes have improved if you compare the last four years to the four years prior to that. Throw in a great coaching staff and you get results. This is a great era for Pitt BB. The perfect storm of ingredients came together to make it happen: Great coaches, talented players, solid fan base, and (don’t sell this one short for its impact) perhaps the finest college basketball arena in the country. If you want to thank someone for all of this, please stop heaping the praise on Ben Howland. He had his impact, but he was only a role player. The real architect of this great era of Pitt basketball was and is Steve Pederson. Thank you Mr. Pederson.

Comment by HbgFrank 01.20.10 @ 12:59 pm

Did you see garry parish’s preview of our game on cbs sports… its hilarious.. he is like im never picking against pitt again. Pitt always and forever.

Comment by snala the panther 01.20.10 @ 2:49 pm

a win at Syracuse whom we always play well against is one thing … but 3 straight road wins against good BE teams .. we didn’t even do that last year.

Am I postive that this a Top 10 team? No But this team is by no means a fraud.

Cameron Wright appears to be a Dixon prototype guard (Gibbs notwithstanding)…. defense 1st, rebound 2nd, slasher 3rd, shooter last

Comment by wbb 01.20.10 @ 3:10 pm

The IU game wasn’t the low point in my mind — it was the City Game. The Dukes are improving and Everheart is a good coach, but Pitt was just dreadful in this game and looked completely out of sorts against an inferior opponent who couldn’t win a game that was practically being handed to them. Unlike the opener vs. Wofford, an experienced if less talented team, the City Game was deep enough into the pre conference schedule for genuine concern.

I’m glad they’re proving me wrong. Part of me still worries that this is a little too good to be true.

Comment by Ghost of Horn Man 01.20.10 @ 4:18 pm

When do we know if JJ is going to be cleared to play?

Comment by Jack 01.20.10 @ 4:36 pm

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