March 28, 2011

Back From A Layoff

Filed under: Basketball,Bloggers — Chas @ 9:51 am

I know that I’ve been barely missed with Reed taking the spring football coverage to an area never seen on this site before.

It’s been one of those weeks. Kids sick all week, and then my sister and brother-in-law came for a visit over the weekend. My sister, by the way and with all the irony it entails, lives in Houston. No not at all painful to think about that. At least it was an excuse to avoid watching any game involving Butler.

I have been able to watch the NCAA Tournament this week, except for Butler games. The pain is somewhat numb at this point, but I may never be able to look at Matt Howard without muttering expletives.

Last week — after Pitt lost, but before the NCAA Tourney restarted — I answered some questions from Pittsburgh Sports Daily. You can take a look here.

good to have you back Chas…

our esteemed Pittsburgh columnists seem deadset to blame a lack of talent on our March troubles:
link to

apparently they didnt watch the NCAA tournament this year… you know, the one with VCU and Butler in the Final 4… which have a bunch of scrubs on their rosters

Comment by DeVanzo 03.28.11 @ 10:11 am

Im not sure if watching this weeks games made me feel better or worse about Pitt? On one hand, at least Uconn and Butler proved that Pitt lost two very close games (1 point each) to two very good teams that eventually ended up in the Final Four and could be a national champion.

On the other hand I cant help but feel that Pitt truly is cursed. How is it that Pitt always catches the hot hand or the hot team at the absolutley worst possible times? I know there have been many so let me just briefly recap our misery:

2002: Antonio Gates scoring 22 for Kent State to knock pitt out in the sweet sixteen round

2003: Dwayne Wade scoring 22 and throwing in a miracle layup with seconds to play.

2004: Tony Allen scoring 23 for Oklahoma State and some other scrub that got hot in the second half.

2005: who can forget the mighty Pacific team that downded us in the opening round

2006: Patrick Bryant scores a career high 28 for 13th seed Bradley to knock Pitt out – once again the hot team strikes. Bradley beat the 4th seed Kansas in the first round.

2007: lost to UCLA and Ben Howland, that was fun

2008: Drew Neitzel scores 21 including 5 three pointers for Michigan State to dump Pitt.

2009: Scottie Reynolds with the length of the court last second layup to prevent Pitt from reaching the Final Four

2010: Xaviers Jordan Crawford scores 27 and Pitt loses to the 6th seed.

2011: Yes the Mighty Butler Bulldogs strike again and defeat Pitt in an unbelievable ending that you couldn’t write. Mack shoots out of his mind beyond nba three point range and once again Pitt misses out on opportunity.

uggghhhhh that is about as disappointing as it gets. I truly believe Pitt is its own worst enemy. They seem to have this Chicago cubs like curse. I am waiting for Steve Bartman to show up and do something stupid.

Comment by Coach Ditka 03.28.11 @ 10:30 am

yet, somehow, we never are on the other side

we havent beat one team with more talent in the Tournament since Dixon was hired…

data doesnt lie

Comment by DeVanzo 03.28.11 @ 10:39 am

always a caveat… i love everything about Dixon other than his March results

at this point, ive run out of excuses for why he cant win when it counts

and I think UCONN winning 5 games in 5 days then going to the Final 4 can end all of the dumb arguments about how we used to do “too well”in the Big East tourney and were tired

that was such a load of crap… but just another example of Pitt fans finding any excuse other than blaming Dixon for Dixon’s poor March results

Comment by DeVanzo 03.28.11 @ 10:41 am

Pitt’s luck will turn. It’s been a long and bad cycle thus far, but the other half is coming our way.

Comment by TX Panther 03.28.11 @ 10:57 am

It could have been Pitt vs VCU. Damn!

Comment by Pittastic 03.28.11 @ 11:07 am

Look at the facts 19 of the past 20 national champions have had on there team at least one some times two NBA first round draft picks. So if we want to move on in the NCAA we need better players lets hope KB is the real thing. the blue chips dont come here because coach does not want stars he want team players but they want to be stars coach needs to change a little becuse talent will win out in the end and take you to the top.The system can only take you so far as we see year after year.

Comment by FRANKCAN 03.28.11 @ 11:24 am

It is amazing that after ten years and all of the talent that we were never on the right end of a big win. You would think that just by luck we would catch fire for three of four games one year but it never seems to happen. Pitt has always missed that one player that can simply take a game over.

It is so disappointing (as a Pitt fan) to see other teams that have achieved so much less than Pitt reach the Final Four…George Mason, VCU, Butler, and so on….and Pitt cant even get there once.

Comment by Coach Ditka 03.28.11 @ 11:29 am

FRANKCAN: You keep harping on this NBA draft statistic, so let me make a little fact correction. Those NBA draft picks were not all one-and-done players. Most were 3 and 4 year players, so Jamie’s system of developing talent and team will work. He just needs to up the incoming recruiting level a bit. That’s been happening starting with getting Dante and Lamar, both ESPNU Top 100 guys two years ago, Moore last year and Birch and Gilbert coming next year, so he’s on the right track.

Coach Ditka: We all feel cursed and disappointed because we’re Pitt fans, but I’d sure hate to be a Kansas fan. As Chas said to Pgh Sports Daily, Kansas has had far more blue-chip recruits, so who’s the bigger disappointment? Sure, you can point to the 2008 NC, but that team had 5 NBA picks starting for them and their path to the Final Four was an 8, 12 and 10 seed (hmm, a lot like this year). Even then, it took a little luck to get to the Final Four and win the NC game.

Two other things about that Kansas team: 1 starter was a senior, 2 were juniors and 2 were sophs. In their minds, they had to know that if they didn’t make it this year, there was always next year. That takes a lot of pressure off, and I think pressure is one of the reasons this year’s Kansas and Pitt teams didn’t get it done. They were both senior laden teams with high expectations from their fans. Has to weigh on a kid’s mind, don’t you think?

Like others, I’d like to see a talented Pitt team either underseeded or underclassmen dominated or both entering tourney season. I think you might see a different result.

Comment by TampaT 03.28.11 @ 11:51 am

I went out and bought 4 tickets to the final 4 and the championship game in Houston in anticipation of Pitt advancing.

I was very disappointed after the Butler game and the tickets were expensive.

My largest customer has a few VCU grads that are employed there and now I will get to write them off as a business expense!

Who would have thought!


I would be rather watching Pitt!

Comment by James from Dallas 03.28.11 @ 11:53 am

Tampa, I agree that Kansas was a big disappointment as were most of the highly seeded teams this year but at the end of the day Kansas had their share of final fours and national titles…Pitt still has none 🙁

In a way it was like the Steeler super bowl this year. Sure it would have been great to win but we’ve had a lot of recent success so the loss was a little easier to swallow. And you could realistically say there is always next year.

Just so disappointing on so many levels…

Comment by Coach Ditka 03.28.11 @ 11:58 am

put this in an earlier post but incase you missed it…ESPN2 tonight 7:30pm McD’s dunk contest…I believe Birch is in it

Comment by OntarioLett'sGoPitt 03.28.11 @ 12:00 pm

Chas, two P-G articles from yesterday (Sunday) you should check out.

One is the report that if all 5 incoming recruits qualify, 2 present players have to exit … a decisio that may not occur until the fall. The other is a story about Jermaine Dixon who is playing pro in Japan and experienced the earthquake (he is safe.)

Comment by wbb 03.28.11 @ 12:05 pm

TampaT up the recuiting level that is what i said also glad you see my point facts are facts we need better player. Lets hope KB is the first of many more blue chips.

Comment by FRANKCAN 03.28.11 @ 12:10 pm

Coach Ditka: If you look at the history of Kansas, sure they have 3 NC. But, this is the school where the inventor of feakin’ basketball coached. Don’t you think basketball is an important sport for them?

For the most part, basketball has been an afterthought at Pitt. We’re a FOOTBALL SCHOOL. That is until Ben and Jamie showed up. Kansas got left at the altar by Williams moving to Carolina just like we did by Howland to UCLA, but Williams followed Larry Brown, so the program-building comparison goes out the window immediately.

So, comparing apples-to-apples, Jamie-to-Self, Kansas has 1 Final Four and 1 NC – that 2008 team I just talked about. Again, with a load more talent than Jamie’s had.

Comment by TampaT 03.28.11 @ 12:18 pm

FRANKCAN: I don’t disagree that Pitt needed to up it’s talent level. I can name a dozen Pitt players under Ben and Jamie who I loved as college players, but only a few who are NBA-level talents. Talent doesn’t always guarantee tourney success, as DeVanzo pointed out, but it does increase your odds.

Again, it’s not about one-and-dones. Pitt has 3 or 4 players on their roster right now who could develop into NBA-level players, over time. Think Sam Young vs. DeJuan Blair. And, don’t put too much on Birch. The kid has top-level raw talent, but don’t be surprised if he’s at Pitt for 2 maybe even 3 years and don’t be shocked if he doesn’t even start next year. I’m not alone in that feeling.

Comment by TampaT 03.28.11 @ 12:32 pm

Maynbe I’m naive but I haven’t given up on Taylor into blossoming into a really good player and a draftable pro. While I don’t expect him to have the strength or overall defensive skills of McGhee, I believe we will be able to start feeding the low post again next year. I also believe Jon Moore may develop into a really good talent.

Comment by wbb 03.28.11 @ 12:55 pm

Those are two on my list, wbb.

I also have a lot of hope for Patterson. The kid’s got game and I think we’ll see him start to show it a little more next year, especially if he starts.

My 4th is Zanna. Tons of raw talent. He just needs to learn the game and keep his head straight while doing that.

And, I’m never counting out Gibbs. He has the bball smarts and works harder on his game than anyone. I can imagine him playing all summer wearing 20 lb. ankle weights to increase his speed and hops. With his shot, I could see him as a role player in the mold of Steve Kerr.

Comment by TampaT 03.28.11 @ 1:22 pm

My main concern next year is the short back court PITT will be playing with Gibbs and Woodall. I hope they are both better defensively next year.

Comment by Pittastic 03.28.11 @ 1:30 pm

I am hoping we make a push to move to the Horizon League. Thats our only hope.

Comment by Coach Ditka 03.28.11 @ 2:46 pm

Come on talent does guarantee success in NCAA national champs 19 of 20 national champs have had first round NBA players on them only one did not thoes are the facts can you do it with out that kind of player yes once out of 20 times . And i dont want to wait 20 years he has stared to bring in better players that is good i am just saying he may need to change his thinking alittle bit and tell these players they can be stars and give up on the system thing a little bit to get more blue chips so we can win it all talent might not win it all every year but wont go any were with out it.

Comment by FRANKCAN 03.28.11 @ 5:45 pm

Just watched Khem Birch in the dunk contest he had no fire he looked bad did not make me jump for joy hope he looks better in the game.

Comment by FRANKCAN 03.28.11 @ 8:33 pm

FRANKCAN, how many teams with at least one first round NBA player did not win a National Championship? If there is a relationship between the two, then that number should be very low…Devanzo is right on this one…Its just a tired excuse to say we did not make it to the final four because we don’t have first round NBA talent…There is no team left in this final four that was better than Pitt this year. If we played Butler 100 times, we would win at least 80 of those games…Do you know how I know that…Because this Pitt team could play Evansville, Milwaukee, Wright St., Valparaiso, and my favorite, Youngstown St., 100 times each and never lose a game to any of them. Much less lose to all of them in one season (Milwaukee 2x) as Butler did this season! I’d say we beat VCU 90%, UCONN 60%, and Kentucky 50-50. We had the talent to get to the final four this year (and two years ago)…What does talent have to do with giving up a layup with the game on the line, or getting a shot clock violation with a one point lead and less than 45 seconds in the game? Those were mental mistakes…we just blew it! I’ve posted this before, its time to take the kid gloves off when it comes to Pitt basketball…We have been a very good to excellent program for 10 years. The coaches, the players, and the fans should have very high expectations for this program. Reading some of the posts, you would think Pitt was the Cinderella team, and gosh we should just be happy we get this far with our lack of top talent, and blah, blah, blah…We were a Top 5 team most of the year, we were a No. 1 seed in this tournament!… We should be every bit as disappointed by this tournament result as we were by our FB loss to Cinncy in 2009. I don’t know whose fault it is, I just know I’m sick of it and reading Coach Ditkas post above just drove that feeling home!

Comment by HbgFrank 03.28.11 @ 8:52 pm

Iam sick of loseing in NCAAs also but would it hurt to have better talent no the sports writters al think we need better talent and the fact is 19 of 20 champs have had nba first round players on there team . so if that is how to win why do you fight the facts

Comment by FRANKCAN 03.28.11 @ 9:52 pm

Let put it this way do teams with NBA type players lose yes they do. Do teams with out NBA type player win yes once in 20 years. So which is better to be the one in 20 or the one who won 19 times. i think that is easy to understand the odds say you want to be in the group that won 19 NCAA champonships . Not the 1 in 20 so why cant you see that.just think abought it if you were beting on the game are you going to bet on team with best players or the team with so so players, as they say it is not rocket science.

Comment by FRANKCAN 03.28.11 @ 10:27 pm

Birch didn’t even get her yet and already Mr. Negative is finding fault. His next postive post will be his first. Just ignore him.

Comment by Tiger Paul 03.28.11 @ 10:57 pm

Tiger Paul i wasent being negative just truthful he missed his first dunk 5 times made the second on the second try and finshed next to last in a 9 man field . would you want me to lie and say he looked great when he did not. and i said i hope he looks better in the game nothing wrong with that is there. and his body language was very slack like he was with out fire in the contest if you had watched i think you would see the same thing .

Comment by FRANKCAN 03.28.11 @ 11:26 pm

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