The Oakland Zoo has the new design for the Zoo t-shirt this year. It’s a clean look and apparently already on sale.
Pitt also announced the non-con schedule for 2011-12. I’m not saying that the Pitt athletic department was purposefully downplaying this news, but I get suspicious whenever information like this is released on a Friday.
Looking it over. Yeah, it’s not exactly one that screams out “daunting.”
Or even “challenging.”
2011-12 PITT MEN’S BASKETBALL NON-CONFERENCE SCHEDULE
(as of August 20, 2011; schedule subject to change)
Date Opponent (TV) Location Time
|Saturday, Oct. 22||BLUE GOLD SCRIMMMAGE/|
|FAN FEST/MAGGIE DIXON HEART||Petersen Events Center||TBA|
|Saturday, Oct. 29||LA ROCHE (Exh.)||Petersen Events Center||TBA|
|Monday, Nov. 7||KENTUCKY WESLEYAN (Exh.)||Petersen Events Center||TBA|
|Friday, Nov. 11||ALBANY||Petersen Events Center||TBA|
|Sunday, Nov. 13||&RIDER||Petersen Events Center||TBA|
|Wednesday, Nov. 16||LONG BEACH STATE||Petersen Events Center||TBA|
|Tuesday, Nov. 22||&La SALLE||Petersen Events Center||TBA|
Philly HoopGroup Classic (Philadelphia, Pa.)
|Friday, Nov. 25||at &Penn||Philadelphia, Pa./The Palestra||TBA|
|Sunday, Nov. 27||&ROBERT MORRIS||Petersen Events Center||TBA|
|Wednesday, Nov. 30||vs. Duquesne||Consol Energy Center||TBA|
Big East/SEC Challenge
|Saturday, Dec. 3||at Tennessee (ESPN)||Knoxville, Tenn.||5:15 p.m.|
|Tuesday, Dec. 6||VMI||Petersen Events Center||TBA|
Madison Square Garden Classic (New York, N.Y.)
|Saturday, Dec. 10||vs. Oklahoma State (ESPN2)||New York, N.Y./MSG||2:30 p.m.|
|Saturday, Dec. 17||SOUTH CAROLINA STATE||Petersen Events Center||TBA|
|Tuesday, Dec. 20||ST. FRANCIS, Pa.||Petersen Events Center||TBA|
|Friday, Dec. 23||WAGNER||Petersen Events Center||TBA|
When the most dangerous home game is probably Long Beach State, it’s not going to be a non-con schedule that sells tickets. It isn’t even that this schedule is loaded with really bad teams. It is just that it is a schedule of all, very beatable teams.
The most difficult games are the road trips to Tennessee (SEC/Big East Invitational) and the semi-neutral court game with Oklahoma State at MSG. None of the opponents will really kill Pitt’s RPI or Pomerory rating, on its own. They just will do very little to enhance Pitt’s computer numbers.
I have to admit that I expect Pitt to go undefeated in the non-con, with a side of analysts (kind of legitimately) asking, “but who have they played?”
Finally, some more love for James Robinson, and the decision to go with Pitt.
Robinson’s gift is his ability to lead, assimilate within a team concept and use his cerebral play to galvanize a unit. He’s been a consistent winner his entire career at DeMatha and in travel team ball. Known for his competitiveness, his father said that winning the right way was ingrained in him from a young age.
“We don’t believe in the ‘I’ conversation around here,” James Robinson Sr. said. “When he was 4 or 5 years old we made a habit of talking about winning and doing it the right way. There’s a way to win or lose and how to compete.”
There are kids who talk about loving basketball and then there are kids who are students of the game. Robinson, according to Keith Stevens, his Team Takeover travel team coach, knows all of his weaknesses and plays with an edge that makes him mentally strong.
“The thing that he does, he really studies the game,” said Stevens. “He knows he’s not the quickest or the most athletic. He just asks questions. With this decision, he had to go somewhere he wasn’t going to lose. We lost four games all summer and he cried after every one one of them. He couldn’t go somewhere and learn how to lose. He’s a trickster, he’s an old-school guy that finds a way.”