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November 22, 2011

Open Thread: LaSalle-Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 4:04 pm

Chaos reigned today. No where near a computer all day.

This game is on ESPN3.com — aka, online. I debated about trying to do a split screen liveblog or run a liveblog from the laptop while watching from the desktop. But given the unreliability of internet feeds, even from the mouse monopoly, I’m taking the easy way out.

Game time is at 7pm. As you would expect, Pitt has been working on its defense a lot since last week. Focused on some rebounding issues. Worked on figuring out the rotation a little more. A lot of work to do.





Pitt will win going away. I expect a performance worthy of several shots of the finest bourbon. I’m ready…are you?

Comment by TX Panther 11.22.11 @ 5:27 pm

Going to the Pete. No bourbon, sadly.

Comment by Boubacar aw 11.22.11 @ 6:20 pm

Just when I thought Taylor had bad hands — lost an easy pass to him inside — Zanna fumbled away a turnover. Otherwise, Panthers are playing with a little more intensity, though they seem a little shell-shocked from the LBSU game.

Comment by Lou 11.22.11 @ 7:10 pm

Another stellar showing by the Pitt faithful. All 4,500 of them.

Comment by Cnorwood 11.22.11 @ 7:12 pm

So far, Pitt is simply just the better team but very sloppy with passes at the top of the key and absolutely no attempt to get the ball inside.Pitt up by 9 about half way thru the first half.

Comment by Dan 72 11.22.11 @ 7:29 pm

Pitt up 10 with about 4 to go in the half. Much better help side defense by Pitt. Just awful on offense. LaSalle playing horribly…they may just be bad. Lots of emptly trips and to’s by Pitt

Comment by Dan 72 11.22.11 @ 7:36 pm

Woodall high scorer so far but he has handled the ball horribly against LaSalle’s quicker guards.
Afraid that may be the story all year…

Comment by Dan 72 11.22.11 @ 7:39 pm

What I wouldn’t give for a rebound and a Blair- or even McGhee-style putback for a couple of points. Pitt’s offensive efficiency is down big time.

Comment by Lou 11.22.11 @ 7:40 pm

Is it just me or is Zanna playing too many minutes?

Comment by Mailman 11.22.11 @ 7:41 pm

Pitt up by 2 and an 8-0 run by LaSalle. They are outrebounding and outplaying us all over the floor…another 3 turnovers at the top of the key.
Slow and sloppy…LS with a chace to tie.

Comment by Dan 72 11.22.11 @ 7:43 pm

Tim Nevert moonlighting

Comment by alcofan 11.22.11 @ 7:46 pm

Cant play the lack of experience card this week. LaSalle is much younger than us

Comment by Tony C 11.22.11 @ 7:49 pm

Another horrible Pitt turnover and leak out gives Pitt a 2 pt lead at the half. I cannot describe the number of rec team mistakes I have seen Pitt make…not enough space here. But at least 8 turnovers by guards at the top of the key, 4 unforced, standing around lost inside by big men on both offense and defense…we are getting beat on the boards by 4. Our offense consists of Gibbs and Trey dribbling around untilt they either turn the ball over or take an off balance shot. Beginning to think Jamie will have to be Houdini to turn this group around.

Comment by Dan 72 11.22.11 @ 7:50 pm

Explorers shooting 0% from 3. Pitt 44%. If things even out, lookout

Comment by alcofan 11.22.11 @ 7:51 pm

Pitt 21 bords, LaSalle 12

Comment by alcofan 11.22.11 @ 7:53 pm

Totally careless with the ball

Comment by Tony C 11.22.11 @ 7:55 pm

The only big man for Pitt that looks decent is Birch. Hope to see more of him in the 2nd half. Zanna looks lost.

Comment by Pantherman13 11.22.11 @ 8:01 pm

Dan72, Woodall has 1 TO and that’s because Zanna can’t catch. All of our turnovers have been out top by our bigs out of position. Zanna has 4 of our 12 TOs. Our guards have 3 of the 12.

Comment by Cnorwood 11.22.11 @ 8:05 pm

Cheap one on Dante

Comment by alcofan 11.22.11 @ 8:11 pm

Pitt looks like a team that has been a perennial Top-4 seed in the NCAA Tourney, to one that will be part of the “Last 4 In” or “Last 4 Out” discussion.

Comment by Lou 11.22.11 @ 8:13 pm

Will Dante Taylor go down as the biggest disappointment in terms of a career in Pitt history? Never have I see a player with supposedly so much talent do so little.

Interesting that Khem comes in for Dante at center in this second half.

Comment by Mac 11.22.11 @ 8:14 pm

Birch time

Comment by alcofan 11.22.11 @ 8:18 pm

Breaking: BYU flips Marinatto the bird – let the implosion begin.

Comment by wally 11.22.11 @ 8:20 pm

Pitt 6-11 from 3, LaSalle 1-9

Comment by alcofan 11.22.11 @ 8:23 pm

Birch is scary athletic for a guy that size.

Comment by Hollywood 11.22.11 @ 8:24 pm

Mr Norwood…I stand corrected on the Woodall comment. Trying to do office work and watch at the same time. Now, a J Johnson unforced turnover LaSalle with the ball down 4. Pitt started the half well but has gone into the “stand around” sleep.

Comment by Dan 72 11.22.11 @ 8:24 pm

3rd straight game of getting pushed around by the little guy

Comment by Tony C 11.22.11 @ 8:25 pm

2 turnovers in a row by Nas

Comment by alcofan 11.22.11 @ 8:29 pm

Turnovers are getting ridiculous. It’s not like LaSalle is pressuring them.

Comment by Mac 11.22.11 @ 8:29 pm

Steals – LaSalle 9 Pitt 4 Pitt up 2 but Lasalle with the ball 9 minutes to go. Another awful to inside.

Comment by Dan 72 11.22.11 @ 8:30 pm

I will take a 10-8 Big East record right now and run like the wind

Comment by Tony C 11.22.11 @ 8:32 pm

Tie game at 52 and it us all LaSalle right now

Comment by Dan 72 11.22.11 @ 8:32 pm

16 turnovers for Pitt, LaSalle 8

Comment by alcofan 11.22.11 @ 8:33 pm

Has Woodall taken a shot in the second half? Leading scorer, 4-7, 2-2 from 3.

Comment by Cnorwood 11.22.11 @ 8:33 pm

Most worrisome part of this game is that you would expect the Long Beach St game to be a wake-up call of sorts for this team. However, I don’t see much difference – still playing sloppy, getting beat on defense for some easy buckets. LaSalle isn’t as good as LBS and right now that’s the main reason Pitt is tied. I expected a much better effort. Maybe it is time to start worrying (depending on how this ends).

Comment by Mac 11.22.11 @ 8:33 pm

Turnover right now Pitt 16 LaSalle 7

Comment by Dan 72 11.22.11 @ 8:34 pm

On a positive note, Adams at center and Birch at power forward next year is looking to be quite the lineup. Birch looking more comfortable out there – making some things happen. The athleticism is obvious and something you can’t teach.

Comment by Mac 11.22.11 @ 8:37 pm

LaSalle takes a 1 pt lead at 53 and Pitt comes right back to go up 6. Moore, Taylor and Burch playing very well right now.

Comment by Dan 72 11.22.11 @ 8:38 pm

Woodall cheap shots LaSalle player

Comment by alcofan 11.22.11 @ 8:46 pm

Coach Dixon looks like he’s gone 3 rounds with Frazier…black right eye…

Comment by Dan 72 11.22.11 @ 8:46 pm

Thank goodness LaSalle is 1-10 from beyond the arc.

Comment by Cnorwood 11.22.11 @ 8:47 pm

Pitt turnover on the press

Comment by alcofan 11.22.11 @ 8:51 pm

Saw second half only. Birch looks like a player. Better play by Pitt, but still a long way to go.

Comment by velvil 11.22.11 @ 9:00 pm

Pitt was up 7 with under 2 minutes to go and LaSalle put on a man/man press ..Pitt seemed shocked to see it and turned the ball over 3 straight times. This after really playing well the last 5 minutes. LaSalle got within three.Taylor made 1 of 2 at the line and Pitt wins by 4. During that stretch, Woodall skyed to stop/stuff a breakaway layup …unbelieveble play…he must have jumped 12 feet in the air and got all ball. Play of the game…lots of work to do for Pitt..on both sides of the ball but a good win.

Comment by Dan 72 11.22.11 @ 9:01 pm

This could be a very long year, Dixon has a lot of work to do, way too many turnovers.

A win is a win!

The big guys better get it together.

Comment by The Most Interesting Panther in the World 11.22.11 @ 9:09 pm

AShton Gibbs 3-15 FG, 2turnovers in last 90 seconds .. he tried to lose it but La Salle just wouldn’t take it

Comment by wbb 11.22.11 @ 9:28 pm

Wowza, what can one say. This team isn’t NCAA worthy at the moment.

21 turnovers against LaSalle. horrible.
Penn is going to beat us if this kind of play continues. Good thing Damian Saunders(sp) of Duquesne is gone, he’d tear us up bigtime. Bobby Mo could gets it’s first win EVER this year against us.

Some signs of life from Sleepy. 11 points 6 rebounds in 22 minutes. But ONLY 5 shots, made 4 of them. All the pre-game preaching about getting the inside guys some touches. Sleepy touched it 5 times, Birch 4 times and Zanna ONCE in 16 minutes. Are these guys that bad at getting position or are the entry passes that bad or what the f*ck is going on here?????

Didn’t see the game, can anyone elaborate???

Birch had 4 and 6 and 3 blocks in 13 minutes.

Comment by EMel 11.22.11 @ 9:55 pm

Thanks to Khem and moore we won sit Dante down he sucks boy is he bad for a 4 year player.
how can he be so i dont even know what to say.
Khem will be really good bye end of year.

Comment by FRANKCAN 11.22.11 @ 9:55 pm

Has to be one of Gibbs worst games ever. I really wish Gibbs would accept his shortcomings and focus on what he does best. i cringe every time he looks to penetrate. And he actually draws defenders when he does it and yet he NEVER dishes.

On that note, Nas is our best player, hands down. He does everything and he has improved his FT shooting and, if that 15 footer from the wing is any indication, his jump shot! Gibbs may be the leading scorer more often, but Nas is our most important player. He gets injured or in foul trouble and this team is in deep s@#$!

Zanna should no longer see the floor. He is absolutely useless. There is no justification to play him over Gilbert.

Patterson also had a bad night. If he and Gibbs have an even mediocre shooting night and this was an easy win.

Woodall may make some stupid TOs here and there, but he makes big shots and big plays over and over again. That block at the end was just huge.

J.J. Moore made some important contributions tonight. A few big jumpers and some rebounds.

Birch looked remarkably better tonight. He was much more comfortable.

The TOs are maddening, but there were some positives from tonight, particularly Taylor’s strong play late in the game and the strong showings from Birch and Moore. The TOs can be corrected, so I’m still optimistic for a generally good season, but with a few hiccups along the way.

Comment by Carmen 11.22.11 @ 9:56 pm

I don’t know Carmen. These are warning signs much like the lackluster performances in football were against two scrub teams, Buffalo & Maine.

We should be routing these teams at home, if we’re any good. This is happening at ‘The Pete’ mind you, in front of The Zoo.
What the heck is going to happen on the road, when the crowd is against you and maybe the refs.
Like the next game in Philly at the notorious Palestra. They play like this, they’re going to get routed and Penn isn’t that good, but they did beat Bobby MO and Rider and only lost by 6 to Temple, but they lost to Wagner. Meh

Comment by EMel 11.22.11 @ 10:13 pm

EMel…to answer your question. I watched the second half closely, as an x coach, first half in between meetings….There were NO entry passes in the first half…not even an attempt. Partially, that was because Woodall, Gibbs and Robinson were (getting their pockets picked)so concerned about ball security *my opinion, they did not have the wherewithall or time to look inside.
In the second half, the bigs showed themselves better and got some seperation from their defenders ..so they got some passes and made some attempts to score. Where the bigs were great was in the last 4 minutes of the game and as WBB said, Gibbs tried to give the game away..Moore, Tayor, and Birch saved our asses, along with a heavy dose of Robinson. I saw huge improvement as long as you don’t consider the last 1.4 minutes. Pitt has always had trouble with a man/man press. Their reaction tonight was just to hand the ball to LaSalle 3 straight times. Lots of work to do..

Overall, I saw improvement in the bigs late and help defense throughout. A very long way to go.
Love to know how Jamie got the shiner@

Comment by Dan 72 11.22.11 @ 10:38 pm

I think the team is going to struggle all year. The difference between this team and the one from two years ago is the leadership on the court. PItt’s gone from Knight to Krauser to Fields to Wannamaker. None of them were great but they were all floor generals that commanded respect and were gritty. The role players fell into place after that. Gibbs should be playing the Sam Young role (taking over a game) to Woodall’s Field’s impression. The problem is that Woodall has always been a sub (including High School) and doesn’t know how to take the team by it’s horns. Woodall’s game has improved and you can tell he put in the work this summer but he does not have the pedigree to own this team.

When you say Nas is our best player, then we are really in trouble. He plays hard but he is an undersized power forward who can’t shoot (I know he made a jumper tonight). I love the kid but he’s not the type of player that can carry a team. Gibbs is the best player but I agree he should not be playing point at all.

The talent in the front court is there but the team is not shooting the “smart” shots they have in the past. Shooting early is OK but the big men have to be in position for a rebound and not getting caught in the middle of running a set because they weren’t expecting the ball to be jacked up.

I’m concerned but in Jamie I trust…I can’t write of a season as long as he is the captain of the ship.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 11.22.11 @ 10:54 pm

Thanks for the rundown Dan72 !!

Concerned that the backcourt is so small and not physical enough to handle a press, even from a middling team like LaSalle. Hopefully we don’t play Louisville at all this year or anybody else good that presses(thank god that idiot Thompson the 2nd doesn’t press like his old man at G’Town). They are going to have to learn, (this year for sure) how to f*ckin pass the ball over a press, because neither Gibbs or Woodall are good enough or physical enough to break a good one.
Or they better hope Johnson develops quickly, but he hardly played tonite.

Dixon not recruiting another point guard for a few seasons when he knew neither Gibbs or Woodall are exactly good protecting the ball is kind of a head scratcher. That could be a real killer this year. As Epps appears to be a miss unless the kid is going to be a late bloomer(or a washout).

Zanna appears to be a miss, again wtf happened to him AFTER the Maryland game last year. ESPN was raving about him. Taylor is another miss, at the best he might be able to contribute 5 fouls a game. haha (though he did do double digits tonight, thaT would be points,,,,,not fouls..lol)

But 11 against LaSalle is pretty lame for a Parade (McDonalds) All-American type.

AGAIN I SAY TO THE BASKETBALL GODS…..WHY DO WE GET THE MCDONALDS ALL-AMERICANS WHO ARE PROJECTS, AND WHO DON’T HAVE ANY OFFENSIVE SKILLS …..
OTHER THAN DUNKING !!!!

Comment by EMel 11.22.11 @ 10:55 pm

Birch absolutely must play more. He brings some energy to the floor that isn’t there when he’s out.

He made a nice move in the first half too when they fed him in the post and spun, but shot didn’t go. He needs to play so he can be developed come tournament time. Get the kid game experience!

Moore was better. I really think these guys, Moore, Birch, and even John Johnson just need to play and we will make leaps and bounds by the end of the year. Maybe take some lumps now but not by years end.

For the last time, Jamie, please do NOT put the ball in Ashton’s hands at the end of the shot clock. It is beginning to be laughable. He is a great player, but is better served being off the ball. He cannot create space and ends up in terrible situations forcing a pass or shot as the buzzer is about to go off. Give it to Woodall if they collapse you hit Gibs!

Comment by OntarioLett'sGoPitt 11.22.11 @ 10:55 pm

Ontario…

Well Said.

The talent is there, Dixon has to sort through the roster.

Comment by Yup 11.22.11 @ 11:49 pm

Agree Ontario, BIRCH MUST PLAY, AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE……NOW!…….

IS Coach more concerned with W’s than developing some of these guys in the non-con. In previous years, YES HE WAS !.

I’d rather lose with the kids with upside, than the oldsters with none in these non-con games, but really should we be losing against this schedule even with kids?? AGAIN THE IMPORTANT GAMES ARE IN MARCH. jUST ask UCONN !!!

Comment by EMel 11.22.11 @ 11:55 pm

hard to argue with Dixon but this is my biggest beef with him year in and year out. Other teams peak in March when their youngsters are seasoned, our bench dwindles. You gotta play them if you want them to improve. Drop a few early, who cares.

Comment by OntarioLett'sGoPitt 11.23.11 @ 12:08 am

Carmen is correct.

Comment by Omar 11.23.11 @ 12:29 am

also, woodall is a winner.

Comment by Omar 11.23.11 @ 12:37 am

Okay – is this the worst team Dixon has coached? Whose more responsible for the huge underachievement of Dante Taylor? Taylor or Dixon?

Comment by Tonyinhouston 11.23.11 @ 7:21 am

People keep saying Woodall should be the leader. But Gibbs is the senior, the pre-season Big East MVP, our alleged go-to guy. He WANTS to be the leader and TRIES to be the leader, but he is not.

Nas is the leader of this team, leading by example on both ends of the court. Woodall admittedly makes stupid TOs, as Wannamaker did routinely last year, but he has vastly improved his offense and his defense. Right now, both are playing better than this team’s “star” player, who continues to entertain delusions of being a multi-dimensional player. Once he stops doing that, we may see some other things fall into place.

Comment by Carmen 11.23.11 @ 7:50 am

Taylor had 11 pts and 6 rebounds with very little touches. He only missed 1 shot.

I would prefer to see the ball go into the low post more than Gibbs aimlessly dribbling on the perimeter. I wholely agree with all of the above that the less Gibbs dribbles, the better.

In fact, I think more of an inisde out offense would help Gibbs since the perimeter players would double-down on the post, freeing up the shot.

Comment by wbb 11.23.11 @ 8:13 am

Woodall is a winner. He volunteered to come of the bench for his high school team to improve their depth and spark– let’s not go overboard here..

Woodall can/should/will be our leader by the end of the year. Quarterbacks and Point Guards lead. Period. You play that position to lead. CEOs are CEOs for a reason. Middle management is middle management for a reason.

It’s your time, Tre’ ….

Comment by PaulyP 11.23.11 @ 8:49 am

Yup, gotta second PaulyP et al. on Woodall. He’s a winner and a leader. Sometimes its just intangibles, but this year even his stats prove it.

He played starters minutes on an undefeated St. Anthonoy’s team and started PG when they lost only one game the next (or previous?) year to nationally ranked team.

Anyway, his only issue eright now is getting his pocket picked a little too often for my liking. TOs by PGs almost always turn into points against too, so this is big. But he’s a junior who has mor ball handling responsibilities than he did last year. He’ll figure it out. Tre’s the least of my concerns.

Comment by PantherP 11.23.11 @ 10:01 am

Woodall is a tough kid, great personal success story and is fearless in the way we’ve come to expect from Pitt players. I like him.

But his TO’s and fouls contributed greatly to the Long Beach State fiasco (of course it wasn’t just his fault). His interior passing still leaves a lot to be desired. Let’s not anoint him after a good game against a mediocre (at best) mid-major.

Khem Birch finally showed well. He can make this season fun if last night was any indication of his talent.

Comment by velvil 11.23.11 @ 10:11 am

I must be missing something in terms of the complaints about Taylor in THIS game. He didn’t play much in the first half due to an elbow to the neck, but he came out aggressive in the second half and played pretty well. He’s not a star, but did some good things out there in the second half.

Notice that Birch played exclusively at the 5, and looked much more comfortable. I know I wasn’t sold on that approach a few weeks ago, but if this continues, I was clearly wrong. He played 13 minutes; it would be nice to see that go up a bit if he continues to improve.

The most perplexing thing to me was the turnovers, particularly from the bigs. Nas and Zanna really struggled handling the ball at the top of the key, and I’m not sure what has happened to Zanna’s hands. More generally, there were several times where it looked like Pitt was going to start pulling away, but would then just have mental breakdowns that would let LaSalle back in the game.

I’ll take the positive, though…some signs of improvement upon which to build.

Comment by Pantherman13 11.23.11 @ 10:15 am

Taylor was terrible defensively, AGAIN. He is out of position and does not understand how to recover when he helps. Khem Birch is guilty of the same things, but he has a natural gift and can block shots. Comparing our two McDonalds All Americans is not even a contest. Birch looks and plays the part. Taylor, not so much.

Comment by omar 11.23.11 @ 10:19 am

This team is not very good Period. It seems like it is all perimeter play. Pass the ball around take a 3 or a long 2. No inside out play. Taylor is open many times and no one feeds him the ball. This would allow for better shots.

As for Taylor he is a forward playing center. He made a very nice 10 footer as the clock expired and shows some nice moves when he gets a chance.

Zanna looks totally lost. Where is the player we saw last year at the beginning of the season?

Birch has talent and his quickness is evident but he is way too skinny. Teams are pushing him around now let alone what will happen during conf. play.

This team is not ready to win and could easily loose a couple more non-con games before the BE starts.

Jamie has his work cut out for him.

Comment by JP 11.23.11 @ 10:24 am

Seriously, offense is NOT an issue right now. Pitt can score whenever they want. Pitt’s defense is TERRIBLE. That has been the problem the past 3-4 years come tournament time. Coach Dixon needs to get this team playing better defense immediately. Yesterday was better, but the second half was not great. This team should not even practice offense for a little while. Practice should be all defense.

Comment by omar 11.23.11 @ 10:27 am

I hope everyone realizes that had Pitt not turned the ball over 9 more times than did LaSalle–>21 (an awful number!) TOs to LaSalle’s 12 TOs the end result would not have been close.

Since each turnover represents a lost possession for you and a gained possession for your opponent and, since teams are nominally supposed to score a bucket on 50% of their possessions, each turnover is an ~2-point swing in the score. So, the 9 TO differential last night = an 18 point swing in the score in favor of LaSalle.

So, had Pitt avoided that turnover differential the score would have been more like Pitt 82, LaSalle 60. If so, we wouldn’t be having a debate as to whether the offense or defense was at fault, IMO. FWIW, though, most/all turnovers are the fault of the offense (assuming you ignore the good defense by your opponent component). I am sure Coach Dixon regards making turnovers in double digit numbers as a function of poor offensive execution.

Comment by pitt1972 11.23.11 @ 10:56 am

I am not using one game as a sample.

Comment by omar 11.23.11 @ 11:11 am

Tray deserves a lot of credit – without him on the floor, we very well may be 1 and 3. He has hit shots, dropped dimes, rebounded, and even blocked shots.

Gibbs is a wonderful basketball player that must figure out he will never be an off-the-dribble player at any level. Stick to your guns, Ash. Quit dribbling and focus on defense, moving without the ball, and hitting shots. That will still get him a shot at the NBA in a reserve/role player position.

Taylor looked better, as did Moore and Birch. The key to me for each of them (esp Taylor and Moore) was playing with CONFIDENCE! These guys get down on themselves and look asleep sometimes. That is their biggest enemy!

Also, can’t say enough about Nasir. Great effort at all times and he has clearly worked on his game to add quickness and FT/shooting stroke.

Comment by Joe 11.23.11 @ 11:22 am

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