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January 16, 2012

LiveBlog: Pitt-Cuse

Filed under: Basketball,liveblog — Chas @ 5:08 pm

UPDATE: Tip-off pushed to 7:40

There might be room for optimism after playing better than Pitt has in this losing streak against Marquette. Yet it was still another loss. Now Pitt is facing the #1 team in the country. A team yet to lose a game. This is likely going to be an ugly game.

Yet it is hard not to have at least a touch of hope as one other factor is in play. For whatever reason, Pitt has owned Syracuse in the last few years. Even when they looked better and were ranked higher, Pitt has found ways to win. Whether at home or the Carrier Dome. No I don’t know that it will continue, but at the very least it has to be in the back of the players and Cuse fans minds tonight. Right? Right?

It is still Big Monday. A 7:30 pm prime time game on ESPN.

You all know the rules for the liveblog I hope. It is a moderated chat. I realize how hard it is not to lose it these days, but insanity doesn’t do much for anyone. The abusive will find themselves blocked. Repetitive comments will be ignored. If you need to break it out from the site, Click Here.



Pitt is going to have tough time putting points up. Defense needs to be very good to win. Don’t see that happening.

Comment by Omar 01.16.12 @ 5:14 pm

Lets see if the Cuse sticks to the 2-3 zone, if they do then Pitt has a shot to stay close. Pitt has nothing to lose and pressure could be on the Orange if close as the game goes on. I just hope Nasir doesn’t bring the ball up on the press or Lamar for that matter. I like Epps penetration, maybe just a one game wonder,but lets find out if he can do the job.

Comment by michael 01.16.12 @ 5:26 pm

Dont ask me why, but i have a really really good feeling about pitt tonight. I just have the feeling that isaiah epps is gonna have a breakout night. Hes going to hit open shots and get others involved. Pitt wins 68-66. Book it!! Haha

Comment by Pk 01.16.12 @ 5:43 pm

I’m a Handicapping PRO for NCAA Basket’s/Football. I’ve been looking forward to this contest for several weeks, the number is low because of the name (Pittsburgh). The Panthers match up terrible to stay with Cuse, 20+ turnover’s a night for Pitt will cost terribly. 77-60 the Home Team tonight!

Comment by Vincent Rizzo 01.16.12 @ 5:48 pm

anyone hear the full interview with Birch? The main things I heard were he didn’t connect with Dixon (we kinda knew that) but worse he wasn’t welcomed by the team and some are just concerned with their stats.

It remains speculation as to exactly what and who he was talking about. I guessed in previous comments that he and Taylor competing for the 4 spot and that Gibbs is playing like he’s trying out for the NBA were big chemistry issues. JJ moore mentioned a week or so ago that guys turned on each other when the going got touch too.

My comments were called inane and wild guesses. Admittedly, they were to some extent but I think its coming into a little more focus what has been dogging this team (and my guesses as to the specifics apparently weren’t THAT crazy. just saying). Chemistry and getting in sync.

Marquette showed that maybe, for whatever reason, these things are improving. I’m keeping an eye out for any signs in either direction and who’s helping vs hurting the team’s rhythm and chemistry. Particularly Gibbs and Taylor. Mr Gibbs had a great night at MU.

Not expecting a win, but not completely ruling it out. We’ll know if they have a chance within the first 5-10 minutes.

Comment by PantherP 01.16.12 @ 6:10 pm

Game time s 7:30. Cautiously optimistic. Saw significant improvement at Marquette. Hoping for a few additonal problems to be corrected tonite.

Comment by dinosaur 71 01.16.12 @ 6:12 pm

Listened to the interview this morning. What’s coming into focus is that it sounds like he is just a very sensitive young man who needed a lot of coddling. He was also the one who was crying because the practices were too hard. Also, he specifically mentioned that he was on good terms with Taylor.

Comment by SilverPanther in NYC 01.16.12 @ 6:54 pm

Syracuse favored by 15. Given the play the last few weeks, would almost settle for beating the line. But not really.

Comment by velvil 01.16.12 @ 7:09 pm

when’s the chat open?

Comment by David G. 01.16.12 @ 7:13 pm

Tip off moved to 7:40. If the O keeps it in a zone we can stick with them when Gibbs hits his 3’s. I just can’t see a W at the dome. Maybe they overlook us? Keep hope alive.

Comment by 429Meyran 01.16.12 @ 7:17 pm


Comment by Yup 01.16.12 @ 7:25 pm

Big deal, they beat Depaul on the road… and Florida. We beat Tennesee in their house. I just looked through the Orange’s schedule. They haven’t played anyone. Pitt by 7. Dixon owns Boeheim

Comment by David G. 01.16.12 @ 7:29 pm

Seriously, who have they played?

link to

Comment by David G. 01.16.12 @ 7:30 pm

Silverpanther, I assume you are not implying that everything’s been kosher among the players. You’re right Birch is/was an over-sensitive and over-entitled kid.

But you really can’t trivialize the fact that at least a few people who were or are on the team or around the team have said explicitly and implicitly that there is or was some dischord among the team and that it comes from there being among some players a perception of that certain other guys are selfish.

…and I suppose its reasonable that you apparently trust Zanna’s word (that Birch was crying) but not Birch’s.

Here’s hoping Gibb’s plays within the game tonight and someone ANYONE else steps up.

Comment by PantherP 01.16.12 @ 7:33 pm

Like to see Epps drive to the hoop for a layup or dish. A skill of Wanny’s that we sorely miss.

We could use his pull up J from the foul line as well against the zone. Don’t think anyone in this group has that skill down yet.

Comment by gc 01.16.12 @ 7:33 pm

Tennessee has changed since their loss to Pitt (improved); Pitt has changed since their win over Tennessee (regressed).

While the Marquette game might be encouraging, I think Pitt is still sadly lacking in ball handlers and an inside presence-well, and defense too. The only way it’s close tonight is if Syracuse plays down to the competition. They’re probably still thinking about the 19-0 run we started with them last year. The Orange have plenty of motivation to blow us away tonight.

Comment by Lou 01.16.12 @ 7:37 pm

Easiest bet out there. Syracuse by 15????? Who came up with that line? Sucks, but they will win by 28.

Comment by upittbaseball 01.16.12 @ 7:50 pm

Pitt is doing some things in this game that show improvement in their game-Syracuse is clearly much more talented and deep. We might keep it “close” in the first half, but I look for Cuse to pull away in the second.

Comment by Lou 01.16.12 @ 8:14 pm

info Randy Shannon to WVU is allmost a done deal,

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.16.12 @ 8:35 pm

John johnson needs to take more shots. That three was cold-blooded.

Comment by Pk 01.16.12 @ 8:37 pm

I csn’t stand Dante Taylor. Please transfer you ultimate bust. I’m 42 years old and 6’3″ and I’m pretty sure I could block Taylors shot around the rim.

Comment by Matt_Miklasevich 01.16.12 @ 9:06 pm

Our guards are not the problem. Our bigs are killing this team. They are OK at rebounding, but awful in every other aspect of the game. They can’t catch, pass, shoot, or play defense. Worst of all, they are soft. Gary McGhee was Shaq compared to this group of bigs.

Comment by HbgFrank 01.16.12 @ 9:08 pm

The Panthers are playing well, they just need to finish better and make a few free throws. If they do that well a real game.

Comment by Justinian 01.16.12 @ 9:08 pm

Zanna’s game is growing in leaps and bounds tonight!

Comment by Lou 01.16.12 @ 9:11 pm

Think about it, Pitt Misses shots early, falls behind 13 to 0. Then they fight back to with in 4 points, dispite missing a bunch of free throws. They really could have been in position to win tonight.

Comment by Justinian 01.16.12 @ 9:33 pm

Zanna has shown flashes throughout the season. Just wish he could develop some hands and a nice consistent mean streak on the court. He’s only a sophomore eligibility wise. Maybe he can develop… Maybe…

Comment by Bowling Green Panther 01.16.12 @ 9:34 pm

I think we are finally starting to see some of the improvement that we have been looking for in a down year…

Can we continue to develop throughout the season?

Comment by Bowling Green Panther 01.16.12 @ 9:37 pm

the last two games they have played alot better..should nas be playing less??…..where was epps?…how can you play 30 minutes one game and 5 the next?…zanna played nicely…finally

Comment by pitt-for-life 01.16.12 @ 9:40 pm

A SOLID effort on the road against an excellent team.

Free throws….same old story…..fouling Nasir is a strategy for winning against Pitt. Put him on the line and watch him throw bricks.

Zanna showed heart and the will to win, however, he just does not have good hands near the basket.
Taylor///forget about it.

I think Pitt will get off the schneid and win some games and hopefully have something positive to think about going in to next year. NCAA//NIT
it ain’t gonna happen this year.

Comment by isnore 01.16.12 @ 9:52 pm

While i dont see pitt making the tournament, i think weve seen tremendous improvement in this team. If they convert some free throws and layups they might have a W. i think once woodall gets healthy theyll be a solid team if they give this kind of effort every night. Hopefully getting poised for a big east tourney run. Gosh i wish steven adams could be at pitt. If pitt has a big guy who can dominate the glass and finish like stevens can, they may not have a loss this year regardless of whether woodall is healthy. I think tonight is a prime example for that. Im looking forward to the rest of this season and bext year. Some things weve learned: john johndon is COLD BLOODED, cam wright does have some offense, talib zanna needs to be given more opportunities to shoot some jumpers, and this year pitt just foesnt have the horses to compete with the big easts elite. I think robinson, adams, and whoever else dixon gets for 2012 will go a long way to change that.

Comment by Pk 01.16.12 @ 9:54 pm

Adams can

Comment by Pk 01.16.12 @ 9:56 pm

clobbered them on the boards. not enough second chance points made. That was the difference.

Comment by velvil 01.16.12 @ 9:59 pm

got to feel for the kids and coach. tough year for a proud school


Comment by PITT Fan in Atlanta 01.16.12 @ 10:04 pm

Goodbye Dakota! We hardly knew ye!! RichRod qas finally rewarded for his intense and relentless recruiting. Believe me, Mr.Conwell, Tucson is NOTHING like Upper St.Clair. However, if a guy wishes to take Horace Greeley’s advice to “Go west, young man”, let him go with no tears. So now Khem Birch and Dakota Conwell have defected to the call of the wild. Hope Pitt can use their scholarships wisely. Rev. George from Columbus. P.S. Looked to me like Cameron Wright had his best game as a Panther tonight.

Comment by Rev. George Mehaffey 01.16.12 @ 10:09 pm

Nas would be a 6th or 7th man at best on most BE teams. That he got so much playing time last year was due to his complementing his teamates with his gritty style. He is completly fundamentally unsound, cannot handle the ball, is too short at his position and is one the single most atrocious foul shooters ever in a Pitt Uni. Other than that, he is a hustler. Every team needs one, but not as a #3 starter.

Comment by Dan 72 01.16.12 @ 10:12 pm

Jay Bilas and Jim Rafferty commented during the telecast, that losing Wannamaker, Brown and McGee from last year’s team and then losing your point guard is tough to overcome. They both went on to comment that without the foul against Butler with 1.8 seconds on the clock, Pitt probably Umakes to National Chapmionship final. Jay Bilas then commented they were a better team than UConn all year and probably win that one. They both seemsd to have thought highly of last year’s team. When asked if Pitt was over rated early in the year, Bilas replied yes, but every time Pitt would have a rebuilding year, they wouldn’t drop off at all.

Comment by Justinian 01.16.12 @ 10:14 pm

John Johnson should take way more outside shots than he does. That kid has range from half court. Even when he misses it looks great.

It’s too bad that Pitt didn’t figure out until late in the second half that Talib Zanna was a better option than Nasir Robinson at the foul line when attacking the zone. At least Zanna will take that shot and apparently can make it. Also, if he is fouled I have a lot more faith in his free throw shooting than Robinson’s FT shooting. When Robinson got the ball at the foul line they dared him to take the shot and he didn’t. That’s one reason I keep hoping Jamie Dixon will play Malcolm Gilbert. He may not have post moves, but Pitt doesn’t have a truly good post player anyway. Gilbert can shoot from 15′ in. I’ve seen him do it in shoot-arounds. His rep coming in was that he can provide rebounding and shot blocking (another major need).

I thought Pitt played better overall in the second half for a change. They cut down on the turnovers. If Robinson and Lamar Patterson hit their free throws (6-15) Pitt takes this game to the wire.

Comment by Barvo 01.16.12 @ 10:19 pm

Amazing that we stayed that close and got to within 4 points with 6 minutes or so to go in the game, considering we shot 32% for the game (22-67). And we only shot 50% (12-24) from the charity stripe.

Syracuse might be undefeated but 18 of their wins have come against unranked teams. They aren’t that good, had we shot just a little better, we win that game.

As the ESPN idiots said, PITT missed countless ‘point blank’ shots. That would be mainly Sleepy (2-11) and Zanna (3-10). Had we had any kind of a post game, we win that game as well.

If Syracuse gets to the Final Four I’ll be shocked. But who knows, with the way they can make brackets favorable for one school and unfavorable for another school.

Comment by Emel 01.16.12 @ 10:26 pm

Easiest bet out there. Syracuse by 15????? Who came up with that line? Sucks, but they will win by 28.

Comment by upittbaseball 01.16.12 @ 7:50 pm

Looks like you lost, lol.

When bets or lines look that easy, you know they’re not.

Comment by Emel 01.16.12 @ 10:32 pm

About Dakota Conwell, I figured that he was gone when he went out to Arizona. My concern about the trip was the Davis twins. I can’t imagine choosing Rich Rod over Paul Chryst though, because I think he’s a scum bag like Graham. Everybody who’s been around Chryst speaks highly about him. Rich Rod on the other hand, was violating the NCAA rules at Michigan on practice time.

Comment by Justinian 01.16.12 @ 10:33 pm

On a positive note, this is a much improved Pitt Basketball team…they still may not win another game but I am just amazed at what Jamie and his staff have gotten out of this wrechid refuse of talent.

One last point…we went 12-24 from the foul line and lost by 9. At some point in the next ten years, can we please fix the foul shooting? The last 10 have been abysmal.

Comment by Dan 72 01.16.12 @ 10:46 pm

The first time Pitt has started 0-6 in the Big East ever. Birch gave The Fan an interview and was not particularly complimentary about Dixon or his teammates. A team of spoiled egotistical children. Perhaps he was looking in a mirror but Pitt is suffering with his loss. The haters will say he’s a spoiled kid. And to that notion goes this: Pitt hasn’t won since he left.

Comment by Tonyinhouston 01.16.12 @ 10:52 pm

Like I stated in the live chat, tonight showed clearly why we always dominate the Cuse. They have their best team in a while and we have our worst, don’t play well, and still give them a game. Dixon’s zone offense is one of the best you’ll see, as the announcers stated, we just don’t have the ‘horses’ this year. As nuts as this may sound, I still hold out hope that they can finish 9-9 and possibly sneak into the tourney. The junkyard dog has come out in these guys. They are not backing down at all, and because of that I think they get that first win against L’ville saturday.

Comment by Pitt Rob 01.16.12 @ 11:03 pm

@Justinian– That was actually Boeheim’s comment about the national championship potential being repeated by the guys doing the broadcast. But I like what Bilas said about being over/undervalued, they’ve overexceeded preseason expectations so many times before, they finally got the benefit of the doubt this season. Unfortunately they didn’t deserve it for once.

Comment by JW 01.16.12 @ 11:11 pm

Not sugarcoating anything, we lost again, but, I have to say, the past two games, we actually looked like a basketball team.

Really makes you wonder about what was up with the Rutgers fiasco.

Keep working Jamie and team, when you hustle and care, it shows, it shows very much!

Comment by Dan 01.16.12 @ 11:32 pm

Ok, so we found our mettle, now let’s turn that into wins. Read the PG—“…the hits just keep coming”….did he make that up? What a great line. Memo to self, gotta use it.
As for Dakota Conwell, losing him to Arizona is the best thing that could have happened. He would not have played at Pitt and he won’t play against the fast boys from LA either.
So what, have fun in the land of the Sun and no water. If you think it gets cold here, it gets really hot buried on the depth chart in AZ. See you in “what was the name of the kid who played at”.

Comment by SFPitt 01.17.12 @ 12:22 am

Tony: I indicated last week that there were some locker room issues and I believe Dixon exacerbated them putting Gibbs at PG. Losing Birch is a very big deal, might end up being the biggest loss of Dixon’s tenure. He would have made a huge difference last night. Dan, I agree, Nas should be a spark plug off the bench. He has no shot, is careless and missing 5 consecutive FT’s last night says it all about this kid. I do love him but not they way he’s used. Mel. also agree, KY will beat the crap out of Syracuse, they will kill ’em in transition and on breaks. Syracuse will not shoot 3’s as well as they did last night in another venue. Zanna showed us something last night, he responded to that slam in his face. This kid could be a good 4 with Adams. Wright also showed us something, I like his toughness. This team is starting to find it’s ID, I think we can beat Pitino.

Comment by Old School Panther 01.17.12 @ 9:35 am

Tony, I indicated last week there were issues in the locker room, I believe Dixon exacerbated them putting Gibbs at PG. Losing Birch is a very big deal, sure it’s easy to slam the kid but I think this might be the worst loss in Dixon’s tenure. Dan, agree on Nas, love him as a spark plug off the bench but he has no shot, is careless and missing 5 consecutive FT’s just killed us. Emel, agree, KY would kill Syr in transition and on breaks. Syr does not shoot 3’s like they did last at home. Zanna showed us something, responded to have a slam in his face. This kid could be a good 4 to Adams. Wright also showed toughness and more shooting poise. This team is starting to find its ID. If we keep progressing I think we can beat Pitino.

Comment by Old School Panther 01.17.12 @ 9:51 am

Taylor went 2-7. Zanna 3-8. Oh, Nas went 1-5.

I know we’re all disappointed in Taylor, but let’s not exagerate and blame everything on him. His scorring was off, but he was also playing against an NBA lottery pick center in Fab Melo. And everything else he did was pretty solid, even being in the center and facilitating the zone break occasionally was pretty strong.

And if you look at per minutes stats, Taylor was better than Zanna (who was in turn better than Nas… i love ya Nas, but you’re bringin me down.)

Comment by PantherP 01.17.12 @ 9:56 am

Taylor was 2-7 (not 2-11). Zanna 3-8. Nas 1-5.

I know we’re all disappointed in Taylor, but lets not exaggerate. He was playing against a pretty nasty front court. Taylor did almost everything else pretty well except his characteric occassional lapse on defense. Even playing the middle of the zone break on offense occassionally.

And before we all get carried away, statistically Taylor played better per minute than Zanna (who in turn played better per minute and by any metric than Nas).

Don’t get me wrong, I was very happy with Zanna. I’m just a bit of a Taylor apologist i guess….mostly because hope springs eternal that he’ll someday soon live up to the hype.

Comment by PantherP 01.17.12 @ 10:08 am

What I saw was a lack of coaching. A team that turns the ball over 50% or more of the time when pressed is not coached well. A team in a half court offense that stands around the perimeter 3 out of 5 times down the court shooting a desperate 3 poiner, passes to the corners for double teams, does not go inside and try to attack the basket even if your big men are questionable (since they are not involved in the offense we really do not know) is poorly coached.

Dixon does not have the luxury this year to annoint a medicore guard as the actual coach of the team (Krauser, Fields and now Gibbs). He has to read Gibbs the riot act about palying for Pitt not for a future NBA contract he will never see.

He has to coach Taylor and Zana to use head fakes when attempting to put up offensive rebounds. He has to let them step away and face up to the hoop and take a shot when receiving the ball down low since neither is a post player with any power moves.

Defensively work on help out defense when guards are beat. Not overplaying your man to block passing lanes since this team is not quick enough to get back to their man.

Stop playing favorites one of Dixon’s problems. Robinson should be a spot player with McGhee gone he is a liability. Forget that he is a senior he has know upside.

Take Taylor aside talk to him positively with the attempt to get his confidence. My guess is that Dixon uses alot of negative reinforcement. Tell Taylor he is the man and he wants him to take over not to be afraid to step away from the basket for a short jumper. Not to put the ball on the floor from 10 ft. away and go to the basket.

Sit Robinson down and play Taylor and Zana, Johnson, Gibbs, Moore, and Epps a point if he can handle it. Tell Moore to drive to the basket and forget the 3’s unless he is open.

Next year we will have a true point guard a 2 guard (Johnson) who is a good as shooter as Gibbs, a legitmate defensive and offensive big man in the paint and a big SF (Taylor/Zanna). We need to let Taylor and Zanna move away from the basket and get comfortable taking short jumpers.

Comment by DRW 01.17.12 @ 10:24 am

I credit those individuals that said Epps needs more time @ the point == offensive spacing & flow much better & more consistent. Gibbs more effective @ the 2 spot coming off screens. PITT handled Syracuse zone well == Although, PITT missed 16 lay-ups & 11 of those were blocked. Maybe Zanna needed to be @ the high-post other than Nas who is under sized.

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Comment by TonyinHouston 01.17.12 @ 1:28 pm

fatal error, can’t post.

Comment by Dan 01.17.12 @ 1:58 pm

It is shocking how many shots Taylor gets blocked CLEAN under the hoop. You would think that a 6’9″ dude would at least get a foul call if he takes it up strong. He gets a ton of offensive boards but then he just gives it right back. He lacks explosiveness and goes up too soft and slow. Don’t know if there’s much he can do about.

We need to hope Gilbert develops quickly (reasonable) and/or Adams is the real deal from day one (?tbd??). Zanna will move over to the 4 next year. Not sure what to do with Taylor. He does not move his feet well enough to guard most 4’s.

Comment by Boubacar Aw 01.17.12 @ 3:58 pm

While we know Taylor or Zanna are not the physical specimens we are used to see ing at the 5,(McGhee, Blair, Lett, Troutman, Gray), they don’t seem to be quick jumpers either .. thus, the reason why they get blocked so much

Comment by wbb 01.17.12 @ 4:24 pm

The way Pitt fought back last night was impressive. After the initial 13 – 0 run, Pitt played a more talented team to a draw in a tough environment.

My big take away was just how stark the talent difference is between Pitt and Syracuse. Size, speed, and athleticism wise they are in different leagues

Comment by Boubacar Aw 01.17.12 @ 4:34 pm

Early in the season I was so high on Nas, now he just drives me crazy. The TOs and the freakin’ FTs. Doesn’t he get sick of not being able to shoot FTs? Doesn’t it drive him as crazy as it does the fans? How can he NOT have fixed his shooting motion by now? Why is that not a priority? As a senior at a major college program, would you not want to improve and lead by example?

Taylor still needs to get much stronger. Again, he’s had 2 years to make that a priority. Moore had his worst game of the season last night. Firing up jumpers, poor help defense, lack of rebounding.

Wright and Zanna were really strong in the second half. Perhaps a light has gone off for Wright. He was aggressive and decisive.

Overall, don’t think you can fault the effort the team gave last night. Execution continues to be a problem at times But Syracuse shot the ball really well in the second half. A few of those 3s don’t go down and it’s altogether different game.

Comment by Carmen 01.17.12 @ 5:24 pm

Taylor was 2-7 (not 2-11). Zanna 3-8. Nas 1-5.

I know we’re all disappointed in Taylor, but lets not exaggerate. He was playing against a pretty nasty front court. Taylor did almost everything else pretty well except his characteric occassional lapse on defense. Even playing the middle of the zone break on offense occassionally.
Comment by PantherP 01.17.12 @ 10:08 am

I posted those stats right after the game and that’s what they had.
The stats changed this morning or later last night. Which happens a lot after they review the
stat book.

Wasn’t trying to make him look any worse than he is. That’s what was listed in the Yahoo Game box, after the game. He did rebound pretty good.

But him and Zanna and Nas had some many ‘point blank’ misses it looked like a ymca game.

Comment by Emel 01.17.12 @ 6:24 pm

except I never faced 6’10 at the Y

Comment by wbb 01.17.12 @ 6:26 pm

After looking at our remaining schedule, there are 5 possible victories (Providence, Villanova both battles for last place, 2 games with USF and one with the Johnnies. And there are another 7 losses looming with teams that either very good, good or better than us.

So if that holds, we’d be 16-15 and NIT bound….baby ! Maybe we can win the NIT championship so that we can at least say…we won a championship in hoops. Yea,,,I know.

Comment by Emel 01.17.12 @ 7:03 pm

While we know Taylor or Zanna are not the physical specimens we are used to see ing at the 5,(McGhee, Blair, Lett, Troutman, Gray), they don’t seem to be quick jumpers either .. thus, the reason why they get blocked so much

Comment by wbb 01.17.12 @ 4:24 pm

Aaron Gray….a quick jumper….surely you jest.

Comment by Emel 01.17.12 @ 7:09 pm

Emel.. read it again.

Comment by wbb 01.17.12 @ 7:38 pm

Your right wbb, I misread that. My bad.

Perhaps they also got blocked so much because they’re both playing out of position. Neither Taylor or Zanna are Centers. And they were matched up against a 7 footer in Melo who had the majority of the blocks.

If one remembers towards the end of the game, Zanna hit a couple jumpers in the elbow at the FT line. Which is what you do if you have an undersized but quicker guy playing Center. You have to draw their big lumbering Center(Melo) away from the hoop. Too bad it took 3/4 ‘s of the game for them to figure that out.

Biggest problem this team has had, you had Gibbs playing out of position and you have Taylor & Zanna and even Nas playing out of position. Gibbs we all know is not a PG, which killed his shooting and the offense overall. Taylor nor Zanna play well at all in the lane with back to basket and Nas is an extremely undersized PF, much more suited to SF or put Taylor or Zanna over there at SF and create some mismatches.

You just have alot of players out of position.
And it took forever for Coach to get Gibbs back to SG and he has yet to figure out Taylor & Zanna.
As was him finally admitting (not really) this team can’t play Man defense.

Comment by EMel 01.18.12 @ 6:28 am

Well switching back to man defense in the second half is really what helped draw them closer. So it’s alternating between zone and man that may be the answer and that has been determined through trial and error. Regarding the positions in the frontcourt, I just don’t understand why everyone is so hung up on them. Plays get broken once the shot is up and whether any of them are playing center or power forward, it really doesn’t matter. They are all charged with going after rebounds. 6’9″ for a college center is normal these days. Robinson, everyone knows he’s undersized. But he’s not a wing player. The team, overall, rebounds well. Better in man to man…Gibbs played most of this game at point guard and a lot of the Marquette game at point. Losing Woodall and Epps’ slow development has forced Dixon’s hand. There was nothing to figure out.

Comment by SilverPanther in NYC 01.18.12 @ 8:17 am

I agree with EMel both neither Taylor or Zanna is a post player. Pitt should go to a 3 guard 2 forward offense, with no post player. Why not experiment with bot Zana and Taylor playing outside the lane getting them the opportunity to see if they can hit the short jumpers from the baseline and in the middle of the lane.

Demand Moore to take advantage of the open lane. Most of all have the guards in constant motion not just standing on the perimeter playing pass and catch and steal. If they moved without the ball inside and pickuped some screens from Zanna and Taylor (bouble screens) and popped out the other side or in the lane maybe they could avoid running the clock down to two seconds.

Drop the point guard play 2 guards and SF playing a swing guard. Johnson, Gibbs, Moore (pull him if he will not go to the basket), Taylor, and Zanna. Robinson should not play more than 20 minutes at most – he hurts as much as helps and will be gone.

Adams will have to start at center from 1st game so Zanna and Taylor need to determine now who can really play the 4.

Comment by DRW 01.18.12 @ 10:09 am

Well they have basically played 3 guards 2 forwards for years and against Syracuse, played for long stretches with basically 4 wing players. You still need size to play defense though. And Robinson has played lousy lately, but is a good passer from the high post, which can’t be said of Taylor and Zanna. It is important to have players in the low post for rebounding and for general spacing…Taylor will never play the 4 in his career at Pitt. That is clear.

Comment by SilverPanther in NYC 01.18.12 @ 10:22 am

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