Travel day yesterday kept me away from the computer — and it was probably a good thing.
I don’t know what to say at this point. It seems as much in the players’ heads at this point as it is to the issues of talent. You don’t go on a slide like this. Losing the way Pitt has for the past month. I mean after watching Pitt football for the past couple of years, we should all be able to recognize a team that just doesn’t seem to have it all together when the other team doesn’t roll over.
Woodall was rusty — which should not have been unexpected. The initial spark he provided the team simply by his presence was quickly extinguished by foul troubles.
There are a lot of fingers pointed at guys like Robinson and Gibbs. And I’ll agree on the defensive side, they did not do a good job. Offensively, they were okay. Yes, Gibbs was only 5-13, but he was 4-10 on 3s. That’s much better than what he has been. Good production from Lamar Patterson (14 points. 6-9 shooting). Even Talib Zanna (3-6, 7 pts) and Dante Taylor (4-5, 8 pts) generated offense inside. The problem, offensively, is as it has been for the last month. No real production from anywhere else on the court.
J.J. Moore makes me crazy, the same way Dante Taylor seems to do to everyone else. Moore only wants to shoot jumpers and refuses to attack the basket if there is even a chance someone might get in his way. Coupled with his lackadaisical effort on defense. It is mind-blowing how he plays with such a sense of entitlement, considering how little he has accomplished. In this eight game slide, he is 11-40 with over half his attempts (23) being 3-balls — and only connecting 3 times. Couple that with 20 rebounds, 0 assists and 12 turnovers to boot in the same stretch and the question isn’t: why is he only playing 13+ minutes/game, but why does he get that many minutes?
Speaking of Dante Taylor driving people mad…
Dante Taylor looked like he wanted to be anywhere else for almost the entire game, save for a quick burst of a couple of quick dunks followed by his normal routine of shenanigans that follow any positive play he makes.
The one question that came to mind watching Taylor last night was should he even be playing anything but spot minutes at this point? On one play he was out filling the lane on a rare transition opportunity when, inexplicably, he decided it was a better idea to try and screen a defender and let his guard try to score rather then make himself big and available for a dunk. Malcolm Gilbert is a freshman 7-footer on the bench. I understand Malcolm Gilbert is not the answer right now, but neither is Dante Taylor, and since Malcolm Gilbert’s red shirt was burned right after the departure of Montreal’s Gift — and here I always thought Montreal’s Gift to the world was Guy La Fleur — why not try to put him in a position to be the answer in the future by playing him some?
I’m starting to come around to the point of view that Gilbert should get more of Taylor’s minutes. Regardless of the problems. I know I’m late compared to a lot of others, but I have kept hoping that Taylor would finally find whatever spark he has occasionally shown. Zanna is inconsistent as all get out, but there is a sense of effort and that he is figuring things out. Taylor hasn’t even shown that since Khem Birch’s departure.
There’s no real production from Cam Wright or Isiah Epps — to the point where defenses essentially ignore them when Pitt has the ball. John Johnson no longer has the benefit of being lost by opposing defenses pre-Woodall injury.
Still those problems on offense pale compared to the defense. The perimeter defense remains a defense in name only. Regardless of whether Pitt is in man or zone. Opponents keep being able to penetrate easily. Putting the frontcourt into the position of leaving their man to help — and thus be out of position for a rebound. Or see a pass go for the easy score to the player they left, because no one rotated over. And god help Pitt if the guards sag off the perimeter to try and prevent the penetration. Kyle Kuric benefited from that on Saturday night.
And on Saturday night, no one in the frontcourt could handle Chane Beneham. It didn’t matter if it was Robinson, Taylor or Zanna. He made all three look silly as he moved around them with ease.
This team needs a win in the worst way.