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February 5, 2012

LiveBlog: Catfight, Wildcats-Panthers

Filed under: Basketball,liveblog — Chas @ 11:27 am

If I’m correct (if?), this is the first Super Bowl Sunday game for Pitt in six years. Let’s hope the end is a little better than that one.

This a 2pm game on ESPN. Villanova is tied with the same conference record as Pitt with a 3-7 mark. The difference is they were also below average in the non-con side. Expect some TV commentary about both coaches having a down year at the same time.

Both teams feature frontcourts that tend to get exploited and is a little undersized at the power forward spot. The key, as always with a Jay Wright team, will be how the Wildcat guards are playing. Lots of high-level talent that came out of high school, but not nearly the success or consistency that would be expected by now.


The usual rules are in place for this liveblog. It’s a moderated chat. Not every comment will get pushed through. Especially when they say the exact same thing as a bunch of other comments. Dumb and abusive comments will be mocked, ignored and/or blocked depending on my whims and whether I can get a cheap laugh out of it. There is no formula to it. It comes down to judgment calls. But here is a hint. If you make a stupid declaration that you can’t stand this game/team/players/etc. and that you won’t watch any longer. I will take you at your word, and block you immediately to spare everyone any chance of hypocrisy and hyperbole.

If you need to break the liveblog from the site, Click Here.

Otherwise, just a little lower.

On a totally different subject, congrats go out to Chris Doleman and Curtis Martin on their election into the NFL Hall of Fame! Both are well deserving.

BTW, with their inclusion, that ties Pitt with Ohio State and Michigan as the third highest number of inductees from one university. Pitt football may be in an extended slump compared to other college football powerhouses from a win/loss point of view over the last few years but we are obviously a NFL player factory and therefore a school that continues to create a great history with a rich football tradition. Hail to Pitt.

Comment by Dr. Tom 02.05.12 @ 12:01 pm

With Chris Doleman and Curtis Martin going to the Pro Football Hall of Fame that leaves only 2 universities with more than Pitt. That’s certainly something to crow about. I wonder if there is a section with pictures of the former Pitt players inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. If not that would be nice see in the Pitt Football complex. It would be a nice tribute and would certainlly get the attention of the visiting football recruits.

Comment by Justinian 02.05.12 @ 2:00 pm

Pitt missed a lot of bunnies early in the game and struggled, but they finally got it going. I did,’t like letting Nova getting the quick 5, but I’ll take a 12 point lead at the half. Go Panthers!

Comment by Justinian 02.05.12 @ 2:57 pm

I’ve critized Tray woodall saying he isn’t a great pg (he still turns over the ball more than i like)..but i am floored at how he has become the scorer that he has…so keep it up tray…lets go pitt!

Comment by pitt-for-life 02.05.12 @ 2:58 pm

Gibbs is making 3s look easy today,,,,”in your face ,,,,,sucker”!

Comment by Dr. Tom 02.05.12 @ 2:58 pm

Just: I have this theory that Pitt has the best alumni NFL team ever. Dan at QB, Tony & Curtis, Mike at TE, etc. D is especially scary, Hugh, Ricky, Joe Schmidt, etc.

Back to basketball. We need Nas to contribute in 2nd half.

Comment by Old School Panther 02.05.12 @ 3:07 pm

made it way too rough today tha it had to be… thank goodness for foulshooting

loved the aerial photos

Comment by wbb 02.05.12 @ 4:16 pm

four straight!!….keep it up boys..sf next victim!!

Comment by pitt-for-life 02.05.12 @ 4:17 pm

First let me say that I hate Villanova and if they never win another game, it’s okay by me.

Now for the game….adversity does some amazing things to teams…especially the ones that overcome it. As a coach, I always said the best teaching moments are after losses. Having said that, Pitt is finding out that they have very little room for error. We sure are tough though and for the most part a pleasure to watch them overcome the odds.

If I am Jamie, I am practicing nothing but press breaks and clock management plays. Great win… Hail to Pitt!!

Comment by Dan 72 02.05.12 @ 4:19 pm

We’re getting better, that’s for sure. But, I have to ask: are we good enough to get to 20 wins by the end of the season?

IMO, 18 seems more realistic to me, 19 maybe, but I don’t think that’d be enough for our guys to make the tourney even with a couple of BE tournament wins. I think 20 is our magic number. What’s the likelihood of that happening?

Comment by Shawn 02.05.12 @ 4:19 pm

Should have been easier, too many missed bunnies.

But a win is a win is a win….

Keep taking them one at a time.

Comment by gc 02.05.12 @ 4:20 pm

I don’t know what kind of foul shooting pills the team found, but keep taking them.

Comment by Bowling Green Panther 02.05.12 @ 4:21 pm

Oh yeah…Trey Woodall is god!

Comment by Dan 72 02.05.12 @ 4:22 pm

i know at the pitt complex they have a astro turf set up with yard markers like a real field, and then hanging from the ceiling they have active players uniform and set to revis at cb with nyjets uniform

Comment by teezy 02.05.12 @ 4:31 pm

Hail to Pitt! I said it weeks ago, I’ll say it again, this team is making it to the big dance.

Comment by Digdug 02.05.12 @ 4:31 pm

This Pitt basketball team is hitting its stride just in time for MSG and hopefully the Big Dance. I realize there are several games left before the BET but this team is playing like they want to go beyond the BET.

Hail to Pitt!

Comment by MariettaMike 02.05.12 @ 4:40 pm

When was the last time the Panthers shot 87% from the free throw line?

87% 87% 87% 87% 87% 87% 87%


Comment by isnore 02.05.12 @ 4:45 pm

No, I don’t believe Tray is a “god” (note,small g”) but, i do think he is a very good player and is MVP for the Panthers this season. He is vastly improved and is a credit to the game. Rev. George from Columbus where “Suburban Urban” is likewise not a “god”, but thinks he is and is writing “new commandments for recruiting. Just jesting, I THINK!

Comment by Rev. George Mehaffey 02.05.12 @ 4:50 pm

What a physical game!! Refs let alot go. Some real good Big East Basketball right there.

Comment by Timmeh 02.05.12 @ 4:57 pm

What has happened to Patterson last few games. Had that great game against Providence and has looked hesitant ever since.

A win. I wouldn’t call it a good win, in that those last 12 minutes or so were difficult to watch. But Woodall is carrying this team. He may will them to the Big Dance.

Comment by Carmen 02.05.12 @ 4:59 pm

Tray Woodall is doing a pretty sick Kemba Walker impersonation.

Dante Taylor with two good games in a row. Keep it up.

Comment by omar 02.05.12 @ 5:04 pm

I know how much fun it is to engage in speculation about the Big Dance – I do it too.

I sincerely hope Jamie is keeping the players from doing that. They haven’t yet earned that luxury.

All that matters is South Florida, and that will not be an easy game.

Comment by BATR 02.05.12 @ 5:10 pm

A win is a win, especially over Villimanilli.
Yes it was ugly after we built it up to an 18 point 2nd half lead, but imo that was due to very poor bench point production & performances other than Sleepy. And Nas & Patterson & Zanna all had off games. So it was a good thing Woody and Gibbs both went ‘off’ in the same game. And boy DID THEY, that might have been the best backcourt game from starting Pitt guards in Pitt history, even with the turnovers.

Whatever happened to Woody when he was out, maybe it was sitting on the bench and watching, but he is twice the player he was before the injury. Maybe he realized his Pitt career is winding down and now he has a sense of urgency(yes I do realize he has another year left) and they do realize the season and our NCAA streak is in jeopardy. And who wants to be on the team, that broke the streak in a bad way.

USF just got hammered by G’Town by 30 points so they will be licking their wounds and will be ready. Let’s pack up the gear and head to Tampa and get another win.

Hail to Pitt !
Veritas et Virtus !

Comment by Emel 02.05.12 @ 5:31 pm

Yes FT’s have improved. But look who is taking them — Woodall, Gibbs and Patterson (combined 22 of 23,of the total 27 of 31). Game against WVU , they were 16 of 18; G’twn, 14 of 15. Patterson and Woodall driving to the hoop, and late game ball handling….

Great win.

Comment by velvil 02.05.12 @ 5:34 pm

Tray “cannot cast the first stone” .. after all, it was many of his turnovers (bad passes and a couple of shots that were blocked) that put Nova back in the game

Comment by wbb 02.05.12 @ 5:42 pm

It is sad how fragile this team is ,, if Tray is out or has a bad stretch, the team really suffers

If he keeps hitting the 3s, we may have to call him ‘Trey’

When Gibbs is hitting like that, it’s like a running back getting 5 or 6 yards per carry in a pro set …. dare we dream?

Comment by wbb 02.05.12 @ 5:54 pm

I’m rooting for Henry Hynoski, a guy that should have got 7-8 carries a game with us.

Comment by gc 02.05.12 @ 6:11 pm

Henry picks a first down and is knocking men down.

Comment by gc 02.05.12 @ 6:58 pm

did you see Polite on the other sideline?

Comment by wbb 02.05.12 @ 7:05 pm

each team with a pitt fullback, good riddance to the spread

Comment by gc 02.05.12 @ 7:07 pm

Go Henry!

Hey Very big win today at the Pete! Even though they tried to give it away at the end. Naz’s long ball inbound pass saved the day, Now let’s if they can keep this thing going at South Florida. Every win from here on in matters.

Comment by Justinian 02.05.12 @ 7:10 pm

Emel, Woodall was playing great before he got hurt. He’s scoring slightly more now, but otherwise he’s been good all year (as I posted months ago, he led or was 2nd in almost every statistical category).

Wbb, I really don’t think it’s fragility. Really I think this is proof what difference a few adjustments can make and that Woodall is actually just a really good player.

Love, LOVE, that Taylor has been stepping up.

Lastly Woodall being back is the difference between having one main go-to guy, who if he’s off or the focus of the d is going to completely undermine your offense, versus having two go-to guys who now open up the floor for everyone by spreading the defense and when either can step up as needed. Not to mention we now have a true distributor. It’s all obviously changed everything .

Comment by PantherP 02.05.12 @ 7:10 pm

Woodall makes everyone better. Still not a great team. If they play them one at a time and keep getting better maybe a good team. Much better than we thought two weeks ago.

Thought they were reverting to form in the second half. Lucky that Villanova is not very good.

Comment by gc 02.05.12 @ 7:25 pm

Hynoski, first down!

Comment by gc 02.05.12 @ 7:26 pm

Nas even through a spiral. Move over Tino.

Comment by steve 02.05.12 @ 7:26 pm

I think Naz would be tougher to tackle as well. Unfortunately he doesn’t have another year of elegability left.

Comment by Justinian 02.05.12 @ 8:08 pm

Every team I have seen is a player away from oblivion….OSU without Salinger is a good example.
Pitt doesn’t have the depth OSU does, but it is building it.
Whatever, this is a really interesting season!

Comment by SFPitt 02.05.12 @ 8:59 pm

Madonna is a talentless whore. I would, however, put the wood to Betty White.

Comment by Gas 02.05.12 @ 10:01 pm

Congratulations to Henry Hynoski, you’re a Super Bowl Champion. Big weekend for Pitt guys. Curtis Martin and Chris Doleman are voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Henry Hynoski is the starting fullback on the Super bowl Champion, New York Giants.

Comment by Justinian 02.05.12 @ 10:14 pm

Where’s the PittBlather “like” button, Gas??

Comment by Lou 02.05.12 @ 11:40 pm

Hynoski was great. He just earned a nice contract IMO

Comment by Tony C 02.06.12 @ 12:38 am

Tony C – Hynoski has been blocking really well all season for the Giants.

Last night I was surprised that the announcers didn’t mention his blocking at all. On every big rushing play the Giants had Hynoski had a key block – usually sealing off a LB.

Plus, notice how far down field he was when the Giants receiver fumbled and Hynoski was there to recover. A lot of RBs and FBs in particular just execute their one block and let the rest of the play go on without them but He was trailing the play down field.

Comment by Reed 02.06.12 @ 7:24 am

The march towards redemtion continues. Rags to riches as the announcers said. Would be a good story.

Comment by TX Panther 02.06.12 @ 7:33 am

Reed, I also noticed how many nice blocks Hyno had without any mention … also noticed how mant times that the Giants’ RBs didn’t follow his blocking and try to break it outside (like they were speed merchants) only to be tackled for littl or no gain

Comment by wbb 02.06.12 @ 7:34 am

Tray being tray. Love what he brings to the table. I think some of Tray’s turnovers are due to him being tired. For example, he threw a ball way over Ashton’s head as he crossed mid-court, I think a nontired Tray handles the ball more before passing.

Also saw a good bit of what I call the twin towers (Zanna and Taylor) yesterday. I actually didn’t think they played bad together. Although, I am a huge Dante Taylor apologist. Speaking of Dante Taylor another solid game by him. Since January 1st, he is a solid 11-14, 79% from the line.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.06.12 @ 9:14 am

Hyno Did a good job at Pitt, blocking for Dion Lewis and Ray Graham and he did a good job with the Giants. Most people don’t notice blockers, unless they miss a block. He looked good all around, blocking, getting the extra yeards after first contact, when he got the ball and the recovery of the fumble that probably saved the game for the Giants.

Comment by Justinian 02.06.12 @ 9:20 am

How about that great day and SB win from Henry Hynoski!

Pitt also greatly represented in Hall selection!

Great day for Pitt!

Comment by Pitt it IS 02.06.12 @ 9:47 am

Did the Giant’s attempt to not score that last TD that the Patriot’s decided to allow to give Brady more time remind anyone else of the situation at the end of Pitt’s loss to Cincinnati a couple of year’s ago?.

I don’t know if Kelly purposely allowed Pitt to score their last TD easily. But, I always thought Pitt should have tried to take more time off the clock before scoring to give Cincy less time to score at the end because neither team’s defense could stop the other late in that game.

Comment by pitt1972 02.06.12 @ 9:53 am

the tourney would just be a bonus. I’m happy to see us back from the dead and playing something at least resembling Pitt basketball. HTP!

Comment by Ghost of Hornman 02.06.12 @ 10:33 am

Pitt1972, I was at that Pitt-Cincinnatti game and that drive by Pitt was impressive. During the drive when Pitt had 1st down on the Cincinnatti 7 yard line, a friend standing next to said:

“If were Wannstedt, I would kneel on the ball 3 times, run the clock down, and then kick the field goal.”

The very next play Dion ran it in from 7 yard out for the TD…………..and then they missed the extra point. That miss ultimately cost Pitt the game and the Big East Championship.

It was a very VERY tough loss. but who’s to say we wouldn’t have missed the chip shot field goal.

Comment by Justinian 02.06.12 @ 10:33 am

It becomes more and more obvious that Taylor is at his best when he plays well. Before you say, ‘no kidding’, realize that that’s not exactly what I mean.
Taylor absolutely loves being on the highlight reel. Whenever he has even the slightest of chances to dunk the ball, even when out of position, he tries. He tries hard. He pounds his chest and screams when he dunks. We love it. He loves it more.
For a guy like Tray, two points is two points. Dante is used to being in the spotlight as a former McDonald’s All-American. He needs plays like that to get him going. Once he does, he’s better at both ends of the court, particularly on defense.
Dixon/Woodall need to recognize this and get Dante going early. I don’t think Jamie’s the type of coach to give into a player’s ego, but Dante is our best big man when he’s at the top of his game. Feed Dante early on some pick and rolls and get his motor started. We’ll absolutely need him down the stretch. H2P.

Comment by MikePITT 02.06.12 @ 10:38 am

I know I’m always negative about the kid, and I legitately like his effort/enthusiasm. but let’s not go crazy on Dante. He still is a sieve defensively (I counted three completely blown hedges that allowed Nova guards to drive to their strong hands and make uncontested layups, not to mention the and-one he allowed to an off-balance Wayns in the middle in the 2nd half or the strange coincidence that Yarou made all his FGs with easy looks over him) as well as 2-3 missed layups (one was particularly egregious). He just looks better because he is getting more looks under the hoop as a result of Tray, who can draw and dish (Patterson doing this as well). I do agree he is playing with a little more passion these days, but he definitely doesn’t deserve the ball any more or to have any plays run for him.

Comment by Joe 02.06.12 @ 10:47 am

Wow, Lousaka Polite???? I thought he was out of football when they announced him in the game last night.

Good weekend for the Panthers.

Comment by Coach Ditka 02.06.12 @ 11:06 am

” Dante is used to being in the spotlight as a former McDonald’s All-American. He needs plays like that to get him going. Once he does, he’s better at both ends of the court, particularly on defense.”
I don’t know if he was specifically talking about it, but I think Tray was interviewed after the game, and mentioned something like “when the team is happy on offense, they play better defense, too.”

What I’m seeing from this Pitt team offensively, is that they’re much more confident in their shooting, much more fluid with their shots. You can see this in their foul shooting from earlier in the season, compared to now. I pray that nothing shakes this confidence down the stretch!

Comment by Lou 02.06.12 @ 11:10 am

@Joe: Dante certainly isn’t a defensive stopper, nor did I ever say he was. I merely said he’s better at both ends of the floor once he gets into the flow of the game. That much is true. No more, no less.
Why he needs to be getting more looks:
We are not deep enough in the backcourt to rely solely on our jump shooters. Taylor and Zanna need to be more and more involved, whether or not the shots fall at a high percentage. Defenses need to be kept honest so that we have opportunities to kick it out for jump shots. I know this is a stretch, but Ray Allen’s best looks come after Garnett tosses it out. If defenses begin to collapse on our bigs, it makes life much, much easier.
Dante is perfectly capable of being a star. It’s in his nature to be complacent. I think if more plays were designed for him, or even just to get him involved, he’d play with more tenacity.

Note: this is all speculative. I’m perfectly happy with how we’re playing right now because we’re winning, but if Tray doesn’t score 20+ per game our games will turn into very long nights.

Comment by MikePITT 02.06.12 @ 11:50 am

Dixon is from the “we do what we do” school of coaching meaning he doesn’t change his lineups or rotations from game to game based on the opponent.

Because of foul trouble on Robinson and Patterson, Jamie was forced to play Dante and Talib together. It worked. As soon as zanna came in the post defense improved and the defensive rebounding got better. Nova was killing Pitt on the offensive glass up until then.

I wish Jamie would play the match up game a little more and use the two bigs when the opponent goes big.

Comment by Boubacar Aw 02.06.12 @ 12:45 pm

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