March 30, 2012

CBI Finale: Time To Finish

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 2:54 pm

For all the deserved mockery the CBI gets, is there anyone that doesn’t want Pitt to win? Is there anyone so full of bile that they don’t want Nasir Robinson, Ashton Gibbs and Nick Rivers to have their final game at the Pete end in victory? I hope not.

The big takeaway so far in the CBI has been seeing other players take advantage of this post-season exhibition time. Coach Dixon has given them minutes and encouraged them to be more aggressive. Whether you buy into this being a potential springboard or helping them for next year, the players have bought into it.

“They weren’t as confident during the season,” Patterson said, “but I feel they’re gaining confidence right now. That’s going to help us going into next year.”

This wasn’t the tournament Pitt had hoped to play in, but since the Panthers are here, they’re trying to use it as a boost for next season.

“I think we’re getting them in a situation that will help us down the road,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. “It’s great to see them emerge.”

The Panthers want to finish this season with a win, too.

“I didn’t try to think about it (possibly) being my last game,” said senior Nasir Robinson, who scored 10 points. “I just wanted to keep fighting for my team.”

With this the third game in 5 days, there won’t be many surprises from either team. At this point, both teams know what the other will want to do.

“It’s an opportunity for our guys to compete and get some experience and to challenge themselves in a little different way,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. “It will be interesting to see how everyone responds playing a team for the third time in a row.”

By now, each team has a firm grasp of how the other likes to play. They have identified the top scoring threats. They know their favorite sets and plays and what situations that are used.

It’s probably the reason Pitt held Washington State to 20 points in the first half Wednesday, the fewest number of points allowed by the Panthers in a half this season.

And it’s probably the same reason the Panthers managed to make just two field goals in the final 10 minutes. The finale tonight could be similarly low scoring.

“It’s different, but I think it’s fun,” Washington State coach Ken Bone said. “It’s unique. You have to change some things, but you don’t want to change too much. It’s kind of fun for a coach and I would imagine the players.”

I expect both sides to be very aggressive in trying to limit 3-point shots. Neither side is particularly strong inside on offense. Pitt has a slight edge, in the paint. That is, however, negated by Washington State’s Reggie Moore who has killed Pitt by driving to the basket and forcing the refs to make calls.

This is a game where Pitt will need J.J. Moore to attack the basket. He spent the first two games on the perimeter. While WSU’s scouting report on Moore undoubtedly mentions his athleticism and ability to drive, they simply haven’t seen him do it. I think he could take advantage of that — if he’s willing to take the contact.

I don’t want us to lose but it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if we don’t have to raise that CBI banner

Comment by Tony C 03.30.12 @ 2:59 pm

No one wants a banner for this put up there.

Comment by Chas 03.30.12 @ 3:02 pm

What if they all got ribbons or sashes? THAT would be entertaining!

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 03.30.12 @ 3:16 pm

I believe the final game my set offensive basketball back 20 or 30 years. Final score Pitt 38- WSU 35.

Comment by muddiepitt99 03.30.12 @ 3:19 pm

Bet the banner and trophy go into a closet, never to be seen again.

I really hope the seniors play well tonight. It’s been a rough year for them.

Comment by velvil 03.30.12 @ 3:30 pm

Hail to Pitt! Ok, so myself and a couple/few others were wrong about Pitt making the big dance. Still, this is nice to still be playing ball right now.

Comment by Digdug 03.30.12 @ 3:34 pm

Yes I want them to win.

I believe they will NOT win, and it will be a perfect microcosm of Pitt sports. Always a letdown in the end.

Comment by BATR 03.30.12 @ 4:36 pm

If you’re in a game, play to win!

Comment by Justinian 03.30.12 @ 5:09 pm

BATR, you should give motivational speeches. With that kinda attitude, nothing can stop us!

Hail to Pitt [as a sad tuba plays in the background]

Comment by PantherP 03.30.12 @ 5:38 pm

Anyone with info on whether this game is accessible to us here in greater Phila area, I’d certainly appreciate it. That is, I am curious if the game can be found via Comcast or by Internet feed.
Certainly not interested in the radio broadcast…

Comment by Neil 03.30.12 @ 7:27 pm

did gibbs not dress or something? im following on espn gamecast and he’s not listed as a starter or on the bench?

Comment by ClarkLotTgate 03.30.12 @ 7:39 pm

Gibbs has an ankle issue. Would not be suprised at all if he didn’t dress. Does anyone know where I can find or listen to this game?? In Baltimore

Comment by Dan 72 03.30.12 @ 8:20 pm

You can listen here Dan
link to

Comment by CBC 03.30.12 @ 8:28 pm

National Champions! We’re #101!

Comment by Tony C 03.30.12 @ 9:01 pm

I guess winning something is better than nothing however I don’t think there will be any rioting in Oakland tonight.

Comment by OrlandoAlum 03.30.12 @ 9:05 pm

Top 25 @ #25?

Wishful thinking. But PITT turns something bad into something good is well beyond my expectations (athletically).

The athletic department might have at least streamed the game, IMO.

Attendance at the Pete tonight, anyone?

Comment by Neil 03.30.12 @ 9:16 pm

I’m popping the champagne. This tourney allowed the young guys to gain confidence and accomplish success. It was worth it despite what dumb asses say. Yes, PITT had to swallow some pride to play in this crappy tourney but it was for the greater good. Congrats players and coaches. Job well done. Hail to Fuckinn Pitt!!!

Comment by TX Panther 03.30.12 @ 9:17 pm

Incidentally, wow, what a thread!

I count 14 of us here. (We are certainly 35yrs minimum with likely child or two.)

Comment by Neil 03.30.12 @ 9:20 pm

5 Pitt players in double figures. When’s the last time that happened?

Comment by Lou 03.30.12 @ 9:25 pm

42 years old. 8 and 10 year olds for kids. Wife in Galveston this weekend doing an Ironman. You are very perceptive Neil. H2P!

Comment by TX Panther 03.30.12 @ 9:26 pm

TX Panther:

Forget champagne; whenever Pitt hits the field in nearly anything (specifically FB), I’m not waiting to uncork the bottle at game’s end (least of which champagne).

I prepare before the game at hand — not too early, but about 5 mins prior to start of contest; it helps to temper whatever the expectation.

Of course, I do not suggest or necessarily condone this. But born 1970 & binging from 1983 fwd, this behavior is difficult to correct.

Hail to Pitt. G’night to the faithful.

Comment by Neil 03.30.12 @ 9:29 pm

Me too!

42 sucks! 3.5 year old (ugh). Heading to bed again.

Comment by Neil 03.30.12 @ 9:31 pm

Granted WS defense is putrid but no Gibbs and no TO’s in the first half, one in the second. The CBI will only do Patterson, Zanna, Woodall & JJ some good. Johnson is truly expendible, he is a miserable defender and a liability. His man took him to the hoop every opportunity. You cannot win with such a liability. Terrible recruiting. Wright is the best defensive guard but also the most challenged offensively. Neither belongs in a major program. Looking forward to next year. Considering the incoming class the CBI gave us hopefully a glimpse of some of next year’s contributors.

Comment by Old School Panther 03.30.12 @ 9:39 pm

I like that awkward moment at the end when players debate whether or not to cut down the net

Comment by Ghost of Hornman 03.30.12 @ 9:51 pm

Put this in perspective, naysayers: WSU beat Stanford during the regular season.

Comment by steve1 03.30.12 @ 9:53 pm

Just got home from the game. Nice to finish with a win. I was tempted to burn my couch but it’s raining so hard it probably wouldn’t burn so I’m just gonna go to bed.

Comment by dinosaur 71 03.30.12 @ 10:21 pm

Muddiepitt99: keep your day job. Good work Panthers!

Comment by SFPitt 03.30.12 @ 10:51 pm

Glad they closed it out with a W. I will miss Nasir and the Gibbs of the first 3 years. These guys fought until the end and kept improving. Thank you, gentlemen for you efforts. H2P

Comment by Pitt Rob 03.30.12 @ 11:10 pm

46, kids are 11 and 7. Good job Panthers. I was surprised Patterson got MVP, I thought Zanna deserved it. I loved the 3-game series concept, it was fun watching the adjustments and knowing what the other player did.

From the TV, I would say that the attendance was 6500.

Comment by KeyboardKev 03.31.12 @ 12:02 am

I guess I qualify as the young guy then at 22.

Comment by Pitt Rob 03.31.12 @ 12:16 am

42 and no kids, suckers!

Looking at the box score, I think its safe to say that Epps is gone – no pt at all with Gibbs out. Taylor only played 9 minutes and Nassir chucked another 3.
Can’t wait till Adams and Robinson get here.

Comment by crackbaldo 03.31.12 @ 12:31 am

Just turned 21! I go to Auburn but H2P!

Comment by Tony C 03.31.12 @ 1:25 am

I went to school with Paul Martha, I’m old. Congratulations to the Pitt basketball team, especially the seniors for winning the CBI tournament. Hopefully, this win will be a spring-board to a successful 2012/2013 season.

I was not a fan of Pitt paying to play in the CBI tournament but if it helps returning player’s gain more confidence in their game, it was worth the investment.

I just received Pitt’s Annual Fund Drive letter yesterday, today I feel a little better sending in my 2012 contribution. HTP!

Comment by MariettaMike 03.31.12 @ 8:06 am

I followed most of the CBI games and went to all of the home games. The championship was a nice end to an otherwise disappointing season.
All of the players deserve credit for their desire to play in this tournament. We leave this basketball season with lots of questions and lots of hope that things will be better later this year.
All that being said the CBI tournament itself has to be regarded as nothing more than a glorified summer camp in Greentree. The referreeing in the Pitt games is the absolute worst I have ever seen.
Although it seemed that the calls went against Pitt the calls were absolutely horrible against both teams. If you haven’t seen the flagrant foul against John Johnston google WSU foul Pitt.
The Pitt players and coaches deserve a ton of credit for their sportsmanship.

Comment by wldrnss 03.31.12 @ 8:22 am

officiating was awful both ways.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 03.31.12 @ 8:42 am

Crackbaldo – in what I thought was a great display, Jamie gave what would have been Epps’ minutes last night to Nick Rivers. Rivers got in with about 5 minutes left in the 1st half and played to the TV timeout, and same thing in the 2nd. No points but he got a rebound.

Comment by KeyboardKev 03.31.12 @ 8:45 am

And I agree about the sportsmanship from both teams. After 3 straight games I expected it to get a little chippy but it was nice to see, both players and coaches.

Comment by KeyboardKev 03.31.12 @ 8:46 am

Better to play than not to play.
Better to win than lose.
Finally learned how to use Zanna offensively.
Patterson was most valuable.
Moore gives us a little hope.
Woodall getting better.
Birch still a moron.
Still, no Pitt like defense.
Everyone glad this season is finally over.

Comment by gc 03.31.12 @ 9:41 am

I do not think I am crazy when I say that next year Pitt with getting one player into school that Pitt will be a vable National Championship team.
Adams is by far the most dominant player coming into college. He is the best center (the only top center who is both an offensive and defensive force). Because of his position he is more valuable than the 6’8″ forward rated number 1 or Anthony Thomas 2012 AP player of the year. Actually in the college game I would take Adams over L.James as a college player.

Next is Robinson a highly touted guard playing at the highest level of high school baskeball for the 3 years he started. More importantly unlike forwards (Taylor, etc.)guards who have the athletic skills to compete at D1 level and dominant in high school more usually succeed.

Summary: Robinson is aa PG who is capable of scoring 20 a game despite the high level of competition but he plays with two top 30 players so he has moved from 2G to point. He can score but most importantly he can run an offense something Woodall cannot do. He is also 6’3″ and although not quick enough to make the NBA tough enough and focused enough to be a defensive stopper on the perimeter.

Basketball is an inside outside game. Dixon has struck gold. With the best player in college in the post at 7ft. nasty defender and rebounder and an athletic 7 footer not seen since David Robinson the bar just jumped from 101 to 10 or under.

Robinson will run the show. This will eliminate turnovers and making sure the ball starts with Adams inside. Hopefully Jamie will repress his misgotten loyalties to players like Woodall and his overinflated estimation of his skills and the teams reliance on him,like Gibbs,Fields and Krasuer, and religated to his rightful position of 2nd team.

With Robinson in the backcourt as a legitimate scoring threat Wright can play the 2G for a lock down perimeter defense. For more offense and height and hopefully improved defense Patterson at the 2.

Moore learns to just go to the hoop because he has Adams to open a lane for a truck and still take 3’s to keep defense off Adams.

Zanna and Taylor do not have to improve just be garbage men. Taylor could excel in this position by providing tough inside defense and rebounding.

Zanna and Taylor can spell Adams at center but hopefully Gilbert will get the chances because he needs to court time because Adams will be the #1 draft pick in 2013 if he decides to go.

I have seen Adams on video against the top 3 rated centers in the country and it was not that he out played them in the game statistically it is that he has skills none of them have. The only reason he is not rated the #1 player for 2012 is he has only been in the U.S. since this summer. The NBA scouts rate him the best.

Comment by drw 03.31.12 @ 10:09 am

Good for PITT no matter how big the tournament!

Comment by Reed 03.31.12 @ 12:22 pm

It was great to see Lazy Lamar play with some intensity and focus in the CBI. Let’s hope it carries over and he becomes one of the leaders we so desperately needed this year.

I think its also important to note that Tra went for 65 points, 15, rebounds, 42 assists and 10 turnovers in the 5 games of the tournament. That is a great sign as well.

Comment by CnorwoodAZ 03.31.12 @ 1:37 pm

Nice looking trophy for the case.

Comment by gc 03.31.12 @ 2:19 pm

I looked at next year as a national title year too. But that was with Khem Birch and before I found out this team had no talent

Comment by Tony C 03.31.12 @ 7:44 pm

Good point Tony. I certainly would be a different team with Birch. Birch offensive limitations would have been minimized playing with Adams and this would have improved his NBA stature.

I cannot wonder after watching Gibbs act up this season and knowing simply by watching his game that Woodall is a prima donna that their may have been some irch said about jealousy.

Regardless whether you love Jamie or not the blame falls on him for the loss of Birch for two reasons. One unlike all the top coaches in the country start their best players regardless if they are freshman. They realize they will learn only by playing and the power-puff ono-conference games help their confidence and allow them to grow if they are not hooked everytime they make a mistake. God forbid he does the same to Adams.

Second you think he would learn from his past mistakes and not play a high level recuit or any player in a position he never played before in his career and is not suited to play.

Finally why didn’t he recruit a center in 3 years after McGhee. If he had good chance the streak of NCAA tournaments would not have ended.

He is incredibly lucking that Adams played in New Zealand = the only place he could have recruiited a player of his quality (no one else knew about him). Adams will save the program next year but when he leaves after next year what happens.

Comment by drw 03.31.12 @ 11:04 pm

I just want to get back to being in the conference championship game and Sweet 16 every year. This was a long season.

Comment by Tony C 04.01.12 @ 1:11 am

drw–I am 1,000%++ in disagreement with your view–is to blame Dixon regarding Birch’s departure:

1. “unlike all the top coaches in the country start their best players regardless if they are freshman.”

This view is pure BS and has been debunked numerous times by numerous fans. When a player is good enough, freshman or not, he either starts or gets starters minutes under Dixon. There are several examples at Pitt in addition to Blair that support this.

2. “you think he would . . . not play a high level recruit or any player in a position he never played before in his career and is not suited to play.”

Playing someone in a position they didn’t play in high school/AAU is very commonly done by most college coaches. Many kids play positions in high school that are not the best position for them to play in college. Sam Young, for example, played center in high school.

Also, coaches cannot always play a guy at the position he is best suited for if there is a greater need at another position and the guy is the best option available to fill the gap. Coaches have to get the best mix of players from their available roster on the floor to maximize their chances of winning. Quite often this means playing some guys at other than their best or ideal position. If this doesn’t suit some immature, confused and/or spoiled kid then it is good riddance. Coaches need to do what’s best for the entire team not treat some guy or guys differently. It’s a team sport.

Comment by pitt1972 04.01.12 @ 3:19 pm

hows adam’s academic concerns… is that still an issue ?

Comment by snala the panther 04.01.12 @ 5:45 pm

Pitt1973 — Agreed.

Birch’s departure is Birch’s fault. He was a brat with no patience and no integrity. I get that recruits get the short end of the bargaining chip versus the colleges/coaches they sign up with. But (i) this logic applies only for recruits who aren’t going to go pro because after all these kids are going to leave early and make millions of dollars for playings sports for screw ’em; and (ii) Dixon and Pitt don’t really screw over their recruits llike other schools. Anyway, Birch was and is a petulant brat. Dixon really couldn’t have done anything about it without alienating his entire team.

But its really frustating he left because imagine the front court next year if he stayed. Sheesh. Easily BE champtionship contenders, maybe even Nat’l title contenders.

(and how stupid is that of him….he’d be one the of the best 2 players on a nat’l title contender, and be going pro the following year. Now he’s playing for UNLV and getting no advantage other than the warm weather).

Comment by PantherP 04.02.12 @ 11:10 am

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