July 5, 2012

Valpo May Be the Best Option

Filed under: Basketball,Non-con,Schedule — Chas @ 12:25 pm

I repeat my feeling that Pitt was really, really foolish to count on the Big East to give them a game in the SEC/Big East Challenge. I don’t care what vibe they got from the conference. What assurances they thought they had. It was poor planning, and coupled with Big East incompetency entirely avoidable.

As such, they have been scrambling for a month to get a good (power conference with NCAA Tournament chances opponent) home game in a very specific window (right around the first weekend of December) of the non-con. Needless to say, it hasn’t gone so well. That leaves Pitt looking to find a mid-major of quality.

So, um, the Horizon Leauge, huh?

Pitt is still trying fill a major home date after not getting an expected home game in the Big East-SEC Challenge. The Panthers would be wise to lock in a home game with Horizon League favorite Valparaiso. There have been talks between the two and Pitt may not get a better RPI game on the nonconference home schedule.

I guess the upside is that Pitt probably wouldn’t have to give a return game.

I guess it’s time for the obligatory Bryce Drew kills Mississippi State in the 1998 NCAA Tournament clip.

Still, that means another season at the Pete without a major conference foe for the non-con. In case you were keeping track, the last major conference team to play a non-con at the Pete was Oklahoma State in December 2007. Since then, all good non-cons have all been tournaments at neutral or semi-neutral sites.

I know it has gotten tough for Pitt to schedule home-and-homes with good teams. Most, like Pitt, are preferring to go patsies and the good games in tournaments. It just isn’t good for Pitt in my view. It hurts fan enthusiasm. It frustrates season ticket holders. And it puts Pitt’s non-con strength of schedule in a precarious spot if the opponents in the pre-arranged tournaments aren’t as good as expected.

Wasn’t Butler in the Horizon League? I mean we all think those “mid-majors” are bad (okay, yeah, they’re no Big Ten/ACC/SEC/PAC12) but haven’t some of those teams done some serious business in the NCAA Tourney?

Comment by Lou Gagliardi 07.05.12 @ 1:18 pm

We should try to get Valpo. It will end up being just as good as getting Georgia from the SEC. In fact, Valpo’s RPI may end up being higher than Georgia’s this year. However, I do agree that we need to start scheduling one good OOC home game/year at the Pete.

Comment by Bethlehemjohn 07.05.12 @ 1:35 pm

Valpo is going to be quite good so that isn’t the huge issue. The issue is the name… it’s freaking Valpo. What fan gets excited about that? I personally love when Pitt plays teams from other big schools because inevitably I know people from that school and it creates a “bragging rights” type of game.

I’m fine with Valpo for RPI reasons, but I do want some bigger schools for fun/bragging rights.

Comment by Big Time 07.05.12 @ 1:47 pm

Washington State again, and again, and again

Comment by steve1 07.05.12 @ 2:12 pm

The nonconference schedule is such a joke. I have season tickets and I’m forced to pay for horrible games against teams that have little chance of winning. I think it is more of a Pitt thing and not other teams not wanting to come here. Look at this list:
link to

There are plenty of big schools playing on the road on the list. So really it’s Jamie Dixon making up excuses for his own problem of not scheduling tough. There should have been two big conference team games on the schedule not including the Big East/SEC challenge. I mean seriously, if OSU can get Kansas to go to OSU then there is no reason that after over 10 years of success in basketball that Pitt can’t get home and homes with quality opponents. Bottom line, Jamie Dixon schedules for the RPI and could care less about the actual level of the opponent because the seats sell out no matter what.

Comment by Wardapalooza 07.05.12 @ 3:07 pm


I get your frustration, but that list doesn’t help the case.

Fourteen of the games on that list are at neutral sites — which Pitt also has. Another chunk are “challenge” games set up by the conferences — 9 by my count, though the list is inconsistent about marking them. Then there are the annual rivalry games like Memphis-Tennessee, Wisconsin-Marquette, Louisville-Kentucky… — 5. There are also several A-10/mid-major teams listed on there like Ohio, St. Joe’s, etc — 5. That leaves a little over 20 true home-games between power conference teams that actually agreed to do as home-and-homes without some outside influence or off-campus.

Comment by Chas 07.05.12 @ 3:37 pm

I dont like playing patsies of any kind all games should be rough games you will be better for it at the end of the year you will be ready for the playoffs that way .
the only teams that i might play if it were up to me if you want to call these patsies would be teams like penn state washington state or texas a&m big schools that are not known for basketball
if you want to cll them patsies ok but no mid majors for me .

Comment by FRANKCAN 07.05.12 @ 3:12 pm

Never been one to say the fans are “owed” anything. However, in Pitt basketball scheduling the past 5 years, the case is there.

I could understand the first years of Howland, and then the first years of Dixon loading up on softees.

You are now a perennial top 10 team, known as a powerhouse, and every article I’ve read has said Pitt and Syracuse moving to the ACC just gave the ACC the top hoops conference.

You are now in a position, to bring in 1, if not 2 good games in the 10 or 12 pre conference games.

Jamie, more than likely, you’ll win the games anyhow.

So, it’s down to money. Well, guess what, you need to take one for the team and start having home and homes with top teams.

Technically do the fans deserve it, no, they know what they are buying.

However, in the “right thing to do” category, the fans have sat through enough Robert Morris, IUPs, Alcorn States, Long Island’s and Loyola of Maryland’s.

The Pitt hoops fans have been loyal, made the Pete one of the toughest places to play, the fans actually do deserve a decent game or two non-con.

I always try to look at both sides, coming down on the fans side on this one.

They deserve better. Just because they’ll buy them anyhow, is not how to take care of customers. Afterall, that’s what a fan is, a customer.

Comment by Dan 07.05.12 @ 4:02 pm


Definitely some frustration in my comment. The list was more showing that it is done. But looking over the schedule, Pitt hasn’t played a true home and home with a major conference team since the 2008-2009 season when they played FSU. That just seems a bit too long. I looked at the schedules of a couple others schools i.e., MSU and Cuse and they tend to have one home and home going on at a time.

Comment by Wardapalooza 07.05.12 @ 4:03 pm

This year would have been especially helpful to play a strong non-conference schedule. Both Adamas and Robinson need as much playing time against top level competition to prepare them for conference games.

Zeigler needs to get comfortable in Dixons system. Adams and Zeigler maybe the top two components of Pitt’s success year. And despite being a freshman Robinson may be playing signficant minutes by January becuase of his ability to not hurt a team with unnecessary turnovers.

Adams needs to be challenged early so he can improve under game conditions. The more he is challeged and learns the sooner he becomes the dominat force that can lead Pitt.

We do not need another schedule that creates illusions, like last year 11-1. It did not matter if Woodall was hurt or not no team can win with a 6’9″ foward at center and 6’5″ SF and a miniture backcourt.

This year Pitt certainly has the size and with Adams and Zeigler additions the talent to be special. If Adams stays 2 years next year Pitt could, if Patterson and Robinson are for real a beast.

They may be special this year. A tough early schedule win or lose would help them giving away conference games later in the season.

Comment by drw 07.05.12 @ 4:48 pm

It’s about the $$. Lower-lever teams are willing to come to play at Pitt for less $$. Think about it. It’s always about the $$. Always.

Comment by MariettaMike 07.06.12 @ 6:53 am

All the complaining about the non-con…if recent memory serves, last year’s non-con was not loaded with top 10 teams, but we didn’t do so well. Maybe, just maybe, they do have tough games on their slate & we just don’t know it.

If you want to sell your tickets – there are plenty of us that will take ’em!

Comment by The Big A 07.06.12 @ 9:24 am

No one is talking about “tough” teams. We’re talking about Pitt being to the point of having some marquee match ups at home non-con.

They never have any… all…..ever!!!!

Yes, it’s about the money, but why do other teams seem to find a way to have a “big” game at home??

Look, I love Jamie Dixon, even last year on here I defended him when some people were saying crazy things because of one bad season.

However, this does not preclude me from telling the truth, our home non-con has absolutely sucked and borders on embarrassing!!!

And, I’m being kind.

Comment by Dan 07.06.12 @ 10:07 am

By the way, if you really want to go to a game, go down to any non-con, scalpers will be selling them, many times for face value, and if you wait till tip off, you can get bargain basement discounts.

Not being a smart ass. Being sincere. If you have some kids or friends that really want to go, you can easily do it.

Comment by Dan 07.06.12 @ 10:10 am

I don’t mind the softer out of conference schedule so long as Jamie Dixon uses it to get the new kids serious playing time. He needs to use the schedule to get his kids valuable minutes in preparation for the BE schedule.

It is of no benefit to play them for 8-12 minutes a game if they are better than what you have. He needs to curtail some of his loyalty to the older players in the system if the younger players are more gifted and have a higher ceiling. Robinson or any of the others should not be getting their first serious minutes this year against Notre Dame or Syracuse. Play your best players….all the time!

Comment by dhuffdaddy 07.06.12 @ 10:33 am

@dhuffdaddy–Dixon plays his best players regardless of whether they are freshman or upperclassmen. You need to get off of this untrue “urban legend” that he doesn’t (and its corollary, that he retards the development of younger more talented players). It’s just a miss-perception of fans and no different than the view of certain football fans (college or pro) who always believe the coach is dumb and for not playing a bench-warmer at QB because the team isn’t doing well!

Comment by pitt1972 07.06.12 @ 10:50 am

Should be real easy to test this theory this year!!

It looks like it’s gonna be pretty easy, even for a novice, to be able to tell who the top 4 or 5 players are going to be for this Pitt team.

If we’re 10 games into the season, and Steven Adams is getting 8-12 minutes per game, and we’re being told that he still needs to “mature”, he’s not “physically” ready yet, he’s got to get his legs under him etc. etc. we’ll know that dhuffdaddy is correct.

There is no question who the best player on the team is. Have seen him play twice, and it isn’t even close. Not even worth debating.

Moves of a point guard with the size of a giant.

We’ll see.

Comment by Dan 07.06.12 @ 5:53 pm

There is no chance Adams only plays 8-12 minutes per game once the BE season rolls around. Like Blair did he will get significant minutes as a freshmen. Robinson,IMO,is another story. He will get some PT but won’t start over Woodall (unless Woodall is still injured) in 2012-13. But, that will be because a healthy Woodall will bring more to the team overall in 2012-13 than Robinson can. Robinson will develop and should start in 2013-14, however.

Comment by pitt1972 07.07.12 @ 7:50 am

[…] no Pitt basketball schedule. Most of the hold-up has been presumed to be because of the quest to find a halfway decent team to play at home after Pitt foolishly counted on playing in the SEC/Big East challenge. It also seems that the […]

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