November 13, 2012

Pitt rolled the Rams as expected. As the game was decided early, with J.J. Moore enjoying an outstanding game, much side conversation quickly turned to the status of John Johnson.

Johnson made his displeasure at not getting any playing time on Friday — and having Coach Jamie Dixon explain it away as him being a little under the weather. It surprised few that rumors swirled over the weekend that he was planning a transfer. Now it is official that he is doing so.

Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said he and Johnson talked several times and that he plans to help the Philadelphia native find another school. Minutes may have been hard to come by for Johnson, as this appears to be one of Dixon’s deepest teams.

“We’ve got a lot of good players and a lot of good guards,” Dixon said.

And that was the problem for Johnson. Despite his own confidence in his abilities, he isn’t as good or experienced as the guys in front of him.

I won’t say that I loved Johnson’s overall game. I flat out hated his defense. He would overextend, leaning too far himself trying to slap the ball away from opposing players without any thought to the situation, size, or skill of his foe. He got away with this in the non-con last year against lower-level talent, but getting into Big East play with bigger, smarter, better guards he was exploited. They could spin away from him and get room to drive to the basket or find an open man when someone had to help as Johnson tried to recover.

Yet, he was a fun, confident shooter who had no fear taking a shot from anywhere on the court at any time (for good and bad). He was an exciting player when his shot was on. He could be streaky with his shot at time, but that figured to improve as he matured. Eventually learning to pass more. But John Johnson was never going to be a primary piece. He could have developed into a vital cog in time, but he simply wasn’t satisfied with that.

The truth is that Travon Woodall is better than him and has more experience. James Robinson is bigger, better and fits the team’s offense and defense much better than Johnson. Trey Zeigler as well. Even Cam Wright, offensively challenged as he may be, plays much better in Pitt’s game as the emphasis returns to working the ball inside with much more frequency. Add in the fact that next year Pitt adds point guard Josh Newkirk, and Johnson won’t exactly see a growing role on the team.

This is probably a good situation for both sides. John Johnson wants to be more of an impact player. He wants more minutes and a primary role with this team, and that won’t happen at Pitt. For Pitt, it obviously frees up a scholarship for next year, but it also frees up minutes on what looks like a very deep squad.

It seems clear that Coach Dixon isn’t too concerned.

Johnson’s departure could mean more playing time for Durand Johnson, a redshirt freshman who scored eight points in his college debut against the Rams. It also means Trey Zeigler will be playing more point guard. Zeigler ran the point for the final five minutes or so after Dixon pulled his starters.

“Zeigler has played the point,” Dixon said. “He’s picked it up really well. He’s a great leader that the guys respect and trust. That gives us some real versatility. I think that’s something we can really use to our benefit this year.”

Zeigler had seven points and one assist. All of his points came after halftime.

Senior point guard Tray Woodall was asked about John Johnson’s departure, and he said the following: “Honestly, I’ve been here for a while, I always knew Pitt’s not for everybody. Some guys like it here but just don’t feel comfortable. Honestly, it’s just not for everybody.”

In the Fordham game, not only did J.J. Moore thrive as he embraces a spark-plug role off the bench and play at both forward spots. Durand Johnson got his first minutes and baskets. He got 8 points in 10 minutes as he can play both shooting guard and at the wing. Adding more size on the perimeter. The potential length on the court when desired this season is something unseen in the Dixon era.

Pitt went 10 deep in the rotation, and everyone had at least 10 minutes of playing time. Obviously the bench will shorten and minutes will shift as the competition improves and the season gets deeper. But right now, Dixon is giving everyone a chance to earn their playing time and see action.

The first test comes tonight. A good, experienced Lehigh team. How does Pitt contain a dynamic guard like C.J. McCollum and a solid inside player like Gabe Knutson? How does their perimeter defense do against a team that has shot better than 40% on threes to start the season (19-45 in the first two games)?

Pitt has handled the lower tiers of the NEC and A-10 with ease. Now it’s stepping up to the best of the Patriot League.

Every team has situations like JJ. Lets get it over with and move on.

Comment by Dan 72 11.13.12 @ 8:28 am

Lehigh is not a joke – beat Bobby Mo last night by 29 and knocked out Duke in the 2nd round of the NCAA’s last year. Good test for the Panthers.

My guess is John Johnson ends up at Marshall with Herrion – who recruited him.

If Pitt was going to push anyone out, he makes the most sense. Good luck to him.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 11.13.12 @ 8:44 am

Paul Jones to RMU as per pg.

Comment by alcofan 11.13.12 @ 8:48 am

Let’s wish the kid well. He was recruited by Dixon for reason (Dixon believed in him). If the kid wants to move on then Dixon should do everything in his power to help him get to a good situation. No reason for anyone to bad mouth the kids simply because WE now have better options. I respect that Dixon has remained above board about the kids. I hope he is doing the same thing behind closed doors.

As for the team, BIG GAME TONIGHT. The first real test of the season. Team appears strong but time will tell. What a pleasant divergence from football.


Comment by Pitt fan in Atlanta 11.13.12 @ 8:49 am

I think Chas put it about right – JJ was occasionally fun, but overall not the kind of player who was ever going to be what he seems to think he is. The guys ahead of him play Pitt ball, it wasn’t his style, and his style was part of what leads to defense like we had last season.

Best of luck to him though. I wouldn’t be shocked to see JJ having one of his days and lighting it up on ESPN in some conference tourney next spring.

Comment by 85 11.13.12 @ 8:51 am

I’ll be interested to see how they guard McCollum — I’m assuming Robinson gets the call, and I’ve loved what I’ve seen so far, but this will be a big test for a freshman. Overall, though, Pitt’s D is so much more athletic inside and out that I think they’ll be fine, more swarming and aggressive. Close for a half — maybe up 4 or 5 at break — then eventually pull away by 12 to 15. At least that’s what would make me happy.

Comment by JW 11.13.12 @ 8:59 am

With John Johnson leaving, it will not be an issue this year…. Woodall and Robinson can serve at Point Guard.
I’m actually shocked Woodall is playing the 2… and he shoots toooo much… forces up too many shots and doesn’t have a great FG%.

The problem will be next year… if Robinson gets injured… no experienced backup. Remember when Woodall got injured and we tried to have Gibbs run the point last year?

You can easily turn a PG into a SG….. but rarely does an SG become a good PG. They are just not accustomed to handling the ball that much whether in HS, etc.

Comment by Joe D 11.13.12 @ 9:15 am

Johnson wasn’t going to be a solution at point guard anyway, so Zeigler and a ’13 recruit will have to suffice.

Woodall’s job is to press the offense to score. The last thing we need is another swing pass around the wing to someone else less assertive and less talented than him. He’s come a long way with his game and when he’s not in, the offense looks waaay less effective. Hope he stays healthy.

Comment by SilverPanther in NYC 11.13.12 @ 9:56 am

We have the very athletic Josh Newkirk from NC coming in next year to help out at PG, if needed.

Agree with Silver, JJ wasn’t a PG anyway. This does free up another scholarship for another power forward perhaps. I think Dixon has several in mind. Or you might opt for a big 2 guard, along the lines of Ziegler, since he’ll be a senior next year. Either way, you should be able to get a kid better able to compete in the ACC.

You get a real stud to play with Adams and this team could be something special.

Beat Lehigh, HTP !

Comment by Emel 11.13.12 @ 10:22 am

Jj moore will be in the starting lineup soon enough.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 11.13.12 @ 10:31 am

@Thabeets– I was wondering about that based on his play so far, but I couldn’t decide whom he would replace. You think it would be Patterson, or Zanna? It sounds more and more like Dixon loves him at the 4, but based on performance only Patterson at the 3 is the choice.

On the other hand, Moore really does seem to be a “team player,” and if he continues to thrive as the 6th man/”super sub” then maybe it’s best to not change yet.

Comment by JW 11.13.12 @ 10:38 am

I think Dixon is focused on Beeja Anya (spelling) from DeMatha… same school as Robinson. That may have been the “political” thing John Johnson was refering to in his tweet.
Translation…. Dixon starting Robinson to lure Beeja..
which is not a bad thing!!!

Comment by Joe D 11.13.12 @ 10:41 am

When Pitt football gets me down (constantly), I look to Pitt basketball to lift my spirits.

Comment by TX Panther 11.13.12 @ 10:47 am

After attending the first two games this year, I’m confident that this team will be very good. They go out and take care of business and play as a team and play defense.

I’m actually glad to see John Johnson leave. He never really struck me as a pure point guard and he is terribly undersized as a two guard. I’d much rather his minutes go to Durand Johnson. The team is going to need another shooter and hopefully that will be Durand.

I think JJ Moore ends up starting for Zanna by the end of the year.

@Joe D John Johnson might have been thinking that Robinson was starting over him for political reasons but in the two games so far Robinson looks much better than John Johnson did at any point last year.

Comment by Wardapalooza 11.13.12 @ 10:53 am

This may be the deepest Pitt team Dixon has had. They have 7 “starters” (Adams, Zanna, Moore, Patterson, Zeigler, Woodall, and Robinson) and two good role player, back ups (Taylor and Wright).

Moore may end up starting, he is matchup nightmare for other fours and can score in bunches, but Zanna will still get plenty of PT. Zanna is a better rebounder and defender. Moore may start if it makes more sense to play him with Adams. When Moore and Taylor are playing together, Pitt is too small. They struggle a little on the boards and on defense.

Expect a good game tonight, Lehigh is absolutely a step up in competition. But ultimately, Pitt’s size and bench will be the difference. Pitt wins going away.

Comment by boubacar aw 11.13.12 @ 11:30 am

Pitt-Lehigh ESPNU 9:00

Comment by Dan 11.13.12 @ 12:01 pm

Run the doors off them….
yep… boubacar… deepest Pitt team I ever saw…

Comment by Joe D 11.13.12 @ 12:05 pm

Not a sexy topic to discuss, but Dante Taylor looks healthy. His awkward fast break last night could have been disastrous, but he looked like there are no lingering knee issues. It’s early, but I think he will end up being an important part of the team this year as Adams’ game continues to develop. I also kinda like having JJ Moore be able to go out on the perimeter from the 4 position. Lots of getting to the rim or dishing. I’m looking forward to a lot of Tra and Tre getting to the rim or dropping off to Taylor and Adams with the opposing 4 away from the basket.

Comment by CNorwoodAZ 11.13.12 @ 12:29 pm

Zeigler gets to the rim very quickly!

Comment by Dan 11.13.12 @ 12:38 pm

i am not sure what this means pitt is not for everbody
what did he mean explain please.
i know there will be several thoughts on this statement would like to hear them.

Comment by FRANKCAN 11.13.12 @ 12:43 pm

Selfish players need not apply. Jamie is all about team.

Comment by TX Panther 11.13.12 @ 12:50 pm

Zanna looks bigger and stronger this year. If he can be an aggressive inside force to complement Adams shot blocking ability, look out. As always, I expect little from Taylor.

Comment by pittfan92 11.13.12 @ 12:51 pm

JW, I think he starts for Zanna – not that Zanna hasn’t played well. Moore and Kiwi Stevie is a nice front court though. Comparisons to Sam Young are deserved. He had a baseline drive yesterday that was deja vu from a few years ago (just missing a pump fake). VERY excited about this team but Lehigh will be tough.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 11.13.12 @ 12:53 pm

Well now there is an open scholarship for another big !

Comment by Snala The Panther 11.13.12 @ 1:10 pm

I know Taylor hasn’t lived up to the hype, expectations were way too high, but Taylor can contribute a bunch off the bench. Taylor as a big off the bench is awesome. Not many teams have the depth to have someone like that on the bench.

Comment by Wardapalooza 11.13.12 @ 1:19 pm

How has Taylor looked so far? I would like to see the kid have a solid senior year. He has taken alot of criticism, much deserved, but seems like a good kid.

Comment by Floyd 11.13.12 @ 1:26 pm

Dixon is playing Robinson because he and Woodall are the best guards on the team. It has nothing to do with recruiting Beejay Anya. If J. Johnson really believes otherwise then Pitt is better off without him.

As for Anya, Indiana (where everyone assumed he was heading) has now stopped recruiting him, leaving NC State as his first choice. I’m sure Dixon is still recruiting him, and he would be a great fit, but since he crossed Pitt off his list a few weeks ago, it would appear to be long shot.

Someone mentioned above how much better Pitt’s offense runs with Woodall in the game. I think the same could be said for Adams. It seemed that when Taylor came in, the entry passes to the post stopped…no more inside out game. Taylor’s effort is good, but his hands and instincts are lacking, and the offense starts to revert to the model from the last few years when he is in there.

Comment by Pantherman13 11.13.12 @ 1:48 pm

I think pitt trys to sign jon severe a 6 foot 2
SG from christ the king ny.
why do that becuse there top target for 2014 is
6 foot 11 260 pound center andonis delarosa from
the same school.
unless beeja anya comes to pitt but it looks as if NCS has him locked up.

Comment by FRANKCAN 11.13.12 @ 1:49 pm

Taylor off the bench is not an asset. Dante Taylor has not improved at all since he stepped on campus. It’s alarming to see how much better Steve Adams is, especially on defense. Dante Taylor is a liability. It’s a shame that Malcolm Gilbert is being redshirted. He is better than Taylor.

Comment by Omar 11.13.12 @ 2:00 pm

FRANKCAN, I think what we can take from that comment, and from what we’ve now seen since Jamie has taken command, he doesn’t suffer fools!!

He’s very pleasant, likable, great guy in the community, and some might think him a big softie, with that boyish smile and such.

I don’t think he puts up with a lot of bullshit or selfishness.

He feels he told you when he recruited you, that “team” is first.

You start straying from that, probably in the dog house very quickly.

Hence, not for everybody.

Comment by Dan 11.13.12 @ 2:13 pm

Pitt is a 12 point favorite. I’ll give those points.

Comment by TX Panther 11.13.12 @ 2:25 pm

Pitt needs another “Big”….
they only have 4… Adams, Zanna, Taylor, Gilbert.. and should have 5 on roster..
I don’t count JJMoore as a “Big”…
I know Pitt has a PF in the 2013 class… but that replaces Taylor… need another one to make 5 and Adams may be a 1 and done.
Also, Moore, Patterson and Zanna are Juniors…

Comment by Joe D 11.13.12 @ 2:32 pm

Dan ok that was one of my thoughts also
i was wondering if there was anything negative
in his statement.
you know the rough practice that KB talked abought or kids not talking to team mates.
was just a little worryed abought the statement.

it could be takeing as negative may be was talking abought the system dixon runs.

just wonderd what he ment.

Comment by FRANKCAN 11.13.12 @ 2:42 pm

JD so you dont think they take the SG jon srvere
from ny so as to have a better shot at his team mate andonis delarosa a 6 11 260 pound center from same school for 2014 they were recruiting
severe earley this year.
and andonis is there target for next year.

Comment by FRANKCAN 11.13.12 @ 2:49 pm

I take the statement as meaning that not everyone likes to work for their PT and not everyone puts team goals first.
As for Gilbert, he has to be RS this year. I don’t think Adams has the chops or desire to be one and done, but if he is, then Gilbert would burn a year with no return for him or Pitt.
Dante is not an NBA player. His McDonalds status was placed on him years ago. He is a hard worker however and runs the floor well. I think he has been average thus far based on one game I saw in person against ST Marys.
Adams is far better in person than appears on TV so I stand corrected on just “not seeing it” with him. The guy is graceful and tenacious! 1 and done? Still don’t see that, but he ain’t gonna be here for the Junior Prom either.

Comment by SFPitt 11.13.12 @ 3:00 pm

Frank – I wouldn’t worry too much about the chemistry between teammates. Aside from last year, Pitt’s teams under Dixon (and Howland before him) have tended to be very tight knit groups. They have also tended to have strong upperclassmen leadership, something that was clearly missing last year.

Comment by Pantherman13 11.13.12 @ 3:21 pm

indiana big 10 has 6 commits for basketball
and only 3 SR.
i guess 3 players will be run off.

Comment by FRANKCAN 11.13.12 @ 3:24 pm

the early signing period in Basketball is less
then 24 hours away.

Comment by FRANKCAN 11.13.12 @ 3:27 pm

No… Pitt doesn’t need another SG… loaded with SG types or SF types…
If not another “Big”… then another “PG”…
PG can be converted to SG but not vice versa…

Comment by Joe D 11.13.12 @ 3:54 pm

Look at it another way… if Adams is a one and done… the only “bigs” are: Gilbert and Zanna.. and incoming frosh..
That is why another “Big” is needed for 2013.

Comment by Joe D 11.13.12 @ 3:56 pm

Pitt hosts 2 big football recruits at Saturday’s B-ball game. Hope they enjoy the atmosphere at the Pete since they wouldn’t have gotten the same experience at Heinz. Foster could make Heinz buzz again however. Dorian is just flat out needed. Would love to see Boyd in a Pitt uni as well.

Comment by TX Panther 11.13.12 @ 4:21 pm

JD i get that but thought it might give us a better shot at the 6 11 260 pounder.
there are not many rated bigs left that we have a shot at for this year there is a 2 star we have benn talking to and a slow 7 foot 3 man not rated but not mutch else.

Comment by FRANKCAN 11.13.12 @ 4:37 pm

I only saw the Mount Saint Mary’s game and I’m not a huge basketball fan, but I was very unimpressed by Taylor. Seemed like the kid had no hustle, no motivation and just wasn’t going for the ball in the paint. You could see it in his body language and the sour puss he wore on his face as well as how he played. Night and day with Adams. Am I far off base here?

Comment by Atlanta Panther 11.13.12 @ 6:00 pm

couldn’t agree with this sentiment more
“When Pitt football gets me down (constantly), I look to Pitt basketball to lift my spirits.
Comment by TX Panther 11.13.12 @ 10:47 am”

plus, there’s alcohol too. i’m going to be able to catch the game tonight, looking forward to seeing adams in action, along with robinson. haven’t seen any live bball action since.. ummm… that cba thing

Comment by usd121 11.13.12 @ 6:16 pm

Can we please give Dante Taylor a break? Holy Cow.

This kid’s biggest sin was being WILDLY overrated coming out of high school. By all accounts, he is a good kid, works hard, has a good attitude, tries hard but he is just not that good. His talent is very limited.

He is our 8th or 9th best player and a reliable BACK UP CENTER. He is the best back up center we’ve had, maybe ever.

Thank God that Adams appears to be the real deal (he changes the game) and we don’t have to rely on Taylor to be something he is not.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that Adams will be just good enough to help Pitt make a deep run in the tournament, but not soooo good that he HAS TO leave early NBA. Starting to believe that a 2nd year for Adams at Pitt is possible.

OK – Heading to the Pete – HTP!!!

Comment by boubacar aw 11.13.12 @ 6:29 pm

@ Atlanta…I think it’s unfair to compare him to Adams…I’d be willing to bet a large majority of D-1 centers would be night and day compared to him.

That being said I agree with boubacar…he was extremely overrated coming out of HS making his expectations unrealistic. He has worked hard to improve his game and his body(Look at pictures from HS and now…he is in WAY better shape). He just isn’t that lottery potential talent that he was billed coming out of HS

Comment by BCPITT 11.13.12 @ 6:37 pm

Joe D, John Johnson WAS a shooting guard trying to play point guard JUST like Gibbs. They are both horrible ball handlers. Trey Zeigler will prove he can handle the point if necessary

Comment by TonyC 11.13.12 @ 7:10 pm

Fair points on Dante. yea Adams is definitely in a different league. Liked what I saw out of Ziegler as well

Comment by AtlantaPanther 11.13.12 @ 8:03 pm

small crowd…just because it’s Lehigh?

Comment by markp 11.13.12 @ 9:54 pm

is this the open thread?

Comment by panther94 11.13.12 @ 10:23 pm

i can’t see the game, so if someone could summarize periodically, that would be much appreciated.

Comment by panther94 11.13.12 @ 10:24 pm

I know there’s really not a live blog tonight, but Pitt has really exploded offensively in this second half. I think JD is excellent at making halftime adjustments. Lets hope they finish it out strongly–Lehigh is NOT a slouch team!

Comment by Lou 11.13.12 @ 10:24 pm

just got the update on espn and holy crap. they did explode.

Comment by panther94 11.13.12 @ 10:31 pm

Game is on ESPNU. Our size and depth is too much for Lehigh. We look really good in the 2nd half. Plus we are making our free throws. Up 21 with 10:12 left to play.

Comment by OrlandoAlum 11.13.12 @ 10:35 pm

A little over 10 minutes left, Pitt leads 60-39. Playing very good defense; Lehigh taking lots if bad shots. Pitt going to charity stripe quite a bit. Zanna, Woodall having terrific nights.

Comment by Lou 11.13.12 @ 10:37 pm

Looks like Pitt’s D is what got nasty, the offense is just keeping pace with the first half.

Comment by PantherP 11.13.12 @ 10:50 pm

Great win. Never gave them a chance to get back in the game after the first 20 minutes. Bring on the #5 Wolverines.

Comment by OrlandoAlum 11.13.12 @ 11:02 pm

Just looked at box score. Go Durand! Surprise there.

Comment by panther94 11.13.12 @ 11:04 pm

This team is really good. I know that’s been said a ton, but they look strong. I think we might punch #5 Michigan in the mouth with how we’ve been playing. This team seems to just slowly squeeze the life out of teams. The rest of the country need be on look out cause Pitt’s a coming. H2P

Comment by Vulcan Rob 11.13.12 @ 11:32 pm

First off very big win for PITT over an experienced NCAA team that beat Duke in the 2nd round. A team that routed a good Bobby Mo team just last night.
Plus Lehigh has several good seniors, with one the PG McCollum being a definite NBA draft pick.

Somebody mentioned we’d be up by 5-6 at the half and then blow them out in the 2nd half.
One question whoever that was,,,,are you a tout ?
That was spot on.

Again low turnovers and keeping the other team from shooting a high % is the key. It’s nice to talk offense, but limiting your turnovers and keeping the other team below 40% is what wins you games (even when you have a poor shooting nite). Another nice game by freshmen Jimmy Robinson with again ZERO turnovers and Woody only had 1 turnover I believe. Big change Woody playing 2 guard where he is free to create and cause havoc in the lane off the dribble. Something Gibbs, while being a great outside shooter, couldn’t do at the 2. I hope Jamie takes note of how important it is and how it opens up the court to have a 2 guard who can take you off the dribble and get into the lane and then create. Zanna has benefited a lot from this with two 20 point games already. Talib is turning into a nice finisher.

While Woody is small for a 2 guard, he’s going to be quicker than most 2 guards he faces. And if the matchup is bad on occasion, we have Ziegler waiting in the wings to change that matchup in a heartbeat. I like flexibility a lot.

Actually I think Lehigh is better than Michigan, so other than a bigger school name on the jersey, PITT should have plenty to take them out as well.

How enjoyable to talk and discuss something other than football. Which emphasizes again, that we need to make a monetary investment like we did into basketball, into the football program.
But before blowing any large sums of money, we need to sever ourselves from stevie cornhole.

Hail to Pitt !
Veritas et Virtus !
Get Rid of Pederson !

Comment by Emel 11.14.12 @ 4:34 am

Emel is spot on. Zanna is no longer a wild card either. He delivers the mail. The defense we played was the difference maker.
If Michigan weren’t in the Big 10 plus whatever would they be ranked 5?
Play hard defense against Michigan and you will frustrate them.
Cyanide Steve must go. Wrote my check today for Pitt’s club sports.

Comment by SFPitt 11.14.12 @ 5:54 am

Well said Emel!

Comment by ECH 11.14.12 @ 7:02 am

Michigan is plenty good and they play an awkward style, especially if you don’t play them often — 1-3-1 with big guys moving out to the perimeter. Hopefully JD remembers Beilein’s tactics.

Comment by Denny 11.14.12 @ 7:15 am

Question: when is the Michigan game? It does not show up on any schedule online – everything says our next game is Oakland.

Comment by Jon 11.14.12 @ 7:21 am

I give my hard earned money to winners. Jamie and Pitt basketball are winners. I’ll be writing a check today. I have yet to write a check for football since the early Wanny years and that was in vain.

Comment by TX Panther 11.14.12 @ 7:31 am

Pitt is definitely back after a one year hiatus. Adams is the real deal but not as formidable as Blair was his freshman year in rebounding, hand strength and power to the hoop. But way more upside.

What Blair didn’t have was the depth of this team. The bench is amazing. Robinson is the biggest surprise, his game is solid.

Going to be interesting to see how they compete against the big boys in the big east.

But first, bring on the Wolverines.

Comment by gc 11.14.12 @ 7:52 am

Good win and great strides for all especially D. Johnson. You could see the confidence building with him.

In the second half, while running what I call the continuity sets to run clock I would like to see them break off around 15 second mark and take it towards the lane off right hand dribble somewhat like Wanamaker use to do so they could shoot the lane jumper, dish outside/corner or dump off. They seemed to run it down until too far and take a long three last night – it worked but it is low percentage in my book.

Would like to see a little change up with Adams & JJ together and Dante & Zanna teamed up. We give some rebounds with Dante & JJ out there together and will against bigger teams.

Robinson is the real deal and can play serious defense. Ziegler needs to take a few lessons from him.

Michigan is very good and I hope we can keep up.

Comment by virgil 11.14.12 @ 8:04 am

Great win, Jamie has got to be thrilled with a “recruiting” trip to MSG, to face his old friend,Johnny Beilein. If I remenber we did pretty good against his 1-3-1 bs.

Comment by alcofan 11.14.12 @ 8:24 am

I think that some of you are selling Michigan short and selling Lehigh a little high. McCollum is top flight talent and one of the best guards in the NCAA right now, but that cannot be said for the rest of the team.

Pitt is more evenly match with Michigan from a personnell standpoint, even though I think Pitt is deeper. Both of these coaches know each other well from years of Backyard Brawls so I think it will be interesting how much that coaching familiarity and gameplanning will play into the result.

For those wondering…the next “round” of this “tournament” will be played on November 21 @ MSG. The game will either be on @ 7 on ESPNU or 9:30 on ESPN2…I am not sure which is the better slot here, but I am assuming Pitt v. Mich takes the cake over Delaware v. KSU

Comment by BCPITT 11.14.12 @ 8:31 am

Pitt looked awesome last night. I was really impressed with Zanna and Woodall. This team is deep and the young players look like they will contribute significantly right out of the gate. Michigan will be a better barometer as to where this team is right now though. I think Pitt was able to use its size and impose its will on a much smaller Lehigh team. I’m sure Michigan will have some bruisers inside. Hopefully Pitt will be able to keep rollin.

Comment by Floyd 11.14.12 @ 8:56 am

Not surprised that Ziegler has been slow to have more of an impact. It’s a huge change for him. Patterson, however, looks hesitant, not in the flow of the offense at all. Couple of times last night he was in good position for a catch and shoot and it was like it wasn’t even a consideration. Would like to see him getting more into the flow of the offense ’cause we’re going to need it once the real schedule starts. ‘

I thought it was really interesting that JD put D. Johnson in for Patterson early in the second half and left him in for a long stretch, and he produced! Nice to see a young guy take advantage of the opportunity.

Comment by Carmen 11.14.12 @ 9:19 am

Adams will only get better and better… JD will develop him into a monster.

Taylor actually did decent from a rebounding standpoint.. and finished one play with the most authority I have seen in years from him.. and no gang signs after.

James Robinson – wow.. this kid is a freshman ?

If this is the real Zanna this year.. then holy smokes… that front line will be amazing.

This team can play big or small.. and 10 deep.. really push on the D end. Very exciting to see the young guys develop and hopefully this season is a special one.

Comment by Snala The Panther 11.14.12 @ 9:47 am

Agree BCPItt — Lehigh is still a small time program. Beating Duke in the Tourny doesn’t mean what it used to and hasn’t meant that in quite some time. Remember when Duke almost lost to Belmont?

That said, we definitely look much better than last year. But let’s see how we do i nour first real contest – Michigan. That’ll be interesting and telling.

Comment by PantherP 11.14.12 @ 9:55 am

Robinson didn’t play very well, but he is the best point guard Pitt has had since Levance. He is already much better than Levance on defense. He isn’t much of a shooter, but he can really pass the ball. He knows how to play.

Adams is simply huge. He is also very athletic for a big guy. The team is so much better defensively with him in the game. If he can develop a post move or two, then he will be amazing. Given where he is right now, I can see him coming back for a second year. He will be a first round pick this year, but if he continues to improve he can be a top-10 pick after 2 years.

Ziegler didn’t play well yesterday. He has some game. I was impressed with him on Friday. He just needs to learn how to play within the system. He is pretty athletic. Dixon needs to get him more minutes. He is the type of guy that needs minutes to play well.

Zanna is really benefiting from playing with Adams. It opens up a ton of space for him. He is draining the 12-18 foot jump shot with ease. That shot will be there all year. If he can continue to knock it down, then he will have a big year.

Woodall and Moore are playing well. Patterson is struggling, but he will be okay. Durand Johnson got his first minutes and played well yesterday.

Taylor isn’t very good and hasn’t improved at all since he got to campus. Maybe he doesn’t have the talent. That isn’t his fault. However, I have not seen any improvement in his body or strength in 4 years. That doesn’t take talent, it takes hard work and discipline. Maybe he has been hurt, nevertheless he is the worst player on the team.

The team is pretty stacked. I’m officially excited about the season.

Comment by Omar 11.14.12 @ 10:23 am

Think it’s interesting how the rotation is developing already. With Patterson struggling and in foul trouble yesterday, Dixon went to Wright (briefly until a bad turnover) and then Durand J almost the entire time. He is only using Moore at the 4. I do like some of the matchup problems he presents there, but I’m surprised he’s been completely bumped from that 3 spot. I also wouldn’t mind seeing Zanna and Moore out there together since both are providing solid offense early.

I’m intrigued by how things will continue to shake out. Is Durand surpassing Wright? I think that would be a great development. You can’t teach his size and athleticism at that 2/3 spot, not to mention the ability to hit from outside.

Really like this team.

Comment by JW 11.14.12 @ 10:32 am

Taylor < Lecak or Nwankwo?!?!?!

Taylor will work as a serviceable back-up C all year.

Adams doesnt need post up moves yet, though they will come. For now, garbage buckets are plenty and he's already better at that than McGhee or Taylor. Big question will be how he fairs defensively against legit BE Centers posting up on him. If he's merely average, Pitt's a much better team than last year.

Love Moore as super-sub, love that Zanna seems to be flourishing now that he doesnt have the weight of Taylor as the other big man.

Guard play is just too deep to be too flawed.

But long way to go….

Comment by PantherP 11.14.12 @ 10:52 am

Patterson is NOT struggling. He is playing solid. He’s had some nice passes, no turnovers, and is conservative on his shots. He’s also played decent defense. He got a third foul last night and Dixon gave Johnson the minutes as he was hustling on D and going after rebounds. Still, Patterson is a solid contributor.

Taylor is playing well. But when Adams is in, the game is altered in our favor just by his presence- especially on defense.

Comment by SilverPanther in NYC 11.14.12 @ 10:57 am

Michigan appears to be a Guard oriented team as 3 of the top 4 scorers are guards, albeit Tim Hardaway Jr is 6-6. Yep it’s his son. They also have Glenn Robinson Jr. Yep his son too. He’s a 6-6 freshmen as is their 6-10 center.

Just like Beilein’s Hoopie teams this team seems to hoist up 15-20 3’s a game. So there could be a lot of long rebounds, so PITT will have to be quick to the ball and Woody & Robinson will have to scoop up those long bounds.

So our perimeter defense will get a real good test in this game. Adams will be going up against another freshmen (McGary) who averages 6 & 8 in 13 minutes per game. They haven’t been tested yet, as they’ve played 3 lightweights including Slippery Rock :-). The last blowout win was against Cleveland State.

We can immediately move into the Top 20 with a win over the #5 ranked Wolverines. And since MSG is more a home to us then them, we have a good chance !


Comment by Emel 11.14.12 @ 11:04 am

Oh and it looks like they have a 7 man rotation with 3 guys averaging OVER 30 minutes a game.

With this being so early in the season and them playing lightweights so far, Beilein is obviously trying to get them up to speed early as they have us, K-State & NC State (which is #6 currently) in their next 3 games.

The TV networks are obviously hoping for a big early TV game of NC State & Michigan, both undefeated on Nov. 27th.

Let’s see if we can put a Monkey Wrench into that.

Comment by Emel 11.14.12 @ 11:16 am

Patterson is certainly struggling as evidenced by his 33% FG percentage and 20% 3-point FG percentage.

Taylor is not a good player. I have watched and played basketball my entire life. Taylor is one of the worst defensive big men I have ever seen. He is a good offensive rebounder. That is the best part of his game.

Comment by Omar 11.14.12 @ 11:29 am

Patterson’s shooting sample size is tiny and his main contribution is not scoring. 13 assists so far and two turnovers. And Dante has good rebound numbers and low opposition big man scoring. You’re using the Hugh Green methodology of selecting statistics that support your point and ignoring those that don’t. But anyway, agree to disagree on both counts. I wouldn’t call Taylor stellar but he has performed well so far which is the extent of my praise for him

Comment by SilverPanther in NYC 11.14.12 @ 11:46 am

Fair enough. I should have said Patterson is struggling with his jump-shot.

I will not agree with your assessment of Taylor. The defense is considerably worse when he is in the game. Driving lanes open up by the dozen. He is simply horrible on the defensive end.

Comment by Omar 11.14.12 @ 11:57 am

I’m totally stoked about the Michigan matchup next week. Wife, both in-laws, brother-in-law are all Wolverines.

Emel, you pretty much nailed it. Michigan is guard focused, but they are not by any means small. They are long and lean at every position. Kind of how UCLA used to be every year. I think they may be a little bit overrated in the first few weeks of November, but a very good team, nonetheless. As deep as we are.

Fortunately, we have the bodies to match up up front and we all know that Tray likes to go right at big guys. I think Ziegler will be a good matchup too and could be in for a breakout game. When’s the last time we had a 6’5″ scoring guard?????

Oh, and PS:

FU Big East for leaving us out of the Big East/SEC Challenge. Instead we’ve got a marquee, primetime game in our recruiting hotbed of NYC, at The Garden against #5 Michigan.

Comment by CNorwoodAZ 11.14.12 @ 11:58 am

ESPN has the game time as 9:30 for Michigan. Primetime with everyone watching, I believe the boys will be ready. H2P

Comment by Vulcan Rob 11.14.12 @ 12:43 pm

I LOVE primetime Pitt basketball. Maybe Pitt football will experience it at some point in my lifetime.

Comment by TX Panther 11.14.12 @ 1:16 pm

Just found out I have to be in the burgh in mid-January and they have a home game vs UConn when I am there. Any ideas on the best way to get tix for the game since I am sure they are sold out?

Comment by OrlandoAlum 11.14.12 @ 1:59 pm

Check Craigslist closer to game day. Also, there are scalpers buying and selling on the street before every game. Don’t know how much inventory they would have or what the premium would be.

Comment by Dinosaur 71 11.14.12 @ 3:10 pm

Call the ticket office the day of the game. There are always tickets available. The Pete is very, very rarely sold out. 412648PITT.

Comment by Omar 11.14.12 @ 3:24 pm

Anyone remember that Lehigh kicked our butts in basketball same night as wVU slaughtered us in football…Wanny year #5 I think.

What an improvement. Look forward to Michigan.

Comment by Dan 72 11.14.12 @ 3:56 pm

Omar the Pete is always sold, hence the waiting list. Tix may come available on game day somehow but good luck with that for a uconn game

Comment by Wd 11.14.12 @ 4:38 pm

OrlandoAlum, Pitt is affiliated with You should be able to buy BB there.

Comment by rayhpgh 11.14.12 @ 4:58 pm

Omar is correct about almost always being extra tickets for most games…They have to keep so many for visiting team and sometimes the visiting team doesn’t use them so they get resold. They also resell the student section seats during the games when students are away on break.
I have a couple friends buy tickets a few days before the game and they were a few rows from the court behind the basket.

That said for a UConn game (the last one ever at the Pete probably) if there are any being sold, it won’t be very many so I wouldn’t count on getting tickets thru box office for that one.

Comment by milobloom 11.14.12 @ 4:58 pm

Also in reference to Dinosaur about buying on the street…don’t do it..Pitt switched to barcode scanning on tickets this year so you could get a ticket that looks valid but has already been sold by barcode and the ticket is invalid.

Buyer beware……happen to some guys I was with at BE tourney a few years back when they started using barcodes. $200 for an invalid ticket that looked brand new.

Comment by milobloom 11.14.12 @ 5:19 pm

Very dissappointed in my fellow season ticket holders . Building was practically empty last night.

The only bright side, I was able to trade my ticket for a CLUB ticket with a scalper for just a couple bucks. The CLUB is the best way to watch the game! HD TV for replays and to catch the Duke/KY game AND alcohol.

Comment by Boubacar Aw 11.14.12 @ 5:24 pm

Was just on stubhub, tickets to the Pistons tilt against the Sixers in Philly are going for 10 cents.

In Charlotte, lots of Upper Deck tickets for $1 against most opponents.

Don’t know how this league pays their players and owners apparently make money(or is it some sort of huge tax write off for these guys who own mulitiple businesses). Don’t see how.
TV ratings are very low as well. Which means commercials aren’t exactly high dollar ones.

Maybe it’s Gov’t funded, lol

Comment by Emel 11.14.12 @ 7:29 pm

The Pete being sold out for season tickets is such a lie. Donate $200 and you will get season tickets. There is no waiting list.

Comment by Omar 11.14.12 @ 7:32 pm

agree Boubacar. Club ticket with the booze option definitely the best way to enjoy the Pete or any other venue across the country.

Unfortunately you need to go with a couple drinks in ya since the games are kinda short.

TaXI !!!

Comment by Emel 11.14.12 @ 7:33 pm

Why does the Pete allow alcohol? Is Heinz that way as well? I’m used to having to sustain my buzz from the tailgate until game end. If there is alcohol to be had in the club sections, my perspective will have to be rewritten. I might be able to be oblivious to the aweful football product that Pitt trys to sell. The tailgate buzz normally wears off at halftime forcing me to watch a second half of bad football. Watching on TV however allows me to drink throughout the game and forget Tinos terrible play and the inevitable Pitt loss. With basketball, I limit myself to remember the wins and good play. Gentlemen, we are a basketball school. Thanks stevie and nordy…in a way.

Comment by TX Panther 11.14.12 @ 8:53 pm

Good point Milo. I hadn’t considered that Pitt has gone to barcoded tickets this year. Makes any secondary market purchase suspect.

Comment by Dinosaur 71 11.14.12 @ 9:17 pm

Thanks for all of the ticket info.
@TX Panther – Heinz sells beer and wine in the club sections. I sat there for an 8pm game vs ND a few years ago. After tailgaiting for 4 hours and drinking in the club for another 3, I’m not sure how we walked across the bridge back to the hotel. However, I do remember that we won that night.

Comment by OrlandoAlum 11.14.12 @ 9:22 pm

[…] John Johnson: N/A. Transferred to Penn State. Attempts to sour chemistry on team, failed. […]

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