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December 1, 2012

Open Thread A: Detroit-Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 6:21 pm

There’s just no way to avoid one game or the other. Well, I could watch the basketball game and not check e-mail, twitter, texts and everything else for the roughly two hours. But that just isn’t realistic.

Detroit is the third team from Michigan that Pitt will play in the first 8 games. The Titans are only 2-3, but it looks like a good 2-3. They lost by only 3 to St. John’s. Miami beat them soundly, but Miami is actually a pretty good team this year. I expect them to give Pitt a game. Especially since Pitt  will be trying to work on getting the ball inside.


I love the Zoo “airball” chant on Detroit after Zanna airs a bunny and then put clanks a dunk … really?

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 12.01.12 @ 7:09 pm

Pitt a bit sloppy so far. One thing that drives a coach nuts is not following your shots on the Offensive boards.

Comment by Dan 72 12.01.12 @ 7:18 pm

Detroit on a 12-0 run …poor d by Pitt. Pitt w. 3 turnovers in a row. I thought this might be a tough game. Pitt struggles when the other team has a superstar guard and Detroit has a good one.
12-8 Detroit w. the ball on another Pitt to.

Comment by Dan 72 12.01.12 @ 7:20 pm

Yeah, they should have been up 12-0 … some fire has been missing since that MIchigan game … it’s almost like they are thinking too much instead of just playing. Go back to having fun.

Now down 15-8 after being up 8-0.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 12.01.12 @ 7:22 pm

Detroit up 17 10 and its not that close. Pitt cannot even begin to solve Detroit’s 2 3 zone.
Here’s a solution….dribble drive to the post and pass!! Please do it soon.

Comment by Dan 72 12.01.12 @ 7:27 pm

Zanna again missing the easy bunny by clanking off the bottom of the rim … last year’s Zanna has shown up tonight.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 12.01.12 @ 7:28 pm

Detroit up 20 10 and it’s not close. Pitt getting murdered on the boards has had 4 points in 4 minuts.

Comment by Dan 72 12.01.12 @ 7:29 pm

Pitt down 13 and getting embarrased on it’s home court. Cannot get the ball inside against the 2 3 zone. My God, what are we going to do vs Syracuse.

Comment by Dan 72 12.01.12 @ 7:34 pm

Pitt is going to see zone EVERY game..
they better figure it out… and soon..

Comment by Joe D 12.01.12 @ 7:40 pm

I am watching this on my computer but the referring looks just awful. Going against Pitt mostly.

Comment by Dan 72 12.01.12 @ 7:49 pm

Pitt down 8 at the half and being utterly schooled by Detroit. Detroit owns the boards both offense and defense and if I were Pitt’s coach, Zanna would have a permanent seat next to me. What an awful performance

Comment by Dan 72 12.01.12 @ 7:54 pm

Ya think it’s time to press them??

Comment by Joe D 12.01.12 @ 7:59 pm

Another crap half for Pitt…..should do well then in the 2nd half 😉

Pitt will be looking at an NIT invite if they don’t figure out how to penetrate the zone soon.

Comment by Jackagain 12.01.12 @ 8:02 pm

Joe D, this is only my third game but my Pittsburgh based alums tell me that Pitt has not looked at all sharp in the opening half all year excpt Michigan.

I think Detroit is the better team on the floor tonight…at least so far. I am encouraged by Woodall’s play. Robinson getting tied in knots by detroit’s top guard…Cerrtte?

Comment by Dan 72 12.01.12 @ 8:03 pm

Taylor hasn’t showed up in the stats… did he play?
I’m bouncing between both games.

Comment by Joe D 12.01.12 @ 8:05 pm

They came out running…
which is one of the “tweaks” I wanted to see on transitions… missed shots or turnovers.

Comment by Joe D 12.01.12 @ 8:11 pm

The running is from better defense. Woodall is out with fouls and they switched Wright to Mcallum and are pushing it. Offense against the zone had dead stretch but hasn’t been all that bad. Zanna missed a shit load of bunnies.

Comment by SilverPanther in NYC 12.01.12 @ 8:14 pm

Pitt can’t rebound at all….

Comment by Jackagain 12.01.12 @ 8:24 pm

I came at a good time. Pitt takes the lead 42-41

Comment by Emel 12.01.12 @ 8:28 pm

I know. What the hell? They are getting schooled on the boards.

Comment by SilverPanther in NYC 12.01.12 @ 8:29 pm

Uh, guys, rebounds are even and we have two more offensive boards than they do. Hardly great for us but hardly being schooled.

Comment by Pitt Dad 12.01.12 @ 8:30 pm

We got nothing but finesse players on the frontline, so they’re doing good. lol

Comment by Emel 12.01.12 @ 8:31 pm

NFL is getting crazy as shit. Soon we’ll have a “the Last Boyscout ” moment in a game.

Comment by Emel 12.01.12 @ 8:32 pm

Amazing Stat Dad…I am watching no blocking out at all by Pitt and we are dribbling directly into corner traps…

Comment by Dan 72 12.01.12 @ 8:36 pm

We need another Ontario Lett, Chevy Troutman, DeJuan Blair type. Who just move ppl out and off the blocks !!!

Comment by Emel 12.01.12 @ 8:39 pm

Shot fakes and dribble penetrating to tease defenders over. That’s what we need to continue to do against the zone.

Comment by SilverPanther in NYC 12.01.12 @ 8:44 pm

Hard to believe Zanna has 16pts right now..

Comment by Joe D 12.01.12 @ 8:48 pm

Nice adjustment by Jamie. Pitt up 11 with 3 minutes to go. Zanna a totally different player *animal…in the second half. Robinson is nothing short of amazing with his defense and shot selection. It’s like he;s a senior! Pitt depth is killing Detroit now.

Comment by Dan 72 12.01.12 @ 8:49 pm

Nice! They switched to a 2-3 after a TO and created a little havoc which we turned into a bucket. This is something Dixon has adapted to.

Comment by SilverPanther in NYC 12.01.12 @ 8:51 pm

Just a note…
Woodall hardly played the 2nd half…
They are a different team when he is out…

Comment by Joe D 12.01.12 @ 9:00 pm

Good 2nd half Pitt…

Comment by Jackagain 12.01.12 @ 9:03 pm

Joe D…interesting that you imply that Woodhall being out helped the team. I think it should be noted that his scoring keep Pitt in the game in the first half. Without him Detroit’s lead would have been greater. You can continue to hate on him but he will continue to prove you wrong.

Comment by Jeff in CPa 12.01.12 @ 9:09 pm

Woodall was second high scorer for Pitt and played nearly the last 10 minutes of the game when they pulled away. He sat out late first half and early second half with three fouls. Wright is a good defensive guy off the bench who put a stop on McCallum.

Comment by SilverPanther in NYC 12.01.12 @ 9:14 pm

espn3 tough to watch, good reason to go to the game, lots of tickets available.

Comment by gc 12.01.12 @ 9:33 pm

Waiting for the replay on espn3…

Comment by panther94 12.01.12 @ 10:23 pm

Great 2nd half by PITT. Outscored the Detroit boys by 21 points.

Ended up shooting 48% FG….47% from 3 and 78% FT.

Not bad shooting. Had two more rebounds than the Titans, which has got to improve.

Basically zilch out of the Center position, as Adams only played 12 minutes and Sleepy slept thru 13 minutes on the floor.

The line for 25 minutes from the Centers:

2 points , 4 rebounds, 2 turnovers, 1 block,
0 assists.

Team played a lot better with both of them on the bench, to be honest.

@panther94….skip the 1rst half, if u can bro.

A win is a win is a win ( i keep telling myself)

We are now 7-1 and the big City game coming up on Weds. (good thing DU stinks)

HtP !

Comment by Emel 12.01.12 @ 10:54 pm

just back from game.
Like Howard, Detroit was a goon squad. Refs let a lot of it go. Pitt needs to get a bit of a mean streak.
After the last couple of games their talent and depth won. But they need to be prepared for more talented teams that play a physical game.

Comment by xfmrman 12.01.12 @ 10:54 pm

Looks like our schedule is going to give us some time to figure things out. I hope everybody plays zone against us. Patterson and Robinson are winners. Woodall also seems to hit the shot when it matters most. Adams needs time, but will get there.

Comment by panther94 12.02.12 @ 12:35 am

I like the fact that the Pitt is playing well without Adams being a factor. That way when he starts to come into his own the team will go to another level, which will be needed for the Big East. He seems lost right now but things were difficult tonight for everyone down low as they (Detroit) packed the paint all night. When teams have to go man v man I think Adams will get some more opportunities and we will see improvement in his play.

James Robinson, on the other hand, is amazing. Not flashy but so solid at both ends of the floor.
He is showing signs as a true freshman of a being a special player. He hardly ever shoots, but when he needs to they go in. Late in the second half he iced the game with a bank shot and two long ones. His demeanor never changes. He is a calm, cool, collected operator. And to think this he is only 8 games into his career at Pitt.

I like when Jamie lets the team run. You could tell that in the second half there was a concerted effort to push the ball upcourt and it resulted in some easy baskets. OMHO, Pitt has more finishers on the team then possibly ever. The team is very athletic. He should take the reins off a little more in the first half because the defense seems to feed off transition buckets and the turnovers start to come from the opposition in bunches. A lot of credit goes to Jamie and the coaching staff for their halftime adjustments. It made the difference in the game.

Comment by Jeff in CPa 12.02.12 @ 1:05 am

For the record I have absolutely no problem with Woodall. A preface to say: I dont know that he and Robinson should play together. Maybe it’ll be different when our front court matures (other than Zanna who has been impressive (and by the way is only a junior…thought he was a senior too)). Just that Woodall’s and Robinson’s skill sets are too similar. Yes Robinson is bigger and seems, impressively as a freshman, to have better judgement or at least doesnt try to do too much like Woodall on offense. They’re not exactly the same player, there’s just lots of overlap in what they each bring. Would like to see someone like Zeigler/Patterson (to create dribble drive shots) or a shooter (who may be lacking on this team) to compliment. Could mean messing with the line up a little bit or not necessarily having your best 5 on the floor but i think it would create the best unit on the floor.

Comment by PantherP 12.02.12 @ 1:58 am

It is interesting to read thread posts in reverse chronological order. Especially so after a Jeckyl-Hyde game like this one.
It is fair to say that Pitt is a work in progress; much like Kentucky. UK got humiliated at ND and spanked at home by Baylor. Mostly because they got pushed around in the paint.
My observations thus far center on our bigs having mild dispositions. I don’t want a gentle giant in the post.
I want the damn not jolly Green Giant pissed as shit because he found someone stealing peas from the garden!
Get mad boys!!! Ok, you made me do it. Hey Adams, your mother wears Army boots ! Dante, you couldn’t get laid at a nymphomaniacs convention!
That ought to piss ’em off.
Ontario Lett was the most underrated player at Pitt in the last 30 years!

Comment by SFPitt 12.02.12 @ 6:17 am

I really tried to focus my attention on Adams on the offensive end and he has a couple of weaknesses that seemed to be repetitive.

1. He is not aggressive when sealing his man off for an entry pass into the post.
2. He hesitates too much when he does get the ball on the block allowing teams like Detroit, who are hell bent on hacking away at more skilled teams, the ability to be “successful” on the defensive end.
3. He does not have any block-out instinct when a shot goes up. Several times he was beaten for a rebound because he was caught watching the shot instead of finding a man to put his ass into.

I agree with the refrain on here that our front court needs to start playing with a little more fire and edge. To hell with worrying about foul trouble…we need to set the table early in games with our desire to hit the glass hard.

On a side note, when you have Jamie Breeding as the “good” ref on a crew, you get the kind of game we had last night. Horribly inconsistent calls, Detroit got away with a lot of bush-league stuff and the chippiness just ramped up throughout the game. Serious body banging on one end would be allowed. Then this group of zebra idiots would call a hand check on the next set. The game had long stretches with little flow, due in part by the way the game was called.

Three important positives:
1. Like the Howard and Oakland games earlier, even when Pitt plays poorly, they are showing the ability to regroup and not loose focus. Granted, grinding out games against lower level teams is easier than coming back after a poor half against the likes of Louisville and Syracuse.
2. Woodall and Patterson are getting more consistent with their deep shots and Durand Johnson is looking like he can become a little instant energy off the bench.
3. James Robinson is the real deal. He never gets rattled, makes a lot of really good decisions, and has a perfect demeanor on the court for a point guard. He is ICE on the court. Love that kid’s game.

Comment by ECH 12.02.12 @ 7:33 am

An FYI to Cablevision/Optimum subscribers: ESPN3 is now available.

Comment by steve1 12.02.12 @ 7:42 am

With Adams development going to take time, should we be redshirting Malcolm Gilbert? I would think the kid could give us some quality minutes inside.

Comment by Pittfan92 12.02.12 @ 7:56 am

It did not take long for the idea of Steven Adams being a one and done to go away. Cameron Wright has looked better than I thought he ever would. he isn’t great but can give you some minutes off the bench.

Comment by Wayne 12.02.12 @ 8:34 am

Pittfan92–Next year Gilbert could play 15 mins at C; Adams could play PF giving Talib a rest when Gilbert is in at C; JJ Moore moves to SF; D Johnson starts at 2G; JRob is back at PG. That lineup with Talib getting starters minutes at PF in the front court and a strong bench could be a definite final 4 team and perhaps National Champs.

Comment by pitt1972 12.02.12 @ 8:49 am

Joe D – the bigger factor in the 2nd half (than Woodall not playing) is that Adams and Taylor had limited minutes. Woodall was on the court for the stretch run and had the best all around game of the night. Zanna had a nice 2nd half but was the worst player on the court for the first 15 minutes of the game … it was nice to see Zanna put that first half behind him.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 12.02.12 @ 10:08 am

Let’s give some credit to Detroit. They were very aggressive and played well, especially in the first half. McCallum is an NBA talent, former McDonald’s All American and one of the best players we’ll see all year. Pitt had to focus all their defensive efforts on him. Luckily in the 2nd half he, rightly, stopped shooting and he started to create for others. The others just missed the shots.

Woodall is a double edged sword that cuts both ways. While his three point shooting kept Pitt in the game in the first half, his lack of defense and lack of play making against the zone helped Detroit build a lead. There was no one on the Detroit team that Woodall could gaurd. At one point, Dixon had him guarding Bruinsma, a 6’8″ set shooting forward. He picked up three fouls in the first half and Jamie started Wright in the second half. Wright did a nice job on defense and on the break.

Zanna, Robinson and Patterson had better all around games than Woodall. Robinson (6 assists) and Patterson (7 assists) did much better creating offense against the zone in the second half. They both were able to penentrate off the dribble and ball/shot faked to move the zone. Zanna played a ton of center and was much more aggressive on offense in the second half. His free throws were huge. Robinson also did a nice job on defense slowing down McCallum a little. Robinson also hit some key shots.

Early on, it looked like the team was really trying to get the ball inside, but Adams just couldn’t do anything with it. He had a few turnovers and really wasn’t a threat. He just bogged down the offense. Taylor was no better. So Dixon had to go small with Zanna at center and Moore at power forward. And while the zone offense works much better, they have a tough time rebounding. Rebounding has to get better. Adams’ development is critical to Pitt’s success. He needs to be on the court and he needs to grab rebounds.

Heard some disturbing rumors that the team is unhappy with Adams in the starting center spot, they think Taylor has put in the time and should be the starter. If true, Jamie needs to be all over this. Clearly, Adams gives Pitt the better chance to be good. But if the team losses confidence in him, that could start a vicious cycle. How Dixon handles Adams development in this month of cupcakes will go a long way to determining how the Big East season will go.

Comment by boubacar aw 12.02.12 @ 11:39 am

Thanks for the thorough analysis. My problem with Woodall is that he is a defensive liability on the floor. I would rather see him coming off the bench to provide some instant offense. I’m hoping Zeigler will be starting opposite Robinson once the Big East season rolls around. The lack of rebounding concerns me at this point. Pitt should be a much better rebounding team with their size down low.

Comment by Floyd 12.02.12 @ 12:29 pm

@boubacar aw
Detroit is no cupcake. Defending Horizon League champ and gave Kansas everything it could handle in 2nd round of NCAA Tourney last year (not CBI ftr)

Pitt has talent this year, but the youth is going to preclude a lot of “gimmee” games, even against less talented teams.

Comment by Ghost of Hornman 12.02.12 @ 12:58 pm

It was Robinson and Wright that McCallum lit up. They did better in the second half, mostly thanks to team efforts. Woodall is not a great defensive player by any means, but he’s not a liability. He’s a solid contributor when he plays in control and doesn’t try to do too much. Managing his minutes along with the other guards is still a work in progress because he brings attributes the others do not.

Zanna at center and Moore at power forward seems to be Dixon’s preferred late game frontcourt.

Comment by SilverPanther in NYC 12.02.12 @ 1:03 pm

I agree that offensively Woodall can do some good things but defensively is completely another issue. He is a defensive mismatch any way you look at it. Small guards his size just blow right past him. He is too small and weak to guard athletic shooting guards. One of the big issues last year was that Woodall and Gibbs could not man up on anyone. Pitt suffered when they had both of these guys in there at the same time.

Comment by Floyd 12.02.12 @ 1:17 pm

I think Pitt plays better when Woodall is NOT on the floor… you can see it. Especially when Woodall is playing the SG position… it’s like watching last year where players seemed to just pass to Gibbs to take the shot… now they are passing to Woodall.
However, Woodall as backup PG is fine…
I just have a problem with Woodall as SG…
Robinson is a great PG… for a frosh.. wow.

Comment by Joe D 12.02.12 @ 1:17 pm

Im fine with Woodall at sg…i’d rather have him there than at the many turnovers..i love the development of!! Roinson is sooo good, can you imagine when he develops a 3 point shot??..what do we do with Adams?..He doesn’t even look comfortable out there

Comment by Keith 12.02.12 @ 2:11 pm

was at the Pete too. As guards go, Robinson is the best overall we have. With Cam, you get good D but very limited O. Trey is inconsistent, but kept us in the game in the first half with his shooting. Their quick guards blew by him on D. Robinson is so clutch. Very poised, confident for a true frosh. Durand Johnson hit two nice shots last night and continues to improve. Much better outside shot than penetrator.
The disappointment last night was with Adams and Dante. Need more RBs from those two. Talib bounced back from a shaky start to star. His block at one end and 3 pt play was a key sequence. and he was making his FT! As noted, Jamie went with JJ and Talib down the stretch and it was his best 4-5 combo. Detroit was very physical and hacked away all night. The intentional foul on JJ was a mauling.

Unlike our FB team, this team comes from behind and wins. Jamie makes great adjustments and our depth gives him alot of options. A good win against a physical team with a very good guard. Will need better play from Adams/Taylor once the BE schedule starts and we see better bigs. HTP

Comment by Bossdaws 12.02.12 @ 2:13 pm

and…this team is gonna be real good next year!!

Comment by Keith 12.02.12 @ 2:14 pm

Joe D
What is it in Woodall’s game that causes Adams and Dante to omit rebounding and scoring from their games?

Comment by SFPitt 12.02.12 @ 3:27 pm

Woodall’s playing 30 min per game, second in scoring and first in assists. Unfortunately, he hasn’t resolved the situation in Egypt, stopped the North Koreans from developing missiles, and resolved the NHL lockout. Other than that and a poor outing vs. Michigan, he’s certainly pulling his weight so far. You can see it.

Comment by SilverPanther in NYC 12.02.12 @ 4:25 pm

Woodall is fine as a PG…
but not as a SG…
He can’t play defense as SG… he is 5’11 going against 6’2″min SG’s…
and when he plays SG… the team just stands around and doesn’t play the same when he is not SG… reminds me of last year with Gibbs.

Comment by Joe D 12.02.12 @ 5:27 pm

@Joe D
Woodall tends play defense with his upper body as if he were playing low, so he loses the first half step.
But whether he plays SG or PG, he will still be matched up with someone on defense. If Dixon wanted, he could put Trey on the center, so call me crazy but isn’t a solution to have him defend the the lesser threat of the opposition?
I see so much else in his game to make him a starter, that while I agree he is not our best defender, he is one of our best players.
But let’s see how the season goes…I see him better at playing off the PG as they tend to pass first, but if the PG is a penetrating guard and the scorer is a spot up shooter, then maybe he plays the spot up shooter.
But considering all around play and the fact that Robinson, while giving every sign of being a curt general of the highest order, has not yet played 10 D1 games, I am going to stick with Trey.

Comment by sfpitt 12.02.12 @ 7:47 pm

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