January 12, 2013

Open Thread: Marquette-Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 10:13 am

So, has Pitt started to find its footing after getting smacked in the mouth by Cinci and Rutgers? Was Georgetown more along the lines of what can be expected, or was it simply that the Hoyas were the perfect match-up for Pitt? There is an awareness that they have to show that was the norm.

…Dixon has been emphasizing to his players why they were so successful against Georgetown. He said that is the key to building a winning streak.

“We want them to recognize why,” Dixon said. “We watch film to show them what they didn’t do well, but we wanted to watch film of why they did things well, show the things we have to continue to do and improve on. There are not many wins like that on the road. We have to see how we respond to it on Saturday. Marquette won two close games that speaks to how good they are.”

Marquette (11-3) brings a 2-0 Big East record into the game after home victories against Connecticut and Georgetown. The Golden Eagles beat Connecticut in overtime and Georgetown by one point.

Pitt also has the looming issue of a back-loaded schedule in the conference. So they can’t afford the luxury of having off-games against teams in the middle and bottom of the conference. Cinci and Rutgers used up the quota.

The players and coaches talk of practices picking up intensity after the losses.

“Those few days in practice, we were getting after it aggressively,” senior center Dante Taylor said. “Coaches weren‘t calling (fouls), just letting (us) play.”

Redshirt freshman forward Durand Johnson liked it.

“We just felt like enough was enough,” he said. “We just had to get back to the way the normal Pitt team was, being aggressive and getting after it, and stop letting teams get after us and getting us on our heels.”

Johnson said Pitt, which opened the season 12-1 before losing to Cincinnati and Rutgers, was developing bad habits.

“Sometimes, you come out in practice, you might be lazy, you might be beat up and sore,” he said. “The old saying, you practice how you play. When we practice lousy and don‘t get after it, we come out with (losses). And we did that at the beginning of the Big East.”

With Trey Zeigler still struggling to find himself on this team, Durand Johnson has gotten more opportunities and taken advantage of them.

Marquette has gotten off to a 2-0 start in the Big East, but it comes with a caveat. They were both home games. The Golden Eagles haven’t won a road game this season — granted they have only played two losing to Florida and Wisconsin-Green Bay — so they have something to prove.

“Good teams win at home,” coach Buzz Williams said. “But all we have done is hold serve. You’re supposed to win at home. The great teams win on the road. Now we have nine chances. That will determine if we’re going to play in some kind of tournament other than the Big East tournament.”

At least the Golden Eagles have done the prep work for this opportunity to keep their early foothold in the Big East.

On New Year’s night they beat Connecticut in overtime. Then on Saturday, they took No. 15 Georgetown inside the final seconds to win, 49-48.

It’s not often that a team gets such disparate competition in the matter of a week.

To overcome the Huskies, Marquette had to contain speedy guards. To beat Georgetown, it was all about preparing for the Princeton offense that is rarely seen anymore.

“We’re thankful for the first week we had,” Williams said. “But we haven’t had any success thus far on the road, and I don’t know if starting at Pitt changes those odds. They have thoroughly dominated us during my tenure in the Big East at home. “

Hopefully Pitt continues that today. It’s a nooner on ESPNU.

Here’s an update that I don’t think made either the Post Gazette or the Trib.

There was a lot of opinions offered as to the likely outcome, a good portion of it from contributors making their living in the courts.

Let’s see who was right.

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pitt football players Ray Graham, Lafayette Pitts and Devin Street have cut a deal to reduce misdemeanor assault and conspiracy charges to disorderly conduct counts.

The players were charged in November after police say they surrounded another student on a sidewalk near the campus before one of the players punched the man in the head.

The man told police he didn’t want to press charges but wanted to ensure the players didn’t harass others.

The three players were scheduled for a preliminary hearing Wednesday. But Graham’s attorney, Mark Fiorilli says a deal was struck to have their charges reduced to disorderly conduct — a charge similar to a traffic ticket that carries up to a $300 fine.

The players must complete community service by April 15 for that to happen.


Comment by PittofDreams 01.14.13 @ 10:10 am

Chris Peak was on one of the sports talk shows last night and he made a good point. He said the problem with this team is that they are not dominant in any one area, everything is about average (including rebounding). If they can improve and excel in just one area, they can start to win on a more regular basis. Let’s hope that happens as the season progessses. HTP. Bring back the script!

Comment by longsufferingpittfan 01.14.13 @ 10:19 am

Far more elite programs than Pitt go through dry spells. It happens. Despite the lack of Final Fours, Pitt has been the model of consistency the past decade, so to potentially miss the tourney 2 years in a row is all the more frustrating. If their struggles extend to next year, then it’s time for the program to do some “re-evaluating”.

Comment by Iron Duke 01.14.13 @ 10:48 am

That was a tuff hit Woodall took and I sure hope he is ok.Maybe this game would have taken a different direction if he was able to play.I wonder if Talib was healthy too because he sure didn’t show much Saturday.Adams was wearing tape on his right hand and it looked like a thumb problem,perhaps that is why his freethrows were so bad. Zeigler sure struggled too.I can’t watch objectively but it seemed like it wasn’t bouncing our way all day.Whatever the problem we need to start to get better soon because without some improvement soon we won’t be dancing again.

Comment by spiritofsection22 01.14.13 @ 10:52 am

@IRON DUKE…..absolutely.

I don’t get it. Yes, last year was horrible, a little rocky so far this year.

8 or 9 years of NCAA’s, 2 outright BE champs, a BE tourney championship.

Now, because of a bad year, Dixon has suddenly been exposed???

Was he exposed the couple years we had 31-5 records??

Was he exposed not more than 2 years ago when he won the BE championship outright with a 28-6 record???

Wow, tough crowd. Ya, I’m not happy either, and if this year goes into the tank, and next year is bad, sure, you have to take notice.

One bad year and a so-so start this year condemns him???

Geesh, tough, tough, crowd!!!

And, if you really want him gone, please elaborate with who you would get to come in here and do better.

Not a wishlist, someone who we could afford, and someone that is known to have said that they want to come here. Ya, Jamie makes good change, you want some elite guy, gonna be double what he makes. We payin’ that??

Comment by Dan 01.14.13 @ 11:05 am

Player ratings are very overrated &/or wrong. Someone please let me know if there is an above average BB player on the team right now? I go to every home game and I do not see one.

Comment by rayhpgh 01.14.13 @ 11:21 am

It was a miracle Patterson was left that open at the end of regulation.Pitt did a horible job of handling the last 20 seconds before that shot.We tossed courtlength and dribbled around aimlessly.It wasn’t pretty and left me wondering what we wre supposed to be doing after our time out.Prior to that Pitt had caused yet another turn over with the press.Pitt only presses out of desperation but has had amazing success with it this year.It makes me wonder if Emel is right about us pressing as a strategy.Everytime we do it ,it works.

Comment by spiritofsection22 01.14.13 @ 11:28 am

If the players are below average, (I don’t think they are) then who is at fault for that?
JD coaches one way only and when that doesn’t work Pitt is screwed.
Needs to be more flexible. And as far as freethrow shooting, they are regressing. I have seen them all shoot better than they have recently, it is called fatigue.

Comment by frankarms 01.14.13 @ 11:28 am

Dan, No need to defend Dixon.stupid talk for those who want him gone but well put on your points.

Problem with this team seems to be confidence..they start to miss a few baskets and it seems to snowball into a bunch more..if they start to fall then things really open up for them…see GT game and some of those early huge blowouts against the cupcake teams.

Dixon didn’t say it outright but whne asked about Zanna possibly being sick because how bad he paid he didn’t say Zanna was ill but he mentioned Zanna got down on himself after missing some early open jumpers and it effected his game. You see the same thing with Patterson at times

Comment by milo bloom 01.14.13 @ 11:36 am

The free throw problem goes back to the confidence problem…I actually think it is a lot harder for them to shoot FT’s at home then on the road…the building gets quiet as a mouse and then if they miss a collective groan. A litle noise would probably help.

Comment by milo bloom 01.14.13 @ 11:40 am

Ya, numbers are over rated, and sometimes wrong.

Everything being equal, would you rather have the #42 big man, and the #87 guard???

I think Adams is going to be an absolute monster, and Robinson has allready shown he will be good.

Are they now, no, probably not.

It is also only their 17th game of their freshmen seasons.

Comment by Dan 01.14.13 @ 11:53 am

If we could all find a bunch of Sam Young’s and know how they’d turn out, we’d all be rich.

Comment by Dan 01.14.13 @ 11:58 am

I would agree, that the overall recruiting may have taken a hit losing some of those assistants we had 04′-09′ ish.

Did seem like they knew how to find those guys.

Comment by Dan 01.14.13 @ 12:06 pm

The guys appear to be robotic & thinking of their next move instead of playing instinctively. Put a zone in front of these Panthers & it’s like a Panther in headlights. JD has won a lot of games but never have been a fan of the way he handles personnel or his x&o”s. Nova game looks like a must win. I would think PITT needs a .500+ record in conference to be considered for the Dance. HTP!

Comment by DC33 01.14.13 @ 12:13 pm

Dan == There is only one name PITT fans would consider their next BB coach == Sean Miller == I”m not stating PITT needs a new coach just commenting

Comment by DC33 01.14.13 @ 12:20 pm

No. 1… If you’re smart, you don’t talk about getting rid of a coach unless you know who you want to replace him.

No.2… Pointing out Dixon’s shortcomings is not the same as saying the guy should be shown the door.

There’s a mounting body of evidence to suggest it’s simply time to put to rest the urban legend of Dixon being the best at getting the most out of average players. In the last two years Pitt players have never been so average and look at what’s happened.

Accept Jamie for what he is and isn’t. A great guy and at times a pretty good coach who with the right assistants and players makes Pitt Basketball fun to watch and root for.

If you want someting more than this, a maximum return on investment for the University’s apparent commitment to building a big-time basketball program as evidenced by the erection of “The Pete” in place of Pitt Stadium… well then it’s time to start coming up with some names.

Then again… maybe the University’s commitment to building a major basketball program is also an urban legend?

Comment by PittofDreams 01.14.13 @ 12:37 pm

PittofDreams, I can agree with your comments.

Like I said, I’ve been a defender, but I’m a little frustrated. Tank it this year and start out horrible next year, I’d probably be doing a lot more questioning myself.

Almost is just a word, I understand that, shoulda, woulda, coulda, I understand that.

However, in comparing to say, a coach that only got to the NCAA’s and lost in every first round, Dixon did in fact get as close to the final four as humanly possible. Scottie effin’ Reynolds.

Bottom line, he didn’t, I understand that.

Not like he wasn’t on the cusp though.

Comment by Dan 01.14.13 @ 12:55 pm

Probably odd, for me to ask this question, having defended Dixon a bit, but just out of curiosity’s sake………….

Has Sean Miller ever made it known that his goal is to come back to his alma mater someday???

Some guys get set up like kings, eventually some family moves around them, and they all don’t have that need and desire to “get back home”.

Just wondering if anyone has ever heard him speak of that???

Comment by Dan 01.14.13 @ 12:58 pm

There is not a sane decent coach at any level that would come to Pitt if Dixon was let go anytime in the next three years. (Yes, he would be given that much time)…unless we see Adams and Robinson arrested a few times then he might be gone. Pitt would seem unrational as a school if it did so.

As far as not getting the most out of average players…who (besides Taylor) who have stayed for their entire career has not at least played to their potential? You might list players who have transfered..OK…which players who have transfer have had more success elsewhere..(Birch perhaps but only because he did nothing while he was here.)

Comment by milo bloom 01.14.13 @ 1:26 pm

Well USC coach fired this morning so let the Jamie Dixon to USC rumors begin…I will go on record right now that Dixon would not leave for USC.

Comment by milo bloom 01.14.13 @ 1:35 pm

I am really tired of the Dixon should go/Dixon can’t/replace Dixon dog drool that shows up after every loss on this site. Dixon is the best hoops coach Pitt has ever had.Only an idiot(peterson does qualify I admit) would consider replacing a man who has done such a great job. I get as frustrated as anyone when we struggle but the reality is we are very fortunate to have Dixon and Pitt should hope to keep him as long as he wants the job.That doesn’t mean he is above criticism only that I don’t think replacing him is a reasonable option.I also don’t think he is at all interested in going elsewhere.USC would be a step down from the Pitt job.

Comment by spiritofsection22 01.14.13 @ 2:09 pm

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