January 14, 2013

Unable to Step Up

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 11:58 am

I have started, stopped, deleted paragraphs, and just walked away from the post several times in the time between the end of the game and now. I have found things to distract me. Excuses to do other things. This game just really upset me.

I would guess because it seems more of the same from this season. The inconsistency. The inability to complete the game. The blown opportunities after opportunities. For all the complaints about the recent Pitt squads that didn’t go as far as we wanted in the NCAA Tournament, there was consistency for most of the regular season. A comfort at least in knowing what to expect. In effort, intensity, energy, desire and performance. You knew how much they cared each game.

None of that seems to be there with this group. From game-to-game; half-to-half; one minute to the next. The unevenness. The inconsistency. No one seems to know what they will do. And it was all on display in this game.

From the opening minutes, it was clear this was going to be a battle. Pitt was struggling with their shots. Marquette didn’t look much better. The only difference was that the Golden Eagles hit some early 3s and Pitt missed free throws to give Marquette the early lead. Then on a scrum for a ping-ponging basketball, Tray Woodall took a hit to his chin or head. On the floor and in pain, he was eventually taken back to the locker room. When he returned, it was to the bench with an icepack to his face. Word soon came down that he was out with a concussion.

Yes, losing Woodall played a role in Pitt’s loss. That wasn’t enough of a reason. Marquette played the second half without one of their guards. Pitt should have been able to beat this team, but they played a bad game.

Pitt didn’t shoot well. They didn’t defend well. They didn’t rebound. They didn’t hit free throws. And Pitt still had a chance. But when the game somehow ended up in overtime, they simply weren’t mentally there.

This is where I have to give some major credit to Marquette. I’m not big on the whole “will to win” thing. But I do buy into mental toughness. This Golden Eagles team has that in spades. They nearly came completely unglued in the final 20 seconds. The turnover, the failing to secure a rebound and then completely breaking down defensively to allow Lamar Patterson to step into a wide open three at the buzzer. On the road. Crowd completely into it.

How many times have we seen that sort of thing? That just breaks a team for overtime. All momentum, crowd, emotion on one side. And Marquette didn’t break. They responded.

That‘s when Marquette coach Buzz Williams told his team, “Guys, this is what we pray for. This is what I talk about all the time. Our character is going to be revealed. I don‘t know who we are, but we‘ll find out in the next five minutes.”

The Golden Eagles did what Pitt could not, sinking 13 of 16 free throws in the extra period and pulling through in a close game for a 74-67 Big East victory Saturday afternoon before 12,513 at the Pete.

They attacked the basket. Drove to the hoop. Didn’t make the lay-ups, but created the contact to draw the fouls. And, yes, made those free throws.

Conversely, Pitt has spent the first half of the season not being able to make those plays in any game.

That toughness, resolve and clutch play that led to so many victories in seasons past has been replaced by end-of-game mistakes, poor decision-making and an inability to come up with game-changing plays in crucial situations.

“In these losses it seems like whenever we need a big play we just didn’t come up with it,” junior forward Lamar Patterson said.

Pitt (13-4) is 1-3 in conference play and in danger of quickly falling out of contention in the conference for a second consecutive season. What’s most disconcerting for the Panthers is they had opportunities to win all three games.

Go back to the non-con and there is the Michigan loss as well. Only the Oakland game, where Pitt came roaring back did they make the plays. I’m beginning to believe that the only lesson they took from that was that they could get away with playing only one good half.

Pitt with all the emotion, the crowd, etc. They kept taking jump shots. Looking like the panicked team.

Pitt made 3 of 8 shots from the field and 2 of 7 free throws in overtime.

“I think we did it to ourselves, really,” Patterson said. “We took a couple errant shots to start the overtime. So, Marquette really didn‘t do much. They just did what they did and made free throws. We hurt ourselves.”

Lamar Patterson should have been the only player allowed to take a jumper in the OT — and even he rushed one. So many players not only played poorly, they failed to step up in the game and with the opportunity.

Woodall was out for the game. It meant James Robinson had to play major minutes, but it also meant bigger minutes and opportunities for Trey Zeigler, Durand Johnson, Cam Wright and J.J. Moore. Stunningly Zeigler was the only one to show something during the entire game.

[UPDATE/ADDITION: Sorry, so much I wanted to cram into the post, I forgot to explain why I thought Zeigler actually showed something positive. Inserting it in the paragraph below]

The bar, at this point, is set kind of low for Zeigler so you may not see it as stepping up as much as merely playing better than he has. He’s struggled mightily so far this season. In 23 minutes of action, which included playing at point when James Robinson got some brief periods of rest. He didn’t have a turnover. He was more active in pursuing rebounds than anyone else off the bench. He only forced one shot, and actually made an effort to attack the basket. It was the first time he looked like he had an idea of his role in the offense, and was giving an effort on defense.

Durand Johnson got 25 minutes where he tossed up shots. During which he had his brief minute-and-a-half spurt shortly before the half where he scored 7 straight points (he also missed two 3s). He scored 3 other points the rest of the game. He took the second most shots for Pitt. He’s an exciting young player, but he isn’t as good and definitely not as consistent a shooter as he thinks right now. He has a scorers mentality. Which Pitt needs, but he needs to know when to do more than take jump shots.

J.J. Moore takes the prettiest missed 3-pointers you will ever see. He had four of them on Saturday. Given a chance to briefly play some small forward, he didn’t use the opportunity to take players off the dribble or draw the contact to get to the free throw line while attacking the basket. No, it was time to show that he is a jump shooter. With predictable results. This was Moore’s 4th game this season where he took at least three 3-pointers and had a donunt (he has 6 other games where he was 0-1 or 0-2). His season average on 3s is below 30%, yet he is 3d on the team in attempted 3FGs.

This is also the time to point out that Moore had one. Count it. One rebound for the entire game. How is that possible for a forward?

If possible, the frontcourt was worse. Ray Mernagh had a write-up after the Georgetown game about what Pitt did right and needs to keep doing.

It’s never been more evident that this Pittsburgh team needs to play with pace as much as possible. James Robinson and Tray Woodall both make good decisions in transition and when they push the pace it tends to give athletic shooters like Durand Johnson (who needs to continue to see his minutes increase) and JJ Moore shots in rhythm off the secondary break or the chance to attack the rim on the hard, desperate closeouts those kind of situations create. Playing with pace also counters the areas where Pitt can struggle. Easy baskets are good for this team because in the half-court they often settle for late-clock contested three point attempts that lead to bad results.

And once they get into their half-court sets, those plays should be designed with the priority of getting Talib Zanna and Steven Adams involved. Zanna and Adams aren’t your typical post players so they need the ball in different spots. Zanna needs it in space from 14 feet and in as he can face up, hit the mid range jumper, or read the defense and make a play with the pass or drive. Adams also needs it in space but on the move and closer to the rim. There’s no reason Adams shouldn’t get four dunks a game with the way he rolls to the hoop off the ball-screen action Pitt runs. He should also get a few more buckets in transition and he and Zanna can play off of each other with some high-low action if Pitt draws it up. They can make the game so much easier because both are willing passers who should make opposing defenses worry.

There is no question Pitt made an effort to get it inside. Even if they couldn’t push the pace because Marquette shot so well in the first half. But the Marquette front court was too physical for Zanna and Adams. Zanna was hideous on offense. He got the touches, but managed only 1 basket in 9 attempts (plus 1-2 on FTs). His frustration at shooting led to his disappearance on defense. Only five rebounds and no interior defense. Another indicator of how soft on defense Zanna was playing, he only had one foul the entire game. Zanna has usually been more fiery in games, but he seemed to have let the poor shooting put him in a complete funk.

Adams was continually muscled out of the paint by Davante Gardner and Chris Otule. Both of whom, while smaller had more strength to push him out of position, so that even if he got the ball he just had to pass it outside. He wasn’t close enough to the basket, often to do anything with the ball. He could only corral six rebounds.

Dante Taylor, who should be strong enough and been playing in the Big East long enough was useless on defense. He only played 10 minutes and could not even grab one rebound.

Along with Moore, the three of them let the back court of Marquette dominate. Gardner was 6-6 shooting and grabbed 8 rebounds.

On the subject of rebounding. Since that is always a favorite of Coach Dixon’s.

Dixon was more disappointed with Pitt getting outrebounded for the third time in four Big East games — all losses — than he was with the Panthers‘ paltry percentage at the free-throw line. Marquette had 38 rebounds to Pitt‘s 33, even though the Eagles had fewer offensive rebounds (14-11).

That Pitt made only 13 of 26 free throws was less disconcerting to Dixon because the Panthers were shooting 68.4 percent entering the game. Dixon said he views the rebounding as a continuing problem.

“Rebounding is something we‘ve been stressing all along,” Dixon said. “You‘re going to have games where you don‘t shoot as well from the free-throw line. We‘re close to 70 percent. They shot higher than their percentage. We shot lower than our percentage. But the rebounding has to be a constant.”

Unlike Coach Dixon, I don’t get too bent out of shape about total rebound differential. It’s the fact that Pitt only had a +3 offensive rebounding advantage in this game that bothers me. Pitt’s missed free throws gave Marquette some easy defensive rebounds, while Marquette drilling a large number of theirs helped skew the defensive rebounding numbers a little more. The fact that Pitt missed (and took) ten more shots than Marquette, yet had such a slim advantage on the offensive boards can be upsetting. Pitt’s size inside should be resulting in more putbacks on misses, yet it isn’t happening.

As for the free throws that makes everyone crazy. 13-26 is bad. Really bad for a team. Yet, when I look at the box score, and compare the individual shooters with their season averages, it’s hard to say that Pitt left much more than 4 or 5 points out there — mostly from the first half (Patterson, Adams, Johnson and Wright each should have had 1 more made FT to be around their average.

Everyone was just a hair off.

That essentially sums up the entire game for Pitt. Just a hair off on everything. That’s why it is so frustrating. Another game where they were just off. Seemingly so close, but falling so short.

I can still see potential in this team, but for some reason I just don’t see it all coming together. I really don’t see how they make the NCAA tournament again this year…not with how they have been playing. If they would have come out and handled Marquette like they did Georgetown, then maybe I’m feeling a little more positive about the team. But they just don’t seem to get it. I really think the players are so conscious about some of these things Dixon keeps beating in to them at practice that they have completely lost the instinct and basketball IQ that they had to begin with.

Comment by JJ 01.14.13 @ 12:14 pm

Winners win. Pitt is losing and perfecting the art of playing just well enough to lose.
I disagree. Winning IS an attitude.
We ain’t got it.
Cue the excuses for the next close loss.
As I have written before, Dixon is a good coach.
He is not a great coach.
You can be a great coach two ways. You can recruit great players or you can get the most out of whatever level of talent you have.
Jamie is not getting it in 2012-13.
Not an idictment. Just pointing out a fact.
While Pitt was losing, I was at Riverwalk with all the other tourists and saw a 20 someting wearing a Pitt hat.
anyone on here?

Comment by sfpitt 01.14.13 @ 12:18 pm

I also take some of the prettiest 3 point shots on my backyard basketball court. And, I get the same results.

Comment by TX Panther 01.14.13 @ 12:20 pm

I still think it’s mostly about the lack of ability from stopping opposing guards to penetrate and score, which leads to …
Pitt playing a zone, which leads to …
Pitt getting outrebounded.

Oh yea, 13-26 from the foul line doesn’t help

Comment by wbb 01.14.13 @ 12:28 pm

“It’s never been more evident that this Pittsburgh team needs to play with pace as much as possible. James Robinson and Tray Woodall both make good decisions in transition and when they push the pace it tends to give athletic shooters like Durand Johnson (who needs to continue to see his minutes increase) and JJ Moore shots in rhythm off the secondary break or the chance to attack the rim on the hard, desperate closeouts those kind of situations create. Playing with pace also counters the areas where Pitt can struggle. Easy baskets are good for this team because in the half-court they often settle for late-clock contested three point attempts that lead to bad results.”

Glad to see someone else (even if a G-Town writer) can see what I can see. It’s so damn obvious to me.

This team is not playing to it’s strengths in the halfcourt offense. It’s strengths are big men who can run and beat you down the court. Use their speed and athleticism for God sake.


Comment by EMel 01.14.13 @ 12:41 pm

My only encouragement from this game is that Zanna was uncharacteristically awful, and I think we can normally expect more from him.

I’m almost afraid to look at the schedule to check for more late morning/early afternoon tip offs. Maybe this team needs a curfew or some coffee or something.

Comment by Ghost of Hornman 01.14.13 @ 12:49 pm

Dixon will turn this around. We have been
spoiled by recent success. Need to do
the following:

Robinson needs to pass more and dribble
Adams needs to be more aggressive when
posting up in the low post
Make free throws
We need a Wannamaker or Sam or Levance
guys who can make a bucket when needed
Team will improve as the season progresses
Lets go Pitt!

Comment by JR 01.14.13 @ 12:54 pm

I disagree that the Zone is the problem with the lack of rebounding. If anything playing a Zone, which keeps your bigs right around the hoop, instead of chasing guys 25 feet from the hoop on ball screens,etc., should increase your rebounding. Provided they know how to get position, which these 3 don’t for the most part.

Syracuse & Temple (under Cheney) never had any problems rebounding from the zone defenses they were and are known for. To name two off the top of my head.

Here’s a blueprint for Coach Dixon:

Basically, the press, whether it is full-court, three-quarters, half-court, 2-2-1, 2-1-2, 3-2, 4-1 or UCLA’s 3-1-1, is an attacking defense. Its immediate aim is to cause an otherwise good team to panic. It is designed to upset the rhythm of the enemy offense, create instant confusion and force errors. When it succeeds, it can overcome a 10-point deficit in minutes. In UCLA’s 3-1-1 the defense forms immediately after UCLA scores a field goal or a foul shot. The center plays the out-of-bounds passer tight, the guards protect the areas on either side and one man—usually the quickest and with the best reactions—assumes a position midway between the baseline and midcourt, ready to intercept a medium pass. The safety man lines up deep to guard against the long pass and to protect against penetration. When the opponents do put the ball into play UCLA usually will double-team the first receiver, trying to harass him into a fumble or into throwing the ball away.

Occasionally UCLA will permit the first pass, offering only token resistance, and retreat upcourt into a more conventional defense. Then, when the floor position suits them, the Bruins revert to their swarming and double-teaming. Often the swift change of pace upsets the opposition, and the panic is on.

Comment by EMel 01.14.13 @ 1:09 pm

Pitt basketball could be in for a painful decline for a number of years. The better recruits we get the worse the team plays. We are much better off with the 2 start new york street ballers than these mcdonald all americans. Fo

We need guys that know they have to work their ass off to stay on the team. The guys that will give 100% every game, every minute, every play. These top level recruits are already planning their escape to the nba before they ever attend their first practice. No team focus and total lack of effort.

Pitt athletics have peaked and are now on the decline. Yes, sadly we wer at our peak and didn’t even know it.

Comment by Coach Ditka 01.14.13 @ 1:51 pm

What did I miss that you say Zeigler showed something in this game.I really thought we played poorly but I thought both of the Z’s Zanna and Zeigler Played their worst games this year.I hope this game was about playing without Woodall more than an indication of what we can expect from here. I agree that if our offense is to show improvement we need our inside guys to get the ball more.It seems like we start each half by getting Adams the ball,then never do it again.I think this team appears to suffer from some of last years disease,they don’t play as a team.I wonder if personalities and cultural differences are holding them back from ever jelling.I saw Zanna wagging his finger and telling someone what to do Saturday.My guess is he isn’t the guy you want telling others what to do.Adams flashes his amazing potential but seems to be doing a lot of stuff that wastes him.Stay in the paint,in fact the low paint and block everything you see.Since the officials are going to call you for a foul anyway get your moneys worth and make them pay by fouling hard. Why is Dante Taylor not giving 4 hard fouls a game? If we put some lumps on our opponents they won’t be as likely to out rebound us down the stretch.Emel may be on to something by suggesting we press as we have been amazingly effective at it on the few occasions we have employed it. Certainly it might be a helpful surprise tactic at some point.

Comment by spiritofsection22 01.14.13 @ 1:53 pm

USC coach fired today..let the Dixon to USC rumors commence..I go on record that he would not leave Pitt for USC right now.

Comment by milo bloom 01.14.13 @ 1:56 pm

The zone press does not always work, of course. Because of its concentration on the ball rather than the man it is a gambling defense, and once beaten it often results in an easy field goal for the other team. But more often than not it at least succeeds in upsetting a planned attack. At best it creates panic. Either way, it sets the tempo for the game.

The key phrase being….it sets the tempo for the game.

This variation of the press or something similar to it should have been tested out on some of those rent-a-win teams. So you get the ‘W’, but you have another wrinkle you can add to your defensive repertoire. I mean winning a rent-a-win game should be used for more than just acquiring the ‘W’. They should be used like “testing grounds” or lab experiments, imo.

Instead of always letting the enemy team try to disrupt your offense(which is what always happens to Pitt), ….YOU DISRUPT THEM.

You be the aggressor, scoring off turnovers with easy baskets. Really demoralizes a team that has to work so hard in the halfcourt to score.

Elite teams usually have several different defenses they that can play really well, to give the opponent different looks. We’ve never had that, which is why imo we haven’t gotten over the proverbial hump in the Dance. Even Syracuse which plays nothing but zone, has only won one NC in all of Boeheim’s 37 years. They eventually, every year in the Dance, run into a team who can tear up a zone and they have nothing else to play (as far as defenses). They are essentially a one-trick pony.

Pitt’s offense & defense are too predictable.
Now if you have superior players, shooters, defenders, etc. you might get away with that. We do not. So therefore you have to devise strategies to ‘hide’ their weaknesses and other strategies to take advantage of whatever strengths they have (in our case we have 10 decent players and big men who can motor).

Comment by EMel 01.14.13 @ 1:56 pm

@milo bloom, allready out there, ESPN reporter, reporting that USC will make a strong push for Dixon.

Started immediately!! LOL

Comment by Dan 01.14.13 @ 2:00 pm

I never say never but I don’t see Dixon leaving Adams considering his ties to Adams family..(of course Adams could just go pro if that happens).

Also Dixon has been at Pitt for 14 years now, he has 2 grade school kids who only knows Pittsburgh and I think would not be willing to uproot them unless really had to.

Comment by milo bloom 01.14.13 @ 2:09 pm

On a brief football note:

Did everyone enjoy watching the 49’ers version of:

The Spread Read Option.

The Packers got Kaepernick’d.

what could have been.

Comment by EMel 01.14.13 @ 2:13 pm

LOL Adams going pro LOL LOL

Comment by Coach Ditka 01.14.13 @ 2:14 pm

Im not even sure adams could survive in the wnba. How do you play basketball almost every day of your life and shoot 30% at the free throw line? I will never understand that.

Comment by Coach Ditka 01.14.13 @ 2:15 pm

My God, there are 14 games left and people are calling for Dixon’s head, beating up on Adams, etc. Lighten up Francis!

Comment by notrocketscience 01.14.13 @ 2:24 pm

Oh, the UCLA team that is referenced in my above posts are not the current UCLA team of course.

They’re from the UCLA teams that won 10 National Championships in 12 years and 7 in a row.

John Wooden was the Master of the Zone Press.

UCLA would destroy teams that had managed to stay in the game with them for awhile with it.

The coaches of yesteryear were far superior than today. Most of those games were like chess matches between two Grand Masters. Al McGuire, Ray Meyers, Jack Kraft, Don Haskins, Frank McGuire, Adolf Rupp, Lee Rose, Harry Litwack, Fred Taylor, Lou Carnasecca, Ralph Miller, Pete Newell, Tex Winter, Joe Mullaney to name a few.

These guys were true teachers of the game. You don’t see the older coaches of the game so much anymore, like you did back then. And the game has suffered for it.

Comment by EMel 01.14.13 @ 2:28 pm

Before the game started Jamie looked Rattled. Marquette was down to 1 guard, why didn’t we press. That right we never press unless its total desperation.

Comment by alcofan 01.14.13 @ 2:34 pm

Emel, when you are playing man-to-man (1) you know exactly where your man is and (2) you are almost always between your man and the basket. Further, the offensive guard on the off side will usually drop back once the ball is shot to defend a fast break, allowing the defensive guard a chance for an uncontested reboud on the off side.

When playing 2-3 zone as Pitt plays, the underneath (big) men on the side often go into the corner to defend a shot from a guard or swing person, while the middle man must do the same out to the foul line. The other big men would be sliding positions often without having the advantage of always trying to gain rebounding position.

Comment by wbb 01.14.13 @ 2:38 pm

Adams leaving does sound preposterous, however this stiff was picked #24 in the 1rst round of the
2009 NBA Draft (same one where Blair & Young were relegated to the 2nd Round).

link to

In one season at Ohio Fake, the 7 foot, 250 lb
Mullens averaged,

8.8 ppg 4.7 rpg 1.1 bpg in 20mpg

There were several stiffs taken in the 1rst Round of that draft (as it always happens) based on
potential ALONE.

Comment by EMel 01.14.13 @ 2:40 pm

Coach Dikita….Adams would still be drafted…that’s the way the NBA works.

Comment by milo bloom 01.14.13 @ 2:41 pm

Maybe but he would be done after a year. He is certainly not living up to the hype even against the amazingly weak non-con. Hes a shot blocker and thats about it. He needs to pack on some muscle weight or he would get steam rolled in the NBA.

Comment by Coach Ditka 01.14.13 @ 2:45 pm

We scream for Freshman to play, now we are getting it but we don’t like the Freshman results. There are very, very few true Freshman basketball players that can make a mark in the BE. When I saw we were starting two true Freshman, I thought we could be in some trouble. If you are not Kentucky, that should really never happen. The good news is that this is going to be a very good team as we head into the ACC. We are currently in a learning curve.

Comment by HbgFrank 01.14.13 @ 2:47 pm

@wbb,,well Pitt is playing the 2-3 zone defense wrong imo.

I understand the limited concepts of Man to Man defense, lol

The purpose of the zone is to force your opponent to take outside shots. Most of these teams don’t have great outside shooters, like Cincy, Marquette, Georgetown, Rutgers. You want them taking outside shots. Make them beat you doing something they’re not good at. Shooting from the outside. You pack it in, and defend the hoop and get good position for defensive rebounds.

And you keep your 7 footer and 6-9 guys close to the hoop to rebound, not out chasing guys on the perimeter.

Comment by EMel 01.14.13 @ 2:51 pm

This is going to be a good team next year based on what?

Comment by Coach Ditka 01.14.13 @ 2:52 pm

lol…it’s the same concept of thinking the football team will be good next year.

Wishful thinking. :-)

Comment by EMel 01.14.13 @ 3:07 pm


whether you are 6′ or 7’6″, rebounding out of a zone is entirely different than m2m.

first, in m2m D, the man you are defending is easily identifiable for boxing out

In a zone, not so much…

also, if your goal is to “pack it in” on D and force outside jumpers, that leads to long rebounds…

At the D1 level, every team has guys who can knock down open 3’s. The reason zone is effective (a la Cuse) is because they do not, typically, pack it in. They are typically ‘long defenders’ who make it difficult to step into your shot and can contest you with their length.

Comment by Big Bill 01.14.13 @ 3:10 pm

Coach Ditka Did you see the tape on his right hand holding his thumb in place? That can’t help shoot fouls. What’s more Adams hasn’t had the benefit of coming up in the American system so he hasn’t “played basketball almost every day of his life.”Furthermore please don’t laugh at and be confused as to what Adams capable of.I think we expect too much too quickly of him off of his huge size and ability.He is green and has been thrown in the deep water early but he appears tough enough,talented enough, and bright enough to make criticism like yours seem silly one day.The problem is the pro scouts see the potential too, so although he is probably a year or even two away from dominating at the college level, that doesn’t mean they will be willing to wait.Adams will one day star in the NBA and we will be lucky to see him here next year.He already is making about a half dozen great plays a game and will continue to improve.We all see his shortcomings too,but don’t confuse his failures with anything other than experience and maturity because he will make you look stupid in time I’m quite sure.

Comment by spiritofsection22 01.14.13 @ 3:12 pm

@HbgFrank……ha ha ha LMAO!!! Truer words have not been said!!!

Over and over, people (hey throw me into the mix on occaision, not often) saying Jamie too loyal to his upperclassmen!!

Now, we have two freshman playing top minutes.

Nothing satisfies!!!!!!!!! Human nature???

Comment by Dan 01.14.13 @ 3:15 pm

With Woodie & Sleepy graduating.

Next year’s team as of now, does not have a backup Center. And if Adams gets just 1 of 30 NBA GM’s to develop a hard on for him, we don’t have any Centers
for next year.

No Centers and no 2G’s (except for the Wright & Zeigler).

If that is the case, we better learn a bunch of trick defenses and easier ways to score offensively.

Anybody know if we have anyone on the recruiting radar for next year since we two additional open spots now ????

Comment by EMel 01.14.13 @ 3:24 pm

@Big Bill.

“At the D1 level, every team has guys who can knock down open 3?s. ”

Ok…so who are Pitt’s guys or even guy ?

Comment by EMel 01.14.13 @ 3:29 pm

i’d be satisfied with winning :)

a couple of more days until the start of the “real” sports season dan.. too bad this wasn’t a hockey site. I live in the baltimore area and I gotta hear all the caps and ravens fans..

Comment by goalie44 01.14.13 @ 3:33 pm

Obviously I’m only suggesting to play zone more against teams that are weak outside shooting teams.

Pitt’s guards don’t play particularly good defense sans Wright, so the Zone helps that as well. Since Woodie is the quickest guy on the team, he should be responsible for long rebounds
when he’s in there.

In reality the smaller schools, mid-majors typically have better outside shooters to the big name conf’s.

You don’t normally see those types of players on big conf school’s rosters. Where it’s more about being more athletic as opposed to being a pure shooter.

Comment by EMel 01.14.13 @ 3:36 pm

Hey Goalie, ya, me too. Didn’t know if you were a Pens fan or not. Another big hockey fan is Steve1. Rangers fan. Good banter.

Guess he grew up in NYC area, went to Pitt, but NYC pro teams fan.

Comment by Dan 01.14.13 @ 3:43 pm

I think it’s a perfect storm of lousy recruiting from Dixon and the revolving door of assistants.

Not only did they miss on the Top 100-200 type players; they also missed on the Top 50/McDonald’s All-America types. (Yes, Robinson is solid, but this program needs more than solid.) Taylor and Ziegler are useless and at this point, the most we can hope for is Gary McGhee-like contribution from Adams before he leaves.

Woodall, Moore, Patterson, Wright, Zanna, Epps, John Johnson, Malcolm Gilbert were/are all disappointing. Some are complete misses (Moore, Gilbert, J.Johnson, Epps), others just aren’t nearly good enough to keep this program where it was.

We have to face facts. These players are soft and untalented. A couple can play a little offense (Woodall, Patterson, sometimes Zanna, maybe Durand Johnson), one can play a little defense (Wright), and the rest are pretty lost in a Big East-quality game (Ziegler, Adams, Taylor).

Nobody, absolutely nobody, on the team shows any balls. No one ever gets up in anybody’s grill and no one ever takes it to an opponent.

This train is going the wrong direction and I have strong doubts that Dixon has the smarts to turn it around.

Comment by hugh green 01.14.13 @ 3:54 pm

Ditka, Adams is 19 and I think he has an amzing set of arms for a kid who probably saw his first weight room last year. Gray was a chubby sloth as a freshman.Adams problem is he never played at this level, not strength or desire.He hasn’t adjusted to this level yet. Key word yet.Even with his apprentice level wherewithall we still need to do a way better job of getting him the ball because our guards can’t finish squat and at least he has the potential to.Even though his numbers are modest they’re at about the same level in the Big East as in the nocon. I think it is reasonable to expect them to improve as the year goes on.If Adams and Zanna don’t start to take over inside we aren’t going to the NCAA.I think it is safe to say everyone hoped they would be doing better at this point.I hope we seem some improvement this week or things could get ugly.

Comment by spiritofsection22 01.14.13 @ 4:13 pm

On a positive note:

ACC seems to get getting worse in hoops. Duke lost over the weekend, North Carolina has just an average team, Maryland stinks, Wake & GT stink as does Florida State, Clemson, UVA, BC and Va TEch.

This reminds me of something:

It wasn’t just Maryland fans who were unimpressed after the Terps scored just 14 first-half points in Sunday night’s ugly 54-47 loss at Miami.

In the first half, Maryland shot 6 of 28 from the field, turned the ball over eight times and once again got little production from its backcourt. Though big man Alex Len and forward Dez Wells combined for an efficient 34 points, Faust, Allen, Howard and reserve guard Logan Aronhalt combined for a mere nine points on 4 of 25 shooting with just one made 3-pointer between them.

Apparently Maryland doesn’t have any legit 3 point shooters. I guess we could play Zone against them. lol too bad they’re going to the Little 10.

Comment by EMel 01.14.13 @ 4:25 pm

Hey Danno, wearing my Dartmouth Hockey cap as we speak.

Ranked 12th in the country, beat Hahvahd this weekend. Got to watch the game online, a nice antidote to the bball game.



Comment by steve1 01.14.13 @ 4:29 pm

Hugh, Anybody ever say you are a little too critical? They seemed to have enough balls in DC the other night.Ever consider that maybe we could improve as we go a bit.It wasn’t a lack of scrotal substance that caused Woodall to get a concussion and Gary Mcghee was a great Big East player.Adams would do well to be as good as a freshman.Zanna had a bad day but he is not what I would label a disappointment.Coach Dixon hasn’t had this much success off of shortness of “smarts” either so put a lid on it, please.I get pissed off myself when we aren’t winning but these guys can still have a great year.Don’t give up too soon. I remember when NC ST. won the NCAA with ten losses.

Comment by spiritofsection22 01.14.13 @ 4:31 pm

We will be a factor when Adams gets stronger and meaner.

Blair never ever got bodied off like he’s getting.

Comment by steve1 01.14.13 @ 4:35 pm

Indeed spiritos22,

Hungry Like the Wolf. (pack)

P.S. NC State cheerleaders had the skimpiest most skin showing outfits that year as well.
A year to remember :-)

Comment by EMel 01.14.13 @ 4:36 pm

Blair was a preternaturally gifted rebounder, strong as an ox, and with a high motor to boot. Adams is adjusting to US and NCAA game vs international play. It’s comparing apple and kiwis

Comment by Ghost of Hornman 01.14.13 @ 4:42 pm


Still have a great year? 1-3 in be? I don’t see anything that would lead me to believe the will have anything but a disappointing year. again.

Comment by goalie44 01.14.13 @ 5:01 pm

they allow ranger fans on this blog?? what’s next flyers?? geeze..

Comment by goalie44 01.14.13 @ 5:04 pm

HA HA, ya, Pitt diehard though!!

Steve1, was that you that has a son playing for Dartmouth, or a relative??? Maybe he graduated??

Comment by Dan 01.14.13 @ 5:20 pm

Dan, son played club hockey at Dartmouth, not varsity. The poor soul is even smaller than me.

Me bad.


Let’s go, RANGERS!

Comment by steve1 01.14.13 @ 5:27 pm

goalie44, Sure you did, Of the three lost games,we could have won all three and with improvement probably would.We pounded Georgetown on their home floor.We start 2 freshman and have a lot of room for improvement.I am as unhappy with where we are right now as anybody but we aren’t that far from being good.We have plenty of games left that can change the direction of this season and it is too early to give up.As bad as we have been we aren’t far away from being successful.Yes we are 1-3 but with a little better foul shooting and better rebounding we could have won all 3 losses.This team hasn’t put it together yet ,but that doesn’t mean they won’t.

Comment by spiritofsection22 01.14.13 @ 6:00 pm

I guess you are a half-full person and I’m half empty.. I don’t put much stock in could have’s. I check the standings and i see our team near the bottom. I hope you are right though, two losing programs are difficult to take!

Comment by goalie44 01.14.13 @ 6:10 pm

Poor Karen Price is tasked with reporting on Pitt women’s hoops.

And poor Agnes is toast.

Comment by steve1 01.14.13 @ 6:13 pm

I’m wearing my rmu hat..we beat a small school called miami (oh) a couple of weeks ago..perhaps you heard? :)

Comment by goalie44 01.14.13 @ 6:13 pm

Indeed I did, goalie44. And Penn State as well, correct? Others?


Son was a goalie too. He loved the action.

Comment by steve1 01.14.13 @ 6:17 pm

yeah,he’s gotta be a smart kid if he was a goalie! I still kick around in men’s leagues (over 40).. can’t seem to give it up!

Comment by goalie44 01.14.13 @ 6:28 pm

Dixon is on record as saying he won’t play against his friend Howland…so that kinda leaves USC out don’t ya think?

Comment by Jackagain 01.14.13 @ 6:41 pm

Jamie is also on record that he doesn’t think Pitt should leave the Big East …. of course, a couple of years ago. While I certainly wouldn’t bet that he’s leaving, on the other hand, I wouldn’t be totally shocked either

Comment by wbb 01.14.13 @ 7:43 pm

Nice Stripes reference, notrocketscience.

Comment by panther94 01.14.13 @ 7:46 pm

Emel great thoughts on the press. I could not agree more. Set the tempo, control the tempo. We can no longer sit back in a half court man to man and defend. Our spacing is beyond awful on both offense and defense. A press makes Pitt the aggressor, something we have rarely been the last 2 years. My God, we have 10 guys that play. Use em all! Press now!

There are all kinds of zone presses, some full court some half court. Many configurations. All have their strenghts and their weak spots.

EMel, I was an aggressive coach in BBall and was willing to accept the “bunnies’ a press sometimes gives up to control the tempo of a game.

But Jamie is Jamie, and I do not think much will change in the way he plans/controls a game.

Comment by Dan 72 01.14.13 @ 8:03 pm

so i know that buildings don’t win games but it sure helps if the fans are into it…the last two games i’ve been to have had zero atmosphere..has anyone else noticed it??…the zoo is still the zoo, but the other fans are terrrible…i watch college bball games all the time and pitt fans are not good basketball fans..which is sad..cuz pitt needs them bad right now

Comment by Keith 01.14.13 @ 8:13 pm

Pitt gets beat off the dribble now….maybe that’s why Dixon won’t press with this team. But I agree….Dixon needs to change with the times in his coaching style.

I would like to see some pressing at the end of some games.

Comment by Jackagain 01.14.13 @ 9:26 pm

Why do people feel the need to write this crap about “loving Dixon.” Dixon is a college basketball coach who is very well compensated for his services. He’s had success in the past. He’s struggling now. Unfortunately for Dixon, he operates in a what-have-you-done-lately world. Good to see P.G.’s Cook following this team.

Comment by TonyinHouston 01.15.13 @ 8:39 am

Who would you press with? Pressing isn’t about having 10 guys, though it’s nice to be deep. Pressing is about having the right skill set in the players you do have.

Who would you press with?

Woodall? Patterson? They’re terrible defenders. Can you imagine Woodall or Patterson trying to trap somebody?

Robinson plays decent on-ball defense, but he’s certainly not a press guy.

You press if you have quickness like Smith or Siva and/or some long 3-4 men to get some hands on some passes. Dixon doesn’t have either of those luxuries.

Dixon would never play up tempo anyway.

Comment by hugh green 01.15.13 @ 10:23 am

We stink. I can’t wait for football season to get here…oh wait. Well, I can’t wait for…hmmmmm…don’t really have anything to look forward to. Sigh. Pitt. Sigh.

Comment by Get the Glory 01.15.13 @ 11:01 am

Pitino, Boeheim, Calipari — not only do they get many 4-stars, they get people that fit their style of play. Not sure that Jamie does this, or can do this for that matter.

Comment by wbb 01.15.13 @ 11:19 am

It seems like they used to get hard-nosed guys to fit their style of play, but they’re not sniffing those guys out anymore.

Like what happened to having some beef inside?

Comment by hugh green 01.15.13 @ 11:43 am

You are what your record says you are.

Last season, the excuse was that Pitt lost Tray.
This year, he is here and we are 1-3 in conference.
We aren’t physical, we aren’t super talented and we don’t out work anyone.
How in hell does anyone expect to win a game with this as our recipe?
It is going to be a long, long season I fear. Adams will not “get it” until the season is over. We don’t have a leader and one ain’t likely to emerge in mid-January and new “assistants” (if that is a problem and to me it seems to be one) don’t come along until next year.

Comment by sfpitt 01.15.13 @ 12:19 pm

I think someone should chronicle an in-depth blog post titled “What Happened to Pitt? The Lost Decades” Lots and lots to look at.

Comment by Get the Glory 01.15.13 @ 1:49 pm

Pitt has been in every game we have played this year. Dixon isnt struggling the kids are! 4 freshmen play serious roles in this teams success/frustration. That is staggering on any D-1 team let alone Jamie’s history. Wont repeat the old line RE: best thing about frosh, but we must have patience. Never knew how much we’d miss Nas until you watch us rebound. Wish we could morph Nas’s desire/effort into Zanna’s body. At some juncture Lamar will step up and become the leader he needs to be. Hope it’s this season and soon! Hope Woody returns vs. nova. Hang in there tough guy! Hail to Pitt! UPone

Comment by UPone 01.15.13 @ 3:17 pm

Lamar Patterson quote;”I think we did it to ourselves, really.”

You should have been with me in front of my big-screen tv, Lamar. Maybe at Pitt the profs give good grades for such brainy observations as that. Of course they did it to themselves.

Someone commented, “When Adams gets meaner…” Will this happen while he is at Pitt? He appears to need a complete makeover for that to occur.

Some excuse the Panthers play because of the freshmen. Other schools such as Syracuse seem to incorporate their freshmen into the flow very nicely. Like using the Woodall injury last year as an excuse for all-around shoddy play, we’ll hear the “freshmen excuse” often as we go further into the Big East.

Our guards can’t press? Our guards can’t trap? Goll-ey! Who is recruiting these guys. We excuse their offensive follys by claiming that Dixon is a defensive wizard. Then, when Marquette’s point guard and key player goes down, we shrug and say that we don’t have the ability to take advantage. I’m more worried about things like that than I am about Adams or even Coach Dixon leaving. Dixon might be a great coach, but he better get the players and develop the strategy to beat even the middle-of-the-roaders at home in the Pete!

Stay tuned for an epic struggle Wednesday as the Panthers meet the Villanova Wildcats in a game that Pitt should win with their eyes closed. If they don’t, what will be the excuses from the first 89 posters on this Board?

Comment by PENGUIN 01.15.13 @ 4:19 pm

Katz mentions the best college arenas……no Petersen Events Center.

link to

Comment by Jackagain 01.15.13 @ 5:46 pm

Katz mentions the best college arenas……no Petersen Events Center.

link to

Comment by Jackagain 01.15.13 @ 5:46 pm

No way Dixon goes to USC. Anyone schooled in the history of Pitt athletics knows that we will never lose a coach like Jamie Dixon. We lose Johnny Majors and Jackie Sherrills, and even Ben Howlands, but never a Dave Wannstedt or a Jamie Dixon.

I would truly like to believe that Dixon will turn this team around. But I see nothing, either in his history or the composition of this team, that even remotely suggests that is possible. The only turnarounds we have experienced in his tenure have been, unfortunately, in the opposite direction.

Said it before, but this team has 3 legitimate Division 1 players. Even in the best of times, Dixon’s team have played horseshit perimeter defense, and the offense has been, to put a polite spin on it, ragged. A series of big men have bailed the team out. Troutman, Gray, Blair and McGhee specifically. Steve Adams is a talented big man, but he is a freshman, clearly no DeJuan Blair, and is starting with another freshman. Talib Zanna belongs on a Divison 1 court. No one else on this team does. Couple that with the lack of fundamentals, and the lack of basketball IQ for which Pitt teams are legendary, you have what we have now.

Been a basketball fan longer than a football fan with Pitt. I would love to be wrong about all of this. I fear I will not be. And a worse fear is that Pitt will wind up in the same situation as Wake Forest. Stuck with a coach who just is not doing the job, painfully obvious to everyone except the AD.

Can’t wait for football season. That is a clear sign of sheer desperation.

Comment by PO'd Panther 01.15.13 @ 9:50 pm

Whatever UPone is smokin, get me some.

Comment by TonyinHouston 01.15.13 @ 11:50 pm

hughgreen, I think you are right that we won’t see Dixon press but on the occasions when Pitt was forced to press this season they have met with success.So much so that it might merit further attempts in situations other than when we have no choice.It’s possible it could be an effective surprise strategy at some point.

Comment by spiritofsection22 01.16.13 @ 9:24 am

Nova has turned things around after a slow start and we really have to make sure and get a W tonight.I am finding it hard to be confident off of the recent failures but still have hope.I think this will be a very hard road test and sure hope we can step up.HTP

Comment by spiritofsection22 01.16.13 @ 10:34 am

Pitt is a 5.5 point favorite at Villanova?

It is clear the gamblers have no better idea how Pitt will play than we do. I am guessing many of the gamblers look at the numbers and statistics, which Pitt inflated playing a weak non-con.

Nova is bad, but I still think, gun to my head, I would take Nova and the points. Hope I am wrong.

Zeigler and Johnson need to emerge for Pitt to turn this around.

Comment by Boubacar Aw 01.16.13 @ 2:02 pm

I don’t think Dixon is a candidate for the vacany, not because he “could never leave Pitt,” but because his star is fading. We don’t exactly have a very good program right now at a time when we should be better than ever following a 10 year build up. We are going the opposite way, and athletic professionals around the country know that.

Comment by Get the Glory 01.16.13 @ 2:31 pm

Correction: It looks like Pitt’s home court did make ESPN’s top 10 list. It just wasn’t in the film.

The 10 best home courts in college basketball:

1. Allen Fieldhouse, Kansas
2. Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke
3. Assembly Hall, Indiana
4. McCarthey Athletic Center, Gonzaga
5. The Pit, New Mexico
6. Breslin Center, Michigan State
7. Koch Arena, Wichita State
8. Petersen Events Center, Pittsburgh
9. Carrier Dome, Syracuse
10. Rupp Arena, Kentucky

link to

Comment by Jackagain† 01.16.13 @ 2:56 pm

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