January 16, 2013

Open Thread: Pitt-Nova

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 4:24 pm

The game is on ESPNU at 7pm.

Work schedule is out of whack at the moment. Heading in for the night, which means DVR delay and shunning all media to avoid anything on the game. While there is no official word, Travon Woodall pronounced himself all ready to play tonight’s game. Woodall, however, doesn’t get the final say.

Pitt coach Jamie Dixon knew when Woodall went down that he was going to have to play the rest of the game without him. UPMC’s approach to treating concussions or possible concussions is cautious. Players must be without symptoms for 24 hours to run and for 48 hours before contact.

A year ago, Dante Taylor missed two games with concussion-like symptoms, and Talib Zanna was not allowed back in a game against Cincinnati after getting hit in the head.

“If the doctors feel he can’t play, even though he thinks he can play, he can’t play,” Dixon said. “We’re at the forefront of concussions and how to deal with them. We err on the side of caution. There’s no question that’s where we’re at and rightfully so.”

Woodall did not experience any symptoms Sunday or Monday. He went through some conditioning and other drills at practice Monday and will practice today with contact if there are no symptoms. He said he expects to play Wednesday night against Villanova when the Panthers travel to Philadelphia.

There has been no word one way or another. Hopefully he is not having any problems. Just as important — regardless of whether he plays or not — I just want him to be honest with the doctors. His longterm health is more important.

The surprisingly competent play by Zeigler in the loss got noticed as one of the few good things from the Marquette game. Several pieces hitting on it and his struggles.

“It’s been an adjustment period trying figure what Coach wants me to do,” Zeigler said. “It’s a new role for me, so, of course, there is going to be an adjustment period. I’m just trying to figure out what I need to do to help this team. I’m trying to do my best.”

Zeigler was expected to earn a starting job before the season began, but freshman James Robinson surprised the coaching staff and earned the starting point guard duties, pushing senior Tray Woodall to shooting guard.

That decision relegated Zeigler to an unaccustomed bench role. He started as a freshman and sophomore for Central Michigan and averaged 16 points per game. He is averaging 4.6 points in fewer than 15 minutes a game for the Panthers.

Truth be told, Zeigler hasn’t given Dixon much reason to change his rotation. He has struggled with turnovers and outside shooting. He has more turnovers per minute than any player and has not made a 3-point attempt (0 for 3).

As I’ve mentioned before, Zeigler getting that waiver to play right away did not work out the way anyone hoped. Rather than have an immediate impact as hoped, he has struggled with the adjustment to this system. He has had to learn a lot more on the fly since he can’t just practice. The impact has visibly affected his confidence during the games.

The hope being that the Marquette loss at least marked a turning point for Zeigler.

I think he‘s playing better, getting better,” Dixon said, “and that‘s what we had hoped as the year started.”

When Zeigler struggled to score, his minutes were reduced to 7.7 through the first three Big East games. He showed signs of progress by scoring seven points in eight minutes at Georgetown. Now, Pitt is hoping Zeigler can use his slashing ability to draw defenses and find an open man.

“I think the Big East, it‘s just being comfortable in our offense, being able to pick my spots and being more aggressive,” Zeigler said. “The last two games, I‘ve been a lot more aggressive and trying to make plays, not only for myself but my teammates.”

The Panthers believe the better Zeigler is, the more dangerous they will be.

“He‘s poised and he handles whatever situation that‘s thrown at him,” Woodall said. “He‘s definitely a guy we‘re thankful to have. With his development, we‘re that much more of a threat.”

As for the Villanova game. They have been shaky to start the season (to put it kindly). They had a stretch where they lost 4 of 5, including losses to Columbia and LaSalle but have looked better as the season progressed.

The Wildcats rank third in 3-pointers made (6.3) and have a sharpshooter in Ryan Arcidiacono, a 6-foot-3 freshman guard who has made at least one trey every game, three or more in six games and had seven 3s in a 32-point effort against St. John‘s.

In that sense, Villanova compares favorably to its Final Four team.

“This team could maybe shoot a little bit better,” said Pitt fifth-year senior point guard Tray Woodall, who is expected to return from a concussion sustained in Saturday‘s 74-67 overtime loss to Marquette. “The point guard shoots it probably as good as Scottie Reynolds used to shoot it. We‘ve just got to be ready and be aware.”

More concerning is that, through three Big East games, Villanova leads the conference in rebounding (43 per game), offensive rebounding (16.7) and rebounding margin (plus-9.7).

The Panthers have lost the battle of the boards in all three of their league losses, and know that they can‘t afford many more defeats if they hope to qualify for an NCAA Tournament berth after having their 10-year streak of tournament appearances broken last season.

“That‘s simply what I‘ve been saying all year long,” Dixon said. “It hasn‘t cost us until these last three games that we lost — we won the rebounding when we beat Georgetown — and the numbers don‘t lie. We need to get it done. I think it starts with our defense, too.”

At the same time, their two Big East wins came against St. John’s and USF. St. John’s or perhaps 8-8 Purdue would constitute their best win of the season.

So, I’m not sure what to expect from Villanova. Which is only fair, since I’m not sure what to expect from Pitt.

EJ tweets that the 43 Nova scored is the lowest in the Pavillions history. There is finally a team more offensively challenged than Pitt. Nova really has gone down hill fast. But they did get to that Final 4.

Comment by TX Panther 01.16.13 @ 9:56 pm

U Phone, Bob Smizik is and always has been, absolutely clueless about anything to do with sports.

Comment by Justinian 01.16.13 @ 9:59 pm

Not shots. Swigs of margaritta. There is probably about 9 shots in my mix and about 3 shots of Grand Marnier. I’m starting to feel it now. My thumbs are the last to get drunk on my hand. Typing from the BlackBerry.

Comment by TX Panther 01.16.13 @ 10:00 pm


Just got home from watching the BIG WIN at a local watering hole.

Wooooohooooooo !!!!!

Comment by EMel 01.16.13 @ 10:23 pm


Zeigler finally comes up BIGGGGGGG

the Z-man


Comment by EMel 01.16.13 @ 10:25 pm


But at least they finished strong and Zeigler showed something. But watching this team is not fun.

Comment by Carmen 01.16.13 @ 10:28 pm


Found a couple more players tonite.

Durand Durand and the Z-Man

Almost themselves outscore the starters combined.


Comment by EMel 01.16.13 @ 10:29 pm


The hillbillies are absorbing another beatdown.

Comment by marcus of schaumburg 01.16.13 @ 10:31 pm

Emel, how much did you have at the watering hole? I agree that a win is a win, but this was UGLY. The key is, can we build off of this win? We finished strong and Zeig took over in the end. Didn’t see that coming. We NEED to carry this into Saturday against UConn. Wish I had as much fun as you, Emel.

Comment by panther94 01.16.13 @ 10:32 pm

Yep, Iowa St. bringing the pain.

Comment by panther94 01.16.13 @ 10:34 pm

lol Woooooohoooooo

Not that much, I just love beating Villimanilli.

Woooooohoooooo !!!!!

Comment by EMel 01.16.13 @ 10:37 pm


Z-Man & Durand Durand should play more, since they haven’t lost many games yet as Panthers. Haven’t developed the Pitt yips.

The ACC games are ugly this year as well. Must be preparing for our entry.

Woooooooohooooooo !!!!!!!!!

Comment by EMel 01.16.13 @ 10:41 pm

I think they were leading scorers…amazing. I’m worried about Robinson. Not sure why he’s gone downhill.

Comment by panther94 01.16.13 @ 10:44 pm

Don’t discount how important it is to learn how to win. But let’s hope they learn some things. Woodall knows how to close out games and Robinson is still learning. Jamie played the hot hands Durand Durand and Ziggie Stardust and they came through. Although, Zanna, Patterson and Moore are in a scoring funk, they all made some nice defensive plays. Adams and Taylor are getting more scrsppy, keep fighting.

This is a team that needs to learn how to win ugly, because artistic they are not.

I like the spirit of this team. Maybe the pieces will come together.

In any case we need Patterson, Moore and especially Zanna to come out of their offensive slump, at least I hope that is what it is.

Better foul shooting made all the difference.

Comment by gc 01.16.13 @ 10:46 pm

gc, agreed, but how can Patterson, Moore, and Zanna all be in a funk? That seems odd. Maybe, like you said, just winning can help. We need to do that the next 3 games before we have Louisville and the Cuse.

Comment by panther94 01.16.13 @ 10:51 pm

Wbb, great read, thanks. Some of the more informed on here will need to explain to me how it is that the ACC had total revenues of just $17M less than the Big 10, yet the ACC payout per team is a lot lower than the Big 10…Oh btw, good old BE slobber knocker of BB Game. Good win.

Comment by HbgFrank 01.16.13 @ 11:00 pm

Shooters get cold, but Zanna is the most troublesome. He needs to play angry and I am not sure he knows how.

One bright thing is that the 43 Villanova points may be the lowest ever at the Pavilion and we had a lot to do with that. Defense is a must have for this team to get better. They need to learn how to bring it every night. Physical play wins the day.

Comment by gc 01.16.13 @ 11:02 pm

First – They rebounded tonight. This takes so much of their concentration, at the moment, that they blow other things when they do it. But they’ll eventually be able to rebound automatically.

Second – Zeigler took over at crunch time. It’s a young team and it needs leadership from upperclassmen that can play better when the game’s on the line. Zeigler’s been there.

The team is putting together the pieces that they’ll need. By the end of the season, they could really be something.

Comment by Howard 01.16.13 @ 11:08 pm


All is well in Pantherland, we shoot only 37% FG’s and still win by 15.

Watched some real ugly big 10 games as well, such as Wisconsin beating #2 Indiana last nite.

Ugly games all over Clemson 60 Wake Forest 44

Winning Ugly is a beautiful thing !


Comment by EMel 01.16.13 @ 11:12 pm

Talk about Ugly.

Maryland beat #14 NC State 51-50

Maryland shot 34% FG 17% (3-18) from 3 and had 13 turnovers and still won. That had to be a horrid game to watch.

Lots of teams that can’t shoot, especially from 3. Kids today don’t want to take the time it takes to practice becoming good outside shooters.
It’s all about taking you off the dribble to show you up.

That’s why I say play Zone, make em make shots from the outside. More than likely they can’t.

Comment by EMel 01.16.13 @ 11:23 pm

EVen NBA teams rarely shoot 50% FG

Not many Larry Birds anymore.

Comment by EMel 01.16.13 @ 11:27 pm

It’s been a while since I played competitive basketball, then we were taught to follow-up our shots to get the rebound if missed. Today no one does this. We also wore the same shoes, no individualism. Even though we did not have any superstar players, we won most of our games through team-work and excellent free throw shooting. But those days are long gone.

Comment by MariettaMike 01.17.13 @ 8:23 am

T’eo == “Girlfriend wanted dead or alive” Taint quite a girlfriend taint quite not. Important info for a guy to know.

Comment by DC33 01.17.13 @ 8:54 am

After watching the last 8-10 min. of the game again (with a little clarity [sobriety]), Pitt won this game purely on defense. I don’t think ‘vill’ even had an uncontested pass, let alone shot. JD will ride the “defense” horse into practice (and it is his favorite mode of BB transportation).

Comment by CompLit 01.17.13 @ 9:11 am

What happened to Cam Wright? He played 1 minute.

Pitt seemed more aggressive, especially in the second half.

Comment by Boubacar Aw 01.17.13 @ 9:25 am

Great win last night…At least 3 times last night I had figure Pitt was going to blow it which made the last 5 mins of the game all that much better.

I have loved the way Johnson has played all year (you can tell the kid has a lot of heart) and it’s nice to see him have such a big game last night…need to find more minutes for the kid especially if he keeps shooting that well.

I was skeptical of the whole Manti T’eo hoax story at first (as you can see by my ealier comments)….I guess we are at the point these days in sports were just about anything is possible.

Comment by milo bloom 01.17.13 @ 9:37 am

Many of the headlines this morning are that T’eo is a victim of a hoax … actually the headine should be that T’eo is a Dickhead or that T’eo is Disingenuous.

My headline for the basketball game would be ‘Nova Outstinks Panthers’

Comment by wbb 01.17.13 @ 9:47 am

@ wbb — Agree both teams stunk last night but glad that Villanova stunk more than Pitt. It was nice coming out on top for a change. H2P

Comment by MariettaMike 01.17.13 @ 12:03 pm

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