February 5, 2013

At Least No One Was Hurt

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 7:36 am

There’s a tendency after a very visibly off-game. Where the team — as a whole — couldn’t hit water falling out of a boat. Well, you chalk it up to an off-game and burn the tape. That would be a mistake. If I’m Coach Dixon I use that tape and edit it to show every missed bunny. Every blown lay-up. Every ball thrown up, ostensibly with the belief that it was intended to be called a shot. I have the players watch it Clockwork Orange style.

This would hopefully accomplish two things. The first to give them a feel for what the fans were going through watching the game. The other to be a pointed reminder of why you can’t relax or let down for any game in conference play.

If you are hoping for trenchant analysis of this game. There really isn’t any. Pitt shot about as horribly as possible, yet still came away with the win. They wore down an undermanned team that had one player trying to will them to a win. But for Fuquan Edwin turning his ankle landing on his own teammate’s foot, Pitt doesn’t end up with a 10-point win. A win that come a March review looks like a relatively normal win over a lower-tier team.

In the area of positives, Pitt had a gameplan and stuck to it, even as Seton Hall tried to change it.

“We just didn’t shoot the ball well,” Woodall said. “It was one of worst shooting games of the season. They did a good job of switching up their defenses throwing junk defenses at us. I have to give them credit. We were trying to figure out exactly what defense they were in. They were playing pretty good defense.”

Willard’s game plan was to force Pitt into taking as many 3-pointers as possible. He did not think the Pirates matched up well with the Panthers inside.

But the Panthers spoiled his game plan by refusing to take the bait. They attempted just 12 3-pointers and made five. The Panthers made the game more interesting than it had to be by missing several layups and free throws. They shot a better percentage from 3-point range than inside the arc and were 19 for 29 from the free-throw line.

“We have to work on making layups,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. “We had eight missed layups in the first half.”

And don’t think I wasn’t starting to wish Pitt would take more 3s. On shots that weren’t 3s, Pitt was an ungodly 11-34 (32.4%). On 3s, Pitt was 41.7%.

Well, there were two positives in the second half. Steven Adams neutralized some bad free throw shooting issues by going 4-5 from the line. Pitt finished at a tolerable 65.5% shooting (19-29) and hit nearly 70% of their free throws in the second half. The other was rebounding. Pitt completely dominated the boards in the second half. A 20-10 rebounding advantage and only allowed Seton Hall one offensive rebound in the second half. Yes, Pitt did nothing with the offensive rebounds — and padded them with the number of misses — but they mattered in terms of wearing down Seton Hall and getting them to foul.

Finally, Cam Wright continues his resurgence.

“Every day, day in and day out, I just try to bring a lot of energy to the table,” said Wright, who finished with eight points in 15 minutes. “When I get an opportunity to score, my teammates do a great job of getting me the ball when I’m open, and I just try to finish for those guys.”

Wright, who didn’t play Jan. 22 at Providence, came off the bench to provide several big plays for the second consecutive game. He sandwiched four free throws around a basket in the final 6:42 as Pitt turned a 42-41 lead into a five-point edge.

On a night where Trey Zeigler didn’t do as much driving to the rim, J.J. Moore continued to refuse to get near the hoop (How do you play 19 minutes mostly at PF and not record a rebound?), and no one else could finish. Wright was able to attack at key times. Even if he too couldn’t finish well, he went to the line and converted when they needed them.

Unfortunately, an accurate, comprehensive analysis. I expected a let-down but this? I’m not so sure we’re all sweating bullets in the final seconds if Edwin didn’t get hurt.

Comment by wbb 02.05.13 @ 8:05 am

I had to admire Edwin’s effort. He scored half of Seton Hall’s points — on a bad ankle.

Comment by MariettaMike 02.05.13 @ 8:08 am

Good teams win games like these. Last year, this would of been a loss. It’s easy to forget how many Big East wins have looked similar over the years. There were bigger fish to fry before and after this game. It was a 9 o’clock game. The roads were bad. I wouldn’t put too much stock in this performance.

Comment by Denny 02.05.13 @ 8:26 am

Few easy baskets in this one. Plus we missed the layups on the few we had. The good news is Patterson and Woodall are bringing consistent good play every game. Adams gets better every game, he even made foul shots. The rebounding and fairly solid defense is always there.

It looks like the team is starting to believe.

As painful as this was to watch, especially when we were stuck at 11 points forever, we still won by 10.

Comment by gc 02.05.13 @ 9:01 am

Chas – First time long time. Really enjoy your work & the insightful comments from the full stable of regulars. Yes this game was beyond ugly. We all know that the let down from the adrenaline high of the SU game combined with a quick turnaround, late tip & the universal tendency to play down to your competition is a dangerous stew. The 10 got through it. Clearly the 4 spot is the Achilles. Both 42 & 44 need to get to the glass & focus their offensive efforts going to the rim (once in a while,plz). That said panther fans, make no mistake – #13 is a beast in development. Lets not be fooled, yes he often looks lost in offensive sets – he doesnt have the feel for the nuances of the game (honestly my brothers, this young man has traveled a long long way – worlds away – if you will & within his first year here was tipping it off @ MSG – WOW) & yet he has so much talent & desire that he’s fighting through it & starting to pace statistically with his peer group (he’s a double double waiting to happen – soon he’ll figure out when/where to call for the ball & how to catch the dish in traffic Boom 12 & 12). Finally, I’m done questioning JD (w the exception of not being able to understand why the bigs must hedge the pick above the 3pt line forcing the rotation in the lane off the roll & we all know how that ends). He’s simply one heck of a coach. Miller’s return as the prodigal son is as likely as Calipari’s (maybe less? Thanks SP, at least just bringing the script back already) & I submit that we should consider considering ourselves lucky to have him. He & his staff are clearly in the midst of some great work managing The 10 (& all of its moving pieces) – I sometimes daydream about seeing UNLV & Butler in March. h2p

Comment by ptbreezeb 02.05.13 @ 9:31 am

Adams improvement is verry verry promising. He doesn’t look as lost any more.. and really getting aggressive.

Comment by Snala The Panther 02.05.13 @ 9:41 am

I won’t miss playing Seton Hall. Good riddance.

In fact, hopefully goodbye to:
Seton Hall

Wouldn’t mind playing OOC:
St. Johns


Comment by pittbluegold 02.05.13 @ 10:03 am

This only dropped us from 6th to 8th in offensive efficiency so I’m not really too worried. Defensive efficiency even went up to 16th from I believe 22nd after the game.

Comment by Patric 02.05.13 @ 10:09 am

Adams was the brightest spot in the game last night. He was extremely tough with Teague and others last night without fouling. The game was very physical (horribly officiated) and Adams more than held his own. He welcomed the contact. Pitt loses last night without him. Taylor and Zanna got pushed around. Dante only played 8 minutes for a reason.

Adams: 31 minutes, 15 rebounds, 1 assist, 8 points, 4/5 FT’s, 2 blocks and 1 foul. That is a winning stat line for Pitt. His defense doesn’t show up in that stat line, but it was a big factor in the win. Seton Hall couldn’t get anything in the paint when he was on the floor.

His drop step/spin dunk was NBA like. If he adds that move to his game, look out! Cam Wright, the other bright spot, not only brought some energy and defense, but he was the one who actually fed Adams in the post. Woodall absolutely refuses to give Adams the ball in the same spot as where Wright fed him.

As all of you know, I not a huge fan of Woodall’s game (no defense, no left hand, and questionable decision making all make him too inconsistent), but now is the time for him to show some leadership. Adams is Pitt’s ticket to the sweet 16 and maybe beyond. Tray needs to show the rest of the team that he is confident in Adams by giving him the ball a few extra times.

He needs to put his feelings for Dante aside and do what’s best for the team. Feed the beast!

Comment by boubacar aw 02.05.13 @ 10:10 am

Agree whole heardly with Panther 94 cooment in earlier bog about Taylor’s playing time. Taylor has played with intensity. He earned time on he court. Two things we know about Taylor he isa tenacious rebounder and a good defender down low. Hisproblem has been finishing against bigger centers.He sould not have that proble against 4’s. The argument he cannot defense at the four is a assumption we really do not know plus he has Adams to cover his back as he hasdone for our guards when they continually get beat off the dribble.
Adams needs to be encouraged to play his game the jump shot. His offensive low post game is only rstricted by the fact that since he has not had any professional strength training he is not yet strong enough to bring the ball up from his waist to over his head while he is being hacked underneath. That will change next year but give him the green light to take the jumper his pts. per game will be double digits every game.

Comment by pittisit 02.05.13 @ 10:11 am

JJ Moore is so frustrating to watch. You want to see him explode to the rim and you he can but he just won’t do it. He the potential to be another Sam Young but he needs to realize it and play more aggressively.

Comment by Tony In Harrisburg 02.05.13 @ 10:11 am

I was concerned about this game coming off hte big win over Syracuse. Considering how badly Pitt shot, particularily in the 1st half, they were very fontunate to win. Ugly wins still go in the win column and there are no style points awarded in baskeball. I’m just glad they won the game.

Comment by Justinian 02.05.13 @ 10:14 am

and speaking of no one getting hurt…..

Fuquan, come on man…..

When he turned his ankle, he groaned, squeeled, screamed, cried and rolled around on the floor for 5 minutes, like he’d been shot. The priest on Seton Hall’s bench got up and walked on the floor, I thought he was coming out to give Edwin his last rights.

Well, there must have been a miracle on the bench, because two minutes later Fuquan is back in the game as if nothing happened. Seriously?

Comment by boubacar aw 02.05.13 @ 10:22 am

Boubacar, Yes, it was fishes and loaves type miracle! Actually when he turned his ankle, I breathed a sigh of relief. I know that’s not nice, but what can I say, I didn’t want to see the Panthers lose to Seton Hall under any circumstance.

Comment by Justinian 02.05.13 @ 10:28 am

Zanna disappointing again. His lack of finishing was horrendous — he looks like he’s still scarred from the Louisville game, flicking shots up with little regard for anything but not being blocked.

Comment by JW 02.05.13 @ 10:36 am

The halfcourt offense is so clunky when Woodall is out. If they are running a bit when he’s not in, it is alright. But if not, it can be tortuous watching. In the end, I think he is really the key player on the team. Not sure why he sat so much for stretches during that game but glad he was in late. The starting lineup is actually good at holding on to leads and playing smart. It’s the close games and the ones when we are down that Dixon is still trying to figure out who should be on the floor.

Comment by SilverPanther in NYC 02.05.13 @ 10:49 am

First of all, Seton Hall played tough inspired basketball. Having said that, I think last night was one of those times where our quick rotation of players hurt us. No flow, no feel, just run up and down the court and launch up shots.

Best part of the game….it’s over…we won.

Comment by Dan 72 02.05.13 @ 11:07 am

I don’t understand the 2 block stat for Adams.
On one of Seton Halls possessios he blocked two
shots consecutively and third one for which he
was called for a foul?
I know he had several blocks before this also!

Comment by classof 69 02.05.13 @ 11:13 am

Good to see Adams make a more concerted effort to finish on offense. He flashed this in the Cuse game too. I’ll take him getting hacked and missing free throws (or not) if it makes him more assertive in the paint. He’s a nightmare to defend deep and he’s been letting too many defenders off the hook by not challenging them.

Comment by Ghost of Hornman 02.05.13 @ 11:43 am

survive and advance, regular season style. god, that was like watching a #2 seed struggle to put away a #15 seed in March. horrible.

Comment by scott 02.05.13 @ 11:49 am

Smart coach that Mr. Willard. Gave up on the offensive boards to get back on defense, no easy fast breaks. Must be a coaches son.

Comment by alcofan 02.05.13 @ 11:57 am

Dan 72, good observation. I think it was less about Jamie substituting too much (although he admittedly needs to do a better job managing a 10 man rotation) and more about the other coach trying to keep the game close.

Willard substituted EVERY WHISTLE, sometimes two seperate subs. Buzz Williams at Marquette did it too. I am sure it is a conscious strategy to try to disrupt Pitt and control the tempo of the game.

As a fan, it is annoying. I am sure as a player it sucks too. But when you’re out-manned and need to shake things up, it can be useful. Pitt will need to deal with it better.

Comment by boubacar aw 02.05.13 @ 12:03 pm

Nearly all CBB teams will have a few games each season where they shoot under 40%. Most will lose when it happens. A credit to Pitt that they stuck to the gameplan and had very few defensive breakdowns. If not for Fuquan playing out of his head, we still shoot under 40%, and win by 15-20…again a testament to Pitt’s defense.

As an aside, what impressed me most about Fuquan was not his shooting but his steals.

Comment by DD 02.05.13 @ 12:06 pm

It pains me to see (a) clean-up hitters take bordeline pitches for a walk, (b) speedy RBs and WRs run out of bounds when no defender is close to them, and (c) tall centers trying to draw a charge against small, quicker guards as opposed to looking to disrupt the shot.

I believe (c) is the reason Sleepy was sat the bench for most of the 2nd half

Comment by wbb 02.05.13 @ 12:24 pm

@wbb – good points and…

(d) guards missing FTs.

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.05.13 @ 12:34 pm

From everyone’s comments it sounds like I was lucky that I don’t ESPNU on my cable subscription.
Glad we won though. Gets a lot tougher going forward.

Comment by Dr. Tom 02.05.13 @ 12:49 pm

Dr. Tom don’t listen to these guys. It was a hell of a defensive game. A NYC street brawl. The refs favored Seton Hall. It is the one thing about basketball I don’t like, subjective calls. They can add up to a loss more often than not. A very physical game. Players won’t get away with that play in the NCAA.

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 02.05.13 @ 1:26 pm

Robinson was sub par last night….several turnovers, no threat to score and movement was in clunks…
Put his brain in Tray’s body and you would have a great point guard
Trey scored when we needed it.
I love winning games like this. Pitt found a way to win: that is what winners do….they win….for those who want style points, I refer you to NCAA football…wher the color of your uniform is worth 5 spots in the polls.
In basketball, you really do have to score morepoints than the other team. The nerve of ’em!

Comment by sfpitt 02.05.13 @ 1:33 pm

Thanks Bobcour I was angry when some bloggers was saying Adams was soft. He may have lacked confidence in the beginnig which is still the only thing, as some strength work on the off season so he can power the ball from his waist up depite being held.
His offensive game compared to other top centers has a much higher ceiling.
I just wish he would use his best shot the 15 ft. jumper that would open up the inside for for cutters and help compensate for Pitt’s poor outsiding shooting game.

Observation on Pitt’s half court offense last night. Correct me if I am wrong but Seton Hall was playing man last night. Pitt players were stationary alnight. No player movement away from the ball with picks. Seton Hall could not match up with Pitt but since Pitt players did not move I could have guarded them.
Dixon must have been going crazy.

Comment by pittisit 02.05.13 @ 2:10 pm

Speaking of injuries, our opponents are being decimated.

The beauty of a ten man rotation is that nobody is playing tired and thus injury-prone.

Comment by steve1 02.05.13 @ 2:12 pm

Adams, Wright, Patterson, Woodall … these are the players that had some semblance of a good game (in that order). The rest went from nothing to write home about to bad

Comment by wbb 02.05.13 @ 2:20 pm

Moving forward, I think Woodall is going to have to be more assertive on offense, looking to penetrate a little more. His bad decision making at times aside, he’s this team’s leader. And, yes, he needs to get that ball into Adams, and Adams needs to return the favor by making quick decisions.

Although he failed to complete the moves, I was actually encouraged when Moore — two separate times — pump faked and looked to get to penetrate. Lost it one time and got it knocked away another, but at least the thought occurred to him! To me, that’s a huge step.

Zanna has become a head case and although I’m sure he’ll continue to rebound, not expecting much offensive output from him moving forward.

Patterson was better, but still hesitated a few times on what should have been catch and shoots. Durand Durand had a beautiful and cat-like quick catch and shoot that was actually fairly important.

Was a little disappointed that this was the first game I was actually able to make it to. Hopefully there’ll be another.

Comment by Carmen 02.05.13 @ 2:23 pm

bobcour i agree with your observations about Woodall. I am also not a fan. Last night he dribble twice off his foot for turnovers and his decision on the break are awful.
Considering Pitt’s lack of outtside shooting he needs court time because although he is inconsistent with his shot he is better then most of the others. Robinson has the stroke but short arms his shot because of lack of confidence (maybe next year)
Your point about Woodall going to Adams because as I argued from game one he is the man,, is not going to happen. Woodall follows in the footsteps of overrated Pitt guards like Fields and Krauser in their mental approach to the game.
It is their team and they are the man despite their other plays; Gray, Blair and Young, and now Adams.
This is one of my major complaints with Dixon he does not sit on these guys when they are out of control, to the contrary he seems to help inflate their already beyond their abilities ego

Comment by pittisit 02.05.13 @ 2:25 pm

Not sure what you are talking about. Fields and Krauser would be huge upgrades to this team. Woodall & Robinson would be sitting on the bench watching some good college point guards play.

Comment by rayhpgh 02.05.13 @ 2:58 pm

Thanks to Chas for the blog. You have provided many interesting insights taking alot of your personal time. Thank your family. Although we may not agree on who our coaches are and how they coach or of the quality of a particular player no one on this site, it is my guess, is not emotionally involved with Pitt sports.

The blog gives us the opportunity to express our feelings since most of us do not have a group of Pitt fans to gather with. We need to remember that each of us has an opinion and they may not agree with another blogger. We must never attack another Pitt fan we can say I have a different opinion but not that “so and so is an _ _ _ in their opinion.
Sorry about the preaching I really only intended to thank Chas for the blog

Comment by pittisit 02.05.13 @ 3:09 pm

Fields – YES
Krauser – HELL NO

Comment by Boubacar Aw 02.05.13 @ 3:17 pm

Krauser would definitely be an upgrade over Woodall. He was a great PG. He was asked to do a lot more than Woodall is asked to do. He also had a lot less talented team around him at the end (See Yuri starting a bunch of games). Krauser only averaged more assists, more points, more rebounds and more steals.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.05.13 @ 3:35 pm

Does anyone know why Patterson sat at 3 minutes into the game after he buried the 2 three pointers? At the point he went out, it lloked like it was going to be a blowout. He didn’t do much the rest of the game, however. Frustrating.

Comment by Crackbaldo 02.05.13 @ 3:54 pm

I believe that Dixon has a pre-planned rotations schedule for the 1st half which he adheres to unless someone picks up his 2nd foul.

In the 2nd half, he is more apt to go with the hot players

Comment by wbb 02.05.13 @ 4:01 pm

Last year at this time I hated to see Cam Wright come into a ballgame, he was terrible. He looked like a total waste of a scholarship. After Adams, I thought Wright was our second best player on the floor last night.

Comment by Wayne 02.05.13 @ 4:21 pm

Crackbaldo, it was a goofy move, I agree.

Comment by steve1 02.05.13 @ 4:39 pm

I think the next 3 games were underdogs. Time to overachieve.

Comment by alcofan 02.05.13 @ 4:45 pm

They’ll be at least a 6 point favorite against Notre Dame.

Comment by mrmiket 02.05.13 @ 5:04 pm

Not to take anything from Adams and Wright but Patterson was the man last night.

Patterson 4/9 2/3 2/3 12 10 1

My opinion

Comment by MariettaMike 02.05.13 @ 5:10 pm

Wright has become the best defensive guard we have and will hopefully become the stopper we need. It helps that is shots are now dropping with greater frequency.

Patterson is the total package, shooting passing, rebounding, driving to the hoop. The most consistent guy we have. MVP so far.

Really glad we have two ball handlers in Woodall and Robinson.

Even though we are not getting all we hope for from Zanna and Moore, they are contributing, Zanna with rebounds and Moore with timely scoring. Along with Adams they have the most upside, IMO.

We are a far cry from where we thought we would be after the first four Big East games.

Hopefully they keep the egos in check and play them one at a time. Jamie is earning his paycheck.

Comment by gc 02.05.13 @ 5:39 pm

Two and a half months of exposure has certainly made a huge difference in Steve Adams game. I still maintain he is severely hampered by a right thumb/wrist injury but his play has now progressed to the point that any more improvement will see him begin to dominate opponents.I see this team as a likely sweet 16 participant.I also think we can take a strong run at winning the Big East.This is a new scenario for us.Exceeding expectations is starting to look like this years teams legacy.Our best performances might well lie in the future for a welcome change from past late year disappointments.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.05.13 @ 6:06 pm

Adams amazingly agile for a 7 ft. guy and he can block shots, hedge and get back quickly. As his offensive game improves he will get better and better. I was pleased last night with his foul shooting. It seems as though he getting more comfortable at the free throw line. The quick dropstep and dunk last night was also nice to see.
Too bad about the technical.

Comment by Justinian 02.05.13 @ 6:24 pm

This team is going to keep getTing better. Adams will be a stud. No question hated the fact that jd subbed Patterson. The players need to be on the court to maintain rhythm. I think jd is a great coach, but his pre-determined rotation is very frustrating at times. Lastly, I am so disappointed with jj Moore. I thought he was gonna haVe a break out year, but I just am not impressed with his game at all. I knew he had ball handling issues, but his lack of aggression to the hoop has really surprised me.

Comment by 11steel43 02.05.13 @ 6:54 pm

Everyone seems so focused on offensive shortcomings, and we certainly have our flaws, however we our really starting to become a very hard team to score on.I am also excited by the possible long term benefits of playing 10 for 20 minutes.Could this help us keep from collapsing late in the season? Dixon might have found something here and I am not sure but hopeful someething great lies in front of us this year.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.05.13 @ 7:47 pm

There was a play in the 2nd half, later in the half, Woodall had the ball in a broken play environment. might have been off an offensive rebound, around 20 feet from the hoop and he could have either taken the 20 footer, driven a little bit and then pulled up for a 15 footer.

He decided to take it all the way to the hoop and just got swatted bigtime and they went the other way on a breakout and scored. I don’t know what he was thinking but he’s gotta realize he’s on 5-11.

There were just some horrendous shot selection decisions last night. Underneath the hoop the junk they were throwing up, was like a game of horse. Can you top this. Problem was, nobody would have given anyone else a letter, cause they were just bricking off the rim.

I only remember a few times anyone was actually squared up to shoot. And our bigs have a real tough time finishing around the hoop. I don’t think any of them like contact.

Where’s Ontario Lett & Chevy Troutman and of course DeJuan. Coach needs to find a tough guy for underneath in the PITT tradition !!!

Comment by EMel 02.05.13 @ 8:03 pm

That said we have won 5 of our last 6 BigEast games and that isn’t easy in this league.

Just don’t want them to get into bad habits of playing like they did last night and letting a team they should have blown out, hang around and hang around and actually start believing they could win.

That’s how you lose in the 2nd round of the NCAA’s.

Comment by EMel 02.05.13 @ 8:08 pm

If this team had that Edwin guy from SH, it would be dangerous. That guy can play.

Comment by EMel 02.05.13 @ 8:16 pm

Emel, for once I agree with you. Edwin was a beast last night.

Comment by Velvil 02.05.13 @ 8:22 pm

Emel, Around New Years it didn’t look like there was going to be any rounds in the NCAA this year.I think the Hall played some great D inside and we struggled but forced the game inside.To call our bigs soft off of last nights great second half board work seems too critical to me.This Saturdays game at Cincinatti really looks like a great test to see how far we have come and the team that wins the boards will likely prevail.I like our chances this time around.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.05.13 @ 8:23 pm

Emel, Edwin was sensational but he got tired and hurt because of our defensive intensity. We are already dangerous.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.05.13 @ 8:28 pm

My bad we’ve won 6 of our last 7 BigEast games.

Cudos to Kiwi Steve, thought he might have some problems with their 6-9 290 lb center, but he held him in check(way below his scoring avg) and got a career high 15 rebounds.

@Velvil,,,,,only once :-)


Only noting that Zanna & Sleepy have a real tough time finishing around the rim. Adams to an extent to, but alas he’s a true freshman, the other two have been in the program for 4 years.

And you are correct sir, we’re going to see how far they have or haven’t come, this Sat. @ 6pm against a very aggressive & physical UC team.


Comment by EMel 02.05.13 @ 8:30 pm

Emel, If we can bring the A game Saturday (big if)and win there it changes the the whole expectation picture.We would be a likely contender for a 4 seed.I still think it is possible for us to win the BE,do you? What do you think of the 10 player 20 minute scenario? Maybe Dixon has found something that will help our style of play be more succesful in the late season.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.05.13 @ 8:47 pm

If Adams stays next year..he will absoulutly dominate…and we’ll run thru the acc..h2p!!

Comment by Keith 02.05.13 @ 8:55 pm


Agree with more wins, expectations get higher as well. Just as at one time we were ecstatic to get an NCAA bid and now it’s expected.

To win the BigEast, hmmmmm, good question. Let’s see we’re 7-4 with 7 games left. Cuse and Quette both only have 2 losses. That doesn’t give us much margin for error does it. We’d almost have to win all 7 games left, as besides the two with 2 losses, there’s a bunch of teams with only 3 losses. Our last 4 games are quite doable, it’s the next 3, Cincy, Marquette and then two days later Notre Dame. The next two are on the road.
I think the Rutgers loss eliminated our chance of winning the BigEast, but hey 2nd or 3rd would give us a good NCAA seed. Provided we don’t flame out early in the BE Tourney.

As far as the 10 player 20 minute thing, I like it, provided we try to push the ball quicker up court to score before the enemy defense is set up.
Since we know this team is offensively challenged in the half court.
This team plays a lot better when getter some easy baskets in transition, uncontested ones.
With 10, use em and try to tire out the enemy team, but running at every chance.

Comment by EMel 02.05.13 @ 9:19 pm

Here’s a guy we’re on for Center, hopefully we get him.

link to

Comment by EMel 02.05.13 @ 9:22 pm

I think as many of you have alluded to but are hesitant to call Dixon on it since we have won 19 games. I think if we played 7 to 8 consistenly we may have beat Marguette and Cinncinati, and probably Rutgers.
Those of us who have played any sport know that if we are playing well having to sit will hurt our performance/Patterson last night if left in the game would probably been different.
Johnson is not better than any of the top 8 players and should not get any minutes unless major foul problems.
Rotating so many players breaks up any offensive and defensive continuity. It is really bullshit.
Playing your best 7 maybe 8 and substitue only for foul trouble, if someone is fatgued, or is playing out of control.
What is so novel about having 10 players score but no one scoring in double digits.
7 players with Adams/Robinson/Patterson playing most or entire game.

Comment by pittisit 02.05.13 @ 10:09 pm

I see Pitt ending up anywhere in the 3-5 area…..6th at the worst. I think 5th is a good bet.

Adams will be here next year….he loves school and his girlfriend Kayla Kiriau is being recruited by Pitt for BB.

link to

Comment by Jackagain 02.05.13 @ 10:35 pm

Latest Rivals football recruiting: Pitt up 31; PSU down to 42

Comment by TonyinHouston 02.05.13 @ 10:39 pm

pittisit, I respectfully disagree. Every player has contributed on this team. To bench Zanna and Moore is nonsense and Johnson has provided a spark and is instant offense. I don’t think Robinson is ready to play 30 minutes a game on a consistent basis. Every player has had their ups and downs. Jamie is doing an amazing job of maximizing the productivity of everyone.

So we could have three guys score in double figures, Syracuse did and lost.

Having 10 players with skills will be a real advantage if we go deep in either tournament.

I thought Jamie would shorten the bench as he has done in the past, but he has never had the quality bench he has now as evidenced by their productivity. Playing more players allows them to play suffocating defense, be fresh at the end of games, and run more which most of us want to see.

I do agree it is more challenging to manage with ten, to make sure you take advantage of the players with hot hands and particular matchup advantages.

I would agree if your first string was so superior, but obviously it isn’t when the bench can outscore them on any given night.

I can also counter your argument that we might have lost a couple more if we only played 7 and missed the hot hand of Zeigler, Johnson, Moore, or anyone else that you choose to bench.

Comment by gc 02.05.13 @ 10:56 pm

Looks like Boyd to Pitt to me…

“Clairton senior Tyler Boyd plans to sign a national letter of intent at 10 a.m. Wednesday in the school’s library, alongside teammates Terrish Webb and Titus Howard, he posted on Twitter Tuesday evening.”

link to

Comment by Jackagain 02.05.13 @ 11:03 pm

Still, not crazy about the mystery, I hope it’s not delusions of grandeur.

Comment by gc 02.06.13 @ 12:02 am

I think the 10 man rotation thing is getting a little too much attention. Between foul trouble, off nights, poor/not smart play, etc. we’ve had 1 guy play significantly less 10 minutes per game in 6 out the last 7 games. We’ve got 5 guys playing 24+ minutes and 3 or 4 other guys off the bench getting around 15 or minutes. What’s wrong with that? I suppose we can harp on the timing of the substitutions as being Pitt fans we have to have something to harp on.

More importantly, IMO, the reason we struggled so much last year and earlier this year is because we did not have experienced upperclassman running the team (aka being leaders) while the young guys learned the ropes and got beat down in practice. Hopefully with 8 LEGITIMATELY experienced guys returning next year, we will have the luxury to let the freshmen (true and RS) come along at their own pace pace and get back to the formula that had us winning close to 30 games a year.

Comment by cnorwoodaz 02.06.13 @ 1:33 am

I’m thinking 1 or 2 losses at most down the stretch.

The 10 man rotation is what they should be using. The depth is why Pitt is good this year. Pitt comes in waves and doesn’t stop. Cuse game is a perfect example. Cuse got no easy buckets and Pitt could make them pay cause they have fouls to use.

But for arguments sake if you went to an 8 man rotation that would mean the starters plus Moore and Taylor because both Zanna and Adams need their back ups and then who do you pick from Ziegler, Cam and Johnson? Each gives you something different, Ziegler with his driving, Cam with his D and Johnson with his shooting. And if you went to a 7 man rotation no way Ziegler makes that cut.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.06.13 @ 8:29 am

@pittisit — Seton Hall played exclusively zone defense, but they mixed it up and matched up out of it. That is why Pitt may have seemed more stationary to you. Their aggressiveness and length gave Pitt fits at times, partly due to them and partly due to sloppiness on Pitt’s part.

Comment by JW 02.06.13 @ 8:48 am

gc I agree with your point on defense/overlooked fatigue can play a part in defense. It is a traded off between fresh legs and consistentcy. Often Pitt, becuase of too many combinations has been exploited on Defense by not knowing assignments (Louisville)
I think fatigue is overated when talking about college age atheletes. Johson is a terrible defender in his mechanics and understanding of were to be on the court.
Pitt has 3 defensive liabilities in my opinion regardless of minutes played Johson, Moore, Woodal
They do have a game changing defender- Adams and the others work hard and usually match up well.
Overall all 10 of the players play hard on defense but playing hard is not playing smart, .e., Johson, Moore, and Woodall

Comment by pittisit 02.06.13 @ 9:42 am

Patterson and Woodall are defensive liabilities, Clearly the two worst defenders on the team both in terms of effort and Capability. Both give good effort sometimes, but not all the time.

Patterson and Woodall are leading the team in minutes played.

Dixon has preached for 10 years that defense comes first and the best defenders play.

Would love to hear him reconcile the obvious inconsistency.

Last year Gibbs lead the team in minutes.

Comment by Boubacar Aw 02.06.13 @ 10:45 am

Boubacar, you are right about Patterson and Woodall being the two worst defenders on the team. Their D isn’t so bad that you would actually sit them because of it. Plus, I think their offense makes up for their D.

I think Dixon plays who he think is the best players and a player’s D weighs heavily into that evaluation. However, sometimes a player is going to be good enough offensively that he has to play, which is why Gibbs lead the team in minutes. Also with Gibbs there was literally no one else to play. A walk-on was his back up at one point.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.06.13 @ 11:16 am

I think 10 playing is good for fresh legs in a game but I am intrigued by the possibility that it could make a difference over the wear and tear of a season.I can imagine it making a big difference at the BE tournament as an example.Conceptually that edge could be a difference maker and I am anxious to see it play out.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.06.13 @ 11:21 am

Nice article in the Post about the defensive prowess of this team. No doubt rebounding and defense have turned the season around.

You still have to score more than the opposition, that is why there is always time for guys like Johnson, who will get better on D, Moore and Gibbs.

Woodall and Patterson have to play because we can’t win without them. Boubacar, they are the proverbial exception to the rule.

Comment by gc 02.06.13 @ 11:22 am

I understand why Woodall and Patterson are leading the team in minutes.


They are the best shooters on the team. The three has become too big a part of winning in college basketball. Have shooters to open up the floor is huge. Having guys who can knock down the three makes life easier on everyone else.

Shooting (3pters) is disproportionately more important to winning than the marginal improvement in defense that the better defender (Wright or Zeigler) would provide. That’s why those two play more.

Trust me, I understand, so does Jamie. And so do the players. Which is why the defense first rhetoric bugs me.

Comment by boubacar aw 02.06.13 @ 1:19 pm

I tend to think that the 10 man rotation won’t have much effect on the team’s stamina down the stretch of the regular season. Rather it will only have game to game impact — but that will be relevent come tourny time.

I mean, whether they are playing in a game or not they are going to be running and practicing at the same rate. College athletes aren’t going to burn out as the season goes on unless the bench is atypically short (like a 7 man rotation) where one or two players play 35+ minutes a game in which case only those two players may lose their stamina.

But for tournaments, when there is one game after another, it may help. If all that makes any sense?

Boubacar — i think you (and whoever else made the point) are only partially right. 3pts do have a disproportionate impact (obviously 3 to 2) but I very much doubt 3pt shooting is more important than rebounding. They’re probably pretty close, but if i have to choose, i choose rebounding (as does Dixon i think, not just from his rhetoric but how he distributes minute).

Controlling the boards is like controlling the line in football — you control the pace of the game, the number of possessions and time of possession. You also give yourself an additional possession, which depending on your offensive efficiency, gives you basically an additional point every time down the court on average.

Comment by PantherP 02.06.13 @ 1:53 pm

@Boubacar, I thought you might have meant that but I wasn’t sure. I guess I should have asked first. The defense first rhetoric bugs me too. He talks about defense all the time. But when the team loses a lot of the time it is because they had trouble scoring. Defense doesn’t matter if you can’t score.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.06.13 @ 5:58 pm

Don’t listen to what coaches say, watch what they do.

Q: Who is the best rebounding guard on the team?
A: Trey Zeigler, and it isn’t close.

Zeigler is getting significantly fewer minutes than Woodall, who is a much better 3pt shooter.

Zeigler is also a better driver and defender. He’s arguably a better play maker, passer.

Obviously, playing time is determined by many factors not just one. All I’m saying is that being able to knock down three’s is a very important factor and much more important than Dixon will admit publically. Just look at the facts.

Comment by boubacar aw 02.07.13 @ 9:50 am

Just heard on 93.7, Zanna hurt his ankle.
Although I am not high on him right now, if he cannot play @ Cincy…

Comment by xfmrman 02.07.13 @ 6:22 pm

If Zanna is out, Moore will score 20 on Cinci. Kadeem Batts from PC lit them up. Athletic PF’s get opportunities against Cinci. Plus Moore will know he’s not getting yanked, so he’ll have a license to jack up shots.

How’s that for glass half full?

Comment by Boubacar Aw 02.08.13 @ 8:54 am

Boubcar we think alike on many issues – the negative impact on players playing tigh when they know their minutes are predetermined by performance or just sometimes idotic rotation (pattersons 2, 3’s against Seton Hall earned him a seat on the bench from which if never recovered his strike).
Adams must play a least 30 minutes of each game unless in foul trouble. His mere prescence in the lane takes at least 10 points a game from the other team. With him out teams make runs my attacking thebasket as they did last year.
However Taylor is playing with fire and needs time on the court shareed with Moore t the 4. Based on the circumstnces big or sll at 4.

Comment by pittisit 02.08.13 @ 11:07 am

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