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February 15, 2013

Link Through, 2/15

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:10 am

No coherent theme to the stories in my tabs so it’s a good time for linking and letting them go.

If it helps in the Steven Adams’ future debate, Seth Davis from wants him to stay.

It’s nice to see Pittsburgh freshman center Steven Adams getting more comfortable, but I really think he would do himself a disservice if he went to the NBA. What’s the hurry, young fella? Get stronger, work on your game, come back to school, and go to the league when you’re ready to have an impact.

Coach Dixon attributes the drop in scoring in no small part to the zone and 3s.

Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon made a great point Thursday about low scoring in college basketball. Dixon said that teams attempting more 3-pointers has led to more zone defenses and using up more of the shot clock. Of course, he added that teams are defending better and more fouls aren’t being called. There are a lot of theories out there about low scoring, but perhaps the most important might be the lack of some fundamental shooting.

It’s purely anecdotal and perhaps perception, but it does seem that a lot more teams are utilizing zone defenses this season. They aren’t necessarily sticking with it exclusively, but they are shifting to it for stretches. Trying to keep teams off-balance.

Heck, even Coach Dixon uses it for chunks of the game without gritting his teeth.

“I think now at this point we go into a game thinking we’re going to use the zone,” Dixon said. “I don’t think that has been the case in year’s past, but the game has changed and we’ve changed. We think it is a nice change of pace.”

On Saturday, the Panthers executed a 2-3 zone look to perfection, holding Cincinnati without a field goal in the final nine minutes of the game. That lead to a 62-52 victory on the road, Pitt’s seventh in eight games.

“We work on it everyday so of course it is going to get better,” said wing Trey Zeigler. “We’ve been working on it everyday, and we’re just getting used to it. At first we weren’t sure about rotations, but I think we’re starting to figure out how to play the 2-3 and be effective.”

Incoming Pitt freshman Josh Newkirk is going to need a DVD player in his locker.

The Superstition: Watching the Telfair Documentary

The Breakdown: “Before every game I have to watch (Phoenix Suns guard) Sebastian Telfair’s documentary “Through the Fire.” I just sit back and watch the whole thing and watch what he went through and think about what I need to do.”

The Why: “It just gets me fired up. He was such a beast in high school and it gets me ready to go out there and do what I have to do. It just does something to me mentally. I’m ready to go when I watch that.”

Hey, any story that ends with Rick Pitino not getting his way is a good one.

Jamie Dixon shouting at the team to practice hard with that complete self-awareness of having a mic and camera on him.

If you’ve watched any Pac-12 games on ESPN this year, you know that Bill Walton is doing color analysis. He remains highly entertaining to me, but the one area of discomfort is his absolute abhorrence of Ben Howland. Which reached an apex last week.

Not that I like the color guys that kiss coaches asses, but Walton just completely hates Howland and the style of play. At points openly saying if he was in charge at UCLA he would get a different coach. Most chalk it up to Walton still worshiping at the alter of Wooden, and all others at UCLA are pretenders to the throne.

Question for the bloggers: when can Pitt coaches begin contact/communication with the players currently on the roster? Do they have to wait to the offical start of spring camp or can they meet, text, etc. now? I’m not part of the crowd panicking for the DC to be hired (anxious and excited – yes), as I feel HCPC has things under control. One of the downsides to not naming the DC already would be if the DC could be communicating with the current players right now. Does anyone know how this works?

Comment by JAM05PITT 02.15.13 @ 8:55 am

Wooden could and did cheat in recruiting. Howland won’t.
Perhaps if Walton were as candid in his revelations as he is in criticizing Howland I would take him more seriously.

Comment by sfpitt 02.15.13 @ 9:33 am

JAMOSPITT, why would there be restiction for communication cyrrent players? Not sure that I follow.

Chas, I also find Walton to be entertaining but don’t take much of what he is saying too seriously … unless he is talking about the Grateful Dead

Comment by wbb 02.15.13 @ 9:46 am

@Chas – thanks for the Dixon clip. Loved the intensity and the buzzer beater practice at the end.

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.15.13 @ 9:58 am

wbb – there may not be restrictions, I have no idea. What I was getting at is although practices don’t begin until somewhere around March 5th, can the coaches have team meetings, film sessions, etc. right now?

Comment by JAM 05 Pitt 02.15.13 @ 10:10 am

Wooden was a genius, he had Walton and Alcindor, two of the top five centers of all time. Probably the top two in college. And before the three point shot.

Comment by gc 02.15.13 @ 10:19 am

Chryst was scheduled to speak at a coaches clinic held by both the NFL and NCAA. Not sure if it happened already or not. The clinic is for up and coming coaches and former players wanting to get into coaching. Mostly it is all about networking between pro and college coaches. I thought it was impressive that he was chosen to speak. It may lead to some candidates for a DC.

Comment by notrocketscience 02.15.13 @ 10:29 am

Take it easy on the DC talk, at least keep it to football related posts.

Comment by PantherP 02.15.13 @ 10:31 am

Really PantherP? This is a forum about Pitt sports. How much does it hurt you to see a comment about Pitt football?

Comment by panther94 02.15.13 @ 10:42 am

NEWS FLASH…………Seth Davis said something I actually agree with! He commented that Steve Adams would do himself a disservice if he jummped to the pros. That he should stay in school, get stronger and develop his game first.

PS Panther94…….I’m ok with football talk. As long as it about Pitt and NOT Penn State, West Virginia, or Notre Dame.

Comment by Justinian 02.15.13 @ 11:08 am

Eh, not making a big deal about it panter94.

Maybe i’m just OCD and prefer that football comments go w football posts, basketball w basketball.

Its also that I’m in the minority (maybe the only member of this minority) of pitt fans who are basketball-centric as opposed to football-centric and am fatigued by football talk considering its prevelance in this city as well as its dominance of college sports. Whatever.

Comment by PantherP 02.15.13 @ 11:12 am

Beat Marquette.HTP

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.15.13 @ 11:12 am

to be clear — i am a football fan generally and specifically of Pitt football. Just basketball first for me

Comment by PantherP 02.15.13 @ 11:28 am

I am like panther P am a fan of both,however over the many years I have lost all hope of ever winning a national championship in football again but still hold to the dream of winning one in hoops. Please just one Lord before you take me home.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.15.13 @ 11:38 am

Latest Lunardi bracket – Pitt is a 5 seed in KC playing the winner of Virginia/Indiana State for the right to play the winner of Ohio State/Akron. Region is LA with Florida (1 seed), Gonzaga (2), Arizona (3 – hi Seth) and Ohio State (4). He still has 7 BE teams with ND being the other one in this bracket.

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.15.13 @ 11:58 am

Myron Medcalf’s weekend prediction on (and, for the record, I am a little queasy about the fact that the game is on CBS):

Pitt at Marquette, 1 p.m. ET, CBS: Most teams in the Top 25 have suffered on the road, especially in conference play. Just when you think you have a team figured out, they take an L against a mid-level adversary. That’s what makes the Top 25 so confusing. Pitt, however, is 4-1 in its past five Big East road games. The Panthers (seventh in adjusted offensive efficiency, ninth in defensive efficiency per Ken Pomeroy) have found a rhythm in hostile venues. So, what will happen in Milwaukee? With Marquette, you never know. It won the first matchup in overtime after shooting 48 percent from the field. And the Golden Eagles haven’t lost a Big East game at home this season (6-0). But they are facing a different Panthers squad this time. Jamie Dixon’s crew is more equipped to limit Marquette’s offense, especially since the Golden Eagles are such a poor 3-point shooting team (27.2 percent, 14th in the Big East). And Steven Adams is more comfortable as an offensive contributor. But you can’t deny the magic Buzz Williams has had in Milwaukee.

Prediction: Marquette 72, Pitt 70

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.15.13 @ 12:00 pm

I just received my ticket renewal….$303 per seat for my section including required donation WTF! That means I need to cough up in excess of $1200 for tickets and another $100 for a parking pass $1300 to see Pitt at Heinz field…I think I’m going to re-evaluate my support of Pitt.

Comment by Marco 02.15.13 @ 12:01 pm

Marco,The schedule will having you seeing much better games though.I think you might be wise to hang in.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.15.13 @ 12:06 pm

Marco. Good, I will buy your seats when you cancel. I am calling Pitt on May 1 to trade up for better seats. Great home schedule this year if you haven’t noticed.

Comment by rayhpgh 02.15.13 @ 12:12 pm

The Dixoncocphants will get riled up, but what difference does our seed make? Is this the year Pitt overachieves in the NCAA Tournament? How about playing up to expectations? What are the odds?

Comment by TonyinHouston 02.15.13 @ 12:49 pm

gc, FWIW Wooden won titles in 65, 70 and 75 without a big time center.

He did have the likes of Walt Hazzard, Signey Wicks, Curtis Rowe and Andre McCarter …. interestingly enough, both Hazzard and McCarter were from Philly (and Alcindor was from NYC)

Comment by wbb 02.15.13 @ 12:54 pm

Interesting stat: Pitt’s RPI is #28, but our non-conference RPI is #5.

That means that if we keep winning conference games, there is plenty of room to improve overall RPI. Thus, the weak non-con might actually be a boon to Pitt’s resume come Selection Sunday.

Comment by Four One Two 02.15.13 @ 1:13 pm

@tonyinhouston – I actually made the point a few weeks ago that Pitt might be better off with a low seed playing against higher seeded and, supposedly, tougher competition since we seem to play to the level of our competition.

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.15.13 @ 1:23 pm

wbb, no doubt he was a great coach, maybe the greatest, but he had the players. Don’t forget Gail Goodrich who played with Hazzard, Dave Greenwood, who was the second overall pick after Magic Johnson, Henry Bibby, Richard Washington, Keith Wilkes and Marques Johnson.

The only team I remember with that level of talent was Phi Slamma Jamma, with Olajawon and Drexler, maybe if Wooden coached them they would have beat Georgetown.

Comment by gc 02.15.13 @ 1:33 pm

Jerry Palm (CBS) now has Pitt up to a #4 seed in his bracket.

link to

Comment by xfmrman 02.15.13 @ 1:35 pm

gc, I believe they were beaten by NC State, although the Hoyas may also have beaten them the next year … can’t remember

Comment by wbb 02.15.13 @ 1:36 pm

The only team with any consistency any more is Miami, and would expect them to lose upcoming road games. Was shocked to see Florida and Mich get shellacked this past week.

Comment by wbb 02.15.13 @ 1:39 pm

Palm had Pitt below Lunardi’s (ESPN) seedings up until this week.
Palm must see what we see (an ever improving team that is playing well). Lunardi is not yet convinced.
Both have Georgetown as #4 seeds. How can Lunardi have them ahead of the Panthers?

Comment by xfmrman 02.15.13 @ 1:42 pm

Wbb, NC State in 83, Georgetown in 84. Guy Lewis, the opposite of Wooden, also lost with Elvin Hayes to Wooden, I think.

Comment by gc 02.15.13 @ 1:43 pm

Great to see Miami Beat NC and Duke in the same season, hardly ever done, Maryland did it last.

It looks like they have a real coach, going to make the ACC even tougher. Can’t wait. First things first, continue our run in the Big East.

Although we have Woodall and an improving Adams. Marquette will play us tough, they always do.

I hope the kids aren’t reading their own press clippings. We don’t need a letdown.

Comment by gc 02.15.13 @ 1:53 pm

Elvin Hayes scored 37 at the Astrodome in the 1st big college BB extravangza back in circa ’68 handing Alcindor one the few losses he had abosrbed at UCLA .. but he got his revenge when UCLA beat UH by double digits in the NCAAs although I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the finals.

Comment by wbb 02.15.13 @ 1:59 pm

@ Marco, remember that there are SEVEN home games this season. This is also the best quality of opponents on our schedule that I can remember for a very long time.

So go spend your money and enjoy the fact that at least you CAN buy season tickets without having to sell your first born child into slavery to do so. I’m sure that other successful football powerhouses charge tons more money for their season tickets than Pitt and are, most likely, very hard for first time buyers to come by too.

Just think of how lucky you’ll feel in a couple years, when Coach Chryst has us winning the ACC and we’re competing for the National Champioonship, to have those seats!

Hey, I can dream, can’t I???

Comment by Dr. Tom 02.15.13 @ 2:09 pm

to Buzz William’s credit, Marquette has maintained a pretty high standard since Crean left. They certainly deserve their ranking, and wouldn’t necessarily think it will be a big step backwards should Pitt lose tomorrow

Comment by wbb 02.15.13 @ 2:10 pm

xfmrman – Lunardi seems to rely more on RPI (which mirrors the actual selection committee), and Georgetown is currently ahead of Pitt (#20/#31). I hate to admit it, but in terms of projecting seeding, I think there is a good chance Pitt gets underseeded this year. Their RPI is not likely to catch up to their efficiency ratings (Pomeroy has them at #4), and the committee has a history of punishing teams for weak out of conference schedules. If that happens, they could be the team that higher seeds moan about having to face.

Comment by Pantherman13 02.15.13 @ 2:11 pm

I, for one, would love to see the Panthers remain under-seeded. Maybe get the “post-season under-achiever” tag off our backs a bit.

Heck, I dont want us to loose to Marquette either, but part of me wants us to loose to throw everyone off our scent. Dont think there is much to lose up there if we’re beat.

Comment by PantherP 02.15.13 @ 2:23 pm

….and the field is wide open enough that I do not think that seeding is going to be as important as it has been in the past, so lower seeding wont hurt our chances as bad as it.

Comment by PantherP 02.15.13 @ 2:24 pm

We have one more player able to go than we had the past Marquette game:

Tray Woodall

Comment by steve1 02.15.13 @ 2:25 pm

Zanna took the last Marquette game of too,only he was on the court when he did it.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.15.13 @ 2:42 pm


Comment by spiritofsection22 02.15.13 @ 2:42 pm

I feel like I’ve enjoyed the 4/5 seed tourney trips much more, even though all have ended in a similar fashion. That first game or two is awesome, and then there’s a genuine sense of accomplishment if reaching the Sweet 16. And then the heartbreak of the impending loss lasts only a day or two.

As a 1 seed, I dread every game, fearing a historic 1st round upset (2009) or loss to a spunky, flop-happy upstart (2011).

Although after last season I’d be happy just to sneak in as an 11…

Comment by JW 02.15.13 @ 3:10 pm

Pantherman13 & PantherP:
If Pitt wins-out and shares the BE reg season title with an appearance in the BET final, then underseeding will not be a worry.
If Pitt finishes 3rd/4th with less than 2 wins in MSG, then they will be the team that the higher seeds will dread facing.
Where we stand today it just seems odd that Pitt is not being recognized.
Even Dana O’Neil (ESPN) has Pitt #4 in BE Power Ranking. Behind Georgetown, Louisville and Syracuse.

On another note…
I do hope that the season ends with Pitt and Syracuse at the top and a tourny title. Then off to ACC.

Comment by xfmrman 02.15.13 @ 3:16 pm

I think someone is baking brownies somewhere in the building!!

Comment by Dan 02.15.13 @ 4:01 pm

If Sagarin is correct and Pitt is really the #7 team then anything higher than a #2 seed would have Pitt under-seeded. So, I think we can certainly expect to be under-seeded in respect to the Sagarin rating unless we don’t lose again the rest of the way through the BE tourney.

Comment by pitt1972 02.15.13 @ 4:07 pm

Big East tourney win OR elite 8?

I would take the BE title. The final Big East championship banner hanging forever in the Pete would be sweet.

Comment by Boubacar Aw 02.15.13 @ 4:21 pm

We’re also in the top 10 of both offensive and defensive efficiency in KenPom. I only have a very basic understanding of what those stats mean, but i think we’ve all heard before that one of the defining characteristics of all Nat’l champions and final four participants is that they are top 10 in those stats.

xfmrman, pantherman – i think our seeding will inevitably be a bit too low, at least as a representation of where the team is today. The reason being that we had so weak a OOC schedule and stumbled early in the BE. That throws off the stats machines (which value entire seasons and dont very clearly account for momentum and how a team improves) and kept us under the radar. And this is totally fine and good for me. I’m curious though what the national perception of this team is which, plays into regular season rankings and indirectly into RPI & BPI and etc stat-based ranking. And worse the ‘eye test’ that the sports media, coaches and even (to a lesser extent) selection committee applies.

I wont mind to see us lower seeded than we deserve because i think it may serve to lessen the pressure the team and Dixon have been under the last few trips to the Tourny. The field isn’t challenging enough this year for seeding to be too important. As we’ve seen in past years, its more about match-ups anyway.

Comment by PantherP 02.15.13 @ 4:33 pm

Boubacar — maybe the elite 8 wouldn’t be enough. But i’d give my right pinky to loose the first BE Tourny game yet make it to the final four.

Comment by PantherP 02.15.13 @ 4:35 pm

The scoring is down because of two things imo:

1) Teams are doing what I would do if I was was HC.
Play zone more and force more outside shooting.

2) Getting proficient at outside shooting takes many many many hours of practice (see Larry Bird) and it’s almost akin to practicing Free Throw shooting.
Most kids find that too boring to practice the necessary hours it takes to become proficient at both. Even more so with 20-25 footers. They want to practice beating you off the dribble and showing you up and talking sh*t after they do it.

NBA shooting is way down as well and has been, as very few teams even approach shooting 50% in the NBA. Same problem. Basic lack of shooting fundamentals and having “one and done’s ” entering the NBA doesn’t help matters either.

The NBA’s product is horrible anymore, regardless of the hype you hear on whatever Network is promoting them. College basketball is getting worse as well. As the feeder system (high school basketball) is not teaching basic fundamental basketball, of course there are a few exceptions.

But in Pittsburgh one has to only look at the condition of Pittsburgh’s City League, which use to put out lots of D1 caliber players. Not so much anymore because the coaching is not there, therefore the basic fundamentals aren’t being taught and the quality of play has suffered greatly.

And that goes right up the ladder from high school to college to the NBA.

Comment by EMel 02.15.13 @ 4:43 pm

Need some proof.

This from USA Today;

“Get used to horrific halftime scores, like Miami 19, Maryland 14.

Scoring is down across all of Division-I men’s college basketball; teams could score fewer points than any season since 1952, said Ken Pomeroy, a college basketball statistician who runs”

Just this week, TCU scored 11 in one half,
Bradley scored 18, Illinois-Chicago scored 16 and James Madison score 12.

Last week Clemson scored 10 points in a half and who can forget Northern Illinois scoring a whopping 4 points earlier in the season.

So there is indeed a lot of “Ugly” basketball going on out there.

Comment by EMel 02.15.13 @ 5:02 pm

Penn state has officially filled the lone hole on there coaching staff with the hireing of anthony midget
north carolina has hired ron west as a defensive

iowa adds two assistants to repartures from there football staff.

and us no DC .

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.15.13 @ 5:15 pm

SHOULD READ replace departureas from there football staff,

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.15.13 @ 5:25 pm

Speaking of low scoring games trend.

Living in the middle of ACC country, I probably follow that league more than most people on here.

Really have noticed that their average games scores in basketball have come way down. It’s almost as if they’re at PITT levels, no kidding.

As if they’re getting prepared for more low scoring games with PITT, Syracuse & Louisville coming into the league next year. Well Pitt & Cuse at least.

Virginia hiring former Washington State coach Tony Bennett(son of former Wisconsin Coach Dick Bennett) has brought his low scoring defensive mentality with him into the league and that has certainly had an effect on things as the Cavaliers are currently in 3rd place in the ACC at 8-3 after making the NCAA’s for the first time in 5 years last year.

So that is very interesting that Bennett’s style of coaching is succeeding in the ACC with Virginia. So I would have to think Dixon’s will as well.

Beat Marquette !

Comment by EMel 02.15.13 @ 5:37 pm

Marquette will be a great test for our D.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.15.13 @ 5:41 pm

And now they are talking about shortening the shot clock to 24 or 30 seconds.
That only treats the symtom.
I would just expect defensive rebound stats to increase.
And scoring may well drop further.

I think of the game as a chess match. I love watching ball movement, patience to force a breakdown and get an open shot (no matter how long it takes).
High scoring not necessarily a result of good basketball. At times it could be the opposite.

Comment by xfmrman 02.15.13 @ 5:43 pm


Comment by xfmrman 02.15.13 @ 5:44 pm

I just hope that lower seeding does not sent them to KC, Austin (sorry TXPanther), SLC or San Jose in the West or South Bracket.

Comment by xfmrman 02.15.13 @ 6:00 pm


As I posted above college scoring is at it’s lowest since the 1952 season.

Up until the 1985 season in college basketball, THERE WAS NO SHOT CLOCK. Yet they scored at a higher average than this season. And in the years between 1985 & 1952.

The players might be better athletes, but they are worse players and certainly worse shooters.

haha if you love a chess match, it was a real chess match without the shot clock. How about the 4 corners of UNC. Or I remember teams that had one great player would have the other 4 players stand together on the farthest extreme of the court near the sideline, while that one player would go on “one on one” against that opposing player.

This low scoring nowadays is a direct reflection of the overall poor shooting and terrible technique of the average player today. Teams struggle to shoot 40% these days and that’s with point blank dunks. lol

Comment by EMel 02.15.13 @ 6:14 pm

oh btw the dunk in college basketball was

illegal from 1968 to 1976.

Can you imagine how much lower shooting %’s would be today if that was the case today. As is the case with PITT, these teams can’t make layups, it’s just incredible.

Comment by EMel 02.15.13 @ 6:20 pm

Marquette is only shooting 27% from 3.

And they are due for a loss in the BigEast at home being 6-0 at home in conf. play.

Big key as always keeping Kiwi Steve on the court, clogging and intimidating in the middle of the paint. Since Marquette is only shooting 27% from 3, I would play lots of zone.

Let’s Go PITT !!

Comment by EMel 02.15.13 @ 6:22 pm

I agree with Dixon on the poor shooting. For Division I Basketball, it is unbelievable how some of these kids were recruited with having such horrible shooting skills. a lot of the best players, supposedly, in the country can’t even make a free throw.

Comment by Rcch87 02.15.13 @ 6:57 pm


I was agreeing with you. Just adding that some think that the best way to increase scoring is to merely shoot more. Shortening the shot clock will most definitely lead to more missed shots. Not necessarily more scoring. And not better basketball.

I didn’t want to show my age. But I remember no shot clock. 😉

Comment by xfmrman 02.15.13 @ 7:28 pm

In terms of Pitt climbing the Big East standings, do we root for Cinci or GTown tonight?

Comment by MikePITT 02.15.13 @ 9:04 pm

CBS Sports reporting that Ray Graham ran a 4.5 40-yard dash at the combine? What the hell? Did the trip and fall half way through?
link to

Comment by MikePITT 02.15.13 @ 9:13 pm

I’d take a final 4 before the BE championship; however, I’d take the BE championship before an elite 8.

Comment by panther94 02.15.13 @ 10:21 pm

forgot to say…one game at a time. Let’s get some payback against Marquette.

Comment by panther94 02.15.13 @ 10:23 pm

Cinci, but they’re losing.

Comment by panther94 02.15.13 @ 10:36 pm

I know it wasn’t Pitt playing but there was no way Cincy was going to win going 17 for 30 from the line.

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.15.13 @ 11:15 pm

Gotta win to keep pace tomorrow. Let’s go Pitt.

Comment by gc 02.15.13 @ 11:24 pm

Win we are in third place lose as low as seventh.

Big game.

Comment by gc 02.15.13 @ 11:28 pm

@EMEL, plus UVA can get a stirring rendition of “I left my Heart” at halftime!!!!

Comment by Dan 02.16.13 @ 11:14 am

Pitt will always be accused of beng overseeded until they go to the Final Four.

Comment by Caw Miller 02.16.13 @ 8:42 pm

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