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March 19, 2013

Shocker Preparation

Filed under: Basketball,NCAA Tourney,Opponent(s) — Chas @ 1:18 pm

You know those coincidental illnesses that fell many of us right around the start of the NCAA Tournament? Yeah, I actually did get sick and it timed out horribly. It’s not a deathly illness. It’s a sinus infection that I tend to get around this time of year. If that was it, it would be annoying but tolerable as the antibiotics kick it out. It’s the sleep deprivation from continually waking up from the coughing and continual drainage issues. Just been trying to get through work.

This is by no means a gimme first round game. Not simply because this is an 8-9 match-up. Personally, I think Pitt is seeded a bit low and WSU a bit high. But a 6-11/7-10 meeting is not exactly an uncommon upset. And superficially, some similarities on the resume.

Pitt went 4-7 against RPI teams in the top 50 and 5-0 against teams ranked 51-100. Its best wins came at second-seeded Georgetown (73-45) and against fourth-seeded Syracuse (65-55).

WSU, No. 37 in the RPI, went 3-2 against the top 50 and 5-3 against teams ranked 51-100.

The teams played three common opponents, all victories. Pitt defeated Howard (70-46), Detroit (74-61) and DePaul (93-55 and 81-66). WSU defeated Howard (69-50), Detroit (94-79) and DePaul (75-62).

The Shockers best wins came at VCU (53-51) and versus Creighton (67-64) who they also lost to twice.

This year’s Wichita team is somewhat reminiscent in their story line as the 2009 Pitt teams. They had a strong, veteran team the year before. Had a great year, but found disappointment in the NCAA Tournament. This was supposed to be their rebuilding year, plus had to deal with injuries in the season. Still, they kept scraping out wins, exceeded expectations and made the NCAA Tournament.

Replacing five starters was the least of Marshall’s worries. Three of the five new starters went down with injuries at various points in the season. One of them, Evan Wessel, the top 3-point shooter when he was injured, is out for the season with a broken finger. Two others missed significant portions of the season with other injuries.

Starter Carl Hall, the top rebounder and second-leading scorer, missed seven games with a broken thumb. Ron Baker, a 6-3 freshman guard, missed 21 games with a stress fracture in his foot but returned for the Missouri Valley Conference tournament and scored 29 points in three games.

“We kept finding ways to win,” Marshall said. “We kept finding new guys. Our 11th man would become our eighth man. Finding ways to win is very gratifying for a coach.”

Both teams stress rebounding, defense and offensive efficiency. The punditry from the national to the local are expecting a grinder game.

The Shockers did not draw a patsy, or a pansy, when it comes to the Panthers. WSU, the No. 9 seed in the West Regional, and eighth-seeded Pitt are a lot of like.

Both teams stress defense. Pitt has held its opponents to 55.4 points. To score against the Panthers, you almost need to ask permission.

The Shockers have one of their best defensive teams and have held foes to 60.7 points.

Pittsburgh’s field-goal percentage defense (39.3 percent) ranks 32nd in the country. WSU is 49th, limiting opponents to 40-percent shooting.

First to 50 points wins?

It’s as if WSU coach Gregg Marshall and Pitt head man Jamie Dixon are the same guy. I don’t believe, however, that they are, despite evidence that would indicate it’s a possibility.

Marshall loves a deep bench. So does Dixon. They would slip a band member into the game if they thought it would help the team.

As for the differences. Overall, Pitt shoots the ball better from inside and out, but Wichita shots free throws better. None of the numbers though, are especially glaring separation.

—————- Shockers ——- Panthers

FG% ———— 44.3% ——– 47.5%

3FG% ———- 33.7% ——— 36.0%

2FG% ———  50.1% ———- 51.6%

eFG% ———- 50.2% ———- 52.2%

FT% ———- 68.8% ———– 66.4%

RPG ———— 38 —————- 35

APG ———— 14 —————– 17

TO/G ———– 13 —————- 11

The biggest difference is with regards to the assists to turnovers. Really that’s about it. Pitt takes a little better care of the ball and distributes a bit more.

That’s just the average stuff. The difference, offensively is where they get their production. The Shockers leading scorers are in their front court. A pair of 6-8 forwards in Cleanthony Early and Carl Hall. Early is a lot like USF’s Victor Rudd in that, despite his size, he will shoot from outside with frequency. Over 1/3 of his attempts are 3s (31.2 % on threes).

It suggests that Hall and Early get a number of buckets on offensive rebounds. How Pitt’s frontcourt contains them and battles for rebounds will go a long way towards determining what kind of game it will be.

Tempo wise, they are in the lower part of the country with 64.8 possessions per 40 minutes (254th) while Pitt is among the absolute slowest at 60.9 (335th). Again, not huge differences so no significant advantage.

In that respect, both teams won’t have to make any significant adjustments to the way they practice or preparation for the opponent.

 





I’ll be watching this game at work today. I’ve strategically scheduled meetings around this game and placed a false meeting in its place so that I can close my office door and hopefully enjoy a win. If people hear F bombs, then I will be exposed so I must be very careful to successfully pull off this caper.

Comment by TX Panther 03.21.13 @ 6:49 am

If you believe in stats like I do, then you aren’t really worried about the Shockers. I just want a game against the Zags on Saturday so that Pitt can do the shocking.

Coach Ditka, there is a March Madness app that has every game and I think the games are streaming on ncaa.com/marchmadness

Comment by Wardapalooza 03.21.13 @ 6:51 am

T’was the night before GAMEDAY and flowing through my mind was a vision of play the Panthers finally find. Robinson to Moore, a slam so vicious, the Panthers feast, a meal most delicious.

Comment by Old School Panther 03.21.13 @ 7:15 am

This board really picked up some steam after I signed off yesterday…hope everyone slept it off.

Emel, Good point on the coaches and I’ll give you Sutherland…though I was sticking to examples I actually witness first hand…(but he actually was a disciple of Pop Warner and carried on what Warner started…and Warner was not a Pitt man…so maybe that cancel those two out.) I still stick to my guns that for any coach hire the fact that the candidate is Pitt Man should have Zero factor into the hire.

Go Pitt..If Pitt plays their game they’ll win this one.

Comment by milobloom 03.21.13 @ 7:31 am

@ TX Panther

I’m forced to find another place to “hide”. May have to have an “outside” appointment. Any other creative folks out there?

Comment by CompLit 03.21.13 @ 7:35 am

Pitt is an inch to two inches taller than Wichita across the floor.

Shocker Coach Greg Marshall says rebounding will be the difference.

That being the case, Pitt SHOULD win… right?

Comment by PittofDreams 03.21.13 @ 7:54 am

wow, I know I have only gotten up the nerve to post recently after reading loyally for some time BUT if you guys are going to make a habit out of exchanging barbs to the point of daring one another to meet at the fricken penn monroe (of all places) to prove you are of any age then this just isnt any fun anymore.
I thought that this was a place where we could celebrate our unique university’s macro value proposition. I sense many of us have a loyalty to an institution that has impacted many of our families (my father attributed his time at Pitt, on the GI bill from WW2, after undergrad he was unable to gain admission to our medical school – minority quotas – was granted a chance to attend law school – back when it was located in the cathedral. any success he had was modest (essentially moving from a childhood in braddock to raise his family in the east end) but he attributed all of it to his time in Oakland. Being raised within earshot of Pitt Stadium, I am fortunate to have more memories than I can recollect of growing up virtually on campus (field house, stadium, 5th & Forbes & on). As an adult I moved back from FL to raise my family here. My appreciation for what Pitt (& CMU) does for the average IQ of our city continues to grow. Pitt’s inner city campus is unique. Its academic offerings top to bottom are well regarded throughout the country & our Medical programs (a field I know something about) bark with many big dogs. While our football program trades on glories that many of us cant believe is generations removed, we continue to graduate many of our FB student athletes to the “next level” at a modestly impressive rate & our history in the sport continues to prove so strong (after all much of the sport was controlled- during its inception, at the PAA – which is a long way away from the Penn Monroe) fact is we have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. While there is a ton to say about our hoops program, it comes down to this: We were as successful in our conference as anyone (fact), we have the respect of everyone and have often won games just on reputation alone. When I think of our success in the Big East, I remember buying a bumper sticker in the bookstore celebrating our first season in the conference & I am proud of our accomplishments. Then I cant help but think of EVERYONE in our conference who represented (many multiple times) in the FINAL FOUR & I throw up in my mouth. Now that I am deep into many years as a FB & BB season ticket holder – which as we all know requires a TREMENDOUS PHILANTHROPIC ANNUAL INVESTMENT (particularly if you want to sit near the Zoo), I am forcing myself to be a pragmatist – HCJD knows his legacy is at stake, hes a bright man & he doesnt want to be known as a great tactician & defensive taskmaster that cant win in March. That does him no good. Further, this young crop of Panthers has nothing to do with the past. Their slate is clean – thats what we all (consciously or subconsciously) love about this sport. It just takes one time, one game at a time. This is a game we should win against the type of opponent that has historically caught us on the chin. We are all nervous, but for the love of our institution – can we try to keep it classy. H2P TCB FROM THE TIP!

Comment by ptbreezeb 03.21.13 @ 8:06 am

wardapalooza Thanks. Looks like that link will work!

Comment by Coach Ditka 03.21.13 @ 8:20 am

LET’S GO PANTHERS ===== LETS GO PANTHERS !!!!!

Comment by DC33 03.21.13 @ 8:42 am

I don’t know what it is but I have very good vibes today.
Bring it home boys!

Comment by sfpitt 03.21.13 @ 9:00 am

Let’s get excited. It’s time to play ball. GO PITT

Comment by rayhpgh 03.21.13 @ 9:36 am

I too have a good feeling about today’s game — we’re playing a lesser version of ourselves. We need to be ready for a fight.

@FRANKCAN I’m sure you’ve heard the adage “those who live in glass houses …” On several occasions, you have asked people on this blog to overlook your propensity for misspelling words, using all caps, and generally butchering the English language. Please afford others the same courtesy by not making discussions personal. And there’s no way around it, unless your Jerry Sandusky, calling someone a ten-year old is an insult.

We’re all Pitt fans here — I think, so let’s stop bickering about insignificant personal pride.

Comment by Denny 03.21.13 @ 9:37 am

Calling Dr. Tom, no they have not killed me yet, don’t need no dental work but could use some laughing gas… Wait a minute no laughing gas needed because people are on here talking smack and wanting to fight…LOL.

I have not posted since late fall. I know everyone has an opinion but they need to be tempered with a slice of reality. All the ranting about coaches, players and sadly other posters is childish. Why, it don’t change a thing. Coaches are going to coach the way they want, players will be Jekyll and Hyde in there performances and there aint nothing ranting and raving can do about it.

There having said the above I feel much, much better! I am like many of you whom are very passionate about Pitt football/basketball. But I am aware it is only a game. Yes, you can ask my wife, there are rumbles of thunder coming from my office when I partake of some Panther sports. It is because of my passion for Pitt. BUT I come back to reality after the games are over. It is fruitless for me to angst over it because in the end there is nothing I personally can do about it and besides my wife would be barking my head off if did so.

Moral of my blatherite response is enjoy the games, be passionate, come back to reality and respect your brothers in Pitt arms. I cherish the thoughts of many posters here. Marietta Mike, the Doctor, Pitt fan in Atlanta, SFPitt, GC, Boubacar, Reed and others whom while being passionate are at the same time thoughtful, informative and tempered in their responses.

I know the barking back and forth are the reality of internet blogs but never forget at base we are all on the same page because we love Pitt and its teams. So be like me and ask your wife if you can have a beer for today’s game and rant/rave/rejoice and most of all relax after it is over…

Comment by Kenny 03.21.13 @ 9:47 am

I thought I posted the most childish comment ever on this blog. Damn.

Comment by longsufferingpittfan 03.21.13 @ 9:49 am

Hey, I’m proud of my 10 year old 🙂

Comment by TX Panther 03.21.13 @ 9:49 am

And I am proud of you TX Panther!!! You are a Pitt fan as Big as all Texas!!!

Comment by Kenny 03.21.13 @ 9:54 am

H2P! Go Panther Nation!

Comment by TX Panther 03.21.13 @ 9:58 am

2.5 hours to tip-off!

Comment by xfmrman 03.21.13 @ 10:06 am

denny if you read he post you would see i was not the one who got personal first plus he said he was 10 and i belived him . try reading from the start
of post before you blame me. plus read dans posts
that explains things .
and why are you sticking your nose in when you dont know what happened from the first post on to the last.

Comment by FRANKCAN 03.21.13 @ 10:09 am

Ok, diversion time. Dokish is reporting that there is a realistic chance that Dixon may indeed head west this time for USC.

Comment by JJ 03.21.13 @ 10:40 am

If Pitt wins next to games Dixon and team goes to LA.

Comment by Frank MD 03.21.13 @ 10:52 am

In regards to the coaching search, Dokish seems to be surprised that Sean Miller has not shown a lot of interest in the Pitt job. Seriously, even if he was interested, why would Sean Miller say he is really interested in the currently unavailable Pitt job right before the start of the NCAA tournament?

I still think the most likely scenario is Dixon gets a huge raise and is given complete control over basketball schedule and can schedule whoever he wants.

Comment by Wardapalooza 03.21.13 @ 11:29 am

Dixon is meeting with USC tonight. He’s going to leave this time and I’m not really all that upset.

Comment by Denny 03.21.13 @ 3:33 pm

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