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November 30, 2013

Open Thread: City Game 2013

Filed under: Basketball,Opponent(s) — Chas @ 12:27 pm

I kind of miss Ron Everhart. Oh, sure there was a certain level of sleaze on him. But, at least he put together teams who at least challenged Pitt and were not a threat to Pitt’s non-con strength of schedule.

Presently the old Stage Magicians are at 2-2. They lost a game to West Virginia and New Hampshire (from the American East conference and presently 2-3… so, not a good loss).

The game is at 1pm on CBS Sports channel. Hopefully you have it on your tv package.

When you spot a good opponent 14 points and you miss an easy FG, you won’t win many games. Those mistakes gave Miami a 17 point cushion and the final was only a 10 point difference. It’d be infuriating if it wasn’t so common. For some reason, this program likes to start games slow then try to crawl back. Unfortunately, they just aren’t good enough to do that. Maybe in a year or two they will be, but not yet. There were some positives and many negatives, but let’s look at both. (more…)

November 29, 2013

Open Thread: Miami-Pitt

Filed under: Football,Opponent(s) — Chas @ 11:12 am

If you aren’t a little dazed and groggy this morning — whether by binge eating/drinking or shopping — then you may have done our present iteration of Thanksgiving wrong. Needless to say, I’m keeping it simple this morning. Setting the open thread with media run-through.

It’s going to be cold but sunny. I don’t think the temperatures will make anything but the smallest difference for Miami. Sam Werner made the correct observation in his chat earlier this week.

I don’t think it’s a hard-and-fast rule that all Miami teams play poorly in the cold, since the 2003 ‘Canes came into Heinz Field and beat Pitt in the final game of that season. But I was also in El Paso in 2010 when the Hurricanes came out bundled up like they were venturing out onto the planet Hoth. They got smoked that day. If this Miami team is focused and strong-willed (like that 2003 team), then I don’t think the weather will play a factor. But if they’re mentally checked-out and just waiting for the season to end (like the 2010 team was), the cold is just another reason for them to want Friday’s game to be over.

I don’t think Miami head coach Al Golden is a great coach, but he is a very good one. I think Golden will have Miami ready for this one. At least in the first half. This article goes through most key cold weather games for Miami. Not surprisingly, the cold only seems to be a factor when they lose.


November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Hope your day is a relatively low stress affair.

Just some basketball links I need to clear through.

Finishing up the loose ends from the Legends Classic.

Coach Jamie Dixon is making no apologies for doing this tournament, even if the competition was a bit lacking.

Though the Panthers are no longer in the Big East, Dixon said they will always try to play games and in events in the New York City area because it is good for recruiting and an area Pitt fans enjoy going to.

“We have asked to be in New York whenever we can,” Dixon said. “We like this type of environment. I told the guys before the game, ‘Do you understand that we’re playing in an NBA arena, NBA locker rooms and practicing on the Brooklyn Nets practice court?’ We have a lot of alumni around here, we have had a lot of players from around here, so coming here fits us in every way.”

The Legends Classic is run by the Gazelle Group. All three of their early season tournaments — Legends, 2K Sports Classic and Black Rock Gotham Classic — are NYC based tournaments. Pitt and Coach Dixon have made an effort to work with Gazelle Group for that reason. They want to play in NYC when possible. Gazelle Group operates 3 of the 5 tournaments in the area.


November 27, 2013

Discarding Stanford

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:28 am

Everyone is — and with some good reason — focusing on the offense. That Pitt has more guys that can finish. That can shoot. Generally look less raw on offense. That’s all true, but I’m going to start with the defense.

Pitt made Stanford’s night miserable. Stanford came into this game with a very good offense that knows how to push the tempo. Pitt throttled their offense. They were unable to run and penetrate. They found lanes cut off. Their shots were constantly contested. They had to move the ball and pass far more than they were used to to find shots. Stanford was visibly frustrated, especially since Pitt was doing most of it without fouling and being physical.

This year, Pitt is once more a slow tempo team when you look at the numbers. It doesn’t feel like it, because Pitt is scoring plenty and moves so well in transition. But the tempo of Pitt will be slow, simply because the defense is slowing the other team down so much.


November 26, 2013

Open Thread: Stanford-Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 4:55 pm

When the Legends Classic field was announced, this was the presumed finals match-up. Pitt did its part with some ease. Stanford had a little more work against Houston. Never fully shaking the Cougars in the second half — but seemingly never in real danger.

Stanford is easily the best team Pitt will have faced to this point. They play an uptempo offense, but are very vulnerable on defense. They are also not particularly deep. They go maybe 7 deep — depending on foul trouble in the frontcourt.


Know Your Enemy: The U

Filed under: Football,Opponent(s) — Justin @ 12:52 pm

The U comes to town the day after Thanksgiving hoping to end their season on a high note after a disappointing few weeks. Miami was looking great; they were a top 10 team with BCS aspirations and even after the beat down by FSU they still had a lot to play for. Then they lost to VT and Duke, dropped out of the rankings, and faded into obscurity. However, a victory over Pitt and in a bowl game will give Miami a ten win season that will probably enable them to finish ranked.

Pitt clinched bowl eligibility with a win over Syracuse last week and will go to a bowl for the sixth straight season (which is a miracle given all of the turmoil in that time frame). I don’t want to say a loss is acceptable, but with a bowl game clinched and a highly talented team coming to town, it won’t be a disaster unless it’s an ass-kicking. Let’s look at The U. (more…)

So Much For Texas Tech

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:29 am

It was close for a few minutes. No really. It was only a 4-2 game nearly five minutes in. I’m sure no one was panicking, though. As for my expectation of poor shooting in the beginning. Eh, not so much.

Pitt needed only six minutes to take a double-digit lead and just 13 to push the lead to 20 en route to an easy 76-53 win at the Barclays Center in a Progressive Legend’s Classic semifinals.

The Panthers advanced to the championship game at 9:30 p.m. today and will play Stanford or Houston.

Pitt (5-0) got off to another fast start shooting as it was 6 of 14 from the 3-point in the first half (43 percent) and led at halftime, 41-18.

Leading that barrage was senior Lamar Patterson, who hit three 3-pointers in the first half and finished with a career-high 23 points and a career-high five steals.

Cameron Wright added 12 points, and the Panthers finished 25 of 53 from the field (47.2 percent) and 10 for 24 from the 3-point line (42 percent).

Texas Tech never seemed to know what hit them. They were unable on defense to handle the ball movement by Pitt. And on defense, Pitt dominated them.


November 25, 2013

Open Thread: Texas Tech-Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 5:40 pm

7:30 game on ESPN2. The Red Raiders are coached by a coach who’s reputation at this point is stronger than any recent accomplishments. No, they did not rehire Bob Knight. It’s Tubby Smith. A coach with a national championship under his belt. A coach who was smart enough to flee Kentucky before they canned him, parlaying that into a huge deal with a desperate Minnesota.

After little of note, Tubby has moved on to Texas Tech. A place that had its own issues of desperation after the Billy Gillispie experiment became an even bigger trainwreck than expected.


Ever since the game on Saturday, I’ve been tossing this over in my head. Coming up blank at this point, because what Aaron Donald has been doing for Pitt has been beyond anything you expect or is within the norm for a defensive tackle.

Outside of the quarterback position, football is a game where you really, truly cannot declare one player is capable of taking over a game. There are special teams, offense, defense. Calls by the coaches. Too many facets. Too many players. Beyond the hyperbole and tremendous gaffes at some point, it is simplistic to declare one player that much of a difference maker. Especially when it comes to the defense.

Yet, what Aaron Donald has done all season. What he did against Syracuse. It has been nothing short of amazing.

Donald, who is a strong candidate for five national awards, recorded nine tackles — 3 1/2 for a loss to give him a nation-leading 26 — and blocked an extra-point try that was the difference in the game.

Chryst, who rarely praises his players, stepped outside himself briefly to talk about the effect Donald had on Pitt’s second victory in the past three weeks.

“Your eyes go to him, and he sees it and he gives you the nod,” Chryst said. “And more often than not, he comes through. That’s the mark of a great one.

“I think right now he is playing at that level. He impacts the game in such a big way. It’s pretty special to be around.”


November 23, 2013

Let’s Go Bowling!!!

Filed under: Football,Opponent(s) — Justin @ 8:58 pm

Well, it wasn’t pretty, but something I’m a big fan of is that this team has now won several games fans normally expect them to lose. I expected Duke to pull off the miracle comeback. I knew when Notre Dame’s TJ Jones went 80 yards to get a 21-14 lead, Pitt would collapse. Sure, we’ve seen a few moments only Pitt could pull off, but at the end of the day, we’ve seen this team come back and tie three games in a row after being down in the second half. Then they won two of those three.  Six wins in the ACC is significantly better than six wins in the Big East. (more…)


Filed under: Football,Open Thread — Chas @ 9:00 am

So, yeah. The ACC’s predetermined protected game for Pitt. With long-time frenemy? old-Eastern-indie-opponent? Meh? It’s Syracuse. I just can’t muster requisite hate for them when it comes to football that the ACC seems to think there is between the two sides. At least not to call it a rivalry game.

I want Pitt to beat them. I want Pitt to get that bowl eligibility completed. After that? Eh.

Here are the ACC affiliates carrying the game. If not in your area, it’s on


November 22, 2013

Everyone Likes Aaron

Filed under: Football,Honors,Players — Chas @ 11:38 am

Aaron Donald will almost certainly be a 1st team All-American by the end of the season. His numbers have been eye-popping. Anyone who has watched him face double-teams and occasional triple-teams comes away impressed and amazed by how he still manages to be disruptive.

Donald wreaks havoc on opposing backfields with his remarkable first-step quickness, yet displays enough strength and power to win with physicality. With few offensive linemen capable of dealing with defenders with diverse games, Donald has consistently delivered disruptive plays for the Panthers’ defense. He leads the nation with 22.5 tackles for loss and is tied for sixth in the country with 10 sacks. Those numbers are impressive for a pass rusher, particularly an interior defender rarely given free runs to the quarterback off the edge.

His performance this year has him drawing NFL comparisons to Geno Atkins and there is no longer draftnik talk (for the moment) about how he will fall in the draft because he isn’t the prototypical DT size.


A New Overseas Center

Filed under: Basketball,Recruiting — Chas @ 8:37 am

This one has been rumored for a while, but here’s the word.

The Canarias Basketball Academy are pleased to announce that the 6’11, 265lb native of the Netherlands , Shaquille Doorson has committed to play for Head coach Jamie Dixon at the University of Pittsburgh. The 1 year CBA post graduate student is delighted with the opportunity to be an integral piece of a leading program who compete in the prestigious ACC: “This was always the goal for me and the reason why I came to CBA. My dream has come true, to know I’ll be playing in the ACC under a great coach and at a great program in a power house conference. I can only thank Rob Orellana and his coaching staff for pushing me everyday to make this dream become a reality”.

Canarias is a European basketball academy. This past week, another center from CBA signed with Louisville.

Doorson is probably closer to 6-10 than 6-11. CBA’s Coach Rob Orellana is close with Pitt assistant coach Barry Rohrssen, so there’s the tie-in that led to this.

I know this will shock you, but Doorson is raw and not a particularly known quantity. High ceiling, but may take some time.

November 21, 2013


Filed under: Football,Opponent(s) — Justin @ 12:59 pm

This week Pitt heads to the Carrier Dome for a no questions asked, must-win game. Pitt cannot rely upon a win over Miami next Friday to get to bowl eligibility. While Miami isn’t a top 10 team like they were a few weeks ago, they’re still a better team than Pitt across the board. Syracuse, however, is a flawed team still in transition after Doug Marrone left to coach the Buffalo Bills. The ACC set the ARCHRIVAL ORANGE up as Pitt’s cross-division rival, meaning the two teams will play annually even though they’re in different ACC divisions. (more…)

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