All the other Pitt basketball links not tied into the game.
Early signing period for the 2014 class started yesterday. Pitt was drama free with both Sheldon Jeter and Ryan Luther signing their NLIs. Welcome. (No official press release yet, but recruitniks have tweeted out that both signed.)
I talked about how I expect more utilization of the zone because of the rule enforcement earlier. Missed this article that makes the same point. Get used to seeing a lot of articles pro and con (and, generally a lot of bitching) about the new emphasis on enforcing the rules. Mike DeCourcy had a good one before the season started that really summed up a lot of the reasons why the NCAA decided to get tighter with the rules.
It’s the coaches who’ve injected the physicality into the game, gradually asserting their value over the past 15 or so years by instructing players to use their hands to contain penetration, to bump cutters trying to execute intricate offenses, to push players out of post position with forearms to the tailbone.
No one who is not affiliated with the teams or necessary for the competition to proceed, such as the clock operator or referees, is permitted to attend the closed Division I scrimmages teams are permitted to schedule. But there has been lots of buzz about how foul-plagued some of them have been, such as one involving Huggins’ Mountaineers and the Ohio State Buckeyes.
There’ve been some exhibition games that turned into foul fiascoes, as well. Dayton and Division II power Findlay combined for 96 free throw attempts last weekend.
There is a reason this is happening. The players are fouling.
I really don’t mind the rules emphasis. I don’t think it puts Pitt at any true competitive disadvantage. Watching the first couple of games you can see that they players are being taught to do different things in an effort to adjust. A lot more movement with the hands on defense. Trying to disrupt line of sight and get the ball out of the opponent’s hands. It won’t be pretty at times, but it was needed.
Never let it be said that the ACC and Commissioner Ninja Swofford don’t know how to troll.
The 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference Basketball Tournament will be held at Washington, D.C.’s Verizon Center, ACC commissioner John Swofford announced today.
Washington, D.C. and the Verizon Center is a 250-mile and four-hour drive from Pittsburgh. The Verizon Center is familiar to Pitt fans as the Panthers own a 9-5 record in 14 games at the facility, including an 8-4 record in head-to-head contests against Georgetown.
“Playing the ACC Tournament in Washington, D.C. will be great for our fans, alumni and players,” Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon said. “Washington, D.C. is a short drive for our fan base, we’ve had success at the Verizon Center and every time we play there, it seems like our fans outnumber the opposition’s. I also think it’s a positive for the ACC to be playing the tournament in our nation’s capital.”
Maryland leaves for the Big Ten after the 2014-15 season. The following year, the ACC Tournament will take place 25 miles from their campus.
No word yet on other future sites. Not sure that the ACC will be able to get into MSG this cycle (through 2020) but there has been rumbling that Brooklyn might still happen.
ACC purists (or at least ones in North Carolina) will decry this but, as Jamie Dixon pointed out before: This is no longer the ACC they knew.
Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon doesn’t refer to the move that brought his school, Syracuse and Notre Dame into the ACC as expansion. He prefers the term “merger.”
“Some people don’t like the merger comment I made, but there’s seven teams from the Big East in the ACC now, so what else would you call it?” Dixon chuckled.
Good point. Presently among the 15 teams in the ACC, there are six former Big East teams: Pitt, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Miami, Boston College and Virginia Tech. When Louisville replaces Maryland next year there will be seven, which means there will be more former Big East teams in the ACC than there are original members of the ACC.
Think about it. The eight original ACC schools were: Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest, N.C. State, Clemson and South Carolina.
“Maybe we should change the name [of the ACC],” Dixon joked. “Call it the Yankee Conference.”
Obviously, that didn’t go over very well.
Coach Dixon doesn’t have the cantankerous, old-man quality of Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim, and he makes these comments with a smile on his face. Still, Dixon is clearly not buying into the how the ACC is some scary, tough, new conference. With good reason.
Dixon agrees that it is the best league right now but he is cautious about declaring it the best ever because the Big East has had some special seasons.
“The one year we had three No. 1 seeds, another year we had 11 teams make the field and the team that finished in ninth place [Connecticut] won the national championship,” Dixon said. “So, we have a lot of work to do and we have to go out and win games in order to reach that level. But the potential is here and the teams are here, it is just a matter of going out and doing it.”
And style of play doesn’t phase him. After all, Tony Bennett coaches at Virginia is really the simplest response to that argument.
Dixon contends that people who say his defensive style does not fit in with the way ACC games are played really haven’t looked at the numbers and, more important, don’t understand that a league of 15 teams is going to have teams that play many different styles.
“I’ve looked at the numbers, numbers of possessions, scoring numbers and I know people keep saying this stuff about the ACC playing the game differently, but it really is a case of people not letting the facts get in the way of a good story,” Dixon said. “I looked at all of the offensive numbers, and it just isn’t the case. There are a few outliers — like North Carolina — but the style of play in the ACC isn’t that much different than the Big East.
“I even fell into it myself when I was convinced that Miami last year was a transition team that ran up and down, but the reality is they were last in the league in possessions per game and played slower than just about everyone in the league.”
Dixon said he has had to battle against this line of thinking while recruiting when players have voiced concerns about the Panthers’ style of play on offense and how it might not be a good fit for the ACC.
His answer is always the same: Look at the numbers and the numbers tell a different story.
“I’ll talk to these recruits, and they will tell me about how much different or how much more they’ll get to score at another school, and I’ll say to them ‘Well, we actually scored more points per game than they did,’ ” Dixon said. “So that is something that people say, but I don’t think it will be an adjustment and for the reason I just said — when you play in a big conference with a lot of teams you will see everything.”
It apparently convinced Damon Wilson.
Finally, take some time out of your day to read this longish feature on Ricardo Greer and his Euroleague career (hattip to Shawn for this one). Great writing. Great story. Greer carried that Pitt team in his final couple years as the Panthers transitioned from the Willard Error to the Howland time. He did everything for Pitt. Especially in his senior year.