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November 14, 2013

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.

Moving the ACC tournament is great for Pitt, we get a lot of guys from DC/Baltimore and it elevates the leagues tournament a bit too. Seriously, who wants to spend a weekend in Greensboro NC where ever the hell that is?

Comment by PittHW 11.14.13 @ 12:53 pm

@PittHW, Dukies and Tarfeet for the most part. Like Dixon says though it’s the Yankee Conference now.

Comment by spiritofsection22 11.14.13 @ 12:58 pm

That is an incredibly well written article about Greer. Glad you posted the link.

Comment by notrocketscience 11.14.13 @ 1:01 pm

That’s too funny. The Twerps are leaving the ACC and immediately the ACC tournament gets moved to their backyard. lol
Talk about timing.

Greensboro is about halfway between Charlotte & Raleigh. FYI Sits on the merger of I-85 and I-40.

I was looking forward to a short drive to the Tourney. Maybe they’ll move it to Charlotte.

Then I can give ya’ll the grand tour of the Queen City. 🙂

Comment by EMel 11.14.13 @ 2:42 pm

Sorry but I have a football related comment. I see Howard and Coles are out for this week. Word was that when they both went out of the ND game that we couldn’t field a nickel package because we didn’t have anyone prepared to step in. Chryst said that Pardhner and Banks are in line to fill the spot. What ever happened to Cullen Christian?? or what about Ryan Lewis? I don’t get it. They were talking these guys up in camp and now they can’t even sniff the field.

Comment by JJ 11.14.13 @ 2:45 pm

FWIW: Heard a guy during a break in the radio show, like a blurb, don’t know what they call it in radio world, anyhow John Feinstein, I believe,

said the Mich St-Duke game was absolutely horrendus to watch because of the new policy.

I know it will take time for everyone to get used too, and people will adapt.

He said the flow of the game was totally ruined.

He had a good comment, “a hand check, and a hand check foul are two different things, hopefully the refs have been told this”.

Myself, I don’t mind them trying to stick to the intent of the role, and hopefully it comes along.

One thing I do absolutely detest, even before this rule enforcement, is the hand check called out way above the top of the key. Not talking about coming down on a fast break, just normal bringing it over the line, the pg dribbling and ready to call an “O” set, bam, hand check called 35 feet from the hoop.


Comment by Dan 11.14.13 @ 3:25 pm

I believe Coles and Howard are some of the Clairton kids. What a find in getting that local group.

Glad ACC BB coming to DC. MD big mistake in going to B10. It will not solve their $$$ problem. They go to Indianapolis B10 BB tourney.

Comment by Frank MD 11.14.13 @ 3:27 pm

MSU played Kentucky, and the officiating wasn’t a problem – if anything it looked light. MSU had a lot of steals and they bodied the young UK squad without many whistles. Duke v. Kansas was the same story I thought.

the B1G $$$ for Maryland comes from the BTN fees from cable TV, they’ll make something like 25M+ a year. The tourney rotates between Indianpolis and Chicago actually. (Both are better than Greensb… sorry I fell asleep typing that name)

Comment by PittHW 11.14.13 @ 3:30 pm

Feinstein porbaby just pissed because his Dookies lost … if it isn’t K or Bilas, it’s him. Guess Duke can’t get away with those fake charges they took last couple years

Comment by wbb 11.14.13 @ 4:00 pm

Back to fb for a sec:

link to

Comment by steve1 11.14.13 @ 4:05 pm

Those B10 $$$ funds phase in lower for the first few years but MD has bigger problems. Maybe ACC has network soon.

Comment by Frank MD 11.14.13 @ 4:16 pm

I believe Christian & Lewis are both safeties & they might not trust them as much in coverage. Christian was also hurt at the beginning of the season & there could be something lingering there.

Comment by Nick 11.14.13 @ 4:23 pm

Anyone else worried about Banks and Pardner starting this weekend?

Comment by NOPE 11.14.13 @ 4:52 pm

Emel, My son and I are rolling into Charlotte for Thanksgiving at my Sisters place. Mom is finally reached the point where it is time for my Sisters to handle the meal preparation. Also she is old enough that I won’t be missing anymore Thanksgivings with her if I can help it. I don’t need a Queen City tour but I will be breaking bread with a table full Tar Heel fans. They are so full of themselves so I sure hope we win this stupid football game to give me something to say other than pass the cranberry sauce.

Comment by spiritofsection22 11.14.13 @ 5:56 pm

lol sos22

Yep I’ve had to put up with more than a few Tarholes down here. They never do much in football, but they squak quite a bit during bball season. Still haven’t figured out which ones are worse, them or the Dukies. Dukies are more arrogant however there are far less of them then the Holes.

When I move I won’t miss them, that’s for sure !

Comment by EMel 11.14.13 @ 6:05 pm


nope !

Comment by EMel 11.14.13 @ 6:06 pm

@Emel, Where are you headed next?

Comment by spiritofsection22 11.14.13 @ 6:10 pm

@Emel, Hoop Tarholes are right there with Dukies on the arrogant ladder. Unfortunately mine are relatives. They are certain they would beat us in hoops every season even though we never play. When we beat Duke in the Garden they were happy Duke lost but didn’t see it as any indication we deserved to play them. They are so used to being like royalty in the ACC that they are going to have a hard time adjusting to the new world order. This should be fun.

Comment by spiritofsection22 11.14.13 @ 6:16 pm

Haven’t decided, Florida perhaps. Some beach somewhere….lol

Comment by EMel 11.14.13 @ 7:01 pm

Not going anywhere for at least 6 months unless I run into an heiress ! 🙂

Comment by EMel 11.14.13 @ 7:03 pm

I’m glad we don’t play Clemson this year. Oy Vey.

We need to improve bigtime or those Okie State future games are going to look like the Clemson/GT game.

Comment by EMel 11.14.13 @ 8:45 pm

Feinstein is a Maryland basketball fan and a Navy football fan! But the media seems to salivate over Duke! What’s not to like I guess! Speaking of Duke, we won the last one remember! Fields last second shot at MSG! It was then that I believed we arrived!! I’ll be there in DC since I live in the area! Lots of Pitt fans down here!

Comment by Sweet Caroline 11.15.13 @ 12:09 am

Feinstein may be a MD BB fan since he lives in that area but he is a 1978 graduate of Duke … and a big fan of Coach K.

Comment by wbb 11.15.13 @ 7:56 am

NOPE, Banks and Pardner are not starting .. they are the back-ups. The regular starters are starting

Comment by wbb 11.15.13 @ 8:43 am

Well, I don’t know anything about Feinstein, I however do know, that a hand check at mid court being called is still ridiculous, unless an arm is broken or a nose bloodied.

Comment by Dan 11.15.13 @ 10:55 am

I see where our boy Kwim Birch had 8pts. and 4 boards in the UNLV 20 point home loss to Cal Santa Barbara. He is still listed at weighing 220 and I think he made a huge mistake not sticking around. If Talib Zanna scored 8and 4 in a home loss to UCSB we would be deporting him back to Kaduna. Birch took the easy road and it is headed for Wastedmychance, Nevada.

Comment by spiritofsection22 11.15.13 @ 12:33 pm

Wastedmychance, Nevada is right next to Cantwaitobeahoopie, WV

Comment by spiritofsection22 11.15.13 @ 1:15 pm

Hey Emel, I missed your comment from the other post about Sam Young. You may very well be right about him as a frosh — he didn’t play a lot, so it’s hard to really tell. I just remember hearing Joe Lombardi say “he couldn’t make a shot without his hand on the net.” They felt he would be a great defender and rebounder and really didn’t have great hopes for him as a scorer.

Comment by Denny 11.15.13 @ 2:35 pm

Without Hairston and McDonald, UNC is really mediocre. Barely held off Holy Cross at the dean dome.

Pitt is a lot tougher. Right now, Pitt would be favored at UNC.

Google Hairston, there some serious shenanigans going on with him. Deputy Dog (Roy Wiliams) and his sycophants are too willing to brush this stuff aside, while still pretending that Carolina is somehow holier than thou.

Can’t wait for Pitt to stomp these clowns and their D-Bag neighbors in Durham.

Guess it didn’t take long to develop a healthy hatred of the rest of the ACC. January can’t get here fast enough.

Comment by Boubabcar Aw 11.15.13 @ 10:38 pm

@Boubabcar, These teams don’t have to recruit, all they need do is invite. How do they ever lose? With the level of talent they routinely attract they should win every year. North Carolina and Duke have owned the ACC forever, but that has just changed because great coaching trumps recruiting and always will. My guess is that with the second tier recruits we seem to attract, and Dixon’s continued stable style of coaching , that we beat these guys as often as they beat us. I wouldn’t be surprised if we beat one or both of them this year. If Carolina doesn’t get Hairston back we will beat them on their floor. Imagine the nerve of the NCAA holding him back. He was arrested for driving without a license, possession of pot, and the car he was driving was being rented by a convicted felon. Why would the NCAA hold back such a fine young student athlete? Roy did the right thing and had him run some extra windsprints. Carolina will do anything to win and although I want badly to beat them I don’t want to win bad enough to become them.

Comment by spiritofsection22 11.16.13 @ 9:49 am

Just for giggles I went to the North Carolina home site for hoops and was looking through the player profiles. First off I was surprised that their site was of a lesser quality than Pitt’s. The information wasn’t though, as in the 1st 6 profiles I read there were 2 Parade All Americans and 2 McDonalds All Americans. That is more than Pitt has had in the history of the program and I had only looked through the first 6 names. How do these guys ever lose. I could coach them to 25 wins.

Comment by spiritofsection22 11.16.13 @ 11:35 am

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