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December 3, 2013

Sure they lost to Bucknell, but hey that happens to everyone at some point. They had a decent trip to Brooklyn. Beating St. John’s in OT and losing to Ole Miss by a few. Pat Chambers has done a nice job of trying to build this team. Tim Frazier has come back really well from his injury last year. D.J. Newbill has been outstanding. They have a very talented backcourt — on offense.

Their weaknesses are just as obvious. The defense is lacking. They’ll gamble on steals — as much because they struggle to guard players as by design. Not much of a frontcourt. And they lack depth. Frazier, Newbill and Ross Taylor all are averaging over 33 minutes a game. And this is just 8 games in, with a decent amount of scrub teams on the schedule. Don’t be surprised if Frazier and Newbill are out there for nearly the entire 40 minutes (barring foul trouble). Though, as you would expect, their coach downplays the minutes issue.

Penn State shoots 3s more frequently than Pitt 38.5% vs. 30.5% of FGA, with a slightly better 3-point shooting percentage 38.9% to 37.9%. Their tempo isn’t particularly faster than Pitt. A slight bit faster — 67.0 to 65.5 in Adjusted Tempo.

It is kind of staggering how much of a 2-man team Penn State is. Newbill and Frazier have accounted for 199 of the 455 FGA (43.7% of the team’s FGA). They have taken over half of the Nits FTs this year. The pressure will be on Pitt’s backcourt to shut them down and make other players beat them.

Those “other players” will likely be forwards Ross Travis and Brandon Taylor. Taylor in particular is intriguing as a 6-7 sophomore forward who leads PSU in 3-pointers and is shooting at a 40% clip.

Pitt doesn’t have to do anything it hasn’t been doing to win this game. Mix up the man defense with zone to keep Penn State off-balance and control the penetration from the guards.  Force the turnovers with active hands and get out on transition for the easy baskets. On offense, working it inside and force Penn State to play defense more than they want to.

The game Duquesne gave Pitt will probably help — well, at least that will be the narrative with a win. Lose, and it becomes how Duquesne exposed some big flaws that PSU exploited.

Lamar Patterson has shown growth in his game so far, and had an exceptional week to earn ACC Player of the Week honors.

The Geno Thorpe-Mike Young storyline is nice, but other than being teammates and friends, there isn’t much else. Thorpe plays lightly and may barely see the court in this game.

Both sides like to say how they’d like the teams to play each other annually, but I don’t really buy it. It does practically zilch for recruiting. It generates no buzz outside the Commonwealth — and sometimes not even there. Personally, I think the basketball series would be ideal to be played in Philly. Then it would matter more for recruiting.





It’s a B10 team that is only 3 hours away .. just like WVU is a B8 team only 90 minutes away. It is silly not to play in lieu of all the patsies on the schedule, and will only help the RPI when Pitt plays at their court. Yet, personal vendettas and lame excuses like Pitt needs to play so many home games … even though they sellout annually … prevent these games.

BTW, I was a season ticket holder for the 1st 4 years a the Pitt (had to move away in 06) .. and I did not look at all as to how many home games were on the schedule. I looked to league games and quality preseason games …. and could have cared less if we dropped St Francis PA or Coppin State for one less home game.

Comment by wbb 12.03.13 @ 9:37 am

Penn St. quit playing us in hoops because Ed Dechellis, their coach at the time, decided the series was too one sided. In other words they got tired of being thumped. I was fine with leaving it that way and hope we spank them for old time sake and draw a better Big 10 opponent in the future. Penn State’s sorry basketball program was at the root of the initial division. Penn State couldn’t get in the Big East and that was followed by Joepa getting all uppity over his proposal of an eastern conference. When that duck croaked he made unfair demands on football scheduling that resulted in the demise of the rivalry. I just hope they aren’t planning any deviate behaviors in the showers at the Pete.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.03.13 @ 9:41 am

DeChellis and JoePa are ancient history.

Comment by wbb 12.03.13 @ 9:44 am

We should always play PSU, Duquesne, RMU and yes, WVU. Home and away is fine. For tradition and local basketball. Also to avoid empty venues. And not on Thanksgiving weekend.

Lamar Patterson, ACC player of the week, never thought I’d see that. Well done Lamar!

Comment by gc 12.03.13 @ 9:48 am

I like Chas idea of playing PSU in Philly. How about a Thanksgiving tournament with Pitt, PSU, Villanova, and St. Joes. maybe raise money for bridges in PA. LOL

Comment by gc 12.03.13 @ 9:52 am

Add Penn, Drexel, RMU, and One more and have an eight team tourney. Tourney for PA bridges and Turnpike repairs.

Comment by gc 12.03.13 @ 9:56 am

Duquesne could be the one more.

Comment by gc 12.03.13 @ 9:57 am

for me PSU does nothing in hoops. made the tourney once in the past decade, Pitt hardly competes with them for recruiting. rather play WVU annually

Comment by Greg 12.03.13 @ 9:59 am

Agree with wbb………..play PSU every year if only to help the non-conf slate a bit. And I like the idea of playing in Philly — maybe do it every third year.

Comment by hugh green 12.03.13 @ 9:59 am

@GC, It would cost millions of dollars in lost revenue to play the home away schedule you suggest. Most of “our tradition” in basketball centered around Duquesne and West Virginia. Robert Morris has no real tradition with Pitt and Penn State was a conference game but not really anything special. Screw Penn State I prefer to let them suffer in the stew they created. I am fine with never playing them again. We should welcome local teams Duquesne and Robert Morris to the Pete every year they would like to come. We should act quickly to renew the West Virginia rivalry with a home and away arrangement. Both schools would benefit by keeping that tradition alive. Duquesne doesn’t provide enough competition to merit anything but visitor status and if they ever do we can revisit the current neutral floor arrangement. Playing Robert Morris in their sorry gym should never be an option, but there is no reason they can’t join the patsy list that comes to the Pete every fall.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.03.13 @ 10:10 am

Good morning fellas!!

Point about the Pitt-Duquesne game. Yesterday, I wasn’t picking on Duquesne.

Sure, play them every year. Just not at the Consol every time. Make it a home and home.

Also, I know most teams play 10 cupcakes.

However, not ALL teams do that. I have mentioned before that there are quite a few teams that have a home and home series. (they seem it’s okay to miss one home game payday).

Florida and UCONN have a home and home, played at UCONN last night.

Comment by Dan 12.03.13 @ 10:13 am

Hugh Green, How does playing a Big 10 doormat in Philadelphia help our non/con schedule. First off the game wouldn’t even draw 10k fans in Philly. Penn State has no basketball following and Pittsburgh fans wouldn’t drive there to see them play a nobody. Bad idea IMHO. I think we are way better off not playing these nobodies. There are plenty of better nobodies anxious to visit Pittsburgh that never thumbed their nose at us in football.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.03.13 @ 10:20 am

Jamil Kamara visiting Pitt this weekend. Dravon Henry choosing between Pitt & wvu on Monday.

Comment by Nick 12.03.13 @ 10:23 am

I’m not even asking for Kentucky, Kansas or UCLA.

How about just a team from another BCS conference that doesn’t have a directional after it’s name.

We used to do it, just 5 or 6 years ago.

Wisconsin, Washington, Ohio State…………

Why’d we stop?? The budget got that tight, that one home game made a difference??? Ok, I’ll buy.

But, now, you’re getting 20 million a year from the ACC. Start bringing some friggin’ teams in here!!!!

Comment by Dan 12.03.13 @ 10:37 am

@ Dan, We should never play an away game in a facility as bad as the Palumbo. Our program is beyond that. Our program has earned a the right to only play who we want to play. Duquesne should always be welcome to come to the Pete but otherwise what is in it for us? We can make more money and play equal or better competition without them.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.03.13 @ 10:37 am

I just want to beat the crap out of them tonight. FU Penn State. Hail to Pitt. Jail to Penn State.

Comment by Old School Panther 12.03.13 @ 10:47 am

PSU was always number 1 opponent. Hope we win by 50.

Comment by Frank MD 12.03.13 @ 11:00 am

@Spirit. I wasn’t thinking that. And, now I’ve confused myself.

The City Game, I was thinking it was at the Consol every year, isn’t that the case???

I don’t remember seeing Duquesne at The Pete.

Anyway, what I meant was, Duquesne can play their “home” game at the Consol.

Pitt should play them at The Pete.

That’s what I meant about home and home, no Palumbo, certainly.

Comment by Dan 12.03.13 @ 11:06 am

@ frank md, “#1 opponent” in football but never in hoops. They were never good enough to be much of a rivalry and they still suck.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.03.13 @ 11:09 am

The City Game was moved to the Civic Arena in its last year & then over to the Consol Center. Prior to that they played it at the Pete or the Palumbo. Not sure when they stopped playing it at he Civic Arena initially, but it had gone back to the home courts for a while.

Comment by Nick 12.03.13 @ 11:15 am

Dan, IMO that is too generous. We are playing them at the Consul every year under the present arrangement. If we are going to give up a home game which represents about $400k then we should be playing someone who earns us some respect if we beat them. If Duquesne doesn’t want to come to the Pete then they can go be a rent a win for somebody else. It isn’t our fault they don’t field a representative team. Why should we be responsible to subsidize them. We are past the point of having to leave home to play Duquesne. Based on the history we should always allow them to stop in for an annual whopping however.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.03.13 @ 11:25 am

In the 70′s they used to play a holiday tournament at the Arena called the Steel Bowl. Duquesne and Pitt usually invited in a couple decent teams and they had at it. The teams were much more evenly matched then though. In fact Duquesne usually had the better team.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.03.13 @ 11:50 am

You picked up on several points .. PSU, like Stanford, is not that deep and has 3 guys average over 33 minutes per game. And, two of those guys, Frazier and Newbill, both guards, do most of the damage. The Cardinal had 3-4 starters that could hold their own. If we can pressure PSU on D, wear them down over time, and get a few foul calls, this one shouldn’t be close. Let’s see how it goes. Interestingly, as to MPG, our rotation has settled in somewhat, plus the last few opponents have tested us more .. previously, only JR was in the high 20s and no one else was really even hitting 25 .. now, LP, JR, and CW are at 27 and TZ is close behind at 24. Obviously these guys are young and can recover more quickly but the season can be a grind and I’d like to see the starter minutes stay at or below 30. We’ll need those legs as we get deep into the ACC season and post-season. Hail to Pitt!

Comment by Tomas 12.03.13 @ 12:02 pm

Hey Spirit, I see what you’re saying now.

Even a home and home with Duquesne costs us.

I get that.

Don’t forget, I’m one of the people that says bag them alltogether, and get a home and home with someone in the top 20.

It is clear, that allthough not a lot, there are certainly a good number of teams in say, the top 50 (BCS conferences) that still do home and homes.

I also don’t buy the “it’s hard to find someone”.

These coaches all know each other, for the most part, a lot of them are friends. They go to meetings and conferences and vacations together. Recruiting visits, high school tournaments etc. etc..

You telling me, Jamie doesn’t have some friends in the coaching business, that are in the top 20 or 30, that he couldn’t say, “hey, let’s do a little home and home and play each other a few times”.

C’mon.

Can’t be fear, we beat Wisconsin, Ohio State, Washington. Beat Duke, hell in the regular season, Pitt has rarely lost to a non-con BCS conference team.

Just for the “W”???

I bet even losing to Kansas by 6, or Indiana by 5, would raise your power ranking more than beating Savanahh State by 20.

I don’t get it.

Comment by Dan 12.03.13 @ 12:30 pm

Pitt +17 tonight.

Comment by alcofan 12.03.13 @ 12:35 pm

The city game has to do with the history of basketball in this city……all the players know each other and it shouldn’t be about money and home court.

One of the leagues I played in during the 90s with all the local D1 and ex-D1 players was at the Palombo on Sunday mornings and it was full of Pitt and Duquesne players and everybody knew each other and the games were great. Believe me, none of those guys would have cared where they played the games. They just wanted to play…..

Never forget William Herndon (played for Calipari at UMass) dunking on all of us, Pitt and Duquesne players included. Think he was in the Final 4 dunk competition at one point. He took no prisoners….

So forget all this crap about who we should play and where and “we’re too good for that” and whatever. I’m all for a better non-conf schedule, but until that happens, let’s play PSU and Duquesne and whoever else we can rustle up.

Comment by hugh green 12.03.13 @ 12:49 pm

Unlike Pittsburgh, Philadelphia has long tradition of basketball, including their own 5-team sort of conference. Pitt could crash that or better yet look at having a Pennsylvania-wide title. The Big 5 winner plays the Western winner (Pitt, Duques, Robt Morris, Penn State) at a neutral site, Consul, where the 76ers play. Then maybe the rivalry with Penn State might mean something, and could get us into Phila every other year.

Comment by Caw Miller 12.03.13 @ 12:55 pm

spirit is taking this all too serious for some reason … and his statement “It would cost millions of dollars in lost revenue to play the home away schedule you suggest” is way over the top!

Millions of dollars for playing 1 or 2 additional away pre-season games ….. really?

Comment by wbb 12.03.13 @ 12:59 pm

I’m not serious at all with you guys personally, just some afternoon bs’ing.

To the admistration, I am.

We’ve sold out the Petersen Center for 12 years in a row, throw the fans a bone.

Hey, play Duquesne, Penn State, Robert Morris, hell I even liked when we use to play IUP.

But, for crying out loud, bring someone to The Pete besides Howard, Lehigh and Savanah State!!!

Comment by Dan 12.03.13 @ 1:07 pm

Also, I like the NYC tourneys. Can’t fault them with the teams. You don’t know who is going to be good or not a certain year, Stanford could have been a top 5 team some other year. I have no problem with those.

Make no mistake though, this isn’t some kind of false argument, Pitt’s OOC schedule, is always the butt of jokes on the sports channels when the subject presents itself. Our SOS is saved for have been being in the BE and now the ACC.

Our OOC schedule the past few years absolutely sucks, there is no debating that.

Comment by Dan 12.03.13 @ 1:11 pm

Wbb, Let me explain. We schedule 31 games. Subtract 18 are conference games which leaves 13. Subtract 3 visits to NY for preseason tournaments and you have 10 left. Subtract the Duquesne game at the Consul which leaves 9. My ticket for tonites game cost is $34 and it is in L219 and is about an average ticket. There are 12,500 seats and that comes to $425,000 add 4000 parking spots @ $10 and another $5 a head in concessions. Well over a half a million dollars a game. GC suggested we play Duquesne, WVU, Robert Morris, and Penn St on a home and away basis. Each year that would cost more than a million and it would take 2 years to accomplish it once, so more than 2 million dollars to play one decent team WVU twice. Penn St. doesn’t even want to play us, Robert Morris has a 2nd rate high school gym and Duquesne is already getting over by getting to play us at the Consul. What I would like to see is play the Duquesnes and Robert Morris’ at the Pete and schedule one decent home and away series with an opponent that would challenge us every year. As long as we carry these deadbeats around on our back it will never happen. Duquesne is an expensive charity.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.03.13 @ 1:34 pm

@Dan, It is all about cash. The powers at Pitt want to play in NYC at least twice. We are also committed to the ACC challenge which will put us on the road some years. The only place to grab some cash back so they can spend on a home and away with a top 20 program is to take back our gift to the Dukes. Hosting Savanah State is more profitable than playing home and away with Kentucky.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.03.13 @ 1:51 pm

but spirit, most ticketholders at the Pete by far are season ticketholders … and they are going to pay the same total fee whether Pitt has 19, 20 or 21 total home games.

Further, The Pete is over half-empty for most of the preseason games against these patsies

Comment by wbb 12.03.13 @ 1:52 pm

Dan, I think Dixon scheduled light this year because he knew he’d be playing a lot of new guys and he didn’t know how good the team would turn out to be. Worst thing you can do to a young team is rack up a few early losses. Besides there is no such thing as a good loss in my opinion.

Comment by Wardapalooza 12.03.13 @ 2:03 pm

“Pitt +17 tonight.”

Alcofan, I’m in for 100 rupee.

Send my winnings to Chas.

Comment by steve1 12.03.13 @ 2:04 pm

Listen to JD on ESPN interview by Seth Greenberg (last 10 minutes).

Comment by Frank MD 12.03.13 @ 2:16 pm

WBB Great point so please consider it economically. The problem is the number of home games. The cost to give up a game against Howard with 7K fans actually showing up approaches a half million not counting advertising and TV. The reason the administration gives for the pathetic home schedule is that they cannot afford to lose the home game revenue. So they try to placate us by cutting their loss by sharing revenue with Duquesne at the Consul rather than biting the bullet and putting a real team on the schedule. A top 20 team that would require us to play home one year and away the next. It’s all just a cash grab and I am sick of it. I buy the tickets and pay the contribution and mutter everytime I get stuck watching other similar programs treat their fans to a real game sometimes. We will be watching a steady stream of patsies at the Pete until fans realize how bad they are ripping us off. Do you understand why I find it absurd to consider playing Robert Morris home and away?

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.03.13 @ 2:18 pm

@Wardapalopza, Your theory might hold water if we had played anyone worth mentioning in the last 3 years ,but we haven’t. It’s a cash grab. They feel we get our moneys worth during the conference so we aren’t likely to ever see a non/con top 20 game at the Pete. Pure economics. Playing the patsies hurts our image and our poll status and eventually will hurt the program, but as long as they get their money they don’t care. The season ticket money had to be in before the schedule is announced. That isn’t a coincidence.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.03.13 @ 2:27 pm

IMO The next time a top 20 team plays at the Pete during the non/con it will be an assigned game as part of the ACC challenge. When was the last time it happened if ever?

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.03.13 @ 2:39 pm

Hope to see Uchebo debut tonight.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.03.13 @ 2:51 pm

Uchebo tonight? I’m not so sure about that.

Comment by Mailman 12.03.13 @ 2:54 pm

I heard he has been practicing, and could dress.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.03.13 @ 3:01 pm

Have no mercy, take no prisoners, punish penn state.

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.03.13 @ 3:04 pm

Uchebo has been doing some ‘minimal, light’ practicing. I wouldn’t expect to see him for a while

Comment by wbb 12.03.13 @ 3:08 pm

here is the actual tweet from yesterday .. now if someone has an update, please advise

Nate Barnes ?@NateBarnes_TPN 1 Dec
#Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon said Joseph Uchebo is making progress, has done some “minimal live work” in practice.
Retweeted by Chris Dokish

Comment by wbb 12.03.13 @ 3:11 pm

Maybe he can handle layup drill then. Our frontcourt should have a picnic tonight. Penn St is weak up front. They are just the opposite of Stanford. Their guards are supposed to be pretty good though so we will probably have to work to build a lead. Look for Talib to have a big night.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.03.13 @ 3:22 pm

As you hall have probably already seen, cash bonuses for Nordenberg and select Pitt administrators.
link to post-gazette.com

Pitt athletics factors zero to these trustees. I’m assuming Pederson was in on the cash as well.

Just as a point of information, remember when Pederson refused to play any games at the Civic Arena, even the biggest Big East games? Seems contradictory that he has allowed the “City game” to be played at the downtown arena, which from television shots, wasn’t near to capacity.

Comment by TonyinHouston 12.03.13 @ 3:46 pm

When will citizens in Pittsburgh wise up and remove the saintly halo from the Nordenberg administration?

On the take with regard to athletics: Fans haven’t seen evidence of the millions in cash Pitt is making now. Workers at local UPMC facilities can’t get a decent raise – an issue about which Nordenberg has said nothing. If you don’t believe me, do the research yourself. Nordenberg appoints Pitt’s representatives on the UPMC governing board.

When the Republican governor cuts funds for colleges, it a travesty. But it’s a greater travesty when Nordenberg, the trustees, and the “in group” who now benefit from bonuses vote to up the Pitt tuition so high Pitt becomes the most expensive state-related university in the country.

Pitt sends out numerous requests for alumni donations, looking only for cash, not opinions or advice. The inner circle does whatever the hell it wants, alums be damned. Good example of that today.

Comment by TonyinHouston 12.03.13 @ 3:57 pm

Andy Katz voted Pitt 23rd in this week’s power rankings on ESPN.com

link to espn.go.com

Comment by Pitt Dad 12.03.13 @ 4:03 pm

This new PSU coach is terrific and I think their post game will eat up Zanna. Be careful with your Rupee’s boys!

Pitt may win by only 15.

Comment by Dan 72 12.03.13 @ 4:12 pm

Tonyinhouston , I have never been a fan of smiling Steve but refusing to play in the arena was a good move. The idea isn’t to attract the largest crowd ala Syracuse, the idea is to win the game. Playing at the Feild House and Pete was our advantage and would have been negated by playing in the Consul or Arena. Now if he would just let us play somebody out of conference once in awhile things would be great.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.03.13 @ 4:15 pm

Dan 72, I bet you 2 rupees to your 1 Zanna scores a dozen and gets at least 8 boards. I’m not sure we cover the 15 though.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.03.13 @ 4:17 pm

Pitt Dad, Andy is alone in his support but by mid January they will all be singing our praises. I like coming into the ACC under the radar. They are ripe for the pickins’

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.03.13 @ 4:21 pm

Dan 72, How much is a rupee?

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.03.13 @ 4:22 pm

@SoS22 – couldn’t agree more.

Comment by Pitt Dad 12.03.13 @ 4:32 pm

The Civic Arena was pretty much a dump. Even the NCAA stopped wanting to play there.

@spirit, well I’m assuming the schedule 3 years ago was weak due to financial restraints from lack of money. Next year will be the real test. No reason to not schedule at least one quality opponent. If they don’t next year, then they never will. I’ve pretty much given up any hope of a quality team coming to the Pete before January 1st any year. What’s annoying that as a season ticket holder I have to pay full price for these early games.

Comment by Wardapalooza 12.03.13 @ 4:36 pm

Well the analytic guys are all onto Pitt already. If you look at the Bracketology odds on ESPN insider which take into account all the stats and opponents and everything, Pitt is actually the current favorite to win the entire tournament.

Comment by Wardapalooza 12.03.13 @ 4:39 pm

@Ward, good point, maybe Jamie wanted it this way this year.

@Spirit, I understand about the money, we all know that.

Florida and UCONN must have decided it was okay to give up a home game against Bryn Mawr, or Gainesville CC to play each other.

Why can’t we??

Comment by Dan 12.03.13 @ 5:48 pm

@TonyInHouston, that’s sickening!!

“Nordy insisted his 2011 salary be frozen, and his pay raise this year be equal to the smallest one given to others”.

Wow Nordy, you’re my hero. Insisting your salary be frozen at $542,000

Comment by Dan 12.03.13 @ 5:55 pm

I was just on Penn State’s campus today doing service work. Almost made me cringe… ;-)

Comment by Jackagain 12.03.13 @ 6:21 pm

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