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December 4, 2013

Working Through Penn State

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 3:44 pm

I thought it would be a good game. I did not expect Pitt to shoot 28% in the first half. Thank goodness Pitt was hitting free throws (yeah, that’s still taking some getting used to).

Before the game, I said that Penn State was essentially a two-man team in Tim Frazier and D.J. Newbill. Boy, were they ever. The two were a combined 15-30 shooting along with 13-16 on free throws for 45 of the Nits 69 points. The rest of PSU’s squad: 8-23 shooting, 6-7 on free throws. That’s 65% of their made baskets and total scoring. 55% of their total shot attempts. They came into the game averaging over 40% of the FGA and just over 50% of the FGM. Those numbers look tame by comparison. Frazier really had it going.

Now, Pat Chambers learned from Jay Wright about turning loose dynamo guards, but that Penn State has to rely so heavily on just two players to have a chance to come up short against a good team has to be a concern for him when their B1G season starts.

Penn State has a chance to finish middle of the pack in the B1G, but they are either going to need some rapid development by the rest of the team. Frazier and Newbill cannot be expected to perform at this level every game, all season.

Needless to say, Pat Chambers got a little annoyed at the “lack of respect” for his team. Dare I say, defiant.

Asked a question of whether “proving you could play with (Pitt)” instead of losing by 37 like they did last time, Chambers politely answered it. And then he seemed to turn his annoyance level up a notch. Below is a transcript of the full exchange between Chambers and the media:

“Whether it’s Pitt or whoever in the Big Ten, I feel like we have a good solid team.

“And I hope people start taking us seriously. Because I feel like, and I know (the PSU players) were tired of everybody talking about us like we’re not a good team. ‘Aren’t you proud to be on the same floor?’ What does that mean? What does that really mean? We’re a good team, we’re a good basketball team, get used to it. How’s that sound?”

You don’t think people take you seriously?

“No. No, not at all.”

Why? I’m curious.

“I’m sure because of history.

“Our attitude has changed, our mindset has changed. We’re competing at a high level. We’re just not seeing great results the last two games, but we’re getting there.”

Does this game help along those lines?

“If you win it, yeah.”

Don’t you think beating Bucknell would help that?

“Yeah I agree.

“Nice low blow, but yeah I agree, you’re right.”

Oof. If you are wondering, the Bucknell question came from 93.7 The Fan’s Andrew Fillipponi. He knows how to troll and bait — opposing teams and Pitt fans as well.

Chambers was rather on edge by the end of the game, and those questions were not helping. Strangely for a guy who claims he wants to play Pitt regularly, most accounts of the post-game hand shake with Jamie Dixon were that Chambers blew through it. Given how often Dixon has not exactly hung around to chat with the opposing coach, though, I don’t read much into it. I mean, unless you are looking for an excuse to be “outraged” at something related to Penn State. Then, by all means, have at it.

Sticking with the PSU perspectives for just a little longer… (Why? Because it’s fun.)

Yes, it does appear that Chambers really was on edge after the game — even to PSU watchers:

Patrick Chambers walked into the media room with a stern face, looking ticked off after a tough loss.

He wanted this game badly. OK, the fiery coach wants every game badly.

But this was Penn State vs. Pitt, and it means a lot for bragging rights, for recruiting and perhaps most importantly, for perception.

Beat Pitt, which PSU hasn’t done in Pittsburgh since 1978 or anywhere since 2000, and the Nittany Lions would have earned a ton of basketball street cred, particularly in this state.

But they didn’t beat Pitt, falling 78-69 in a game they had a good chance to win at the Petersen Events Center.

It was a great game and a reminder that PSU, under Chambers, can indeed compete with Pitt. That hadn’t been the case since the Panthers have emerged as a national power, with Pitt dominating the last meeting in 2005 (91-54) and winning the previous four games by an average of 23 points.

So, yeah. Just like Duquesne on Saturday, Pitt got the opposing team’s best shot. A fired up team that really, really wanted the game. And regarding that Bucknell question…

It was sort of a cheap shot. But it also was true.

Penn State lost at home to Bucknell, 90-80, on Nov. 13, and when you give up 90 points to a team that’s now 3-4, that averages only 70 and was picked to finish fourth in the Patriot League, that kind of loss shapes perception.

The only thing that absolutely changes perception is winning. Moral victories, like the kind Penn State had Tuesday, don’t accomplish that.

I can guarantee you that Penn State fans hate this column. While Pitt fans who read it all will just nod along happily.

Beyond losing a game that they wanted really badly, what had Chambers so ticked? Well, the officiating probably bothered him.

The officials in this game struggled with consistency in calling drives to the lane under the new hand-checking and block-charge mandates. Every call went to the driver, reflecting the initiative to allow more freedom for ball-handlers and discourage floppers.

But a few calls each way seemed ridiculously ticky-tack or simply non-existent. A call that gave Frazier his third foul early in the second half was whistled when Pitt guard Cameron Wright tripped on his own and fell into Frazier.

Chambers: “They tried to get in our gaps. We got some tough calls against us. That’s life on the road.”

A reporter suggested PSU developed fear of fouling:

“You said it, I didn’t. But I would agree with that. I got guys with three and four fouls and they don’t want to foul. They’re backing off and that can hurt.”

Chambers also thought that Talib Zanna’s huge block late in the game was goaltending, but even the PSU writer thinks it was clean.

The officiating change is where I have been really impressed with what Coach Dixon has been doing. He understood what these rules meant and he has prepared Pitt for them. Yes, clearly Pitt’s defense has suffered at points and mistakes happen. But Pitt and Dixon aren’t complaining about this new reality. They have been ready.

Plus, up until the final 1:05 (when PSU fouled 4 times to try and come back) the foul calls were only 22-17 in Pitt’s favor. Hardly one-sided. The differences were that Pitt was fouled much more frequently attacking the basket and shooting. Hence the free throw shooting disparity even before the final minute. Plus, when you are such a short-rotation team like PSU every foul gets magnified.

Okay, to the Pitt side. That first half. Woof.

Pitt shot 28 percent from the field in the first half (7 of 25) but hit 58.6 percent (17 of 29) in the second by attacking the rim.

“It was not a good first half for us,” Dixon said. “We didn’t let things come to us, we were forcing stuff and trying to make plays and we were fortunate to get a win over a good team.

“But we thought we could get layups against them. We shot too many jump shots in the first half and we put them at the line too much. They are small and we had to attack them inside and they will be in foul trouble the way they play.

“We are a hard team to zone, so we knew we could get points at the rim and Talib [Zanna] did a nice job of scoring.”

Two things that stood out regarding Pitt’s shooting in the first half. Everything was off. So many shots that seemed to be right there that rolled off or wouldn’t go. The other was Mike Young struggling for a second straight game. He was 0-4 vs. Duquesne and went 0-5 last night.

Young showed some of that freshman inexperience last night, but he did what he could to make up for missing some point blanks by going 6-6 at the free throw line. That said, his struggles put him on the bench for most of the second half. Jamel Artis missed his opportunity by being late on defense.

Instead, Pitt used more Durand Johnson inside and Josh Newkirk played more than any other game this season — also aided by some caution with James Robinson after picking up a 3d foul early in the 2d half. Newkirk is already looking like a much better player than he was in the beginning of November. He looks a lot more comfortable with what he is supposed to do.

Lamar Patterson and Talib Zanna were the ones that led the way for Pitt in the second half. Especially Zanna.

Zanna made 7 of 11 shots and scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half for the Panthers (8-0). The 6-foot-9 center also had 10 rebounds, a career-high four blocks and scored off a steal.

“That’s what you expect from one of your senior leaders, not just getting it done offensively but defensively with the steal and the blocked shot,” Patterson said of Zanna. “That’s Pitt basketball right there.”

Patterson added 16 points, nine rebounds and five assists, and he made a key 3-pointer with 4:24 remaining, then a pivotal three-point play with 1:04 left to give the Panthers a seven-point lead.

Zanna sparked the Panthers early in the second half, converting two three-point plays and then stripping Frazier near midcourt and scoring on a breakaway to give Pitt a 42-41 lead at 13:46.

“I thought Talib was really good the whole game,” Dixon said, “as far as being patient and letting the game come to him.”

After D.J. Newbill, who added 18 points for Penn State, scored to tie it at 47, Zanna answered with a jump hook and then went up and under for a 51-47 lead.

Seeing Zanna strip Frazier so cleanly was surreal. When the 6-9 guy is taking it from a 6-1 guard… I mean.

That strip was also why depth matters. Pitt had one other huge advantage in the second half. Their legs were much fresher. Newbill and Frazier aren’t just playing 33+ minutes every game. They have to do it with the ball and all the attention. They aren’t able to take a breath on the court. I don’t care how young, how conditioned you are. That takes a mental and physical toll. It started showing. Pitt took advantage of it as they should.





Last nights game had some chippy moments. Robinson got a little huffy once. He took a tough foul once too when he got in the way of an out of control guard flying down the key. Zanna kind of walked over a forward after he knocked him to the floor. The Zoo really does a great job of making the Pete a very intimidating place to play. I thought they seemed pretty involved last night.I guess Penn St. hatred brings out the best in them. Don Hennon got an award at halftime and Sam Clancy and Franco Harris were in attendance as well.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.04.13 @ 4:20 pm

It SHOULD be chippy. It’s Pitt vs Penn State.

Comment by longsufferingpittfan 12.04.13 @ 4:33 pm

I thought Pitt got the short end of the calls in the 1st half and PSU in the 2nd half … but maybe that had more to do with who was taking control of the game at the time.

I don’t blame the PSU coach for being pissed … he is a competitor and I admire his attitude. he may not have gotten Pitt’s best shot last night but that cetainly isn’t his fault.

Comment by wbb 12.04.13 @ 4:39 pm

Officiating whining or questioning, ehhh.

Know where that got me with Notre Dame football friends and family in 2012??? Nowhere!!!

Comment by Dan 12.04.13 @ 4:43 pm

Chas – One of your very best columns. Thank you.

I thought PSU was trying to emulate the Notre Dame slow down that has frustrated Pitt so many times. It didn’t work.

Comment by Dan 72 12.04.13 @ 4:51 pm

Ditto, Chas. Great stuff.

Zanna finally took advantage of his height advantage. Hope it continues.

Comment by steve1 12.04.13 @ 5:16 pm

Great win for the Panthers over a good but thin Pedo U team. Senior leadership was the key to the victory! Thank you Talib and Lamar. Congrats to Lamar for the recent ACC award! The more I see of Newkirk the more minutes I want him to get! H2P! UPone

Comment by UPone 12.04.13 @ 5:17 pm

I thought I noticed something weird on the coaches handshake at the end of the game but he spent a lot of time with some of the Pitt players so I attributed it to his anxiousness to talk to them.

I want a rivalry game (and whether you think it should be or not, PSU is a rival) to have an edge to it as this one did.

Comment by Pitt Dad 12.04.13 @ 5:22 pm

I think this guy is a good coach, he has a real challenge building a big time hoop program at Penn St. They have always been basketball challenged and I was impressed with how good they were. The Penn St. guards could play anywhere. IMO Newkirk stepped up real well last night. He gave us some good minutes and played under control. With Robinson in foul trouble and Wright struggling with the hand injury we could have been in deep do do without his contribution. Jamie still has him on a choke collar but the few times the pup got loose last night he looked pretty good. His flash-quick first step and gone drive to the hoop was nifty. I dream of a day when he grows into the type of scorer the Frazier kid is.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.04.13 @ 5:23 pm

Glad for the win and the determination the team showed down the stretch… but that’s where it ends.

Penn State is NOT a good basketball team. A VERY AVERAGE team with a VERY ABOVE AVERAGE Player.

Need to see how well Zanna and the others hold up against equal or superior talent.

Bright Spot… Randall, the transfer from Rutgers. Stands out in terms of raw athletic ability.

Comment by PittofDreams 12.04.13 @ 5:35 pm

@Pitt Dad, The coaches were just giving that lip service, and I think it is obviously not going to happen. I am glad to hear Dixon at least discussing a schedule upgrade. The commitment to the New York City tournament games seems to be vital to our recruiting strategies, and with the possible loss of a home game to the Challenge each year I would almost be surprised if we see any improvement. At least because of the challenge we will catch an occasional quality team at the Pete.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.04.13 @ 5:36 pm

I was a little surprised we didn’t go to 2-3 zone more often. Seems like that would have cut down on a lot of Frazier’s drives to the basket.

James Robinson needs to start hitting those open shots. It’s tough to watch. And it’s causing Patterson and Johnson to fight through double teams to get a shot off. Although, I have been pleasantly surprised with Randall. He plays hard and works well in the 3 man rotation they have at PF.

Comment by Piero 12.04.13 @ 5:46 pm

Pitt of dreams, There are about 350 division 1 hoop teams , average would be around 175. Penn St. is top 75. Frazier is better than very above average, in fact he is probably all conference in just about any conference. I get the feeling you won’t consider the “Zanna and others” any good until we play someone who beats us. You might have quite a wait but I will look forward to hearing from you sometime in late January or early February. This team is headed for the NCAA’s and could contend in the ACC. I don’t think anyone was realistically hoping for more than that, do you?

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.04.13 @ 5:52 pm

It is great to beat Penn State anytime anyplace at anything. Obviously they took the game seriously.

It is good to win a game when you don’t have your best stuff. Hopefully they are learning they are not good enough to just mail it in.

A little concerned about the defense and being able to stop or slow down good guards. Gives Jamie something to work on.

Would have been a bad loss, going to take one sometime, glad it’s not Penn State.

What is the word on Wright’s hand?

Comment by gc 12.04.13 @ 6:34 pm

Jamie: We shot too many jump shots in the first half

Watching the DVR replay. We were aggressive in the 1st half in trying to get to the basket. We just missed way too many chippies.

Comment by steve1 12.04.13 @ 6:51 pm

Gc, It must be all Wright or his left or his whatever. It seemed to be a problem early but by the second half he seemed fine in fact he shot better than usual from the foul line. Frazier ate his lunch a few times last night though and I wonder how his confidence is today. He is normally pretty sound on D but he struggled some last night. That is two games in a row we came out flat after a steady diet of pouncing right from the tip. I like the old way better.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.04.13 @ 6:53 pm

3 assists in the first half was the key in my opinion. We are a team known nationally for our high number of assists and 3 isn’t going to cut it. Second half was much better but lets be honest PSU made some incredible shots! They played I think their best basketball, they were jacked up! So in a way it’s a good test and I mean a test in the fact that we were down and had to make adjustments! The fact that they overcame this is a good sign! You can’t blow teams out by 20 or more every game! Look at some of the upsets this year! UNC already has 2 losses to inferior teams. So good sign for Pitt! Keep it up boys!

Comment by Sweet Caroline 12.04.13 @ 7:11 pm

I think the team learned more about themselves last night than they did all of the previous games combined. This is why we need to play a more competitive pre-season

Comment by wbb 12.04.13 @ 7:13 pm

Pitt needs games like this which test their makeup.

Comment by TX Panther 12.04.13 @ 7:24 pm

Frazier was on a mission. He made uncanny shots.

Unfortunately for him, the game is played 5 on 5.

Comment by steve1 12.04.13 @ 7:35 pm

At the outset our men were waiting to make it happen, by 2nd half they stopped waiting and went after it. If we start with a lull vs a solid ACC squad we won’t have 7 point deficits, it’ll be 15. Coach may have found a remedy to wake it up, Newkirk & Robinson with a healthy Cam & two bigs. I’m elated, Pitt basketball is fun to watch again. This squad doesn’t know how good they can be if some of these pieces come together. I’m
investigating some ACC road trips. Want to enjoy this in person.

Comment by Old School Panther 12.04.13 @ 7:36 pm

Glad to hear the students cheer “Penn State Sucks”. Brings back old memories.

Pitt cannot continue to come out flat like they have been in the NCAAs.

Comment by Frank MD 12.04.13 @ 7:44 pm

These 2 teams didn’t like each other very much.

Comment by steve1 12.04.13 @ 7:54 pm

Concerning coming out flat, last night was the first real crowd at the Pete this season and Penn St. seemed to be in a better state of preparation. They walked in looking ready unlike the patsies we have been seeing and took control right from the tip. Then Wright goes out and the next thing you know we were in a real ballgame. To make matters worse we started rushing shots and missing and it was like the big crowd put the pressure on us. By halftime things had seemed to settle down but by then Robinson was in foul trouble. What had me concerned was when we kept falling behind in the second half. Then when we finally took the lead they kept coming. I thought Penn St. played their hearts out and earned a 9 point loss or better. I hate Penn St. but have to respect the fact that they came ready and came hard. I don’t think last years team would have won this game and thought our seniors showed some toughness. The game was a lot like the Cincinatti game we blew here last January. I know this much, Penn St is no pushover. They made us play well to beat them down the stretch.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.04.13 @ 8:07 pm

Steve 1 , I concur there was true dislike on both sides.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.04.13 @ 8:10 pm

I do not want to continue playing Penn St., why?
The kids certainly dont want to travel to nowhere Pennsylvania.
Play Villanova or Georgetown, St John’s or Marquette. Penn St sucks at basketball, they always will. That coach was a pain in the ass, he looks like he should be a wrestling coach.

Comment by Justin 12.04.13 @ 8:51 pm

Justin, No Marquette please, I can’t remember the last time we beat them. I am all for improving the schedule but I still want to have a chance at winning. They own us.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.04.13 @ 8:56 pm

Does Lamar need some dental work on a front tooth?

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 12.04.13 @ 9:46 pm

Murderer’s row

12/16 Loyola Marymount
12/14 Youngstown State
12/17 Cincinnati
12/21 Cal Poly
12/31 Albany

Comment by TonyinHouston 12.04.13 @ 9:53 pm

The Big Ten and ACC challenge is why we played PSU! If it weren’t for the challenge we wouldn’t have played them. I agree that we should schedule some old Big East teams and improve our SOS! But I’m not worried, Dicky V has us on his top five teams to watch out for! Would love to play a UConn or Villanova too! Wonder what team we will face in next years challenge?

Comment by Sweet Caroline 12.04.13 @ 9:57 pm

HIT THE SHOWERS! ::clap clap clap-clap-clap::

Comment by Jimbo Covert's my dad 12.04.13 @ 11:19 pm

I see the ACC-Big 10 showdown finished in a 6-6 deadlock … once again proving Swofford is talking out of his ass. You may recall that he said back in 04 that the ACC would become the dominant conference in both FB and BB … neither was close to being true as both the BE and B10 were clearly better in BB in recent years.

Maybe next year with the inclusion of Lousiville, the ACC may approach what the BE was … but the fact is, year in and year out, Clemson, Wake, GT, Miami, FSU, etc cannot approach the consistency of Georgetown, Nova, Marquette and Cincy, etc which makes the NCAA annually.

Wake and MD hasn’t done jack in the last 10 years, Miami had one good year, FSU and NCS had a few decent teams, BC hasn’t been good since they were in the BE, and Clemson hasn’t done jack since Purnell left for DePaul

Comment by wbb 12.05.13 @ 8:32 am

Oh, I forgot to include UConn among the BE schools annually in the NCAA (barring probabtion of course)

Comment by wbb 12.05.13 @ 8:34 am

@Wbb Sounds like a pis^^ng contest. Who cares what conference is the best? Pitt is in the ACC now and that’s all we Panther fans care about. Pitt is better off in the ACC than Big East or whatever the new conference is called.

Comment by MariettaMike 12.05.13 @ 8:49 am

Am I correct in believing that the ACC won the ACC vs BIG challenge 7 to 5?

Comment by pitt1972 12.05.13 @ 8:52 am

And to think what would have happened at Pitt if…

Check out this article from USA TODAY:

ASU coach Graham leads bonus parade

link to usat.ly

Comment by MariettaMike 12.05.13 @ 8:57 am

We don’t know the circumstances concerning Graham’s abrupt resignation but I’m now of the belief that Pitt administrator’s try to short change him and he took matters into his own hands. I can’t fault him for that. I just wish I knew what happened. I’m sure ASU fans are ecstatic.

Comment by MariettaMike 12.05.13 @ 9:02 am

Maryland is moving to the B10 next year, so I’m not going to hold the OSU-MD game against the ACC. The 6 ACC wins:

Syracuse(4) 69 Indiana 52
Georgia Tech 67 Illinois 64
Pitt 78 UPS 69
Duke(10) 79 Michigan(22) 69
UNC 79 MSU(1) 65
NC State 69 NWU 48

The 5 ACC losses:

Iowa(23) 98 ND 93
Minnesota 71 FSU 61
Wisconsin(8) 48 UVA 38
Purdue 88 BC 67
Nebraska 60 Miami 49

IMHO, the ACC got four good wins: Cuse, Tech, Duke, UNC. The B10 got two good wins with Iowa and Minnesota. The other games were of the “who cares” variety. The ACC won this challenge, handily.

And to compare Clemson, Wake, GT, Miami, and FSU to GTown, Nova, Marquette, and Cincy is unfair to the ACC. In most years those teams are near the bottom of the ACC, the relevant comparison would be to DePaul, Providence, Rutgers, South Florida, and St. Johns. Once Louisville joins, the ACC will be the best basketball conference in the country ever. No conference has ever had a top like Duke, UNC, Louisville, Cuse, and Pitt. And a second tier of Notre Dame, NC State, and Tech, with schools like FSU, Miami, and Wake that make an occasional run.

Comment by Sean 12.05.13 @ 9:18 am

@@@@@@@

I for one don’t care to speculate about Fraud. He was not a
good fit for Pitt or Pittsburgh. He is better off were he is and so are we.

Given the interest and excitement level of the Pitt/PSU game
why can’t these schools agree to play each other in hoops? Also WVU? The explanations given are weak and implausible
to an outsider. So Jamie we strike a deal with our oldest rivals and you can play the remaining 12 or so non conferences games anywhere and against anyone you choose.

Comment by JR 12.05.13 @ 9:19 am

@@@@@@

Anyone who believes moving to the ACC was NOT a
huge plus for Pitt please say aye. Why ruminate over the
old BE? It was a great run in hoops. However just
think if Pitt had not pursued the ACC and was stuck in the
AAC? Then we would really have justification to bitch.

Comment by JR 12.05.13 @ 9:34 am

The Big East from top to bottom was usually stronger. So much for NC having an off year, they have some bad losses but now they have beat Louisville and Mich St.

Pitt, Syracuse, and next year Louisville will make the ACC much deeper. Sorry to see MD go but Louisville much stronger in BBall and now football too.

What has happened to BC since they left the Big East, I guess UConn has been getting all the best players, no wonder they blackballed them. Their football team was a little stronger this year.

Comment by gc 12.05.13 @ 9:51 am

Of course everyone is happy to be in the ACC, but this version of the ACC has a long way to go be considered the best league ever. It’s not even close to the old Big Eat of the last few years. Louisville will only help so much. It’s going to take some of the mid tier teams being more consistent & making the tourney. The league is very top heavy, but lacks quality in the middle. Every league has its bottom feeders.

Comment by Nick 12.05.13 @ 9:56 am

As usual, you guys are out of hand. I did not say that pitt was not better off in the ACC … nothing even close to that.

All I said is that the recent BE is better than the current ACC, and did not win the current challenge vs the B10.

Sean, OK, tell me who was the secondary tier in the ACC behind Duke .. if not NCS, GT MD, FSU and Miami … to compare to UConn, Nova, Marquette, etc?

Comment by wbb 12.05.13 @ 10:04 am

and Sean, how is Wisconsin not a good win at UVa, who only had 1 loss going to the game (to a ranked VCU team?)

Comment by wbb 12.05.13 @ 10:10 am

Marietta, I don’t doubt that Fraud may have been been short-changed by the Pitt admin, but I still believe the main reason he bolted was due to recruiting.

Take a look at his current commits and most of them are 3 and 4 stars … and 15 of the 18 are from CA, TX and LA. These are the type of kids he needs for his program, not what we have in WPA … in fact, you may recall that he didn’t even make an effort to befriend any of the WPIAL coaches.

Comment by wbb 12.05.13 @ 10:23 am

@@@@@@

Fraud would have been short term at
Pitt under any circumstances. As I stated
earlier not a good fit for Pitt or Pittsburgh.

Comment by JR 12.05.13 @ 10:57 am

spiritofsection22

Your rationale for defining “average” lacks total perspective relative to the discussion at hand.

It does however help explain some of your regular comments.

Comment by PittofDreams 12.05.13 @ 11:09 am

For what it’s worth, even though the recent Big East may have been better top-to-bottom, our teams usually lost pretty early on in the NCAA tournament. Not just Pitt, mind you, but a lot of our mid-tier BE teams lost to foes in other conferences. So, like I said, take that for whatever it’s worth.

Comment by MikePITT 12.05.13 @ 11:35 am

It’s all in who you ask about Graham — I talked to two WPIAL head coaches who loved him and said he had an open door policy about local coaches going to their offices and practices, learning about their system, etc. I’m sure he rubbed some others the wrong way, but he had supporters too.

I personally think it was sleazy how he left, and I root for him to fail. But I also think he’s a good coach and would’ve had success here (if he didn’t have one foot out the door to begin with).

Comment by JW 12.05.13 @ 12:04 pm

MikePitt, What universe are you from??? BE teams won 2 of the last 3 NCAA titles. In 09, they had 5 teams in the Elite 8. Last year, they had 2 teams in Final 4.

Comment by wbb 12.05.13 @ 1:47 pm

JW, in the one recruiting class that Graham had when here, there was only 3 players from western PA

link to rivals.yahoo.com

Comment by wbb 12.05.13 @ 1:53 pm

@wbb Not disputing the idea, just offering another anecdotal side of the story. Plus, that class shouldn’t really be held against anyone, considering the ridiculous circumstances in which he arrived. (And it was truly 4, since Mosely-Smith was a Woody High guy. Ha ha.)

Comment by JW 12.05.13 @ 2:04 pm

@wbb, I’m talking about the middle of the field of the Big East, not its elite teams. The point being argued above was that the BE’s middle teams were always better than the ACCs. I said nothing of the first-tier talent (Louisville, UConn, etc.) Sure, we sent 10-12 teams, but lots of them, including Pitt, routinely had disappointing showings in the big dance.

Comment by MikePITT 12.05.13 @ 2:18 pm

UCONN was a 9 seed in the Big East tournament in 2011 and they won the national title.

Comment by Denny 12.05.13 @ 3:04 pm

WBB, three starters in that bunch, and a couple others that will play before they are done.

The real cost of turmoil.

Comment by gc 12.05.13 @ 3:27 pm

Look at the NCAA invites in recent years. BE averaged about 8 (50%) … high of 11. ACC averaged about 4 (25%) in recent years … believe it was a low of 3 a couple of years ago.

Comment by wbb 12.05.13 @ 3:28 pm

For those of you that complain about playing Penn State, did you get a load out of the rest of the December schedule? Glad we don’t depend on walk up ticket sales.

Comment by gc 12.05.13 @ 3:40 pm

They ought to give away tickets to any High School Basketball team, boys and girls, and parents that want to come and fill in some empty seats.

Give them ZOO shirts and have them stand in the ZOO. for the Holiday game.

Hate to wish my life away, but I can’t wait for January and some real games.

Comment by gc 12.05.13 @ 3:47 pm

On the Fraud Graham discussion…we could have done a lot better than what we have in Chryst/House but they are here…. and short of waking up with a “dead girl or a dead live boy”
Chryst is here for a long time.

Any other discussion is moot!

Comment by Dan 72 12.05.13 @ 3:47 pm

Winston off the hook.

Comment by gc 12.05.13 @ 3:58 pm

@gc…giving away tickets to High Schools is a violation of NCAA rules…same as parents.

Graham left when he realized he had Sunseri as a QB for another year :-)

Comment by milobloom 12.05.13 @ 4:02 pm

that’s about the only reason he hasn’t cited as yet

Comment by wbb 12.05.13 @ 4:20 pm

It’s the only reason he hasn’t cited yet and the only one that I’d buy.

Comment by Denny 12.05.13 @ 5:01 pm

The worst answer on why TG quit, and only he knows, is the answer we should fear the most, and what most of us have come to know anyhow.

He found out and came to realize, he couldn’t win here.

Comment by Dan 12.05.13 @ 5:16 pm

@Dan..indirectly what I was saying with my Sunseri comment…and probably true that his style wouldn’t work at Pitt.

Too many Pitt fans want to see Pitt play like Steelers Jr. Tough defense and pound the ball.

Comment by milobloom 12.05.13 @ 7:34 pm

On old Big East/ACC comparisons…I totally agree the current ACC doesn’t match the past few years in the Big East..
but don’t worry, the ACC will be like old Big East in a few years as far as quality top to bottom…

….the middle teams in the old Big East were able to recruit decent kids because they played in the ‘best’ conference…now that they no longer play in the ‘best’ conference their recruiting will take a hit and the mid ACC teams will benefit.

In four years let’s compare ACC to old Big East..I’ll bet ACC will be putting 8 teams in tourney.

Comment by milobloom 12.05.13 @ 7:43 pm

No doubt. The ACC will be the best. I’d say it won’t be uncommon to regularly get nine teams in. Good times.

Comment by TX Panther 12.05.13 @ 7:49 pm

Should we be sad for Khem or is it too ridiculous to be predicting the NCAA tourney field already?

link to insider.espn.go.com Bubble teams in trouble early

Notre Dame, Kansas State, UNLV among programs that must make up ground

Comment by TVax 12.05.13 @ 9:31 pm

coaching salaries (football)
link to coacheshotseat.com

Comment by scoocher 12.05.13 @ 9:33 pm

Of course Pitt may not even be near the bubble in the view of the rest of the world outside Pitt Blather and the Pete.

Comment by TVax 12.05.13 @ 9:38 pm

coaching salaries (football)
link to coacheshotseat.com
Comment by scoocher

Two biggest surprises for me are Iowa coach and NAVY?

Comment by TVax 12.05.13 @ 9:43 pm

You wonder about the accuracy as they have Pitt in the AAC. WVU pays pretty well.

Comment by Frank MD 12.05.13 @ 9:52 pm

Going back to the handshake…feels like a parent might if another parent ignored you but talked to your kids. Creepy. I can see it’s because he wants to earn points with the players and subsequently, recruits. It’s almost like he was brown-nosing them. Maybe in hopes to build a likable reputation. That’s the douchey part, imo.

Comment by panther94 12.05.13 @ 11:43 pm

No, we should NOT be sad for Montreal’s Gift.

Comment by panther94 12.05.13 @ 11:55 pm

We’re number 53. Like to see what the ratio is to total football budgets. Dockish says we are not cheap and are in the top twenty, what is he talking about. It looks like 2.5 is the going rate.

There are a few that are cheaper than us.

Wow, the big guys really get paid.

Comment by gc 12.06.13 @ 8:42 am

TVax, talk about premature ejaculation.

Comment by gc 12.06.13 @ 8:45 am

gc

I guess that could be the explanation for the writer having too much time on their hands. LOL

Comment by TVax 12.06.13 @ 9:40 am

@Pitt of Dreams, Sorry I don’t have a perspective that meets your staus quo, however it doesn’t change the fact that your comment didn’t give Penn St enough credit for the game they played or for that matter show any respect for how well Zanna played. For that matter I didn’t see where anyone else concurred with your bright spot/Randall comment either. I gained my perspective at the game, did you happen to see it?

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.06.13 @ 9:52 am

spirit…

No, I didn’t see the game. I’m just pretending that I did.

Comment by PittofDreams 12.06.13 @ 10:49 am

Pittofdreams Kind of “dreamt” the whole thing up

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.06.13 @ 11:09 am

Looking forward to the Loyola Marymount game tonight.

It will be really interesting to see the pace of the game. Paul Westhead’s team really likes to get out and run. Will Pitt be able to slow them down? Cameron Wright is going to have his hands full with Bo Kimble. And no one on the Pitt team can hang with Hank Gathers. Have no idea why Pitt is favored by 20!!!

Oh wait, I must be dreaming of my college days…..never mind.

If any of you guys are too young (although I think the median age of the commenters on this site is about 55) to remember the old Loyola Marymount teams, do yourself a favor and google it.

Comment by Boubabcar Aw 12.06.13 @ 11:39 am

@Boubabcar Aw

Nice.

52 here, by the way.

Comment by TVax 12.06.13 @ 12:23 pm

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