December 21, 2013

Open Thread: Cal-Poly-Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 12:06 pm

It’s not a great game by any stretch, but it is the last basketball game for Pitt for 10 days. Winter break and all that.

Cal-Poly isn’t a particularly good Big West Conference team. Couple that with what was likely some very spirited practices after that game that happened earlier in the week. This one has the potential to get out of hand quickly.

To the surprise of no one, this 4pm game is internet broadcast only on

Chas, Emel, a bit tired of the “Christmas Story” marathon? Turn the channel to Sundance for a (e)Mel Brooks Film Festival Marathon being christened as ‘OY to the World’

Comment by wbb 12.21.13 @ 12:58 pm

Cal Poly plays out of the Big West and they haven’t beaten anyone you would recognize in the 4 games they have won. The losses however have come against Arizona, Nevada, and Loyola Marymount. If there is an impressive part of the Mustangs season it is that they have managed to keep these losses within a 10 to 20 point margin. In the Tribune Review (not much of a source) this morning they were rated an 18.5 pt. underdog. A return to anything resembling our team before the apocalypse in NYC should have us cover by halftime and seeing plenty of bench securing the second half. It seems a shame but this non/con schedule has gotten so feeble that nobody wants to televise it. In the last 5 years I can’t remember ever playing so many games that didn’t draw TV. On the positive side Our Pomroy rating returned to the top 10 overnight and our RPI is a solid 18. We seem to be poised to contend at the upper end of the ACC and barring injury or collapse should be headed for the NCAA.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.21.13 @ 1:03 pm

online sites showing Pitt @ -17 to – 17.5

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.21.13 @ 1:24 pm

Cal Poly… Who is she anyway?

Comment by PittofDreams 12.21.13 @ 1:26 pm

The Ocho!

Comment by Shawn 12.21.13 @ 1:51 pm

@Pittofdreams, California Polytechnic is where the Poly comes from and the main campus is in San Luis Abismo. They are known as the Mustangs and in 1960 on the return flight out of Toledo,after losing to “Bowling Green” their charter flight crashed and 16 football players died tragically. Let’s just beat them by about 30 to 40 and send them home safely.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.21.13 @ 1:52 pm


Your emphasis of the tie-in to Bowling Green is a little eery and disconcerting at the same time.

Comment by PittofDreams 12.21.13 @ 2:01 pm

San Luis Obispo – link to

Home of Robert Hunter
Most famous alum of Cal Poly – Weird Al Yankovic (or Ozzie Smith or Chuck Liddell)

Comment by Pitt Dad 12.21.13 @ 2:03 pm

Many of our Blatherite nation might be pleased to know that Cal Poly has what might be the top wine and viviculture department in the nation. Having personally done considerable graduate studies at Wineaux Tech, I know I am impressed.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.21.13 @ 2:05 pm

Let’s hope it’s just wine and not whine.

Comment by Pitt Dad 12.21.13 @ 2:09 pm

Pitt of Dreams, I certainly mean no disrespect for those lost but thought the Bowling Green coincidence bore mentioning.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.21.13 @ 2:11 pm

Getting ready to leave for the game. The more I watch Pitt, the more I realize how important Durand Johnson is. He is our instant offense off of the bunch and he has to be successful in his role. We cannot get by with an averages to slightly below average cam wright t shooting guard. In today’s game, the shooting guard is very important, especially with the 3-point shot. DJ needs to take better shots and square up to the basket before he shoots. Come on DJ, have a good game today.

Comment by RayHpgh 12.21.13 @ 2:46 pm

RayHpgh, Ever notice us when we are on defense?

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.21.13 @ 2:55 pm

Where is Justin?


Comment by pmdH2P 12.21.13 @ 3:22 pm

This is the college with the longest official name in America or close to it.

Hopefully they will be ‘short’ on talent.

Pitt is a 17.5 pt. favorite.

After the brutal shooting of Tuesday, I think we cover today.

Comment by Emel 12.21.13 @ 3:36 pm

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo,

That’s a mouthful ! Won’t even fit on one line.

Wonder what how their cheerleader chants go ? :-)

Comment by Emel 12.21.13 @ 3:39 pm

Wow 2 games against Far Left Coast schools this year. Albeit the San Diego game was exhibition.

What are we paying for these games, $400K + ?

Comment by Emel 12.21.13 @ 3:44 pm

Money has moved the line to 4.5 in Pitt/BG.

Comment by Emel 12.21.13 @ 3:46 pm

@emel did you read above about Poly having the top wine and viviculture dept. in the country. Maybe next year non/con we can play Humbolt County where they grow all the pot.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.21.13 @ 3:56 pm

Robinson not having a jumpshot is a tremendous liability. I don’t get how no one on staff realized this kid had 0 offensive game when they recruited him. Why the heck isn’t Newkirk, an offensive playmaker coming out of HS, getting more minutes???!!!

Comment by MikePITT 12.21.13 @ 4:32 pm

come Dixon, wake up!!! Newkirk was in the game for 3 1/2 minutes and Pitt went on a 8-0 run, to 22-14. Robinson came in and it’s now 24-19

Comment by wbb 12.21.13 @ 4:35 pm

brick city by Durand Durand…meh

Comment by Emel 12.21.13 @ 4:39 pm

lol sos22

Humbolt Cty.

Comment by Emel 12.21.13 @ 4:39 pm

@wbb: That’s what I’m saying. I don’t get the resistance to go to Newkirk. He’s a way more skilled athlete and better ball handler than Robinson plus he can create his own shot off the dribble. Anyone have ANY rational explanation? And I mean rational, not: “Well, Robinson’s a sophomore.”


Comment by MikePITT 12.21.13 @ 4:40 pm

No fouls on Pitt yet but lead is only 5. Workbooks to see that at 10, but Pitt is dominating. I would have liked to see a tougher game to see how they bounced back. This almost isn’t enough challenge to truly see where they are.

Comment by Pendlum 12.21.13 @ 4:42 pm

what has happened to our shooting…28 points in a half against this team.

Like 4 points in the last 8 minutes….yuck

Comment by Emel 12.21.13 @ 4:42 pm

Lol, way to end a half: Robinson and two others have numbers on a fast break but Robinson decides to pull the ball back, set up a half court and brick a 3. Way to push the ball, kid. Wonder what Newkirk would have done??

I really, really don’t get it. And I won’t post for a while cause I don’t wanna clog the page, but seriously. Is Newkirk’s first real game gonna be against UNC? Duke? Syracuse? Yeah, that oughta go over real well.

Comment by MikePITT 12.21.13 @ 4:43 pm

That’s right MikePITT.

We & JD should know what JR is capable of.

What we don’t know is what Newkirk is capable of.

That’s what this game should be about. Pitt’s offense is stagnant as hell anyway. Newkirk speeds up the offense, live with a turnover or 2.

Comment by Emel 12.21.13 @ 4:44 pm

Newkirk looked good. He needs more minutes. He had earned more minutes.

Comment by Boubacar Aw 12.21.13 @ 4:44 pm

This team is getting worse not better.

Comment by JP 12.21.13 @ 4:46 pm

If we keep shooting like this, with this stagnant offense 6th is about right,.,,,,,maybe.

Team is regressing.

Comment by Emel 12.21.13 @ 4:46 pm

I noticed Uchebo sitting on the sideline with a boot on his right foot.

Comment by Nick 12.21.13 @ 4:47 pm

They are not throwing around the passes quickly like they did against Stanford & TT and others before those games.

They’re playing with hesitancy like the last couple of years. Previously, players had the ball for a second or two and it was out of their hands to another player or a shot.

It’s like they’ve embraced their bad habits from previous years.

Comment by Emel 12.21.13 @ 4:49 pm

Or …Jamie has them so uptight they are afraid to make a mistake – just like last year.

Comment by markp 12.21.13 @ 5:04 pm

Robinson is playing because Jamie just loves the kid…

link to

Comment by Jackagain 12.21.13 @ 5:16 pm

CAL POLY SLO as it is called has a AMAZING little Campus. I do work there. Oh and the weather is sick.

Comment by Upittbaseball 12.21.13 @ 5:16 pm

Newkirk is in and I was waiting for the offense to still be slow and unchanging just for some parody on the comments. Turns out the offense is cliclicking even better and Pitt is pulling away. Don’t need more proof than what is in front of our faces watching.

Comment by Pendlum 12.21.13 @ 5:20 pm

Patterson is a killer against these rent-a-wins…

Comment by Jackagain 12.21.13 @ 5:23 pm

By the way, and sorry if this is an unpopular opinion, but unless he has a wide open look at a dunk, Talib Zanna sucks at basketball. He wouldn’t get minutes for any respectable program. Zero tough rebounds against weaker competition. Zero skill in the post outside of wide open looks. ALWAYS puts the ball on the floor instead of going up strong. It is SO frustrating to watch year in and year out. How is there no one teaching this kid how to be a basketball player? Jesus christ.

Comment by MikePITT 12.21.13 @ 5:25 pm

I agree MikePitt. Never impressed against real competition. Shows how much trouble Pitt was in after losing Maghee. No one developing to come in.

Comment by Pendlum 12.21.13 @ 5:32 pm

Don’t get me started on Zanna – I have been his harshest critic on this site. He is mechanical at best and becomes “Mr. Woodwork” at his worst. Like Robinson, he is a coaching fave and unlike Robinson, Pitt simply has no one better.

Newkirk should get all the minutes at PG and Robinson off the bench, but it will never happen under Mr. Stress and Control.

Comment by Dan 72 12.21.13 @ 5:35 pm

I hope that Patterson doesn’t have that same problem this year against tougher competition or Pitt is in big trouble…

Comment by Jackagain 12.21.13 @ 5:35 pm

@Pendlum: Amen! For all his flaws, the one thing you could always count on was a STRONG Magee rebound and good post positioning. I never thought I’d say I miss him. Figured that Dante would develop. Then I figured Khem Birch would develop. Then I figured Malcolm Gilbert would develop. Then I figured Steve Adams would develop. Welp, there’s that I guess.

Comment by MikePITT 12.21.13 @ 5:35 pm

Even Cal Poly thinks they can full court press Pitt. We should be the best team in the country at beating the press by now with fast breakouts…

Comment by Jackagain 12.21.13 @ 5:41 pm

Magee actually developed every year. I remember fretting about him but he really learned from Blair, Gray, and even Young about hard to develop into a better player. Zanna just isn’t getting it on thr physical end or the confidence end. Agree too that Pitt has no one better. I’ve said it before bun Pitt is going to struggle against a physical front court.

Comment by Pendlum 12.21.13 @ 5:42 pm

1st half: Newkirk only played 3 minutes but was in for most of the 14-2 run

2n half: he entered the game at 14:37 with Pitt leading 37-34. He left at 6:17 with Pitt leading 62-48 (Robinson was also on the floor for a couple of those minutes)

Newkirk did re-enter with a few minutes left with the game out of hand

Comment by wbb 12.21.13 @ 5:53 pm

one more thing — Newkirk may not have gawdy stats, pts and assists but the offense seems to be much more fluid when he is in the game. He penetrates, he cuts, and he often passes immediately when he is passed to …. unlike the starting PG who always seems to restart the offense when he gets the ball always on the perimeter.

Comment by wbb 12.21.13 @ 5:58 pm


Please come and give us some pre-game commentary. Know Your Enemy. “How Green Was My Bowling?” Something.


Comment by pmdH2P 12.21.13 @ 6:22 pm

Pitt won. Be happy. Go drink. Better athletes on the way. This program is nothing like its football cousin.

Comment by TX Panther 12.21.13 @ 6:32 pm

Good thing Lamar went off for 30, because Young (0 points, 2 rbs) and Zanna (6 & 6) slept walk thru the game pretty much.

Our rebounding could become a problem(like UC), as neither Young nor Z are very physical. And this was against Obispo.

Final rebound numbers Pitt 36 Obispo 28

Comment by Emel 12.21.13 @ 7:11 pm

concur wbb

But JR represents ‘safety’ and Jamie likes that.

Newkirk would really stress him out, cause he pushes things whereas JR is pretty much content to run Jamies perimeter passing figure 8 offense. :-)

Comment by Emel 12.21.13 @ 7:13 pm

Or …Jamie has them so uptight they are afraid to make a mistake – just like last year.

Comment by markp 12.21.13 @ 5:04 pm

Might be on to something markp…season starts out, JD isn’t as uptight, team plays looser, as season progresses, players feel the tension and feel like they make a mistake, they’re going to get yanked. Start to play tighter, afraid to make a mistake for fear of hitting the pines.

JD starts pacing the sidelines more & more, especially during a MSG game, nationally televised, almost feels like he’s obligated to pace, scream, contort, wash, rinse, spin, repeat.

Do these coaches maybe ‘mug’ for the cameras.
I know some of them do, like Ricky.

Slice needs to tie him down to a seat.

Comment by Emel 12.21.13 @ 7:19 pm

Glad we won by 17, the line was 17.5 . lol

A horrible first 10 minutes of the game stopped us from averaging/exceeding our average ppg of 79.

Chris Jones, I don’t know, looks a little soft. Not real fluid. Hard to judge in his limited play, too bad this game didn’t have a larger margin so he would have got more minutes. Needless to say, he’s a project.

Uchebo at this point should just be redshirted, even if he somehow was ready to play, JD would hardly play him.

One thing we haven’t seen this year, is Z shooting those 10-15 feet jumpers he was pretty good at last year in the non-con. Oh that’s right, our Centers have to play with their back to the basket. My bad.

H2P !
VeV !

Comment by Emel 12.21.13 @ 7:34 pm

Amazing….3 teams ranked from 20-25 lost today.

#21 Gonzaga, #22 Umass (FSU) & #23 Mizzou

We would have been in the rankings easily.

With the optimal word being ‘would’.

Those 3 lost to all unranked teams, so maybe we still get in. Am i kidding myself… Yes/NO

Comment by Emel 12.21.13 @ 8:15 pm

EMel yes.
when are old strength coach buddy morris left he told are AD smug steve that becuse he fired wanny
that he was a gutless egotistical so and so.
so i dont think he will be back.

Comment by Frankcan 12.21.13 @ 8:48 pm

Good coaches win; great coaches cover.

‘Nuff said.

Comment by Lou 12.21.13 @ 10:51 pm

I know it was against an inferior team…but did Patterson just declare he’s the leader of this team??…cuz we sure needs one

Comment by Keith 12.21.13 @ 11:01 pm

ok…so one more warm up before acc starts at nc state…listen folks…the acc is NOT good this year…. Duke, Cuse, Tar Heals and that’s about it…everyone else is o.k. to not real good…so if we don’t do well this year..then I’m gonna be very concerned

Comment by Keith 12.21.13 @ 11:23 pm

You guys might find this entertaining. Some guys at work were talking about posterized dunks. I had them look up “Send it in Jerome!” Not one of these younger guys had heard of it, but after they watched it, they were saying it all day…showing others on youtube. These were NC State fans. That was a good feeling.

Comment by panther94 12.22.13 @ 12:09 am

It’s refreshing to know that Pitt is a good mediocre basketball team. Afterall, it could be worse.

Comment by MariettaMike 12.22.13 @ 9:57 am

Lots of James Robinson bashing here. He made the USA Basketball U18 and U19 teams. Jamie Dixon was not part of either coaching staff. Two time NCAA champ Billy Donovan was the head coach of both teams. JR must be doing something right. Perhaps some trained eyes here aren’t as trained as, you know, a professional coach’s eyes. We have some serious armchair experts here.

Newkirk is learning. I do like his quickness. I like his shot, but it takes awhile to load up (not unlike JR). I do think he has a tendency to try to force into trouble. This could become a problem with better teams. I have no problem with Dixon taking teaching moments with true freshman. Many here have complained about Dixon not playing true freshman. JR and Adams played last year as true freshman. Young, Artis and Newkirk play major minutes this year. Young and Artis to some degree play out of necessity although I still think each would still play.

Why can’t you all accept that Dixon is a good coach who has his ways but is adapting?

Comment by Barvo 12.22.13 @ 12:09 pm

While everyone is pleased with our frosh basketball recruits, Young and Artis reminded us against Cal Poly that they are exactly thst, first year players! Still think this class are the building blocks for our first ACC championship. Love to see players blossom like Lamar, Brad and Jaron did in our system. Dare we speculate that Newkirk is the best all-round guard recruit since V. Cummings? Finally can someone explain what the He11 DJ is trying to do these last couple games, launching crazy shots and playing out of control. Geeze Johnson let the game come to you. Kudos to SOS22 for the self-control when a couple of blatherites rip Zanna for being the softy he is! H2P! UPone

Comment by UPone 12.22.13 @ 2:56 pm

Emel you need to add squatting so that the pressure exerted on his patella and knee region is 6 times his body weight. Very comfortable position. I’ve borrowed the technique for important decisions, really like the pain.

Comment by Old School Panther 12.22.13 @ 9:56 pm

@emel , Concerning you suggesting Uchebo redshirt , I am pretty certain he is a transfer sophomore who redshirted his sophomore year at junior college. This is the 2nd consecutive year he has sat with the same injury and I don’t think he is eligible to redshirt again.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.26.13 @ 9:44 am

Those bashing James Robinson here have to be kidding to suggest that Newkirk should be starting ahead of him. Newkirk is quick and has shown that he has great potential at being able to penetrate. He probably will be better than Robinson in that area as that isn’t something Robinson does well. That is the only area of point guard play that Newkirk even comes close to Robinson. Robinson shoots for a higher percentage inside and outside the ark and at the foul line where Newkirk sucks. Robinson plays way better D and is much less likely to turn the ball over. Newkirk is a great looking freshman who should develop into an excellent point guard. One of his best advantages is he gets to play behind and learn from James Robinson.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.26.13 @ 10:13 am

Zanna bashing is back in style I see. Every week I see at least one post warning how we will be in trouble against strong front lines. Then another week goes by and we aren’t. Talib isn’t spectacular and he certainly isn’t dominant inside, but he seems to neutralize whatever is thrown at him, doesn’t get in foul trouble doing it, scores a dozen and gets about 8 boards a game in 25 to 30 minutes. Which centers in the ACC are doing any better? Oh that’s right there aren’t any. I also heard how we would be taking a big step backwards on D without Adams , yet it looks to me like with Talib at center we have played even better D as well. If he is so bad ,how can that be?

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.26.13 @ 10:25 am

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