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February 4, 2014

Good, But Not That Good

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:12 am

This is not a this team sucks post. Nor is it a, this team is so close post.

Pitt has a good basketball team. In any conference, they would be in the upper half. I honestly see them as a top-30 team. Just a top-30 team.

It’s been something strange. Usually a team like this would have a bad loss and a good win mixed in. Instead, Pitt has no bad losses and no really good win. There are nice wins like Clemson and Stanford. Heck, even the sweep of Maryland is decent. But they aren’t big wins.

Conversely, the losses are not killers. All four losses are to teams presently in the top-25. Virginia, Duke and Syracuse are all in the KenPom.com top-10. All four losses are to teams in the RPI top-20.

I don’t know if that reality makes things better or worse.

Two losses came on last second shots. Three of the games came down to the final minute (or second) with 9 points the total difference in those games. Even the Duke loss was very tight for the first 30 minutes before it got blown open.

It’s not like Pitt has gone down in losses like a big expectation team as Ohio State has to good and bad teams. Or Wisconsin losing at home to Northwestern. Nope. Pitt has been able to handle the teams below them with efficiency and minimal drama. It’s the team above them they haven’t been able to match.

Pulling down that defensive rebound off a Cinci drive rather than letting them get that put back. Kicking the ball out or being a little more patient going back up for a shot when Jamel Artis had a fantastic effort to grab that offensive rebound in the final seconds of the Virginia game.

A defensive stop here. A missed bunny there. A couple free throws. The three that rims out. The missed assignment on the defensive rotation. Those little mistakes that happen to any team during the course of a game. Feel so magnified as the margin of those losses have been so close.

Coming off the Virginia loss, it feels worse. It sucks to see that ceiling appear so obvious for the team. To be grimly aware of what the limits are. The added frustration of the Virginia loss is that it makes that ceiling look that much lower.

Pitt’s been good enough to play with some of the best teams. Just not good enough to beat them.





When you shut down Patterson you shut down Pitt, teams have figured it out. You have to have options, last night Cooney got 32 of 55 points for Syracuse, when the rest of the team was cold.

Ennis and Cooney vs. JR and Cam, offensively no contest.

Then you have Lamar vs Fair and Zanna vs Grant their depth vs ours, makes you wonder how we compete.

I think it really does come down to the abilities of the players. Syracuse and Duke, no contest, Cinci and VA about equal talent level.

Comment by gc 02.04.14 @ 8:49 am

I think this stretch is where we’ve really started to see the loss of Durand Johnson.

When pitt gets into those offensive funks, he often could get them a big basket in some form or another when they needed it. im not saying they win all of the games he missed obviously, but I think they would have got at least one of them

Comment by rhyno527 02.04.14 @ 8:55 am

Now looking at these last 9 games I think we have to win at least 6..and that’s how many we’ll probably get.

wins:
@MIA
VT
FSU
@BC
NCST
@ND/CLEM

Comment by rhyno527 02.04.14 @ 8:57 am

sorry it cut me off:

Losses:
-SYR
-@UNC
-@ND/CLEM

Comment by rhyno527 02.04.14 @ 8:58 am

Points well taken Chas. This is a good team but not a great team. 4th place in ACC is not horrible but we always hope for more. Some close losses. I love these guys and their effort each game. What would we have been if Birch and Adams were still on the roster? I hate to play that game but you wonder sometimes.

Tom Herrion is 6-15 at Marshall this season and was 13-19 last season. Will be interesting to see if he is let go at the end of the season, which is what I am hearing, if Jamie picks him back up as an assistant. Tom is a quality coach and guy!

Looking forward to NLI Day tomorrow and how everything shakes out. H2P!

Comment by Panther Fan in Hoopieland 02.04.14 @ 9:15 am

Rhyno – I agree that DJ off the bench would be nice. I dont know if it would help though. Artis came in and lead the team in scoring against UVA. That spark off the bench should have done something, but Pitt just couldn’t get it done against a tough defense.

Comment by Pendlum 02.04.14 @ 9:16 am

If Patterson cannot create a shot, then Artis is the next best bet, followed by Young in the low post (although he may not yet be strong enough and also not strong enough against some.)

Young was not in the game in last possession vs UVa, I see little purpose for Wright being in there (even though the 2 is often the go-to guy in these situations.)

Comment by wbb 02.04.14 @ 9:23 am

They are doing much better than I expected going into the season. They are playing above their talent as most Dixon teams do. If he does not take any more timeouts like he did Sunday to let the opponent regain momentum they may even win a couple in the tournament.

Comment by 2$Chuck 02.04.14 @ 9:50 am

I also thought he overdid the timeouts in the last few minutes.

Off topic …… but FWIW, after this weekend visit, Rivals.com changed Freebeck’s status back to ‘Solid’ Verbal from ‘Soft’ Verbal, which is good news. Of couse, won’t now for sure until tomorrow

Comment by wbb 02.04.14 @ 9:53 am

@wbb, the timeouts in the last few minutes were to put Patterson in whenever Pitt had the ball. Dixon was trying to take him out on defense so he wouldn’t get a fifth foul and put him back in on offense.

Comment by Howard 02.04.14 @ 10:02 am

You can sum up Pitt’s troubles (if you want to call them that) in one word. Freshman.

Durand’s absence hurts offensively and defensively. I think we all agree Young and Artis will be good in the future but that time is not now. They are learning on the job as they have both admitted.

Pitt’s success will be based on how fast the light bulb comes on for them and how well they are coached for the remainder of the season.

I personally think Artis is seeing the light, just hope he doesn’t hit a wall before the season ends. He is going to be really good.

Comment by notrocketscience 02.04.14 @ 10:27 am

@wbb

I think that Freebeck’s parents coming with him on the visit this past weekend is a really good sign that “Pitt is it.” But, I also remember how many times I changed my mind on things when I was that age—and no one was wooing me with promises to be the starting QB. So, tomorrow will tell the tale.

H2P

Comment by pmdH2P 02.04.14 @ 10:30 am

Artis’ defensive lapses have been well discussed.

But a line-up that I would not mind seeing is:

1.Robinson
2.Patterson (The 2 and 3 in Pitt’s offense seem interchangeable. Patterson is able to drive and pass/score. He may be put in a position to shoot over a smaller defender.)
3. Artis (Artis would be able to shoot over smaller defenders, shows ability to drive and is a good rebounder. He may have trouble defending a quick gaurd but his size would may make it difficult for someone to get an easy set shot).
4. Young (He is improving every game. Having Young and Artis on the court at the same time without losing size and possibly gaining offense.)
5. Zanna

I am not suggesting this is a starting line-up, or even one that gets a lot of minutes. But I think it could throw the opposition a monkey wrench. Why not put them in an uncomfortable position?

Comment by xfmrman 02.04.14 @ 10:34 am

There are reasons for hope that they will be able to beat these teams by the end of the season:

1. This double-teaming of Patterson is so new that they are just learning how to make other teams pay.

2. Young and Artis are playing better every game. They are more often in position on defense. Both made great rebounds against Virginia. Both are also getting better on offense. Young is starting to make his put-backs. Artis is a good outside shooter.

Howard

Comment by Howard 02.04.14 @ 10:36 am

I think it’s kind of obvious that when Lamar gets double teamed, you have to have some more offense available from the 3 point line, in order to stretch the defense from, side to side.

Wright is shooting 24% from 3
JR is shooting 31.6% from 3

Neither of those guys can consistently hit a 3.

Don’t know if you can continue to have them both in the game at the same time, especially if they continue to play slog ball in the halfcourt. You can get away with it against the lower echelon teams, but against good teams….not so much.

Artis meaning is shooting 41.7% from 3
Young is 40.2 % from 3

Which should say that in the halfcourt offense those two need to be in there together.

So I’m in agreement with xfmrman, in that moving Lamar to the 2 seems to be the possible solution, in order to get both Artis & Young into the game.

Wright could be the ‘energy’ guy off the bench.

Now a lot of this could all be avoided if they can figure out how to get transition baskets on a much more frequent basis.

Comment by Emel 02.04.14 @ 10:54 am

Thought for a second that by the title of the Post you might be referring to the Coach.

Comment by PittofDreams 02.04.14 @ 10:58 am

(Artis meanwhile is shooting 41.7% from 3 )

Comment by Emel 02.04.14 @ 10:59 am

Wright is also somewhat of a liability from the FT line at only 62.3%

With Zanna at only 60.6%…..can you afford to have both of them throwing up bricks from the FT line.

Opposing teams strategy is to foul these 2 players rather than give up easy shots and bunnies. More than likely they miss at least 1 FT shot. And we’ve seen strategy repeatedly over the season.

Artis is shooting 77.5% FT
And Young is shooting 82.8%

Comment by Emel 02.04.14 @ 11:06 am

seen ^this^ strategy repeatedly over the season.

Comment by Emel 02.04.14 @ 11:07 am

It also appears that teams have scouted the screen play to get Wright the elbow jump shot.

Comment by xfmrman 02.04.14 @ 11:08 am

We can’t sit Z, so the obvious choice is W.

Comment by Emel 02.04.14 @ 11:09 am

Have Artis and Young spent much time on the floor together this year? How does it affect their stats when they are in the game at the same time?

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.04.14 @ 11:12 am

right xf…also since neither W & JR are 3 point threats it allows their defenders to ‘sag’ off them and afford ‘help’ defense on Lamar.

Comment by Emel 02.04.14 @ 11:13 am

@ Pitt Dad

They’re usually subbing for eachother, although I think they have been in there together the last couple of games. And BOTH of their stat lines have increased.

Comment by Emel 02.04.14 @ 11:16 am

Pitt Dad:

Over the last 5 games, they have spent about 2% of the minutes together (about 4 minutes total). Most of that would have been in the UVA game (with Zanna’s ankle issue).

Comment by xfmrman 02.04.14 @ 11:18 am

Emel – I agree completely. When people have told me that free throw shooting has cost Pitt its games, I’ve said – it’s not that the team is bad, it’s the people going to the line. Cincy mastered that, didn’t we shoot like 37 free throws? They hacked everyone in the last 10 minutes to prevent baskets.

Comment by KeyboardKev 02.04.14 @ 11:20 am

I agree that they are both improving as the season goes on. I wonder, however, if they have spent more time on the floor together in practice. It would be interesting to know that and if it enhances their individual games/development or if it somehow hinders it.

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.04.14 @ 11:20 am

Only thing that might put a ‘monkey wrench’ into these changes is JD loves W and at this point he is a better ‘defensive’ player than Artis.

But I think we’d be a much better team come March if Artis & Young could be at around 10ppg and 6 rpg each.

As they’re both much better FT shooters and 3 point shooters. And have much bigger ‘upsides’ other than anyone else on the team, along with Nuke.

Comment by Emel 02.04.14 @ 11:24 am

notrocketscience, WHAT GAME WERE YOU WATCHING???

How could you make such a blind statement that the freshmen are responsible for Pitt’s troubles.

Those freshmen combined 22 of the 44 points scored, and 17 of the 28 rebounds … that’s 50% and 61%

I suggest you do a little research before you post

Comment by wbb 02.04.14 @ 11:33 am

de malis vires

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.04.14 @ 11:34 am

One other thing, if we’re going to be starting to recruit ‘better’ more highly rated recruits as some have noted on here.

Those kids are going to want to play ‘big’ minutes and will want play larger roles in the offense.

We’re going to have to get better at incorporating these ‘better’ players into the team quicker and better. And they need to be ‘yanked’ less for everything little thing.

That is the price you pay unless you want them to walk.

Better recruits mean they have higher expectations of going to the NBA. And the NBA earlier than 4 and 5 years.

Comment by Emel 02.04.14 @ 11:41 am

An old adage..”the best thing about freshmen is that they are sophmores next year” However….that does not hold true in college basketball. Look at Ennis for Cuse, Artis/Young for Pitt.

As far at FT’s are concerned, I do not see anyone deviating in form at the line from what they learned this summer. To me, they are just tight.

Jamie should do everything he can to loosen this team up…maybe even let Slice coach a game while he watches on TV elsewhere.

As far as recognizing double teams (on Lamar etc) this is not rocket science and does not have to be taught over and over at practice. If 2 players are on you, someone, somewhere is open…FIND THEM!

Comment by Dan 72 02.04.14 @ 11:41 am

And someone please get JD some Quaalude’s. :-)

Comment by Emel 02.04.14 @ 11:44 am

right Dan72

Syracuse for all their wins and such, ONLY has 1 National Title.

And that was because of a freshman, named Carmello.

Comment by Emel 02.04.14 @ 11:47 am

Carmelo’s backcourt mate that year was another freshman, Gerry McNamara

Comment by wbb 02.04.14 @ 11:50 am

This team would be so much better defensively, if we had Birch in the middle swatting shots. averaging a double/double on offense and Z playing the 4. Young and Artis playing the 3 and backing up Z at the 4. And Lamar at the 2. JR not being much of a scoring threat isn’t that important with this type of lineup.

That would be a Top 10 maybe Top 5 team.

Comment by Emel 02.04.14 @ 11:54 am

I agree with the posters that Lamar needs some help, some people to pick up the points if he’s being concentrated on.

However, Lamar has got to step up also.

Lot’s of teams “go to player” get extra attention paid to them, and still manage to be the main cog.

He clearly is still getting shots, 28 or so the past two games?? Only made 7 of them.

7 of 28 ain’t cuttin’ it.

I love Lamar, maybe it’s just a dry spell, maybe getting a little worn out or fatigued.

He’s got to re-group, and come out firing again.

Comment by Dan 02.04.14 @ 11:56 am

@Emel, on a positive note, I am one of the ones that said Pitt does have three 4 Star shooting guards coming. (Rivals.com)

After thinking about that, I do wonder what exactly SG means??

Maybe someone knows some more info than I, are any of these SG’s, devastating 3 point shooters??

To get the inside info, you have to pay, I don’t need to know that bad. LOL

Comment by Dan 02.04.14 @ 12:01 pm

@ Dan-o

The Rowan Maverick kid is supposed to be a ‘Deadeye’ long distance shooter.

Comment by Emel 02.04.14 @ 12:05 pm

Maverick Rowan

Comment by Emel 02.04.14 @ 12:05 pm

Paul Zeise article, nice summary of much of what has been discussed here since Sunday:

link to post-gazette.com

Comment by Iron Duke 02.04.14 @ 12:11 pm

@Emel, did a little research, confirms your thought.

Damon Wilson, more of a pass first, assist guy

Maverick Rowan, sharpshooter from anywhere.

Mustapha Heron, saw a tape, Looks like he can
fire the three’s, but also likes to take it to the rim a lot, from outside.

Latest news on Mostella, anyone?? Is he out of the picture.

How about Sheldon Jeter, the kid from Vandy, still coming?? What type of game does he have??

Comment by Dan 02.04.14 @ 12:19 pm

Mostella….supposed to have left Notre Dame Prep.

Kid sure does ‘tweet’ a lot.

Don’t think he ever gets to Oakland.

Don’t think he would have lasted long anyway, just a hunch.

Comment by Emel 02.04.14 @ 12:25 pm

Heron stock even rising more, than when we got him.

We got him as a top 20 player. Some sites are now saying he’s moved up to possibly being a
top 5 player in the country now.

Hope we can keep him!

Comment by Dan 02.04.14 @ 12:27 pm

Ya, when you see kids hopping all over the place, many times, not a good sign.

Comment by Dan 02.04.14 @ 12:28 pm

Tonite’s games that can help Pitt’s RPI/seeding:

Clemson over Georgia Tech (Clemson should win at home)

Maryland over North Carolina (UNC should win at home)

Comment by xfmrman 02.04.14 @ 12:30 pm

Detrick Mostella is a myth, a total non-entity. As far as Pitt is concerned, he did not exist.

Comment by wbb 02.04.14 @ 12:38 pm

Dan, Jeter is coming and apparently he’ll have 3 years eligibilty remaining. He is currently practicing, but not playing, at a Florida community college. He is being coach by the former Point Park coach.

Jeter is 6’8 and a pretty decent shooter from the corner. I saw him on TV last year at Vandy, where he started a handful of games a natural frosh. I see no reason why he won’t be a key backup next year.

Comment by wbb 02.04.14 @ 12:50 pm

@wbb, thanks, good stuff.

Comment by Dan 02.04.14 @ 12:51 pm

The Jeter kid was a 2 star (scout) and a 3 star(rivals) and his final choice was between Vanderbilt and Pedo State (ikr).

More of the so called ‘athletic’ type. Meaning not a great shooter.

He’ll provide some depth off the bench while he’s being incorporated.

Comment by Emel 02.04.14 @ 12:56 pm

JD wasn’t much interested the first time around.

You know what they say about ……

link to youtube.com

Comment by Emel 02.04.14 @ 12:59 pm

We should call Mostella Ghostella from now on. People think they’ve seen him, but not really.

Comment by Caw Miller 02.04.14 @ 1:02 pm

Maybe more important, Jeter’s younger brother, Donovan, is a freshman at Beaver Falls this year and has had at least a half dozen doubel-doubles this year … including a 31 pt performance.

About 15 minutes away is Midland where Lincoln Park is located … where sophomore Pitt commit Maverick Rowan (as Emel alluded to) is really tearing it up. Rowan’s dad Ron, of course, starred at Beaver Falls.

The Beaver Valley remains a fertile ground for both high school RB & BB.

Comment by wbb 02.04.14 @ 1:12 pm

Whatever happened to the Panther squad that dismantled a good Clemson team?

Glad to hear from wbb that Wade Freebeck is now a “solid” verbal. Guess we’ll know for sure in a few hours.

Comment by Dr. Tom 02.04.14 @ 1:20 pm

Gotcha wbb ;-)

Bring in Sheldon and we have a lead in for Donavan.

A 2 for 1 ! I likey

Comment by Emel 02.04.14 @ 1:21 pm

a little more info on Donovan

link to sportstown.post-gazette.com

oh yea, he also started at a frosh in FB .. TE/DE

Comment by wbb 02.04.14 @ 1:33 pm

Our old pal JJ Moore notched 27 the other day.

Comment by steve1 02.04.14 @ 1:46 pm

If Birch was still here, Pitt wouldn’t have gotten Artis. Artis was a late commit from what I remember.

There will be no space for Mostella once Eubanks commits.

I really doubt the Heron decommits. His Dad is friends with Slice and they played basketball together.

Jeter will definitely contribute. I think Jeter wasn’t recruited by Pitt and other schools because he was shorter and seen more as a tweener. But then he grew more. If he didn’t have potential, then I doubt his coach would have blocked his transfer to Pitt. He shot 39.1% from threes with 64 attempts. So his shooting is decent.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.04.14 @ 2:00 pm

So what are we looking at come tournament time? 5 seed? 6 seed?

Comment by Atlanta Panther 02.04.14 @ 2:50 pm

If we only lose 1 reg season game and then one in the ACC tournament, we are a 3 seed. If we do what I expect, we go in 27-7 and at a 4 seed. If the wheels come off, we go in 24-9 and are an 8 or 9 seed.

Zanna turn around and reasserting himself rather than LP is the key.

Comment by TVax 02.04.14 @ 3:13 pm

Just heard Freebeck to Vandy-

Comment by cas myzlinski 02.04.14 @ 3:22 pm

cas, I heard it too

Comment by wbb 02.04.14 @ 3:29 pm

Good luck Wade, all hail Adam Bertke!

link to triblive.com

Comment by Iron Duke 02.04.14 @ 3:33 pm

Cas, I would imagine Vanderbilt presented him the opportunity to play right away.

Comment by Justinian 02.04.14 @ 3:40 pm

Not gonna bash the kid, Vandy is desperate and most likely promised a shot at starter. Franklin stole the recruits he wanted and left them in a bad way. What’s crazy is that he is going to the SEC with a team that is going backwards. As down as we are on Pitt most of the time I feel we are at least better off than them.

Comment by cas myzlinski 02.04.14 @ 3:41 pm

Cas, What we miss, is that most of these kids think they are good enough to start right away. They really have no idea how much they need to learn and how they need to develop to play effectively at the Division I level. This is good for Adam Bertke. Chryst will need to bring another quarterback or two next year.

Comment by Justinian 02.04.14 @ 3:50 pm

Ok so we NEED a graduate transfer in the worst way for next year!

Comment by JJ 02.04.14 @ 3:50 pm

looks like Franklin indirectly flipped a Pitt recruit … oh, well.

It’s way too early …. but it should be known that Franklin was unable to get any top ranked recruit from PA. The ones who will sign with PSU had already committed before Franklin came, like Apke. He tried to flip Gateway’s Nicholsen (with assistant Smith’s help) but was unsuccessful, and wouldn’t doubt he tried for one or two thers from the other side of the state.

Comment by wbb 02.04.14 @ 3:50 pm

Maybe we end up with the kid from USC.

Comment by cas myzlinski 02.04.14 @ 3:55 pm

You can’t say the Pitt staff didn’t do everything they could to keep Freebeck committed to Pitt. I think this program is a lot better shape going forward then Vandy. Tennessee in nearby Knoxville has a recruiting class that’s ranked 4th in the nation.

Comment by Justinian 02.04.14 @ 3:56 pm

I think there is a WPIAL QB next year who I read is going to be very good.

Comment by Frank 02.04.14 @ 4:31 pm

Agree with this post… but I have to say, if Johnson would have stayed healthy I think I would have a different opinion.

He was the only other player we had that could spread the floor. As the 6th man he would have brought some pressure off patterson and provide some range. He added a dynamic which we have sorely missed since losing to Syracuse. I’m looking forward to seeing him next year though, heal up good bud.

Comment by Benzene 02.04.14 @ 4:47 pm

PITT wrestling up to #6

Comment by rhyno527 02.04.14 @ 5:03 pm

University of Pittsburgh Wrestling
February 1
Final: Pitt 33, WVU 6

Comment by TVax 02.04.14 @ 5:17 pm

I actually thought Pitt’s best lineup at the UVA game, if memory serves, had Patterson, Young, Artis, Robinson and Jones. It was after Zanna went down and a few minutes before half. They were very active on both ends of the floor.

I like having Young and Artis on the floor because of their ability to stretch it. Artis seems to be the more aggressive of the two in that regard.

In the UVA game it seemed to me that Pitt was turning down makeable shots early in the shot clock and then struggling to get off anything late. I think this is where they miss DJ. He rarely turned down an open, makeable shot.

I like your synopsis Chas. I believe that Pitt had a distinct FT attempt advantage against Cincy, Cuse and UVA and squandered it in each game. They missed a bunch of bunnies in each game too. Those points were true to some extent in the Duke game before Duke lit it up from 3 and put it away. They need to convert easy FG or FT opportunities against better teams.

Comment by Barvo 02.04.14 @ 5:19 pm

With a healthy DJ, Pitt only has 2 losses on the season and is in first place in the ACC.

Great way to close the recruiting class strong…

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.04.14 @ 5:31 pm

Looks like the only drama as far as LOI day tomorrow is when or if the Wade Freebeck fax rolls in.

Still wish this was a national holiday, for us college football fanatics.

As far as the hoop team goes, not much to add that hasn’t been said. Sweet 16 seems to be ceiling for this team, why does that sound familiar?

Comment by Pap76 02.04.14 @ 5:32 pm

Welp, guess no drama tomorrow after all. Really leaves us thin at QB.

As long as Voytik is the real deal we will be fine with another year to recruit a QB. If not, could really put this program behind.

Assuming with Freebeck out, this leaves this class ranked somewhere in the #40’s…

Comment by Pap76 02.04.14 @ 5:40 pm

Tough break with Freebeck, but if you don’t want to be at Pitt then too bad for you. I agree that he’ll get more PT sooner down at Vandy, and it’s a bit warmer (anybody else see Freebeck’s tweet about “can’t wait to get to Pittsburgh”? It had a picture of a sunsoaked beach and all the fine scenery you see there). We’ll be fine this year with Voytik and Anderson but Bertke better be the real deal or next year we’ll be pretty thin.

Other than that I think HCPC has put together a nice class. Yes it’s only ranked in the 40’s, but he’s restocked both lines, has found some potentially nice sleepers, and reeled in two real skill position gems. More importantly, all of these guys are outstanding young men and excited to come to Pitt. HTP.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 02.04.14 @ 5:48 pm

Atlanta Panther……………Amen!

Comment by Justinian 02.04.14 @ 5:58 pm

Penn State’s recruiting class for football getting great reviews. #21.

Pitt #41.
link to sports.yahoo.com

Comment by TonyinHouston 02.04.14 @ 6:12 pm

If the prognosticator on talent evaluation were or react then Denver would be Super Bowl champs. Seattle is filled with a bunch of free agents and late draft picks.

Pitt will be fine. Can’t measure heart and desire. Losing the kid from Florida may not be so bad after all if his heart wasn’t at Pitt. Moving on.

Comment by Pitt fan in Atlanta 02.04.14 @ 6:21 pm

Sorry, TVax, no way in hell is this team a 3 seed. Jamie’s propensity to vanish like Mostella will forbid any seed higher than five at best.

Comment by TonyinHouston 02.04.14 @ 6:22 pm

Who knows, there may be more upside with Bertke anyway. He’s a small school kid but he’s also a 3 star and they will be able to bring him along behind Voytik. Next year they’ll be recruiting more quarterbacks.

Comment by Justinian 02.04.14 @ 6:29 pm

Tony, no need to worry, Penn State class averages 3.17 Pitt class 2.87. Not real sure what that will mean on the football field, but in a couple years when King James walks across the Allegheny and onto Heinz field I guess we’ll find out. Hail to Pitt

Comment by cas myzlinski 02.04.14 @ 6:59 pm

Winning games scoring 50-55 points is never going to work and that is where Pitt is right now. There is no question that this team has no one who can get hot (even if its only 1 out of 5 games) like DJ could and the impact is being felt by LP and TZ. Teams are packing in their defense and defying CW or JR to hit an outside shot. Until someone steps up from medium to long range on a consistent basis, Pitt will may only be able to split the rest of their games.
LP has no room to penetrate with the attention he’s getting and that has impacted both LP’s outside shooting and TZ’s points from the easy baskets he got when LP found him open on drives.
I appreciate that Newkirk is a high risk gamble, but I’ve seen his shooting from the outside as the only potential opportunity as compared to CW and JR so I’d give him more time, especially at the BEGINNING of games to see if he can be effective when the pressure is less.
Without Freebeck, Pitt is so razor thin at QB next season that an injury to Voytik could mean a dramatic drop in wins. Voytik’s game is not conducive to playing a full season without an injury or two, so keep you fingers crossed that they can get 10 full games out of him.
PC has got to save a schollie for a JC QB transfer doesn’t he? Are there 1 or 2 worth getting?

Comment by Taxing Matters 02.04.14 @ 7:11 pm

I am lot less disturbed at losing Freebeck (who is not a can’t miss recruit) than losing real good prospects from our backyard.

Comment by wbb 02.04.14 @ 7:15 pm

I guess wasn’t impressed with Russell Wilson’s game, and the line Chryst is building. Wait till he plays Alabama, LSU, South Carolina, Georgia, A&M, I hope he has a good pair of legs and eyes in the back of his head.

He is probably afraid that Voytik will play for the next three years, a reasonable expectation after the bowl performance.

We get Jeter they get Freebeck, not a fair exchange.

Comment by gc 02.04.14 @ 7:20 pm

Taxing Matter, as it stands right now, Bertke is every bit the prospect that Freebeck is. Of the 3 scouting services linked on the right hand side of this site, 2 of them rate Bertke higher.

Certainly, Freebeck may prove to be better but if Voytik gets hurt, we are in trouble with or without Freebeck

Comment by wbb 02.04.14 @ 7:20 pm

@Tony in Houston, “Jamie’s propensity to vanish” Your clever little slap at JD is very misleading as past tournament performance is not a factor considered by the selection committee in seeding. We all would have been thrilled to sign on for a 5 seed this past summer which indicates that maybe Coach Dixon deserves credit for giving us an over achieving team. Thought a clever wit like you would appreciate the clarification. Meanwhile I don’t think what happened to Mostella is at all amusing either. Too bad for us but a tragedy for him. I wish there was a way he could be responsible enough to claim the fruits of his talent rather than see them wasted. A very very sad situation indeed.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.04.14 @ 7:20 pm

We still have Trey Anderson who should be a decent back-up, he has been in the system, and I think he will be a senior.

Comment by gc 02.04.14 @ 7:26 pm

Unfortunately, the depth is not there due to Adams, Birch, John Johnson, and JJ leaving. Add to that the injury to DJ.

We are extremely fortunate to have a very strong freshman class.

With LP and Zanna graduating, next year will be even more challenging.

Comment by gc 02.04.14 @ 7:34 pm

I think we’ll be fine. I think as commented above, Voytik’s performance against Bowling Green scared the shit out of Freebeck. The reality, baring injury or Dan Marino type talent, is that freshman quarterbacks typically get redshirted.

Comment by Justinian 02.04.14 @ 7:36 pm

Voytik looked to me to be nimble enough to protect himself. I hope this years O line decides to join him in those attempts as well.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.04.14 @ 7:43 pm

Any way you cut it, the loss of Freebeck is BIG. Sure hope that Adam Bertke grasps the consequences of Freebeck’s apparent decision. Get ready to play Adam you’re just a couple plays away from taking the field come September!

Comment by Dr. Tom 02.04.14 @ 7:44 pm

GC, Yes JJ Moore leaving and Durand Johnson getting hurt certainly changed the depth issue, for the Panthers. The plus side of that is that Artis, Young, Jones, and Newkirk will get more minutes and hopefully be much further along come tournament time. There’s little we can do about the players that are no longer available. As the Pitt freshmen get more and more minutes in conference play, hopefully they will make fewer mistakes. All and all, the Panthers are in much better shape than any of us could have reasonably expected.

Comment by Justinian 02.04.14 @ 7:45 pm

it would help if we could really get the running attack in gear CONSISTENTLY next year

Comment by wbb 02.04.14 @ 7:47 pm

I like most others here have issues with Jaimie but I remain very glad that he is the Pitt coach

Comment by wbb 02.04.14 @ 7:49 pm

@@@@@

Freebeck in all probability would RS next
Year then compete with Bertke to backup
Voytik. Need at least on QB in 15. So much
for the early commitment process. That
said the kid has a right to attend the school
of his choice.

l

Comment by JR 02.04.14 @ 7:51 pm

Dr. Tom, Whether or not the loss of Freebeck is big deal or not, he’s gone. No use crying over spilt milk. You move on to the next play. It was just like last year when Robert Foster, who everyone thought was going to be a Pitt guy, decided to go to Alabama. So went to Alabama and never got on the playing field. Tyler Boyd chose Pitt, started as a freshman and won accolades for his outstanding play and all ACC honors. I couldn’t care less about local players who go elsewhere. I care about the players who choose to play at Pitt.

Comment by Justinian 02.04.14 @ 7:55 pm

USA Today pegs Pitt as a six seed in the East:
link to usatoday.com

Comment by TonyinHouston 02.04.14 @ 7:56 pm

spiritofsection22:
Glad to see you back. Latest six seed, at least according to USA Today.

Propensity of vanish = never beating a higher seeded team (and losing to lower seeds when #1).

That’s not Jamie bashing. It’s fact.

Comment by TonyinHouston 02.04.14 @ 7:59 pm

How badly do we need a win against Syracuse? (For many reasons, not just rankings.)

Comment by Lou 02.04.14 @ 8:06 pm

@gc, I understand your concern but disagree with your statement ,” next year will be even more challenging.” This summer fans looking ahead couldn’t imagine Patterson, Zanna or Wright playing at the level that they are now performing. We lost Woodall (leading scorer), Adams (greatest potential), Moore , Zeigler, and Sleepy too. We had Robinson,a declining Zanna (changing position), unimpressive Patterson , and not very good Wright and some transfers and some freshman. The cupboard looked bare. Next year we have solid guards the Junior version of Robinson, a senior Cam Wright, Jones with a healthy shooting hand and Nuke with some experience. Don’t be surprised if Jones, Wright and Newkirk are formidable. Jones alone could be a Patterson/ Wannamaker clone and Nuke has amazing potential. Artis and Young both have shown they belong and they won’t be half as confused come this time next year. We have another group of quality freshman and the sophomore transfer Jeter inbound. We have half a season to fill the center slot by developing Randall, or Uchebo. With Slice on the the hunt for a transfer or a JC center. I think we are WAY WAY ahead of last year not more challenged as you suggested.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.04.14 @ 8:13 pm

We don’t need Freebeck, and we definitely don’t need a transfer rent-a-starter. Voytik will be going into his third year in the system. I’d much rather take our chances with him and know that he has even more time to play and grow in the system.

Comment by HbgFrank 02.04.14 @ 8:15 pm

@gc, Not to mention Johnson back. We are so loaded I forgot him.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.04.14 @ 8:16 pm

Freebeck hurts b/c he plays against the best competition in the US. Those kids traveled to NOLA and played a nationally televised game against John Curtis. The level of 3 Stars and 4 Stars alone essentailly gives Freebeck an almost RS b/c of the speed he is used to playing against. The Bertke kid is playing small ball against 4H cows and horses. I joke but 1A ball in Michigan doesn’t get me to terribly excited. He may be great but has to spend 2 years to get caught up on speed, etc. Freebeck already has that experience. For us to say that Voytik is a going to be a stud is very premature. He played 1 good half against Bowling Green from the MAC. Yes they had a Nationally Ranked Defense… They still play in the MAC. I hope Voytik doesn’t miss a beat but the jury will be out until he at least starts 4-8 games so to speak. I still think the ACE in the hole is Trey. Mark my words he will play in 2014 whether it be b/c of an injury or a benching to Voytik. Just my 2 cents and a positive version of it. Excited for Fall and going to watch Pitt at FIU and UM. Now come on Pitt Hoops and Dixon… Let’s go and earn it. I want a final four or I’m getting back on my get rid of Dixon and replace him with Archie Miller Rant. LOL

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.04.14 @ 8:23 pm

Lastly, The Freebeck thing hurts because we once again can’t make any in roads in the state of Florida and in particular South Florida…. Broward and Miami-Dade County.

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.04.14 @ 8:25 pm

@tonyin Houston, You said JD’s vanishing will prevent us from getting a 3 seed. Previous performance is not a seeding factor no matter how accurate your left handed slap is concerning tournament losses. It doesn’t effect seeding period. You had it half right and all wrong. The committee doesn’t consider previous tournament history in seeding so you sliding it into the conversation smells of Dixon bashing.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.04.14 @ 8:26 pm

HbgFrank, I’m with you on this one. Screw him. Voytik is the guy and Trey Anderson is behind him. It will take time to get any freshman ready and up to speed. There aren’t many freshmen playing Division 1 football that do much of anything as freshman.

Comment by Justinian 02.04.14 @ 8:30 pm

Emel……I was just wondering how your on here so much…hope business is booming!!..h2p

Comment by Keith 02.04.14 @ 8:30 pm

@Upittbaseball, You are right to notice the importance of attracting Southern Florida talent. The best way to do that is to have success against them on the field. I’m not so sure this Freebeck kid backing out doesn’t have more to do with late arriving opportunities at Vanderbilt than anything we could control.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.04.14 @ 8:36 pm

@TonyinHouston

If we do what I expect, we go in 27-7 and at a 4 seed.

If everything breaks right we have a shot at 3 seed and if it goes “left” we are a 9 seed.

Let’s beat Miami and start back on the right track toward the Syracuse rematch.

Comment by TVax 02.04.14 @ 8:38 pm

Trey will never see the field,nother qb coming,the closer May be a hoser

Comment by Paul Shannon 02.04.14 @ 8:44 pm

This is still(potentially) a VERY VERY GOOD Pitt team. Confidence by them and coaching will determine this season from here.

And I say again, it is Zanna who is the key. As he performs, so goes this team.

Comment by TVax 02.04.14 @ 8:47 pm

Nice to see you back Spirit, as usual I hope you are right. I do think there is a chance. But we still don’t have a guard that can score, unless Newkirk has a breakout year and we don’t have an above the line big man. So where are the points going to come from?

I am not saying we will be terrible, but we need to replace the point production of Patterson and Zanna. We will need a big leap from Jones or DJ. Both will be recovering from surgery. If Slice finds an above the line center that helps immensely. A lot of ifs.

All that being said, I don’t see us challenging the powers that be, Duke, Syracuse, Louisville, and NC will be back.

By the way, you did say that VA would be no problem, and that we were a top ten team.

I appreciate your positive attitude and enthusiasm.

However, your blue and gold glasses are just a little rosier than mine.

Comment by gc 02.04.14 @ 8:51 pm

Paul – I think Trey is better than Voytik right now. Voytik played a 1/2 in one game.

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.04.14 @ 8:52 pm

Spirit – I think his heart and his parent’s was in the SEC and Vandy is a great school as well. Who knows. I think he wants to go in G’Ville and beat the Gators to be honest.

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.04.14 @ 8:54 pm

The way I see it, if Zanna is wincing and wiping his eye(UVA game and several conf. games last year) or down on the court writhing in pain, we go nowhere.

If he toughs it out through eye pokes and then throws a well placed elbow back at the opponent(as Dejuan Blair might do) or gets up from an ankle roll and brushes off the pain and leads this team, we can go far. We need Zanna the Warrior, not Talib the mouse from here on out.

Comment by TVax 02.04.14 @ 8:55 pm

And lastly, we do have a not so secret weapon that can be used at any time necessary.

The dreaded DJ headband!!! They should be pulled out and worn at key times the rest of this season.

Comment by TVax 02.04.14 @ 8:58 pm

@Tvax, When the Zman went to the lockeroom Sunday I was worried that we were cooked. He was gone so long that I feared the worst and when he came back out I said my thank yous to the Great Scorer in great earnest. VERY VERY GOOD might be stretching things a little but when we are at our best we are very good and capable of beating every team I have seen play this year. The team that thumped Clemson can play with Florida or Arizona. We need to figure out how to bring our best when it counts.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.04.14 @ 9:01 pm

I find myself having to agree with UPitt, the loss of Freebeck hurts. A high profile QB from FL was a big get.

Need to find a better one next year.

Should have wore the headbands for all home games.

The team did seem to have less emotion than Duke or VA.

Comment by gc 02.04.14 @ 9:04 pm

My threshold for v v good is a top 15 team and we were very close to that 3 games ago.

Comment by tvax1 02.04.14 @ 9:13 pm

GC – You may turn to stone. Haha

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.04.14 @ 10:26 pm

I too find myself agreeing with UPitt. At day one, Freebeck had to be ahead of Bertke. Time will tell and you never know who will pan out, but I’d much rather have both of them than just one. 3 QBs on the roster is not enough, especially when none have experience.

I’m also not willing to anoint Voytik the next Marino based on two quarters. Freebeck carried the Florida banner, and we all agree Pitt needs to make in roads in the Sunshine State. Lastly, it just blows to lose a kid at the 11th hour who has been committed since June.

I don’t blame the staff on this one. I think they gave him a pretty hard sell, he just changed his mind. But this a fairly significant loss.

Comment by Iron Duke 02.04.14 @ 10:35 pm

Iron Duke, No one likes to left at the altar. There are a lot of 3 star quarterbacks out there who aren’t considered good enough prospects, to be recruited by the top programs. Who are we kidding, Freebeck isn’t Dan Marino. He went to Vanderbilt, not Alabama. Flipping one day before national signing day, he really screwed the Pitt staff, who this late in the game have no other options until next year. He made a verbal commitment to Pitt back in July and then waited until the very last day to change his mind. Yes,lots of luck trying to beat Florida.

Comment by Justinian 02.04.14 @ 11:25 pm

So Freebeck…

– watches a Chryst QB win the superbowl,
-sees a Pitt program being build around pro style offense, offensive line,etc.
– has a NFL players as position coaches at QB and WR…

BUT, he will have to compete for his job with an existing QB and another coming in. RS one year, play in 2-3…

So, go to south, play for a defensive coach desperate for a quarterback now… and be in the lower tier of the SEC…

Good luck to the kid and enjoy college… but if he chooses not be here given the above… we definitely don’t want him here.

Program just has to start winning more games and then being in the ACC and playing in the south will reap its proper reward.

H2P

Comment by Pittscript 02.04.14 @ 11:53 pm

“I believe in the sacredness of a promise, that a man’s word should be as good as his bond, that character—not wealth or power or position—is of supreme worth.”

John D. Rockefeller

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.05.14 @ 12:20 am

Script. Are you talking about Bollinger as a NFL QB?

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.05.14 @ 1:33 am

Iron Duke, I repeat .. 2 of the 3 scouting services linked on the site have Bertke ahead of Freebeck. But the main thing is neither are a sure thing and neither are ready for D1 FB this coming year.

I’m not the person who automatically puts a guy down who rejected Pitt, but in fact, I had posted on this site previously that Bertke was considered a better prospect by many. That’s certainly not to say he will be, but I don’t necessarily see why Freebeck HAS to be better.

Comment by wbb 02.05.14 @ 7:28 am

wbb, I hear you, and agree Bertke could be > Freebeck in the end. I’m saying right now, based on level of competition and interest from other D-I schools that I agree with UPitt – Freebeck is likely ahead. If Bertke works hard and has ability, maybe he surpasses him.

My biggest concern is depth and risk. I’d rather have both and hope that one blossoms, vs. all eggs in one basket. Really need a good QB prospect in ’15 now.

Comment by Iron Duke 02.05.14 @ 8:39 am

The other thing that bothers me is a guy that makes a commitment in July, then gets swept of his feet by another suitor just before the prom. Brings back nasty old memories.

Comment by gc 02.05.14 @ 8:48 am

Our hoop team has slipped a couple notches the last week. We would be wise to check that trend tonite and catch the slide before it becomes problematic. Miami isn’t a walkover but with a good effort they are certainly beatable. I would love to see us take control in the first half and cruise to a nice safe win.HTP

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.05.14 @ 9:46 am

GC, As to my top 10/ Virginia no problem statements- The team that played Clemson was at least top 10 and without the injury to Zanna and the sorry officiating we would have handled Virginia with relative ease. Now we look more like top 25 and Virginia is still no problem if we are healthy. I hope we play them again at the conference tournament because I don’t think they could beat us again.As far as your “not seeing us challenging the powers that be UNC, Louisville, Syracuse, and Duke. We weren’t expected to be a challenge to any of them this year. Last time I looked we are doing way better than 2 of those teams and capable of challenging the other 2. I bet next year will be about the same. Generally no one expects us to compete yet we almost always do. We will have a deep, experienced, and talented backcourt next year. Our guards will be the envy of the conference. I think a healthy Jones and Johnson would be making big strides this year and by adding a more experienced Newkirk to our 2 returning starters with Robinson and Wright. We could have the best and deepest backcourt ever at Pitt next year.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.05.14 @ 10:14 am

Gc, Who really is top 10 anyway. I know we can hang with Cincinnati,bet we can handle Creighton, and wouldn’t panic if we had to play San Diego St. I am looking forward to getting another shot or two at the Orange. I don’t think that makes me a wide eyed optimist either.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.05.14 @ 10:26 am

Tonite’s games that can help Pitt’s RPI/seeding:

Albany over UMass-Lowell (Albany should win at home)

Duquesne over George Washington (Not likely)

Lehigh over Army (Lehigh on the road, might be close)

Youngstown State over Wright State (@Wright State, expect a close game)

Fresno State over Air Force (Air Force should win at home)

Stanford over California (It will be tough for Stanford to get a road win here)

Pitt must win in Miami.

Comment by xfmrman 02.05.14 @ 11:17 am

Latest line @ +5.5

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.05.14 @ 12:17 pm

Uppitt,trey has noway no how the skills ,he is great kid that will just be on the team

Comment by Paul Shannon 02.05.14 @ 6:27 pm

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