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February 5, 2014

2 game losing streak. Road game. Another slow-paced defensive-minded opponent.

Miami is off to a 2-6 start in the ACC. In no small part because their schedule has been brutal for what should be a middle to lower middle team in the ACC — Syracuse (twice), Duke, FSU, at Maryland.

The team plays a matchup zone defense.

“Theirs is a matchup zone, we haven’t seen a lot of that matchup zone this year. We’ve seen more of it in other years, but not so much this year,” Dixon said. “They also play a little bit of the Syracuse zone, a type of 2-3, but we saw it a little more in the Big East. It is something that coach Larranaga hasn’t played a lot of [in the past], but is this year because he feels it matches his personnel.

“They match up more with their three perimeter guys, they play more man-to-man on the ball than say a 2-3 zone.”

Dixon said the key to Miami’s zone is it slows teams down on offense. That meshes with the Hurricanes’ philosophy of keeping the possessions low and scoring down.

He said the only way to attack it successfully is to be patient. Dixon thought the Panthers were pretty good at that Sunday in the loss against Virginia but noted they were not good at making shots.

“I think we are good against a zone,” Dixon said. “The matchup zone is something that we prepare for, but we are also built to have success against zones because we pass it well and shoot it well. But it is something that we are going to have to be patient with and adjust [to] as they adjust as the game goes on.

The Canes have some length on the perimeter which is why they play the zone.

Lamar Patterson will be a focus for them — as he has been for the past couple of teams. So unless other guys start making shots with more consistency and finishing at (not simply getting to) the basket, that isn’t going to change.

This will be a slow tempo game. Hopefully it will be more along the Clemson game than the Virginia/Cinci style.

Miami media cares little for this sort of thing. Especially on signing day. Their lone story focuses on how there will be four players from Nigeria on the court tonight — not the actual game. As for Talib Zanna, there isn’t much being said about whether his ankle is okay from the nasty roll it got on Sunday.

It’s a 7pm game down in Coral Gables.

The game is on ESPN3.com and ESPN’s FullCourt package. The RSN distribution includes Root Sports — Pittsubrgh, YES, NESN, SportsTime Ohio, Sun Sports and others.





wbb..the same thing happened to my link at the same time. My game was switched to the UNLV game.

Comment by Jackagain 02.05.14 @ 9:50 pm

Pitt was out rebounded 43/37.

Comment by MariettaMike 02.05.14 @ 9:50 pm

that’s rebounds Miami led

Comment by wbb 02.05.14 @ 9:50 pm

Recap up but still no front page link

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.05.14 @ 9:52 pm

glodson, I’ve always wondered about Pitt overpracticing come Feb. They often seem to hit a wall about this time

Comment by wbb 02.05.14 @ 9:52 pm

That win was so ugly that they should have played it with the lights turned off.

Comment by Dr. Tom 02.05.14 @ 9:53 pm

Jones has a torn ligament or something on one hand that will need surgery. He wears a brace.

Jackagain, the selection committee looks at things like RPI and record. Both things Pitt isn’t horrible at. Pitt’s non conference RPI is 5. Maybe you’ll learn more about NCAA basketball sometime.

Pitt is getting looks they just aren’t converting those looks. Missing lots of shots they didn’t before the slump.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.05.14 @ 9:56 pm

A number of years ago Dixon noted he needed to recruit more shooters. What decade did he have in mind?

Comment by chethejet 02.05.14 @ 9:59 pm

Pens won 5-1

Comment by Jackagain 02.05.14 @ 10:02 pm

LOL Ward…how much do you want to bet?

Either the Selection Committee will be touting Pitt’s strong RPI for their great seeding or their weak NC schedule. That’s the bet…you can guess where my money’s going…

Comment by Jackagain 02.05.14 @ 10:05 pm

@Dr. Tom – this win was so ugly my mom tied a chop around it’s neck and, well, you know the punch line.

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.05.14 @ 10:08 pm

Finally a link on ESPN front page

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.05.14 @ 10:09 pm

Newkirk played 18 min, 1/4 shooting, 2 pts, 1 reb, 3 fouls

Artis played 13 min, 0/3 shooting (0/2 from beyond the arc), 1/2 from the FT line, 1 reb, 1 TO, 2 fouls

I know they will get better but it can’t happen soon enough.

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.05.14 @ 10:26 pm

Yes, the “fun to watch” team has reverted to the Pitt teams that can’t hit the side of a barn. I don’t get it.

And I agree that Dixon needs to introduce some wrinkles into the offense. As the season goes on, it just becomes stagnant and predictable.

They won. Don’t think they deserved it, but I’ll take it. But the confidence I had that this was a strong team just struggling a little bit is gone. Evaporated like Zanna’s presence in the paint.

Comment by Carmen 02.05.14 @ 10:45 pm

JD has put his usual run the clock down before you make a play offense….boring, low scoring, and we end up chocking because we get afraid to make a mistake! Ground Hog day….

Comment by markup 02.05.14 @ 10:52 pm

18-54, 33.3% for field goals and 4-14, 28.6 for three point shots.

73 percent free throws wins the game.

Is it possible to shoot worse?

Against Clemson, we made everything, I guess we shot our wad on one game.

At least Patterson broke out of his slump starting with the two threes at the end of the half.

Now if we could get Zanna going again…

Comment by gc 02.05.14 @ 11:14 pm

I’m just glad we broke the losing streak. Now, maybe the team can gain some confidence. It’s very apparent to me that this team lost a ton of confidence losing at home to Duke. Add VA to that. A win even against Miami is big because it’s in the other column. Now we have a great chance to make it 2 in a row before a rematch against ‘Cuse…the team that usually brings out our best. Let’s go Pitt!

Comment by Vonteego's Way 02.05.14 @ 11:50 pm

Cincy, Miami and UVA are similar grind it out teams. Pitt has struggled recently with them. See ND. Cuse is the #1 team in the country and Duke is starting to play like their early rankings suggested. Expect FSU and ND to be tough games too.

Is Pitt a National Title contender? No. But Pitt has shown they can hang with the big boys. As ugly as this game was, it was important. Pitt has to keep beating the teams they are supposed. They’ll get over the hump.

We got another game against Cuse and history suggests we play well against them. Pitt could be a bad match up for UNC even though they are playing better. UNC is not physically or mentally tough as Duke.

This team is definitely Sweet 16 capable and with the right match up, Elite 8. They’ve hit a rough patch in the middle of February. They just came off two emotionally taxing losses to Duke and UVA in front of a crazy Zoo only to play at Miami in front of the rafters. Not an easy thing to do.

No need to throw in the towel yet. Enjoy the last 10 games or so we have of Patterson and Zanna. Two players that finally reached their potential. I still think this team will surprise and I haven’t said that in a few years.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 02.05.14 @ 11:58 pm

TT:
Thanks for the level-headed comments. And talking me off-of the ledge.
I agree.

Comment by xfmrman 02.06.14 @ 1:11 am

Let us remember that Syracuse scored 49 points against Miami at the Carrier Dome.

Comment by xfmrman 02.06.14 @ 1:22 am

Unfortunately, I am on Carmen’s side rather than TT’s for now. I only caught a few minutes of the feed before it cut out and I can’t get myself to endure the replay if I can’t ff through the stoppages.

We definitely need a big win and that will not happen with LP alone. Stats say CW did his job but nobody else. Play by play suggests Miami blew it at the Ft line. The VT game will tell nothing and there is no way I see us beating Syracuse unless TZ plays unlike Zanna AND someone else contributes in a big way.

I don’t see it, so I hope to get surprised by someone. Not fair commenting without having watched, but JD constantly quotes the stats, so why not me too.

Comment by tvax1 02.06.14 @ 3:18 am

I am still on the ledge for now.
Either Zanna helps me back off or…………………… I’m gonna’ jump.

Right now I feel a push rather than a pull coming.

Comment by tvax1 02.06.14 @ 3:26 am

A conference win on the road is always a good thing.let’s appreciate beating Miami.

Comment by TonyinHouston 02.06.14 @ 5:52 am

OK I have slept on it…and walked off the ledge a bit.

Every team in the nation will have 2-3 games in a season where they shoot in the mid 30% range. They will lose most of those games but we didn’t. Even great Pitt teams…I remember a game up at Rutgers about 6 years ago when we came back and squeaked it right at the end. Rutgers was a joke of a team…but we nearly lost with a far better Pitt team than we have today. It just happens. At least we won.

Nevertheless, I don’t see how we go .500 from here on out unless a) the bench can give the starters some more rest b) we figure out how to win when Patterson is double teamed all game or just has an off game, or c) someone becomes more of a 3 point threat. Preferably 2 out of 3.

Comment by DD 02.06.14 @ 7:49 am

Agree, Tony, but I am really concerned about what appears to be some significant regression, as embodied by Nuke. Early in the season, admittedly against inferior competition, he played with confidence. He now looks like a shell of that player: hesitant, scared to make a mistake.

The crisp passing is gone, the offense is stagnant. It feels just like… the past few seasons. Dixon has got to take steps to loosen up the team, himself, and introduce some things into the offense to freshen it up, create scoring opportunities for other players beside Patterson.

Some things need to change.

Comment by Carmen 02.06.14 @ 7:50 am

Jamie looks tense on the bench and it transcends to his team. If you look at the earlier games he was not as animated. Admittedly the competition was not as tough and the teams were not league wins. I contend that if Jamie lightens up on his players, Pitt will play with more rhythm and energy.

Its my opinion, Jamie’s negative energy is sapping the strength from his players.

Comment by MariettaMike 02.06.14 @ 8:05 am

HEADBANDS

Comment by TVax 02.06.14 @ 8:27 am

DD, last night the bench only produced 3 pts. Against UVa, it produced the leading scorer.

I expect inconsistency from the freshmen and the bench, I don’t expect it so much from the upperclassmen.

At the beginning of the 2nd half with all the starters on the floor, Pitt went 5:09 without scoring. Then it was stuck on 39 pts for 5:02 (from 8:47 to 3:45). The younger players eem hesitant and out of step, the upperclassmen seem not to be athletic enough to create and when they do get an open shot, they clang it.

Comment by wbb 02.06.14 @ 8:29 am

MariettaM, they are just talking on the Fan while I type this how down the stretch last night, every possession seemed like life and death …. and there are so many timeouts called and so much overcoaching.

Wooden and Knight are just two coaches who relied on their players’ instincts as opposed to calling TOs … of course, they had pretty talented players.

Comment by wbb 02.06.14 @ 8:34 am

Young players and bench players always play better at home.

Let’s have some perspective and remember who Pitt has struggled to score against. Scoring D rank of the teams Pitt has struggled to score against:
Miami 10th in the nation
UVA 2nd in the nation
Cuse 8th in the nation
Cinci 4th in the nation
Pitt just can’t score against the best Ds in the nation. Bright side Pitt can play good enough D to stick in those games until the very end.

Pitt’s draw will be more important than seeding this year.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.06.14 @ 8:51 am

Wardapalooza, good data. I guess the only thing disturbing is that Miami has a bad record we barely beat them, but then maybe we shouldn’t be worrying about style points.

Comment by wbb 02.06.14 @ 9:09 am

OK, the blue and gold boxers again did their job. I dug them out of the laundry basket right before the game started. My wife thinks that I am crazy, but it the price I pay to keep guaranteeing wins.

I am hoping that they get washed before Saturday.

H2P

Comment by pmdH2P 02.06.14 @ 9:15 am

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