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February 6, 2014

Finding Space To Win

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:40 am

Lots of gallows humor with last night’s Pitt-Miami game. Miami plays an even slower tempo than Virginia. And it was a slog.

Pitt escaped with the win. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t good basketball. It still counts as a win.

Pitt is struggling. The reasons are obvious. Zanna is clearly hobbled with the ankle sprain he suffered on Sunday, but he is still the best option for Pitt so Coach Jamie Dixon is playing him the same minutes.

“We fought through, obviously Talib is not 100 percent,” Dixon said. “There is no doubt about that, and we had foul trouble from a number of our guys and we had to put some guys at different spots. We had to win fight through some things to win a game against the reigning ACC champion.

“It is a win on the road, another road win and there aren’t a lot of those in conference play, and we have four of them and there aren’t too many teams that have four road wins.”

Teams are now keying on Lamar Patterson. He came up big at the end of the first half and late in the game, but he is getting no room on the court.

Part of that lack of space for Patterson is no one else stepping up. Well, Cam Wright is doing all he can. He kept Pitt going in the first half.

Durand Johnson’s injury shouldn’t have been devastating to the team, but it is clearly having an impact. As much as I decried the way he favored taking 3s over attacking the rim too frequently. As much as his lack of consistency from outside only exacerbated it. His perimeter shooting was important in helping to create some space for the rest of the offense.

As it stands, teams know that the ball is going inside the paint. This piece highlights teams that run most of their offense inside (Insider subs).

Pittsburgh Panthers
78.0 percent of attempts are 2s

Congratulations, Jamie Dixon. Among likely tournament teams, you have the single most interior-oriented offense in the bunch. Just 22 percent of Pittsburgh’s shot attempts in ACC play have been launched from beyond the arc.

Which raises a question. Is Pittsburgh too interior-oriented? To this point that answer would be no. The Panthers offense has proved it can score points even when opponents know in advance that nearly four out of every five shots will be 2s. Dixon’s men have recorded 1.12 points per possession in conference play, good for third best in the ACC behind just Duke and Syracuse.

All those 2s are being shot, for the most part, by Cameron Wright, Lamar Patterson and Talib Zanna, who have combined to make 55 percent of their attempts inside the arc. The interior orientation suits the Panthers on offense but keep an eye on this interior defense, where Pitt’s past six opponents have collectively made half of their 2s.

The numbers are based on conference play, only.

The problem has been in the last three games against teams with really solid defenses, Pitt is struggling mightily to get to the basket. Settling or being forced to take a lot of mid-range shots.

The issue is, who on this Pitt team outside of Lamar Patterson would you actually want shooting a three? Maybe Jamel Artis. He has shown is  some range, and it seems that Coach Dixon is playing him more to be a wing player.

But last night Artis was cold — as were the entire crop of freshmen. Thank goodness Michael Young rebounds well, because his shooting has been brutal. No confidence in his shot at the moment. I don’t even want to discuss Newkirk after last night’s brutal effort. There was no one aside from Patterson that could be counted on to shoot from outside.

Part of why Pitt was able to so efficiently destroy Clemson was that the threes were going. Pitt hit over half their 3s. The floor opened up and there was more room to attack inside. In the past week, Pitt has played teams with very good defenses that took didn’t simply take away Patterson but defended well inside. They were daring Pitt to beat them from outside but there was no one who could.

Oh, and that comment at the end about the Pitt interior defense. Also a little scary.

Again, though, Pitt won. They won despite shooting 14-40 inside the arc (35%) and 4-14 from outside (28.6%). Miami was a little better shooting a hair better overall. How? By being the better team at the free throw line. No matter how often I’ve typed that this year, that still feels strange.

Miami was bad. They finished 14-25 and missed key free throws late in the game and in OT. Pitt by contrast made their FTs to the tune of 73% (19-26).

Lamar Patterson led the way late.

Lamar Patterson certainly remembers the depressing feeling of missing two free throws with a one-point lead against Cincinnati that led to Pitt’s first loss of the season.

At Miami, however, he claimed amnesia.

Patterson made three of four free throws in the final 10.6 seconds in scoring a school-record 10 of his game-high 25 points in overtime to lead the No. 25 Panthers to a 59-55 victory over Miami on Wednesday night at BankUnited Center.

“That’s something I’ve been working on,” Patterson said. “We lost games because I missed free throws or lost opportunities because I missed free throws that could have given us the lead or kept us in the game. That’s not acceptable being that I’ve been here for awhile.”

 





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

In the very first possession of the game, Young had the ball in the corner and drove toward the basket and looked like he had a good look from about 5 ft, but didn’t even look to shoot, and kicked it out. I still say these kids are too tight.

Heck, later on in the first half, Young was wide open in the corner but wasn’t even prepared to shoot … result was hitting the side of the backboard.

It seems that the whole team anymore is not even looking to shoot until it’s too late in the shot clock.

The lack of offensive rebounds the past few games is also a big facot that seems to be ignored. Rebounding is very important for Pitt, more so than most other teams.

Comment by wbb 02.06.14 @ 9:19 am

To improve, we need a real shooting guard, someone who can make a 15 ft to 20 ft jump shot and some 3 point shots. Also, I see no reason for Chris Jones to get any more minutes. He has done nothing since he got his chance to play. I think we need to play Patterson more at the 2 and keep Young and Artis in the game more.

Comment by rayhpgh 02.06.14 @ 9:28 am

Thanks pmdH2P
It’s the intangibles things that sometimes go unnoticed and which aren’t in the box score that make for a winning season. Please wear them when we play the Orange again.
H2P

Comment by Tackle made by Hugh 02.06.14 @ 9:41 am

couldn’t watch but followed on gamecast app — it kept freezing, but you could hardly tell because when it would finally load after 10 minutes there was no change in the score. To the casual observer this game could have been confused with a CYO game. Was D as good as Zeise and Dunlap expressed on Twitter or more a result of anemic offense on both ends?

Comment by Ghost of Hornman 02.06.14 @ 9:54 am

whatever happened to ‘recruit to shoot’? i don’t think it would kill jamie to recruit one slow footed, catch and shoot guy who will make 50% of his 3 pt attempts. he’d have 11 other guys to concentrate on rebounding and playing defense.

Comment by scott 02.06.14 @ 10:04 am

@pmdH2P,

no no wait, you can’t wash them! they gotta stay “as is” to guarantee a victory!

Comment by goalie44 02.06.14 @ 10:16 am

Wright’s scoring 12 points, mostly in the first half kept us in the game. But overall the offensive woes from the guards continue.

Robinson 2-7, 0-1 from the 3 point line 1-2 free throws and 2 assists. He did have 6 rebounds. He should have driven the length of the court on the last play in regulation to draw a foul or make a lay-up, istead he passes to a well guarded Wright, who tried his late wild throw that worked vs VA.

Newkirk was 1-4 0-1 for 3′s with 1 rebound and 2 total points, 0 assists and 3 fouls, 1 on a guy that airballed a 3. In 18 minutes of play.

They must be playing really great defense.

Robinson has not looked himself since Clemson and must really be feeling the heat. Even his foul shooting looks stressed.

Young has been playing better, rebounding well, get open shots, but not making enough of them.

Zanna apparently hobbled but looked really good at times.

Patterson came threw big time or we lose this game.

A much needed win, but if we don’t find offensive help for Patterson we aren’t going anywhere.

That and pmdH2P’s shorts

Comment by gc 02.06.14 @ 10:19 am

This team is turning into the team of the past. I think that JD is comfortable in this format. Play it close to the vest, pass the ball around for 25 seconds and to start looking for a shot. Keep the game close and you have a chance to win. This may work during the season but will never win in March. This is boring, awful bb to say the least. What top player would want to play this style. They need to loosen it up and just play bb. That maybe easier said than done!

Comment by JP 02.06.14 @ 10:20 am

having rewatched the game (and watching it once was brutal)the single thing I noticed on offense was Pitt driving into the paint and never looking to score…only reversing the ball back outside.
Seven times JR beat his defender, drove into the paint and only looked back outside to pass the ball. You have to at least fake a shot while you are there or fake finishing.

Pitt’s 1-4 weave against the matchup zone (note-there were few matchups) was allowed to run free and Miami would have let Pitt run it all night. Few screens were set and most of the time not a single good look was created. Again with many comments saying we ran the clock down and threw up a prayer.

I see no charge in shooting form, just a lot of off balance contested shots. Working the clock to the final seconds also puts undue pressure on the shooters.

We beat 2 teams last night, Pitt and Miami. Really look like we are fighting ourselves on the court. Sometimes a win like this can loosen a team up. One can hope!

Comment by Dan 72 02.06.14 @ 10:20 am

“clang, clang, clang, went the trolley”

Comment by Dan 02.06.14 @ 10:29 am

I just don’t understand why we seem to try to run clock rather than try to score quickly. It just seems that we are better in a faster paced game.

In any case, that was our first closely contested victory, at least now we know we can do it. I just don’t like seeing a team like Miami have the ball at the end going for a win. Luckily it was Miami.

Comment by gc 02.06.14 @ 10:30 am

I know we keep beating a dead horse with all the discussion regarding the loss of Duraund Johnson.
But Durand wasn’t afraid and wouldn’t hesitate to take the shot whenever he was open. I think even a momentary hesitation will upset a shooter’s rhythm. At the end of the Virginia game, Pitt had two open looks by Robinson and by Artis and the Panthers didn’t get it done. I know there is more pressure in the ACC games, but that’s what the nonconference schedule if for, to get everyone ready for conference play. There were a LOT of really open looks at the basket that the Panthers missed or were afraid to take. Our guards have to be able to make the open shot when it’s there.

Comment by Justinian 02.06.14 @ 10:33 am

GC, I don’t believe it’s to Pitt’s advantage to hold the ball for the last second shot. I prefer to see they just running the offense. Typically it takes the Panthers a minimum of three or more passes to get the open look anyway. When they wait too long into the shot clock they, more often then not, end up taking a hurried or contested shot. They are more effective just running their regular offense, which runs plenty of clock anyway.

Comment by Justinian 02.06.14 @ 10:41 am

@wbb Great call on Young’s early drive — I thought that would be a promising omen, but more than anything it just reflected his uncertainty. He has these flashes of aggressiveness, like a few times against UVa in the post, but then he regresses. Like many freshmen.

Comment by JW 02.06.14 @ 10:47 am

Pitt was playing quicker in the first half, but they kept on making mistakes. Pitt had 7 of their 9 turnovers in the first half. Miami also shot 43% or so in the first half. If not for Lamars to late 3s, Pitt is down 5 at the half. The faster pace wasn’t working.

If you are missing shots against the 10th best scoring D in the nation you aren’t going to score. It’s that simple. Teams with good Ds make it hard to score. Pitt is bad against teams with good Ds. It’s not some Jamie Dixon is all about slowing down the pace nonsense.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.06.14 @ 10:47 am

Pitt has only had a hold the ball until the end of the shot clock problem against teams in the top 10 in scoring D. Pitt isn’t holding the ball because Dixon tells them to. Pitt is holding the ball because they aren’t getting good looks. It’s common sense that it’s harder to get good looks against really good Ds. If Pitt was scoring in the 50s against even bad D teams then I’d say it’s Dixon slowing down the pace. But that’s not the case.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.06.14 @ 10:52 am

Lets hope they fix it and peak in March.. rather then peak in Jan/Feb.

Comment by Snala The Panther 02.06.14 @ 10:53 am

Face it… Miami makes their FT’s and they win.

Miami obviously plays good D… but good enough to limit Pitt to 3 FG’s in over 10 mins of the second half – where one of those was Newkirk’s nearly botched layup?? I don’t think so. They had open looks during that period – and they simply missed them.

That might be OK against a team like Miami… won’t cut it against any NCAA tourney caliber team. Looks like another first round exit year.

Comment by John Ramella 02.06.14 @ 11:14 am

I’ll take a much needed win and Lamar was clutch down the stretch. A few thoughts:

- I don’t usually buy into this type of stuff but we look tight. Relax. Play confident. Shoot the ball.

- The smaller lineup lead to some rebounding issues. Dixon says it al the time (and I think it is true), if this team is going to be successful they must outrebound their opponents by 7-10 rebounds per game.

- JRob might have to pass caution to the wind a little bit (not a lot) and try to score more. Shoot the ball in rhythm. Drive to the hoop and get fouled.

- Zanna is not a 100% which really hinders is game predicated on quickness, etc. Regardless, if he is in the game, he needs touches inside. At the very least to set up some type of offense.

- Is there some rule that we can’t shoot the ball until under 10 seconds on the shot clock? Take the open looks in rhythm. Force teams to respect an open 3 or Zanna inside when they overplay everything on Lamar outside.

- Finishing at the basket has been, obviously, a huge issue. At this point, I’d rather they take more time and run the risk of a blocked shot that clank layups. We’ve left a lot of points on the floor with missed bunnies.

- Do something, anything, to relax the freshman. Nuke played more minutes last night so maybe that will help down the stretch. Young and Artis are doing a good job and we need them to continue to grow. I don’t have an answer, just get them to relax and have a little more fun.

All-in-all, 19-4 is pretty darn good so I’ll take it. As always, HTP!

Comment by JAM05Pitt 02.06.14 @ 11:21 am

As mentioned in a previous thread, in my opinion, when Jamie lightens up in his demeanor the players will also loosen up.

Comment by MariettaMike 02.06.14 @ 11:33 am

Now I remember why I didnt get excited when we were 16-1…

Comment by Coach Ditka 02.06.14 @ 12:04 pm

I agree this team is tight. Has Pitt even looked to run since the early part of the Dook game? If you catch a glimpse of Dixon on the sideline any shot taken too early that doesn’t go in he freaks out. Acts like a child on the sideline. I was commending him earlier in the year for allowing his players to play and not throw a hissy when they took a GOOD, open, quick shot (make or miss). But now, gasp, it looks like we are back to Pitt of old.

And if you are going to play Chris Jones off the bench you need to let him shoot. I am sure any one of us can come in and catch the ball and quickly pass it and run around some more.

I thought Pitt was successful this year when they ran and got easy buckets. This is not a good shooting team and only one player can drive to the hoop. So tossing it around for a half-hour and then chucking up a bad shot isn’t a formula.

Comment by Bdubb 02.06.14 @ 12:12 pm

From an overall perspective:

We started out well this preseason, thought the loss to Cincy was bad but now they’re ranked 7th.
We also started out well in the ACC then ran into the 3 toughest teams (with UNC coming on.)

Our expectations were raised due more to style than substance. We are a pretty good team but not the power we thought a couple of weeks ago.

Comment by wbb 02.06.14 @ 12:12 pm

Bdubb, you can’t run unless you rebound and/or create turnovers.

Comment by wbb 02.06.14 @ 12:14 pm

Was it Jones who hit the side of the backboard? JD looks exasperated when guys do stuff like that.

We looked tight yesterday. We were the victim of some really bad calls. We also benefitted from one or two. We made our FTs (well enough of them) but still had to go to OT. Miami couldn’t (thankfully) hit theirs. If we were Miami fans we would be carping about needing a FT coach.

From a coaching standpoint the message has to be that someone, anyone, besides LP and maybe Cam Wright (each of whom played more than 40 minutes) has to step up and that Zanna despite his bad ankle has to man up.

Other than that it’s an ugly win (which is always better than an ugly loss).

H2P!!!

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.06.14 @ 12:17 pm

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

If you have to bro….you have my authorization to wash those bad boys yourself.

One has to make sacrifices for the team !

Comment by Emel 02.06.14 @ 12:28 pm

wbb – you’re right. The perspective changed when we got off to a better than anticipated start, and the schedule likely provided a nice assist with that.

We lost to two good teams, with Duke playing about as well as anyone right now. We were down one against Duke at the 8 minute mark and Virginia beat us at the buzzer. The sky isn’t falling.

However, loosing to Duke and Virginia isn’t as alarming as the way we’ve played against Virginia and Miami. The players look tense, no one seems confident to shoot the ball, we are very stagnant in the half court and the transition game has disappeared. Although not elite, this team can continue to improve and be very successful if it resumes doing the things that best match its talent and skill set.

Relax, have fun and play hard.

Comment by JAM05Pitt 02.06.14 @ 12:28 pm

I think it was one of Young’s shots that hit the side of the backboard, Jones was off balance when he tried his three. The announcer also called him Newkirk on the shot.

They definitely aren’t relaxed when they shoot. Too many times they are hurrying the shot when they have time, or too slow when they don’t. They are in a slump and are forcing things. Luckily Patterson broke out of his slump and was special when it counted most. Too bad he couldn’t have done it vs. VA.

This is also affecting their passing, not nearly as crisp or precise, limiting the open shots.

They should be able to relax vs VA Tech and hopefully get their rhythm back.

Comment by gc 02.06.14 @ 12:30 pm

Actually the way this thing works….nobody can be touching those shorts but you or the mojo will be disturbed.

So the wifie should NOT be washing those things anyway !

Comment by Emel 02.06.14 @ 12:32 pm

John Ramella, if you wanna play the “if” game. If Lamar makes his FT against Cinci, Zanna hits the jumper against Cuse and Pitt makes 2 shots against VA then Pitt only has 1 loss. If game is silly.

Pitt isn’t passing up open looks. Whenever there is an open look Pitt shoots. There just have been fewer open looks past couple games.

I’ve watched every single Pitt game this year with a lot in person and Jamie Dixon has never freaked out over a player taking a wide open shot, unless it’s Mike Young shooting a 3, which he has no business doing. Case in point his awful 3 last night.

Chris Jones was allowed to shoot last night. His shot attempts were awful. Dixon didn’t pull him though because it was a good shot for the situation.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.06.14 @ 12:33 pm

Question: Why does Chryst get grilled for his (mediocre?) recruiting yet Dixon always gets a pass?

Comment by TonyinHouston 02.06.14 @ 12:38 pm

I noticed last night specifically that the ball in our Figure 8 offense was not being passed around as quickly as it has been in the past.

As in the past, when we were playing really well.

The ball comes to say, Lamar and he holds it and holds it, looks at the defender’s feet, then he decides what to do with it.

With JR, the ball was coming to him, and then he started playing ‘traffic cop’, waving ppl around with one hand, but again the ball was ‘stuck’.

And this all became ‘contagious’ pretty much, the ball got ‘stuck’ with whoever got it.

Not all the time mind you, but a majority of the time.

What is part of is, is hesitation. Look at our better games, and there is almost no hesitation at all. They were all playing with more confidence and a lot less hesitation.

Need to get back to that !!!

Comment by Emel 02.06.14 @ 12:40 pm

Low scoring, poor shooting,lets start the Micah Mason debate. He’s leading the nation in 3pt shooting pct.

Comment by alcofan 02.06.14 @ 12:43 pm

Did any of these so-called reporters ask JD why on Earth he had BOTH Nuke & Jones in the game at the end of regulation ?

It was almost like we were trying to lose, as both of them last night were defensive liabilities and neither added a damn thing to the offense.

And to have BOTH of them in a tie game at the end was needless to say…..Bizarro World !

Comment by Emel 02.06.14 @ 12:50 pm

Tony – I have to drive to San Marcos next week and make a stop in Sugarland to pick up a Mule Deer Mount. We should grab a beer and talk Pitt.

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.06.14 @ 1:07 pm

Looking over who took the shots in what has become, the ‘dreaded last 5 minutes of the game’.

Just for fun we’ll start at the 6:40 mark

6:40 Chris Jones missed Three Point Jumper.(huh)
5:41 James Robinson missed Jumper. (huh)
4:47 Lamar Patterson missed Jumper.
3:47 James Robinson missed Three Point Jumper.(huh)
3:45 Talib Zanna made Free Throw.
3:45 Talib Zanna made Free Throw.
3:08 James Robinson made Jumper. (yeah)
2:16 Josh Newkirk missed Three Point Jumper. (huh)
1:35 Lamar Patterson missed Free Throw.
1:35 Lamar Patterson made Free Throw.
0:48 James Robinson missed Jumper. (huh)
0:15 Lamar Patterson made Layup
0:02 Cameron Wright missed Three Point Jumper (the turnaround prayer brick) (huh)

Yea we were bad, but look who’s taking the shots at ‘crunch time’. And this is in a micromanaged offense. lol

Comment by Emel 02.06.14 @ 1:07 pm

Emel, I agree that was very strange, especially when Newkirk had an awful first half. For whatever reason Jamie was not happy with Young or Artis. Artis was cold and only played 13 minutes. The are both better rebounders and foul shooters so I would like to hear what Jamie would say.

Probably something to do with match-ups. Maybe he wanted Patterson at the four because of a match-up. It was when LP went off offensively.

Comment by gc 02.06.14 @ 1:09 pm

Lamar had four fouls. JD might have figured that in a tight situation, particularly on drives, the ref might call the foul on Newkirk or Jones rather than LP if possible. I’m just surmising but, as it turns out, we would have been toast in OT without LP.

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.06.14 @ 1:19 pm

@alcofan – I don’t think JD had a roster spot when Mason wanted to transfer.

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.06.14 @ 1:20 pm

In Crunch time we had two guys shooting 22% (jones) and 23%(wright) taking 3′s and another who’s a freshmen (nuke) who hadn’t hit a 3 since it was garbage time against Clemson. And then you let a kid (JR) who was off the whole game, throw up 4 shots in Crunch Time. (thank god he made 1, law of averages you know)

This is who you have shooting in Crunch Time !

Really.

It was a small miracle we got into OT.
Thank You Manu Lecomte !

Comment by Emel 02.06.14 @ 1:21 pm

Emel, interesting stats, thanks for putting that together. The only thing that looks odd though is the number of shots taken by Robinson. Unfortunately, other than Lamar, we don’t have a another long range threat, so JR or Lamar are forced to drive & shoot, there is no kickout option and other teams simply clog the lane. Jones has an injury to his shooting hand which will not get resolved this season. That said, Newkirk had an awful night, so I don’t understand why Artis didn’t get more of his minutes.

It’s been hinted at before, but I believe our biggest problem right now might be lost mojo. We are way too tight. It seems in Durand we our spark along with a much needed shooter. This is exacerbated by the fact that we don’t have a scoring PG or a physical force inside to rally the troops. Will this team find it’s mojo again?

Comment by 1618mt 02.06.14 @ 1:32 pm

Pitt got through the fun part of the schedule … the rest of the way it’s mostly going to be grinds.

-VaTech
-BC
-NDx2
-Cuse

Except for UNC and then the last 2 games against NCST and Clemson, Pitt will be in grind mode. Last night was important because Pitt is going to have win a few more of those types of games.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 02.06.14 @ 1:37 pm

What do we know about Virginia Tech’s team?

H2P

Comment by pmdH2P 02.06.14 @ 1:45 pm

They stink !

Comment by Emel 02.06.14 @ 1:54 pm

Expanding

They’ve lost to South Carolina Upstate (yes there is such a place)

And they’ve lost to UNC-Greensboro, and everyone in the ACC except Miami.

Just our luck, right ! :-)

Comment by Emel 02.06.14 @ 1:57 pm

@Emel

Good. So, we may be able to get back in some rhythm and build some confidence in our shooting.

Isn’t Newkirk the guy who is supposed to be quick and be able to slash to the basket? If so, what has happened to that move?

H2P

Comment by pmdH2P 02.06.14 @ 2:29 pm

They are 286th in ppg at 66.8 shooting a woeful 41.5% (303rd). They make a shade over 37% of their 3 pt shots and 64.4% of their FTs.

They average 13 turnovers per game. Only 1 player averages more than 30 min per game. He takes most of their shots and gets most of their rebounds. link to espn.go.com

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.06.14 @ 2:33 pm

I have a theory, or maybe more of a hypothesis, concerning our basketball program. I think Dixon is an extremely talented coach who can take players with less talent and get them to perform at levels beyond their abilities. The problem that creates is athletes aren’t machines so they get tired, and can’t run consistently beyond full throttle. Since halftime of the Maryland game this team has looked tired. Not so tired that they have just given up, but tired enough that we aren’t likely to see the team that beat Clemson again this year. Dixon got these guys to over reach thru the Clemson game. When they finished that game anyone who didn’t see them as a top 15 team wasn’t watching close enough. What I saw last night isn’t even top 50. Patterson can’t finish the drives to the hoop he was doing routinely. Robinson can’t even hit the basket. Zanna is playing more minutes with less rebounds. Wright can go good for a half. The freshman are looking more and more like freshman as we get deeper into the conference schedule. I don’t know what magic formula JD used to get these kids to play so far above what anyone predicted, but I do know the potion has worn off and unless he gives them some more it could get ugly from here. Last nights second half looked a lot like the CBI team and that scares me.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.06.14 @ 2:39 pm

SOS22, It has been discussed on this site in years past that Jamie works his guys too hard after the league starts, and they run down in the final 2 months.

Comment by wbb 02.06.14 @ 2:46 pm

Bad news … Dokish seems to think Engram is all but gone. Still not confirmed though.

Just hope PC realizes that he needs a recruiter with NJ or FL ties.

Comment by wbb 02.06.14 @ 2:50 pm

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.06.14 @ 2:56 pm

@wbb – isn’t there someone on this board who has NJ or FL ties and great skill at evaluating HS talent?

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.06.14 @ 3:04 pm

As much as I would hate to see Engram go, there is nothing bad (perception wise) in losing an assistant to the NFL.

I have seen some chatter about how bad this is because Chryst cannot hire assistants. Yet, why doesn’t Chryst get credit for hiring Engram in the first place? I have faith in Chryst to hire offensive assistants.

Comment by Cosmo_Kramer 02.06.14 @ 3:06 pm

wbb, I did not say anything about Jamie working anyone too hard. Please don’t put things in my post that aren’t there.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.06.14 @ 3:08 pm

Isn’t Newkirk the guy who is supposed to be quick and be able to slash to the basket? If so, what has happened to that move?

Good question pmd

Newkirk’s quickness is negated to a vast degree in the halfcourt. As he’s not really given the ‘green light’ to take someone off the dribble. He might not be quite ready to do that at this point anyway.

Where his quickness should come more into play is in ‘transition’. However as you’ve seen since the Duke game, transition opportunities have been few and far between as JD seems content to ‘slog’ it out with the UVA’s and the Miami’s.

So the move is still there, it’s just laying dormant at the moment.

Comment by Emel 02.06.14 @ 3:10 pm

Cosmo, the offensive assistants PC hires are pretty god (Engram, Rudoph, Hueber and even had Bostad for abour 2 weeks.)

Here are the quaifications of the Defensive coaches at time of hire:
DL coach (one yr exp, let go by UCLA)
LB coach: high school only exp
DE coach; hired out retirement
DB coach: no D1 experience
DC: 3 yrs D1 college experience

Comment by wbb 02.06.14 @ 3:12 pm

SOS22: I’m sorry but I thought the implication of what you wrote below was that he may be overworking them:

“The problem that creates is athletes aren’t machines so they get tired, and can’t run consistently beyond full throttle. Since halftime of the Maryland game this team has looked tired. Not so tired that they have just given up, but tired enough that we aren’t likely to see the team that beat Clemson again this year.”

Comment by wbb 02.06.14 @ 3:15 pm

actually, upon 2nd thought, I was trying to provide an explanation of why these guys are so tired.

The fact is that JD has been substituting much more this year than any time in memory.

Comment by wbb 02.06.14 @ 3:18 pm

@Emel, I can’t believe Nuke doesn’t have the ‘green light’ to drive in and make a lay up. I can believe he isn’t confident in his ability to do so with success so he doesn’t try it. I can live with him on that side of the court but his defensive shortcomings last night were overwhelming. I was upset that Dixon had him in the game at crunch time. He is also a liability at the foul line, which certainly is an indication that he is fitting in well with his team mates, but poses a problem if you like to win games.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.06.14 @ 3:19 pm

Dixon’s practices are known for the players going full tilt. That may be good in Dec and Nov, but it can wear the players down after a while

Comment by wbb 02.06.14 @ 3:20 pm

@ sos22

While I know what you’re saying, I don’t agree that they could be tired.

These are 20-22 year old kids, and they play all day, every day when school is not in session. Just like I did, when I was their age.

I think they’ve lost their ‘edge’ which can happen over the course of a season. All seasons have ‘ebbs and flows’ and we are in one of those.

They were sky high for Cusey and expected to win, took that out on Clemson, and again sky high for Duke to only lose again. That disappointment showed up with the wrong opponent looming, a extremely hot UVA team, that looking at their schedule could easily only lose once more this regular season.

We are not as bad as last night or as good as we were against Clemson. Ebbs and flows.

Still think we can beat Cusey at home !

Comment by Emel 02.06.14 @ 3:20 pm

link to espn.go.com

7Pittsburgh
10Minnesota
2VILLANOVA
15AMERICAN U

Bracketology – would feel good with this seed if things get back on track. Cinn is the 3 and UCLA the 6 seed on Pitt’s side with Syracuse the 1 seed in the East.

I know all this bracket stuff is BS at this point, but fun to look.

Comment by TVax 02.06.14 @ 3:21 pm

wbb, I agree, and this is reflected in the strength of offensive recruiting and the lack of defensive recruiting. Chryst knows what to look for on offense; defense is another story. Hopefully, he can improve on the defense side.

Comment by Cosmo_Kramer 02.06.14 @ 3:24 pm

Agree sos22…i wrote a couple posts up above concerning,
Crunch Time.

check it out at 1:07 & 1:21 ^^^

Comment by Emel 02.06.14 @ 3:25 pm

Watched the game on my computer and was bitching like everyone else about how things were going. Thank God we won or I would have been pissed. Can’t seem to figure out what the difference between the Pitt team that put up 80 plus points on Maryland vs. the last 2 games(guess the Maryland game was more wide open but it seems so long ago I can’t remember). I guess the Va. and Miama defense is fairy good given the stats I have seen. Hopefully Va Tech will be an easier game so that Zanna can rest his ankle. With Pitt’s games it seems that it always a struggle in getting points and I am always on the edge of my seat hoping we take at least a 4 point lead near the end of the game so that we don’t have another Virgina moment.
H2P!

Comment by Bruce F 02.06.14 @ 3:31 pm

WBB, Sorry , I didn’t mean to confuse the point. By getting kids to do way more than what anyone thought they were capable of it sets up expectations and requires on going commitment that might be beyond what they can consistently deliver. —– I used to golf. Every once in a while I would hit one like Tiger Woods, but that was the real exception not how I played the game.—– What is the real basketball team here? The team that should have beat Cincinnati and Syracuse or the team that couldn’t get a 7 point lead on Miami? What I saw last night made me wonder how Dixon ever got them to play like the team that faced Clemson. Was it fatigue, disease, kryptonite, stupidity, apathy. Where did the team we loved go? What can be done to get them back or were they only a figment of our imagination?

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.06.14 @ 3:38 pm

Why didn’t Newkirk drive last night? Cause it’s hard to drive against a good defensive team.

Some of you act like Jamie Dixon has some hidden agenda to keep scoring down. It’s nonsense.

Emel, Chris Jones was in the end of the game because Lamar had 4 fouls and they were doing offense/defense subs. It’s basketball 101. I’m guessing Newkirk was in because he’d be able to stay in front of guy while Artis wouldn’t be able to.

Dixon wins every year regardless of his recruits. If Paul Chryst starts winning 9 games every year, I’ll stop worrying about his recruiting.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.06.14 @ 3:49 pm

“CLANG”

Comment by Dan 02.06.14 @ 3:54 pm

Va Tech is 8-14 overall and 1-9 in conf good for sole possession of 15th place. They are 1-4 on the road in conf. All their non-conf games away from home were at neutral sites where they were 0-3. They score 66.8 ppg and give up 69.7.

The road win was, wait for it, a 61-60 OT win at Miami where they outscored the Canes 5-4 in the 5 minute OT. Both teams shot 24/49 but Va Tech was 12-34 from behind the arc. In other words, almost 70% of their shots were from behind the 3 pt line. Va Tech was 1/3 on FTs while Miami was 4/15.

Jarell Eddie was 9/23 (6/14 from 3) in the game with 8 rebounds. He played 43 of the 45 min. He’s the guy we have to stop.

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.06.14 @ 3:59 pm

check this out:

link to fightinggobbler.com

“After the Hokies suffered a tough loss last weekend against Boston College, it was suggested by us that the Hokies should consider benching Jarell Eddie to try to get in his head about trying to get his teammates more involved in the game. Eddie has been taking too many bad shots which has been significantly hurting the chances of the Hokies to win in multiple games this year but it seemed unlikely since Eddie was the leading scorer.”

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.06.14 @ 4:03 pm

I don’t think they look tired, they look tentative.

I think Duke shook their confidence. VA plays great defense, they lose a nailbiter. Patterson didn’t score in those two and not till late in the second half against Miami.

Patterson not scoring puts the pressure on everyone to do more increasing the stress.

Hopefully, Patterson finding his mojo will loosen everyone’s tight anus, sorry spirit.

Comment by gc 02.06.14 @ 4:04 pm

And this: link to wsbt.com

“leading scorer Jarell Eddie — mired in the worst scoring slump of his career — finally dropped in his first trey after going 0-for-5″

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.06.14 @ 4:05 pm

Next week we have Syracuse and UNC. The team that played Clemson wins both games, the one that took over at halftime of the Maryland game lose both and probably struggles with Vtech.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.06.14 @ 4:06 pm

if it’s any consolation … WVU DC Patterson is going to Tempe to rejoin Fraud

Comment by wbb 02.06.14 @ 4:10 pm

@ Ward..

Newkirk was getting shot over because that guy he was trying to guard was 6’6″ and he’s 6’1″. Plus he’s not a great defender off the dribble either as that same guard was rolling to the rim off the screen with ease. We were just lucky he couldn’t make many shots. I’d rather Wright be on a guy that size or Artis, Artis could at least make it harder to shoot over him. I like Nuke, but it was bizarre to me he was in the game at that point.

Comment by Emel 02.06.14 @ 4:11 pm

Anyway JD can move up Mustafa Heron’s arrival. :-)

Comment by Emel 02.06.14 @ 4:13 pm

Also the lefty Point Guard….and a big man !

Comment by Emel 02.06.14 @ 4:13 pm

I don’t see us struggling at home with VT. However, can’t same the same about Cuse and UNC.

I expect another close game vs Cuse but Roy Williams is the antithesis of Jamie. He gets 4 and 5 star talent, and many of them stay in school … and they peak in Feb and March.

Comment by wbb 02.06.14 @ 4:13 pm

“clang, clang, clang, went the trolley”
Comment by Dan 02.06.14 @ 10:29 am

bang, bang, bang, went the brick

The Bricks were flying last night !

If it wasn’t PITT playing, I’m sure would have fallen asleep by the middle of the 1rst half.

Comment by Emel 02.06.14 @ 4:17 pm

Emel, I said I was guessing about Newkirk being in the game because I really had no idea why he was in there. He was having one of the worst games I’ve ever seen. He was -9, not that +/- means a ton. He didn’t turn over the ball so he had that going for him.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.06.14 @ 4:26 pm

@wbb, I wish I could share your optimism , but I saw us struggling to get into the 40′s in regulation last night. —– Dixon calls these time outs and then does the clip board presentation, then we are lucky to throw up a brick without a shot clock violation. If we are real lucky we get fouled then we make 1, and run down court and watch them fire up a 3 if we don’t give them a lay up. Our saving grace last night was they are the worst foul shooters on the planet and they didn’t have the balls to try a 3 pointer at the end of overtime. We played bad enough to lose to anyone.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.06.14 @ 4:29 pm

Wardapalooza, The one time Nuke chose to actually play D he fouled the only decent foul shooter on their team beyond the arc. Freshman-yoi!

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.06.14 @ 4:33 pm

@Emel, can’t get that sound out of my head!!!

It almost looked like someone paid both teams off to hit the rim, on purpose.

I had to fight myself to not put Hogan’s Heroes on.

Comment by Dan 02.06.14 @ 4:33 pm

Wardapalooza, Nuke was very careful in the last minute of regulation not to make that same mistake when he left his man wide open to drain a 3.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.06.14 @ 4:35 pm

I don’t know, but JD’s substitution pattern has changed a lot the last few games which imo, hasn’t let PITT get into any kind of offensive rhythm.

At the first TV timeout of the game, he’s been subbing in Newkirk, Jones, and Randall. Which basically voids any rhythm we’ve establish at that point. He did against Duke when we up 8-2 and I thought we had a chance with Duke starting cold, we could have ran out that score.

And this substitution pattern has continued since then.

Comment by Emel 02.06.14 @ 4:36 pm

@ Dan-o…that game was a ‘lock’ to go ‘Under’ until the Overtime. lol

We scored almost as many points in the 5 minutes of overtime (13) as we did in the whooooole 2nd half (17).

Hogan’s Heroes, lol….what.. wasn’t Gilligan’s Island on last nite ! :-)

Comment by Emel 02.06.14 @ 4:40 pm

spirit, who are you and what have you done to spirit? What happened to the rose colored glasses?

What happened to the guy that said we are a top ten team?

Comment by gc 02.06.14 @ 4:40 pm

Nuke didn’t limit his remarkable play to just D either. He had 1 rebound to go with no assists and the 2 points he got were on gift toss ahead from Patterson for an unchallenged break away lay up. He almost missed it just to make things exciting too.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.06.14 @ 4:44 pm

On another front…it appeared Artis is in some kind of a ‘doghouse’.

After leading the team in scoring & REBOUNDS against the Wahoo’s, he only gets 13 minutes last nite.

Comment by Emel 02.06.14 @ 4:48 pm

gc, It wasn’t me that changed, what you should be asking is where the top 10 team went. These guys that Dixon got to fill in aren’t playing too well.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.06.14 @ 4:48 pm

Artis is the one guy at this point, that appears to have the game and the outside shot, to take some of the heat off of Lamar.

Which makes it even more of a mystery as to the 13 minutes last night.

As we couldn’t score for large segments of the game.

Comment by Emel 02.06.14 @ 4:50 pm

@Emel, Seriously maybe the team had the flu or something because I still can’t believe we played that bad. I am even more amazed we played that bad and won. That might be the worst game played by a Pitt team that resulted in a win I ever saw.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.06.14 @ 4:54 pm

Call me an “optimist” — I think our freshmen are going to “grow up” over the next three weeks…and will be hardened by tournament (both ACC & Big Dance) time…I’m more concerned with Cam & JRob, especially Cam — if he can step up — we’ll make things interesting!

Comment by Stanley Schweiger 02.06.14 @ 4:55 pm

That was the worst game played resulting in a win since at least the CBI tournament which brings me full circle to my original post. I am very concerned about where we go from here.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.06.14 @ 4:57 pm

@SS, If your crop doesn’t come in quick we could still miss the Big Dance. We finish the season playing like last night and we are NIT bound.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.06.14 @ 5:04 pm

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

Cincinnati over Connecticut (Cincy should win at home)

Penn State over Michigan State (Nits 3 game win steak ends tonite in East Lansing)

Loyola Marymount over St. Mary’s (LMU may win a close game at home)

Comment by xfmrman 02.06.14 @ 5:10 pm

I know I could look it up easily, but I’d rather talk to you guys.

How is the ACC Tourney set up, as far as what seeds get byes??

Also, use to be Sat Nite, did I hear correctly, it’s now on Sunday??

Comment by Dan 02.06.14 @ 5:12 pm

Cincy and UCONN should be a good one, eh??

Comment by Dan 02.06.14 @ 5:13 pm

The Selection Committee can so ‘screw’ us by who they match us up with in the Dance.

Since we have obvious and glaring weaknesses.

If we ‘draw’ a ‘grinder’ we’ll be in big trouble.

Comment by Emel 02.06.14 @ 5:15 pm

Overreact much spirit? There is absolutely no way Pitt misses the tournament. Even if Pitt only beats BC (horrible), NC St (horrible on the road). and Va Tech (horrible) they still make the tournament.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.06.14 @ 5:15 pm

Dan – Top 4 get a double bye. Pretty sure the top 9 get a bye in the first round. Final is on Sunday afternoon.

Comment by dinosaur 71 02.06.14 @ 5:22 pm

If Dixon’s recruits hold up through 2016, he may finally have the talent he needs.

He is a great system coach, and with the right talent he can win. (check the u19 gold)

I mean how many people think Pittsburgh and college hoops ? Dixon has done a great job for folks to start at least thinking that.

Look at all the flash in the pan teams. Only a few stay that consistent. Pitt is very lucky in Dixon.

Jimmy B took over 20 years to get his national championship and he did it with a once in a life time player melo.

Comment by Snala The Panther 02.06.14 @ 5:42 pm

EMel – Artis was abysmal on defense and he does not move his feet (you play d with your feet) well at all. Most egregious was his lack of switching on several ball screens and most awful, twice he was on a double team and let the player split both defenders and score. I saw Jamie say the word “enough” and Slice schooled him on the bench when Jamie pulled him. A shame too as Artis is one of the few natural shooters and drivers we have.

Does anyone here think Jamie should rest Chris Jones and Zanna on Saturday? We probably could beat VTech with one of our fraternity teams. Also, I am in total agreement with who ever said, cancel practice a few days and let the players relax and their body’s (and egos) heal.

Both will need to be as healthy as possible for Cuse…especially Zanna who played one of the guttiest games I have ever seen last night. He can barely walk and to make an offensive spin move at the top of the key and score twice late, had to be excruciating.

Comment by Dan 72 02.06.14 @ 5:42 pm

Really bummed out about losing Engram. Especially from a recruiting standpoint.

Anyone out there have any idea who may be available( insert coach with Whisky ties joke here)?

Or do they just add another responsibility to Joe Rudolph?

Comment by Pap76 02.06.14 @ 5:43 pm

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.06.14 @ 5:52 pm

Bobby Engram did a great job at Pitt. I realize that it’s an opportunity for him to move to higher level and make more money. In that regard I am happy for him professionally. I would wish him success, but in that he’s going to the hated Baltimore Ravens, I just can’t do that.

Comment by Justinian 02.06.14 @ 5:54 pm

I paying Flacco all that money they don’t have any left for receivers.

Comment by gc 02.06.14 @ 5:56 pm

In paying

Comment by gc 02.06.14 @ 5:56 pm

In Baltimore it was just reported Engram accepted the job.

Wonder if HCPC can get a receiver’s coach that knows anything about special teams?? or defense??

Comment by Dan 72 02.06.14 @ 5:59 pm

or recruiting

Comment by gc 02.06.14 @ 6:00 pm

Don’t worry….he’s checking the local hgh schools as we speak…

Comment by Jackagain 02.06.14 @ 6:03 pm

@Wardapalooza, First off if we play like last night , which is what I posted, we won’t win any more games. Assuming we win the 3 you are so sure of leaves us at 22 and 11 without a single win in the top 40. The committee would gladly bounce us for our pathetic non/con schedule. We still have work to do and those of you posting here that are so sure we are in had better have another look. Based on what we watched last night this could still get very ugly. In fact maybe Zanna should be taking 2 weeks off. We aren’t going to win the regular season in conference, so maybe we ought to be working on finishing strong, and doing something positive in the post season for a change. This tired ass look like a bunch of dildos approach we took to Miami probably isn’t going to work. Since the 2nd half of the Maryland game this team has been in a nose dive and last night certainly didn’t fix anything.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.06.14 @ 6:29 pm

First and foremost, the next receivers coach needs to be someone who can relate well with the wide receivers and who can recruit! If he can do half as good a job as Bobby Engram did, then they’ll be fine. Whoever comes in, will have talented receivers to work with.

Comment by Justinian 02.06.14 @ 6:32 pm

@Emel, I know you were very disappointed you didn’t get the weight training job but do you Know anything about catching the ball.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.06.14 @ 6:34 pm

lol yea I could always catch the ball pretty well, I was ‘Warren Wells’ in the playground when a buddy of mine was Darryl Lamonica.

Or vice versa.

Also enjoyed playing the role of the ‘mad bomber’.

link to youtube.com

Comment by Emel 02.06.14 @ 7:09 pm

@ Dan72

Good reason to play more zone since some of the freshmen aren’t very adept at playing man.

This team gives up way too many easy drives to the hoop and way too many dunks. I can’t remember a Pitt team that got dunked on as much as this team.
And some of them are real facials.

Comment by Emel 02.06.14 @ 7:17 pm

EMel engram is gone we need a new WR coach it better be some one who played WR in the NFL and not chrysts paper boy from wisconsin or his ball boy from wisconsin it needs to be some one good

Comment by Frankcan 02.06.14 @ 7:21 pm

haha FRankie.

What’s wrong with PC’s paper boy ?
We got the NFL video boy trying to recruit defensive HS recruits.

Seems a natural to me, yea the paper boy. :-)

Comment by Emel 02.06.14 @ 7:25 pm

Maybe the Huebner, Hueber relic can double up and coach the WR’s. Save PC the trouble of waiting 2 months to promote one of the graduate asst’s.

And Cornhole will like it, since it save him some money.

Comment by Emel 02.06.14 @ 7:29 pm

I think HCPC would be wise to ask Slice if he has any suggestions. If that doesn’t work then check with Emel and see if he can get his parole officer to let him work in Pennsylvania.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.06.14 @ 7:43 pm

EMel clark from the steelers says the steelers are smokeing dope it is in the trib.
that is most likey why they are 8 and 8 for 2 years that is my take on that.

Comment by Frankcan 02.06.14 @ 7:44 pm

Terry Smth was a WR at PSU and knows the WPIAL really well …. oh wait a minute, never mind!

Yogi Roth was an asst at UCLA under Pete carroll

Comment by wbb 02.06.14 @ 7:53 pm

Frankcan, I agree , they are sitting around smokin’ peace and love , when what is needed is needed is some radical aggressive drugs like meth- amphetemines.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.06.14 @ 7:55 pm

Pitt has a win in the top 40. A nose dive would have been Pitt losing MD and Miami. I’ll start worrying if Pitt ever has a bad loss.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.06.14 @ 8:45 pm

Maybe Hines Ward is looking for another gig! All kidding aside, someone who knows the college game and is a good recruiter would be good. The key is being able to relate well with young athletes. Bobby Engram came across very well, and the kids liked him a lot. In addition to that having NFL also gave him credibility in their eyes. I don’t know if you can realistically expect to get all of the above. So I hope they can get someone who can recruit and relate well.

Comment by Justinian 02.06.14 @ 8:50 pm

Engram was a great hire…who hired him? Oh yea, Paul Chryst! For those of you that rip on his recent hires give him credit for Engram.

Comment by notrocketscience 02.06.14 @ 8:50 pm

Wardapalooza, Who is a top 40 win?

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.06.14 @ 8:50 pm

Spirit, That’s a rather witty post about asking Slice, do you think we could get Emel to do it?

Comment by Justinian 02.06.14 @ 8:55 pm

SOS22:

Stanford is RPI #38.

Comment by xfmrman 02.06.14 @ 9:04 pm

Cincy came from behind to beat UConn…

Comment by Jackagain 02.06.14 @ 9:13 pm

You know all the WR at pitt are thinking they were screwed over and they will be unless he brings in some one really good to coach them.
And EMel no his paper boy from wisconsin will not do.

Comment by Frankcan 02.06.14 @ 9:21 pm

I was kinda hoping to get Paul’s mailman…he can deliver…

link to youtube.com

Comment by Jackagain 02.06.14 @ 9:25 pm

Hines Ward would be great but it will never happen but we can dream no law says we cant.

Comment by Frankcan 02.06.14 @ 9:26 pm

Jackagain that made me laugh that was a really good one way to go.
but it might be true sad as that is.

Comment by Frankcan 02.06.14 @ 9:33 pm

Comment by wbb 02.06.14 @ 10:00 pm

Comment by wbb 02.06.14 @ 10:02 pm

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.06.14 @ 10:03 pm

Remember that he is from Florida.

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.06.14 @ 10:04 pm

This is not my first pick but what do you think Rod Rutherford he has been coaching WR at a small college for 3 years and was in the pros for 3 years or so.
i know he is no engram but at least he is not from wisconsin.

Comment by Frankcan 02.06.14 @ 10:05 pm

Wbb i like Jason Candle a lot but he is the OC there would he come to just be a WR coach?

Comment by Frankcan 02.06.14 @ 10:09 pm

who knows? He is from Salem, believe his parents live in Canfield which is south suburb of Youngstown.

Comment by wbb 02.06.14 @ 10:41 pm

Wbb the better point is did he ever coach at wisconsin or know some who did if not he does not have a chance any way. ha ha

Comment by Frankcan 02.06.14 @ 11:06 pm

I would have no problem with either Candle or Rutherford as well. That means it will probably be someone totally and completely opposite. I can’t see Candle leaving Toledo. He is in position now to be one of the next young HC coming out of a MAC assistantship.

What is JD Brookhart doing now? I think that was his name. He was OC at Akron maybe after he left Pitt.

A perfect candidate would be young and personable with ties either to PA, NJ or somewhere Florida.

Although I love frankcan suggesting Hines Ward. That’s a dream but a good one. It would be nice to see Pitt grab a former Steelers or Steeler assistant. I would have preferred Olsavsky over Haering 2 years ago. (And yes, I know they already have Poteaat.)

Comment by Bowling Green Panther 02.06.14 @ 11:07 pm

‘Zona may be about to beat a good Oregon team.

I think Upitt has tken over sos’s keyboard.

Comment by TVax 02.06.14 @ 11:10 pm

Hey, we all know this but remember, we lost to 4 teams who are 22-0, 22-2, 18-5 and 18-5. And the 18-5 teams were playing their best basketball of the year.

OK, we could’ve and should’ve lost the Miami game, but we didn’t. And you could say we could’ve and should’ve won the Cinn game and could’ve won the Syr. game.

Pitt needs to get back on a roll with VT and then have a great game with Syracuse.

How badly is Zanna hurt? He needs to be 100% physically and 200% mentally.

Comment by TVax 02.06.14 @ 11:28 pm

RIP Ralph Kiner

Comment by xfmrman 02.06.14 @ 11:42 pm

I’ll take any ACC MBB road win we can scratch out and I guess they took me literally. Huge ACC wrestling matchup at Fitzgerald Friday night between our Panthers and Tech. ESPN3 is televising the battle @ 7:00 pm. Go Pitt, whip the hokies Friday and Saturday! H2P! UPone

Comment by UPone 02.07.14 @ 12:00 am

Followed Miami game through your posts, thank you. Sneaked looks during dinner meeting, almost choked few times, unlike Lamar. Watched the game last night, think you guys used every conceivable appropriate adjective but seeing is believing. If JD doesn’t give Zanna rest he will be just a body in March, quickness & mobility are his assets. Can’t add anything already posted except that I saw very little spontaneity from Pitt except Lamar in crunch. Tired? Too many restrictions? Natural athletes in systems play with controlled spontaneity, enthusiasm & have fun doing it. Haven’t seen those qualities for several games now.

Comment by Old School Panther 02.07.14 @ 6:17 am

Upone, what Tech? Va, Georgia or Carnegie?

Comment by wbb 02.07.14 @ 6:44 am

Why would a former Pitt guy, unless he was on Jackie Sherrils staff, be better than a Wisconsin guy to replace Engram?

Wisconsin has been more successful than Pitt. Rod Rutherford would be a disappointing hire.

I’ll take another offensive assistant from the 49ers.

Comment by notrocketscience 02.07.14 @ 6:46 am

I do think Zanna’s gimpy ankle is a legit excuse for Pitt’s current mediocrity especially since there he has no real backup. Young, who is not yet nearly strong enough, is apparently Z’s backup at the 5. (Randall has played very sparingly lately.)

Z hadn’t practiced before the UM game and probably will not vs Va Tech. I would hope he will get lots of rest tomorrow.

Comment by wbb 02.07.14 @ 6:51 am

notrocket, you make a great point, however, you must keep in mind that Rod is already ‘in-house’ and will not be an expensive hire …. a couple of factors that seem to matter t PC.

Comment by wbb 02.07.14 @ 6:55 am

Few questions on FB:

1. When does the ACC money start hitting and how much of a bump is it for Pitt Athletics?

2. Do we know of any plan to raise the FB budget as a result?

In other words has the plan been to run as they have been until the ACC money is in the bank account and then expand the budget (staff, facilities, etc) from there?

For BB,

…the ACC team came into our house and took something away from us… the intimidated out of the gate that when you come to the Pete… you lose.

Something we had in the Big East, until last year or two. Rather, now, out of the gate the ACC has experienced, no think that, they can win.

So,

The only thing to do is go into their house and take that back. That simple.

Go win there, and make sure then the next time they are here make sure we take care of business they way we use to at the Pete.

Comment by Pittscript 02.07.14 @ 8:36 am

I like the idea of a former pro wide receiver who knows the intricacies of playing the position.

Need someone who is still hungry and willing to do the hard work of recruiting.

Hines Ward is too much of a celebrity with options to make big money.

Big thanks to Engram for not making a move before signing day.

We definitely need someone capable of schooling Boyd and Jennings et al.

Comment by gc 02.07.14 @ 9:06 am

I also like the idea of trying to win without Zanna tomorrow. Play without him in the first half and only use him in the second if you really need him.

The only thing that helps a sprained ankle is rest and treatment. He will be nursing it all year so best to use it sparingly. They usually only get worse while your playing on them.

The additional playing time will help Artis, Randall and Uchebo for when we really need them, which is for the rest of the season.

If there is any chance to beat Syracuse it will require a strong game from Zanna, and some points from anyone not named Patterson.

Comment by gc 02.07.14 @ 9:21 am

I am sure there have been other occasions, but I remember when Julius Page’s ankle was sprained.

His real talent was his leaping ability, without that sprain we might have got our first final four.

He was a great defender and I’m sure that ankle affected his play there as well.

Comment by gc 02.07.14 @ 9:27 am

After the offensive challenges of the last few games, I was wondering how much this team really works on its shooting and just on offense in general. I know individual players do their thing, but how much emphasis is there in practice on offense?

And then yesterday, in the car, I hear a clip of Cam Wright on The Fan saying that they “had to play good D, that’s the hallmark of the program, and that’s what wework on most in practice, spend most of our time working on defense.”

Is it any wonder, then, that game time comes, and that they’re going through the motions on offense, the movement of the ball getting slower and slower with each passing game, fewer and fewer shots going down?

Like most others, I’ll give Dixon his props, but offense is important! Great D is too, but if this keeps up, yes, they may make the tourney, but they will very likely get bounced in the first round… again. Time to stop doing the same things and expecting different results.

Comment by Carmen 02.07.14 @ 9:39 am

@Wardapalooza, Stanford might be 38 now but when we played them they were50+. It is embarrassing if that is our signature win. If all we have to hang our hat on is no bad losses then we had better play better than Wednesday night or we will have some. We still have work to do. The Zanna ankle thing is perplexing, because without a healthy Talib we really aren’t very good. We do not have a substitute for what he brings in inside quickness and strength and without that there goes the rebounds and transition game. I am not normally the one screaming that the sky is falling here, in fact just the opposite , so you might want to reconsider the concerns I am convinced are real.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.07.14 @ 9:59 am

Carmen, If you think our current dilemna is due to practice time spent on offense I think you must have missed most of the season. Our offense was clicking along at an ACC enviable pace until the second half of the Maryland game. Patterson was conducting a league wide clinic and being likened to the best passers in school history at that point. Our offense had just rolled up a couple 80 point games without benefit if Duran Johnson. Then we ran into a red hot Duke team that sank about a dozen 3′s and ended every inbound play with an easy bucket. We quit playing D and the transition points disappeared. Then Zanna goes down in the first half of the Virginia game and his injury changes the whole picture. Without his strength and quickness inside we struggle to rebound. Did you notice Cam Wright had 9 boards at Miami. Instead of running in transition he is stuck in the backcourt trying to secure the balls Talib normally gets to. The transition game goes south and we have to work harder for points in the halfcourt offense. This causes us to look and play tired. No amount of offensive practice will fix this. I wish the solution was that easy. Our only hope at this point is that Zanna has a miracle recovery or our freshman step up dramatically. If the Miami game is any indication neither are going to happen which leaves us in deep doo doo. Everyone has us in the NCAA’s already but we are not there yet.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.07.14 @ 10:27 am

PITT’s RPI is a solid #23.

Our SOS is #57

There are still more than a few higher ranked teams with lower SOS’s than us.

For instance the # ranked team in the country.
Cuse’s SOS is #92.

Yet we don’t hear a dang thing, not one iota, not one iota of an iota, that Cusey’s SOS is almost twice as low as PITT’s.

Nope, nope, nope…Pitt is the poster child here.

And that’s the way the non-factual media is going to spin this.

Comment by Emel 02.07.14 @ 11:48 am

^the # 1 ranked team in the country^^

(although I think everyone could have figured that out, except maybe for sos22…lol…parole officer)

Comment by Emel 02.07.14 @ 11:49 am

I agree that Z should be rested against VT if the Dcotors think that is the way to go.

For Cusey and the Tarholes loom next week.

This should be a good game to get Randall & Uchebo big minutes and see if Uchebo can possibly contribute at all this season. If not, I don’t see why they burned a redshirt for him.

Comment by Emel 02.07.14 @ 11:57 am

I agree, spirit, that the offense had looked great — as good if not better than I can recall in the past decade — but that has disappeared. We’re playing teams with better defenses who have seen our offense and understand that, particularly without Durand, we are quite the one-trick pony. We don’t have particularly strong shooters to begin with outside of Patterson. So, in my view, it’s particularly important in practice to work on the offense, adding new wrinkles and building up the confidence of guys like Robinson, Newkirk, Artis, and even Wright. We need other players beside Patterson to score, plain and simple. And that begins in practice.

Comment by Carmen 02.07.14 @ 12:15 pm

let me throw my hat in the ring of people who would like to see Z sit tomorrow. However, I would be very surprised if our beloved coach agrees

Comment by wbb 02.07.14 @ 12:20 pm

Carmen, I don’t think they solved squat, the difference was we played a hot Duke team then Zanna got hurt.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.07.14 @ 12:25 pm

what you guys didn’t like the Limburger Cheese convo on the other thread ?

Comment by Emel 02.07.14 @ 12:38 pm

wbb, I’m sure you are right about the coach. Seems to be his modus operandi. During the non-com he had the opportunity to give the young guys and Randall more pt but was afraid to give up his teddy bear.

emel, I don’t think Uchebo is eligible for a redshirt.

Comment by gc 02.07.14 @ 12:40 pm

Patterson is also responsible for the scoring drought of others in that his brilliant passing was why guys were getting open looks. Plus the pressure on the other guys goes up when he is not scoring.

He really is our star.

Comment by gc 02.07.14 @ 12:43 pm

yep yep gc. I thought he might not be eligible.

JD likes his hollow wins maybe too much not to rest Z.

Someone mentioned, rest Z in the first half and then if you absolutely have to play him in the 2nd you do. Losing to VT a home would be a really really bad loss.

Comment by Emel 02.07.14 @ 12:44 pm

@ gc

I’d like to see more than just a single screen to try to get Lamar open or a route to the hoop.

How about some double or if need be triple screens.

Lamar is also great a finding guys on the pick(screen) and roll. With several players setting screens (picks), he would several other options in passing to players rolling off the pick as well.

Comment by Emel 02.07.14 @ 12:52 pm

^great at ^

Comment by Emel 02.07.14 @ 12:53 pm

Unless Zman gets healthy the transition game is history and our halfcourt offense will get slower and slower without the threat of offensive rebounding. Patterson might be the lightbulb but Zanna is the switch and one won’t work well without the other.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.07.14 @ 2:29 pm

The bench players got more minutes at the beginning of the season while the starters got less minutes. statsheet.com shows avg minute charts and lots of other stats. Starters need minutes too at the beginning of the season. You need your best 5 to get used to playing together. One thing I just noticed about playing time is that James Robinson’s minutes have gone down 3.5 minutes per game since December.

You can’t just rest Zanna from the get go. But I’m sure if Pitt gets a big lead he won’t play much.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.07.14 @ 3:18 pm

I love the optimism here, or is it over confidence? Big lead- we haven’t smelled one since the one we blew at Maryland.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.07.14 @ 4:08 pm

As I watched last night, I started thinking: they look so out of synch on offense. I wonder how much work they do on shooting and just offense in general in practice. Then on the fan today I hear Cam Wright say something to the effect of, “We’re always focused on defense. We work on defense in practice much more than offense.”

You know what? If shows! Defense is important, yes. But if this team doesn’t start scoring, it will be one and done in March. Jamie needs to get out of his comfort zone and focus on some motherf@#$ing offense, and quick.

Comment by Carmen 02.08.14 @ 1:19 pm

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