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February 10, 2014

Getting By

Filed under: Basketball,Injury — Chas @ 1:53 pm

You know all those years of Pitt teams where there was no “go to guy?” The guy on that the team looks to score. The most visible offensive threat. Kind of think Pitt has one of those this year, and the VT game was what happens when he’s not right. Still, I’ll take escaping (again) with the win.

Lamar Patterson had the tape on the right  hand and thumb, and it was evident how much of a problem it was when he couldn’t aim straight. To say nothing of struggling with his handle.

It isn’t right to say Pitt is decimated by injuries, but there is a toll at the moment that is rather high. Durand Johnson’s injury has been an issue but plenty of teams can withstand losing their 6th man.

It’s the nagging injuries to Talib Zanna and now Lamar Patterson that are the concerns of the moment.

Zanna is gutting out the ankle sprain/roll/whatever. He’s out there giving minutes, but he isn’t able to get to the ball and rebound as he was. It is also hurting his position around the basket, making it harder on whoever is at the 4 to play defense and rebound. It is no coincidence that Pitt’s rebounding and defense — especially after not corralling a defensive rebound — has become really bad since Zanna got hurt.

This isn’t to say that Zanna’s injury should be an excuse for the performance by Jamel Artis and Mike Young the last two games — they have been pretty sub-par — it is just one more factor that effects them.

After playing three games in a seven-day span, two requiring overtime, the Panthers need rest and took Sunday off. Lamar Patterson (43.5), Wright (42.5), Talib Zanna (40) and Robinson (37.5) all averaged heavy minutes the past two games, so it’s no surprise that signs of wear and tear are showing, particularly in Patterson (thumb) and Zanna (ankle). The fifth-year seniors are the team’s top two scorers, averaging about 30 points a game, but combined for 12 against Virginia Tech.

It hasn’t helped that the Panthers aren’t getting much help from their supporting cast. Freshman guard Josh Newkirk contributed 11 points in 27 minutes off the bench, but power forwards Mike Young and Jamel Artis combined for five points and two rebounds in 41 minutes and Chris Jones, Derrick Randall and Joseph Uchebo were all scoreless.

“Obviously, you’re not going to have guys score their average every game, and you’ve got to play through it,” Dixon said. “We’ve got Cameron and James and Josh, but we need other guys. We’re playing through injuries and fatigue, but we’ve got to get it figured out.”

Patterson’s injury is frustratingly vague.

Patterson scored a season-low five points and was 1 of 9 from the field, which included several airballs.

“The pain is on the inside of my thumb so they say it is not that serious and it is going to heal,” said Patterson, who wasn’t able to practice leading up to the game because of his thumb. “It is not that serious, it is not something that is going to need surgery or anything like that, so I am not too concerned.

“[I had to play], I am more of an all-around player so my scoring is not necessary. I can create, I can pass, I can rebound, I can get stops, get defensive steals and definitely tried to do all those things.”

But, mainly Pitt needed his scoring.

No real details though as to the nature of the injury or how long it will take to heal. Is it a couple days? A nagging injury stretching out over weeks because there won’t be much rest until after this week?

I love Cam Wright. I think he is a fantastic team player for Pitt. Excellent defender and vastly better on offense from last year. But when he and James Robinson have to shoulder the scoring load it is hard not to be unnerved.

Josh Newkirk did well in the VT game, but he is a freshman and he has been up-and-down as you would expect (like the Virginia game).





Great summary Chas. The remaining roster of players with no injury visibly hobbling their play: Robinson, Wright, Newkirk, Young, Artis, and Randall. You have to play with who you have, in which case I’m grateful for any game we can win. Get well soon Lamar.

Comment by San Diego Panther 02.10.14 @ 3:04 pm

It as interesting that he took his wrap off in the 2nd half, but it didn’t seem to help at all. Two tough games ahead but a week off should help things. I’m realistically hoping for 1/2 this week.

Comment by Pendlum 02.10.14 @ 3:22 pm

I would like to see Uchebo get a few more minutes. He seems to be a little less gimpy than a few weeks ago. When he is in, he hardly has time to even get warmed up and he gets taken out. I specifically watched him in the VT game the whole time he was in and didn’t notice that he looked too out of place. Would like to see what happens when he’s in there for more than 90seconds.

Comment by JJ 02.10.14 @ 3:32 pm

It’s gut check time for the Panthers. How tough is this group? We will find out in the next few weeks.

Comment by Omar 02.10.14 @ 3:41 pm

Everybody flips out when the team exceeds expectations, they were picked 6th after losing a lottery pick and their top scorer.

They are in a slump, the best players hurt, and yes they are playing ugly. It happens. People calling for Dixon’s head are just crazy.

Comment by Snala The Panther 02.10.14 @ 3:48 pm

JJ, on the first defensive possession, Uchebo missed an assignment which led to an easy basket .. which of course is a no-no and the reason for his short stint.

Having said that, I believe there is a chance he will become semi-productive next season when Pitt will be in dire need of a big man. He seems to want to really do well when he is in, and plays aggressively.

Comment by wbb 02.10.14 @ 3:53 pm

@@@@@

Having to depend on true and redshirt
feshmen is not the optimal situation. This
team is limited and the collective
inexperience might explain the quality
if the non conference schedule. Still
winning games is most important….
style points aren’t.

Comment by JR 02.10.14 @ 3:55 pm

Iowa State secondary coach Troy Douglas is heading to Pitt. Unknown what his title will be.

Apparently, he has Florida ties.

Comment by Mailman 02.10.14 @ 4:00 pm

Troy Douglas’ coaching resume: link to coachingroots.com

Comment by Mailman 02.10.14 @ 4:01 pm

He should play young and artis and let the hurt players sit becuse they only hurt the team.
if the hurt players cant shot or move they should not play it will be worse with them in there then the few screw ups that young and artis make.

Comment by Frankcan 02.10.14 @ 4:01 pm

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

Savannah State over Delaware State (Savannah St. may win a close one, on the road)

Howard over Norfolk State (In Norfolk. Not likely)

Maryland over Virginia (In Charlottesville. Not likely)

Comment by xfmrman 02.10.14 @ 4:02 pm

here is another profile of Troy Douglas

link to cyclones.com

Comment by wbb 02.10.14 @ 4:08 pm

I hope that the coaching staff is stressing to Young and Artis that CJ Fair is left-handed and has trouble going to his right.
They each got burned in Syracuse allowing Fair to drive left.

Comment by xfmrman 02.10.14 @ 4:10 pm

Today’s Lunardi bracket. Still all east coast.

I know it means nothing but I can dream, right?

link to espn.go.com

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.10.14 @ 4:14 pm

Someone with the initials TD has to be coaching on the offensive side of the ball at Pitt. And both his kids have the initials TD as well.

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.10.14 @ 4:16 pm

I say any thumb injury is serious and very unlikely to heal quickly. I know a lot more about ankles than thumbs from personal experience and I don’t think it is registering here how serious Zanna’s injury is to the team. Zanna’s ankle is as important as Patterson’s thumb. Has anyone noticed that since Zanna sprained his ankle our transition game has only existed during the first 5 minutes of the game. Zanna can run and jump effectively for about 5 minutes before the ankle injury starts to limit him. He still can box out but he loses his qiuickness going after the ball. Robinson and Wright are forced to help rebound which ends any hope at transition baskets. He no longer runs the court either. How Artis , Young ,and at risk of lawsuit, Randall can fail to rebound the whole game is beyond me. The 3 of them better figure out how to rebound soon or we are headed for the NIT. Arguably 3 of our best 4 players are on crutches or so hobbled that they don’t resemble the players they were a few games ago. No team can overcome that. Patterson wasn’t setting the world on fire when he hurt his thumb either. 3 weeks ago he was the most impressive player in the conference and Zanna was looking like he deserved all conference attention. We would have beat Syracuse at the Pete and had an even money chance to beat UNC. Saturday Robinson and Wright showed a lot of grit and I thought Dixon was going to yank his face off trying to get us past Vtech but at some point heart yields to better players and I think we are about to get thumped around a bit. I don’t know if sitting Zanna and Patterson would be better than playing through the injuries. If I were the players I would want to play. It looks to me like Dixon is going to play through so let’s make the most of it. The media is going to make it sound like we fell apart at the end but the truth is this was a very good team with a ton of heart and no depth that got injured. Now it is time for the freshman and first year players to step in and contribute. I will be very surprised if we win more than two more games this year but I am still very proud of what this team accomplished. It is a real shame they didn’t get dealt a better hand. (and ankle and knee as well)

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.10.14 @ 4:22 pm

wbb, From what I’m reading, Troy Douglas really sounds like a good hire. Should I pinch my myself to wake up? I certainly hope that the ability to recruit is part of the decision.

Comment by Justinian 02.10.14 @ 4:22 pm

Info for you all Troy Douglas would make a better DC then House.
if he comes here as are new WR coach it is a waste
if you read abought him you have to say he would be a great DC.
and yes he would be able to recruit the south as he has coached there with a few teams
he played WR in college and did well but of his 11 years coaching he has coached the DB and made some great DB and put them in the pros.
but he should have Houses job not WR coach.

Comment by Frankcan 02.10.14 @ 4:29 pm

It just seems that PC is more proactive this year. Last year it took him to 2 months to promote a guy to coordinator, and the staff had very few offers out (let alone commits) at this time.

Now, Pitt already has 2 commits and hires a quote quickly … and even more amazing, this guy has no ties to Wisconsin.

Comment by wbb 02.10.14 @ 4:30 pm

How did Young have no points and no rebounds in 27 minutes against Vtech? Somebody needs to wake him up. Even Randall did better than that. Talk about a player that disappears in conference this kid is really coasting. Either add something or get out of the way and let the walkons play. No points , no boards, 27 minutes. Vtech was playing 5 on 4 for over half the game.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.10.14 @ 4:35 pm

If Lamar says he can play, then he plays. It’s his last big home game. He gets to make the call.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.10.14 @ 4:37 pm

Wbb but if you read all that he has done he makes house look like bad .
this man has more experence then house and has done a great job every were he has been he is a great secondary coach.
he makes house look sick would it be great if house is leaveing.

Comment by Frankcan 02.10.14 @ 4:41 pm

@wardapalooza, When you are right ,you are right.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.10.14 @ 5:17 pm

Tom Savage Redux?

********
CBS Sports reports former USC Starting QB Max Wittek is planning to visit Pitt.

The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Witteck will be eligible to play immediately with two seasons of eligibility remaining. Wittek says he’s looking forward to his visits to Pitt and other schools including Texas so he can “meet people face-to-face since a lot of football is about relationships.”

Wittek’s dad is expected to join him on his visits.

********

Forget about it. With his Dad and an emphasis on relationships… that plays right into Chryst’s WHEELHOUSE.

Comment by PittofDreams 02.10.14 @ 5:21 pm

The coach chryst hired is not comeing now i guess pitt is not good enough for douglas or some one put the stops to it.

Comment by Frankcan 02.10.14 @ 5:32 pm

I thought our kids played some great defense at times on Saturday.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.10.14 @ 5:33 pm

does it seam like pitt could screw up a wet dream
they cant even hire a coach with out something happening

Comment by Frankcan 02.10.14 @ 5:36 pm

1 Hour Ago… Ames (Iowa) Tribune…

********
Iowa State secondary coach Troy Douglas has been offered a spot on the Pittsburgh staff, but Douglas has not decided it he’ll take the position yet, according to a source.

Coachingsearch.com reported that Douglas will join the Panther staff on Wednesday.

Douglas spent the last three seasons with the Cyclones. He previously worked with ISU defensive coordinator at South Florida from 2006-08.
********

Comment by PittofDreams 02.10.14 @ 5:39 pm

No change in rankings for Panthers:
link to espn.go.com

Comment by TonyinHouston 02.10.14 @ 5:39 pm

Wednesday…

Troy Douglas announced as new D-Backs Coach.

Pitt BEATS Syracuse.

Nice Day.

Comment by PittofDreams 02.10.14 @ 5:43 pm

From Douglas’ Iowa State Bio…

********
“Four pupils of (Troy) Douglas’ teaching are currently in the NFL: Tracy Porter (Oakland Raiders), Mike Jenkins (Oakland Raiders), Nate Allen (Philadelphia Eagles) and Da’Norris Searcy (Buffalo Bills).

Prior to his arrival in Ames, Douglas’ mentoring of North Carolina’s defensive backs helped the Tar Heels become one of the top defensive units in the ACC. In 2010, the Tar Heels were among the national leaders in interceptions with 19 for the second straight season. Searcy led the team with four picks.”

********

How about some POSITIVE Pitt Group Think.

Comment by PittofDreams 02.10.14 @ 5:47 pm

Nice info webb, Pofdreams and frankan… hard to believe Douglas is making a lateral move to Pitt… unless he likes the ACC better than B12??

maybe we will hear about a shakeup on the D side of the ball? hard to believe he is coming for offense given the above links?

Pitt BB, I am enjoying the year for what it is. The team performed way above preseason expectations and a lot of young good players are getting experience and new players along the way. This team will probably trail off a bit given injuries but hey, 20+ wins and the future looks very bright!

Comment by Pittscript 02.10.14 @ 6:04 pm

Panther’s Prey reports that Pitt may be close to hiring Montreal Alouettes WR coach Erik “Soup” Campbell.

Comment by Justinian 02.10.14 @ 6:04 pm

@Pittscript , I really appreciate your positive spin on our situation because I think this is one of the saddest developments in Pitt hoops in some time. We were right on the cusp of shaking things up pretty good when the injuries started. We might be sitting in the top 5 right now without the injuries. Now we will be fortunate to make the dance.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.10.14 @ 6:11 pm

Correction, it said Campbell is in the mix to possibly be hired at Pitt.

Comment by Justinian 02.10.14 @ 6:11 pm

Pitt of Dreams, You forget Pitt’s location, in the most livable city in America. Don’t you think that will seal the deal?

Comment by Justinian 02.10.14 @ 6:17 pm

I hear you Spiritofsection22, we might still rebound if the injuries can improve. Wednesday will be a key game… even if we lose can we play them close? if we are already at 20 wins we should get in right?? Never know what can happen once you are in.

I guess I am taking solace in the fact the preseason we thought the program was going downhill, and now with the young team and incoming recruits things look good into the future!

Really good point by folks above about Chryst responding with decisiveness and hire… showing he can adapt and learn! WR coach looks impressive as well as the DB coach. here are profiles on them… wonder if the DB coach is really just making a lateral move??

link to panthersprey.blogspot.com

Wednesday could be interesting for several reasons!

Comment by Pittscript 02.10.14 @ 6:18 pm

Looks like the “Soup” could be coming to Pitt after getting CANNED at Iowa a year ago.

Based upon his background… he could coach D-Backs just as well as Receivers.

Interesting.

From his Iowa Bio…

********
Campbell was a four-year letterman (1984-87) at Michigan and boasts starts on both sides of the ball. The Wolverines compiled a 35-13-1 record and won the 1986 Big Ten title while Campbell was a squad member. He is the only player in Michigan football history to start at all four secondary positions in one year.

********

Comment by PittofDreams 02.10.14 @ 6:23 pm

Justinian…

And how about the Paris of Appalachia?

Atlanta Panther was nice enough to point out that little tidbit.

Comment by PittofDreams 02.10.14 @ 6:28 pm

Pittscript , 20 wins won’t get us there, we need to win 3 more games and even then the committee can turn their nose up at how we finished. The big question is how bad is Patterson ,and is Talib going to get better. My guess is bad and no, but that is just a guess off what I am watching. Our local media won’t find out anything they never do. Wednesday night should give us an idea of what we are up against. If Patterson can’t shoot and Zman can’t run and jump it won’t be pretty no matter how much heart we have.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.10.14 @ 6:40 pm

SOS22, Young had 4 pts vs VT .. don’t make it worse that it actually was

Comment by wbb 02.10.14 @ 6:54 pm

Pitt of Dreams, Yes, I forgot about that. The defensive secondary coach played at Appalachian State.

Comment by Justinian 02.10.14 @ 6:54 pm

Young also had 4 assists, one behind Patterson

Comment by wbb 02.10.14 @ 6:58 pm

@spirit… after syracuse I know we have to play Virginia again… there right? So really tough game. If we are at a ‘lower level’ now given events… are there 3 other wins left on the schedule?

Comment by Pittscript 02.10.14 @ 7:04 pm

WBB, I stand corrected.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.10.14 @ 7:04 pm

We might be down from are apex that may well have been the Syracuse game there/clemson here week… but given the below we should get the W needed to get to the dance? hopefully we win one game in the ACC tourney as well…? (I admit I am not a BB savvy person…).

02/12/14 vs. Syracuse TV Petersen Events Center 7:00 p.m. ET
02/15/14 at North Carolina TV Chapel Hill, N.C./Smith Center 1:00 p.m. ET
02/23/14 vs. Florida State TV Petersen Events Center 6:00 p.m. ET
02/26/14 at Boston College TV Chestnut Hill, Mass./Conte Forum 8:00 p.m. ET
03/01/14 at Notre Dame TV South Bend, Ind./Purcell Pavilion 2:00 p.m. ET
03/03/14 vs. North Carolina State TV Petersen Events Center 9:00 p.m. ET
03/08/14 at Clemson TV

Comment by Pittscript 02.10.14 @ 7:07 pm

On another topic. Hoopies are booing D’Andre Kane every time he touches the ball tonight. Kane was a teammate of Dejuan Blair at Schenley. A few years ago when he played for Marshall and they beat the Hoopies here in Charleston, Kane was taunting Huggins profusely at the end of the game. He is a gamer. I like his swagger.

Comment by Panther Fan in Hoopieland 02.10.14 @ 7:22 pm

Pittscript , As we sit now we are easily in the dance but due to the injuries we the committee has a free hand to allow for their own take on who gets in. I think 3 more wins would make it hard for them to pass us over. Because of our horrible non/con schedule our strength is no bad losses. That could change in the next 3 weeks though. Our best chances to win are at home against Florida State and NC State and at BC who sucks. Syracuse and UNC aren’t going to lose to us the way we are playing. We never beat ND no matter where we play. Clemson senior day will be laying for us after how we embarrassed them here. I like our chances even injured against BC. I could see us losing them all after Saturday’s game though. If that would happen we are headed for the NIT.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.10.14 @ 7:23 pm

WVU up big early on #11 Iowa St. The Hoopies are quietly putting together a nice run in the Big 12. Not that their fans would know, the Coliseum is half empty. Guess the Iowa St. rivalry (ahem) isn’t quite there yet for the Hoopie faithful.

Comment by Iron Duke 02.10.14 @ 7:30 pm

SOS22, good post at 4:22. I think we can win at least 3 more games, but doubt any of them will come this week. After UNC we are off 8 days. That has to help both Zanna and LP.

I will be in Chapel Hill this weekend for the game. Admittedly, I am not as pumped for the game as I was a couple weeks ago, but still looking forward to the experience.

Any other Blather brethren going to the UNC game? I’m buying post-game, even if it is a beer to cry in.

Comment by Iron Duke 02.10.14 @ 7:43 pm

I’m going Wednesday night and looking for a miracle but expecting the worst. UNC has quietly turned their season around and are playing very well.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.10.14 @ 7:57 pm

No new coachs hired yet for football.

Comment by Frankcan 02.10.14 @ 7:58 pm

guys I understand all the gloom and doom, but do we even know the extent of the injuries to talib and lamar yet? I mean, they might be fine Wednesday

Comment by Fred 02.10.14 @ 8:00 pm

Pitt’s 2014 basketball recruiting class rated 118 in nation behind Penn State & West Virginia’s:
link to 247sports.com

Comment by TonyinHouston 02.10.14 @ 8:02 pm

TonyinHouston:

You realize that the only recruit 247 lists is Doorson.
Jeeter and Mostella (if he comes) were rated in previous years.
Luther is a late bloomer.
And Pitt only has 3 scholarships available.

Comment by xfmrman 02.10.14 @ 8:17 pm

thanks spirit…

overall if they get healthy this team can also rebound and show folks a lot down the stretch too… first part of the year was not an illusion… never know. Wednesday will be interesting.

Comment by Pittscript 02.10.14 @ 8:21 pm

@Tony in Houston, Yea 247 and in 2019 when they are 5 th year seniors we will be ranked and play in the NCAA tourney while Penn St continues to suck. So what is your point?

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.10.14 @ 8:51 pm

Look i know chryst is moveing fast for him maybe not for outhers but for hime and 2 names are out there a WR coach and a DB coach.
But i fellow football scoop very close and i can tell you 6 teams have hired a WR coach in the last 2 days some of them have hired there WR coach with in 3 days after they had a opening.
I just dont under stand why it is so hard for pitt to fill there coaching openings.

Comment by Frankcan 02.10.14 @ 8:55 pm

@Tonyin Houston, I don’t ever remember Pitt having a top 10 recruiting class in the last decade yet we have the 5th best record of any team in the country over that same period of time playing in one of the toughest conferences. Maybe it is because we have great coaching. Either that or those doing the rating must be in error. Whichever you choose makes your post look foolish. So again what is your point?

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.10.14 @ 9:01 pm

Dixon is in a tough situation. 2 biggest games coming up – so he is forced to play the injured. What if Patterson tears a tendon and is lost for the rest of the year? Or Zanna comes down awkward as is lost for the year?

I would sit them both until healed. What does it matter at this point?

Comment by John Ramella 02.10.14 @ 9:14 pm

I think PC is making a bad decision if he is going after the USC QB. You might as well stop recruiting QBs because no QB will want to come here. That kid is not transferring to be a back-up. Savage came in at a good spot. This guy will be replacing a guy who has worked hard for this shot. What you gain in talent may be lost and then some to a drop in team morale. For PC to even consider this kid makes one wonder if we have a former Elite 11 QB that is a complete bust……As for Young, I think his struggles hsve to do with conditioning. He will be a great player in years 2-3-4.

Comment by HbgFrank 02.10.14 @ 9:22 pm

All we can do is leave it all out on the court Wednesday vs. Cuse. Somehow they really do seem to bring out the best in Pitt MBB. The best piece of information on this thread was posted by P-script’s schedule post that shows after UNC on Saturday the 15th we don’t play again for 8 days until Sunday the 23rd @ the Pete vs. FSU! Rest and rehab! How that happened in the midst of the ACC schedule is beyond me but thank you!! H2P! UPone

Comment by UPone 02.10.14 @ 9:22 pm

spiritofsection22:
You just hate facts. It interferes with your cheerleading. I guess you are just fact-challenged.
Too bad. So sad.

Comment by TonyinHouston 02.10.14 @ 9:28 pm

spiritofsection22:
Why don’t you stop trying to be the board censor or Pederson blot and stop feeling the need to respond to everyone’s comment? You’re boring, overly opinionated, and most of the time in your own little world. I don’t want to hear from you, don’t want you to mention my name or my blog posts. Mind your own fucking business.

Comment by TonyinHouston 02.10.14 @ 9:32 pm

Frankcan, just a little known fact that I’d like to share with you, since I’ve been reading your lower case posts now for more than a few years,,,,,, those rectangular keys at the ends of the lower second rows on your keyboard that read “Shift”, If you simply depress and hold one of them down and while pressing any other alpha key, it will actually create an upper case letter! Just an FYI, maybe time to move into the 21st century, don’t you think??

Comment by Dr. Tom 02.10.14 @ 9:33 pm

@TonyinHouston,
Wow…what are you drinking tonight? SoS22 has good points and you respond like he just screwed your sister. Try not to get so personal in your posts and just argue your points.

Comment by Vonteego's Way 02.10.14 @ 10:53 pm

@Dr. Tom,
Actually, that’s the way a lot of people type. It’s completely acceptable in posts, IMs, emails,, tweets, etc. Just a little known fact for you.

Comment by Vonteego's Way 02.10.14 @ 11:03 pm

#7 Kansas falls on the road to unranked KState in OT. It must be contagious.

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.11.14 @ 12:11 am

Tony in Houston…

How are recruiting rankings fact? They are the complete opposite.

Pitt has been one if the top 10 programs in the country win wise the past 10 years… That’s a fact.

Comment by Pitt2Cali 02.11.14 @ 3:22 am

Here’s a little more on a.coaching speculation from the Trib.Live…Jerry D.

link to blog.triblive.com

Comment by The TRUTH 02.11.14 @ 6:17 am

Tough spot, cursed luck. Only remedy for LP & Z is rest. We’re a limited offense and our 3 most prolific scorers are injured. U was aware he missed an assignment and worked not to let that happen again. The only way he improves is playing. Do you sacrifice now? Do you start U or Artis let them bang people around, rest Z and see where you are with 7 mins left in 2nd half? Young has to fight his fatigue, we’ll see what he’s got tomorrow. JD is usually reactive, maybe needs to be proactive with Z’s ankle or we could completely lose him. LP thumb won’t keep him off the court but will limit shooting. At least he can run. Tough, tough spot; still not conceding anything if other kids answer the call. If we go down go down swinging. Rest Z.

Comment by Old School Panther 02.11.14 @ 6:31 am

Unacceptable post Tony. Unacceptable language and unacceptable personal attacks. Either clean it up or GET OFF the blog.

Comment by Jason 02.11.14 @ 6:39 am

The two possible Pitt Football Coaching hires is obviously a fluid situation.

Looks to be finalized one way or another in the next 24 hours.

Campbell is more likely and an OK addition.

But make not mistake about it, Douglas is the REAL PRIZE.

Comment by PittofDreams 02.11.14 @ 7:04 am

Also fairly obvious that Werner at the Post Gazette and DiPaolo at the Trib are avid readers of Da Blather and other Pitt Blogs.

Coverage and story angles often MIRROR what’s already been posted.

The ongoing Coaching Carousal story is an exemplary case.

What ever happened to reporters using TRUSTED SOURCES to advance stories?

Comment by PittofDreams 02.11.14 @ 7:19 am

PittofDreams

I could not agree more about Werner and DiPaola. Their stories during the season are just taken from the press conferences and interviews with coaches after practice. Information you can listen to on the Pitt website. I am no writer but I could take a few quotes and author what they put out.

I mentioned this before, why no story on the Pitt football winter conditioning and new coach. If you cover the team that is what they are doing right now and it is a big deal with an unproven coach.

We should put together a list of articles Pitt fans would like to see and send it their way, LOL.

Comment by notrocketscience 02.11.14 @ 7:41 am

Getting Max Wittek into a Panther uniform for 2014 sure would make the loss of Freebeck’s verbal commitment a lot easier to swallow, plus giving Pitt an immediate boost in the depth department at QB. No doubt about it though, Chad has earned the right to be the starter going into the Spring. IF Wittek realizes the opportunity he has at Pitt to be an immediate contributor, IMO, he’d be a fool not to come on board with the Panthers.

It would be nothing but good news for the team, added depth and experience at at QB plus it builds a fire under Chad to make him even hungrier to keep his #1 spot. It is his job to lose going into Fall camp.

Let’s hope that HCPC can get both Campbell and Douglas into the coaching staff. If that happens it will be another stroke of good fortune for the team. Still sad for Pitt about losing Engram, but then again, happy for him personally from a positive professional career move perspective.

Now,,,, can we shock the world tomorrow and raise the roof at the Peterson Center by beating Syracuse tommorrow night? Now THAT would be SWEET!!!

Comment by Dr. Tom 02.11.14 @ 7:45 am

BTW, if Chryst hires the two men rumored as hires then everyone needs to give him credit.
Replacing an empty position (WR coach) is a no brainer but they are in desperate need of a CB coach right now.

Comment by notrocketscience 02.11.14 @ 7:45 am

Anybody have the inside info on the Douglas and Campbell offers? And I’d like to learn of their recruiting potential as well.

Comment by Dr. Tom 02.11.14 @ 7:47 am

Pitt2Cali nailed it at 3:22. These rankings, whether they be recruiting rankings or Top 25 polls, are simply someone else’s opinion in numerical form. Purely subjective and purely speculative. They are not fact and they don’t PROVE anything.

Proof is in results.

Comment by ECH 02.11.14 @ 7:48 am

If Patterson’s thumb is an issue, and it certainly was Saturday, Dixon should have him play the four ON OFFENSE against ‘cuse. Have Young and Artis play the three.

Patterson can still be effective at the high post, forcing the zone to collapse and then finding the open guy(dump down to Zanna or kick out for three) or attacking the rim. Young and Artis can both knock down open jumpers. The added bonus would be offensive rebounding, this guys can crash the offensive boards from the wing.

But if Zanna and Patterson aren’t practicing, this will never happen. Jamie would never try something new in a game if they haven’t practiced it for weeks.

Never mind.

Comment by Boubabcar Aw 02.11.14 @ 7:53 am

Based upon the quality players he’s coached,Troy Douglas is likely pretty good when it comes to recruiting.

However… there is no doubt he’s GOOD when it comes to Coaching… Master at KEEPING IT SIMPLE.

Douglas’ Two Rules…

Rule No. 1) The ball is the issue.

Rule No. 2) You are what you put on tape.

Read more on Douglas and you get a sense of just how important landing him could be to Pitt’s immediate future.

link to amestrib.com

Comment by PittofDreams 02.11.14 @ 8:30 am

There is absolutely no way Z would accept being told he has to sit out for Cuse. Talk about a great way to lose the entire team.

Wittek isn’t as good as Savage. Savage also had an entire season while he sat to learn the offense. Not sure how a guy who couldn’t win the USC job is going to come into Pitt learn the offense and win the starting job. Although, Chryst hates short QBs so I could see Wittek be basically handed the job. I don’t Chryst’s love affair with tall QBs. His best season was with Russell Wilson, when he had to tailor his offense more to Wilson’s athleticism. Give me a more athletic shorter QB over a tall immobile QB any day.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.11.14 @ 9:03 am

Boubacar – good suggestion re: Patterson at the 4. I’d love to see that move for this game, but yeah you’re right, probably no chance.

Re: Wittek, we need QB depth, and competition never hurts. I don’t care if he ever sees the field, if he is interested bring him in.

Comment by Iron Duke 02.11.14 @ 9:18 am

Info for you all football scoop brett mcmurphy ESPN and coach search all say Troy Douglas is pitts new secondary coach that is good news.
now we just need a new WR coach.

Comment by Frankcan 02.11.14 @ 9:44 am

@Iron Duke,

I expect that we’ll see a lot of Patterson at the 4 on Wednesday. Newkirk will come in at the 1, Robinson will move to the 2, and Wright will move to the 3.

Comment by Howard 02.11.14 @ 9:52 am

Pitt could win tomorrow:

If they again way out-rebound Syracuse as they did in Syracuse

If Robinson shoots well from three point land. His 3 for 4 against VT was an indication that it could happen.

If they pick apart the Syracuse zone with excellent team passing from Wright, Patterson and Robinson.

If Patterson and Zanna play as if they are close to normal.

If they keep it close.

Comment by Howard 02.11.14 @ 10:07 am

@ Howard, “Pitt could win tomorrow” Your post to God’s ear brother.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.11.14 @ 10:15 am

If Pitt runs over 150 yards, they normally win

If Pitt outreboounds the opponent, they usually win. They did outrebound Cuse especially in 2nd half at the Dome, but were outrebounded in every other loss this year as well as the last 2 games.

Comment by wbb 02.11.14 @ 10:20 am

@wbb, The zone is good for creating turnovers and confusing offenses but one of it’s weaknesses is that it can be hard to rebound. Dixon has exploited that effectively against Syracuse many times in the past. IMO you are correct to look at rebounding as crucial to any hope Pitt has at an upset.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.11.14 @ 10:35 am

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

Clemson over Notre Dame (Should be close in South Bend)

North Carolina State over Wake Forest (State should win at home)

NC St. and Clemson are just out of the RPI top 50. If they can get in, and Pitt can beat them again, it would really help the tourney resume)

Comment by xfmrman 02.11.14 @ 10:52 am

@Notrocketscience, While you are putting together a list of articles they should write, how about some reporting on the injuries to the basketball players and what is the prognosis. We don’t even have the facts on Chris Jones let alone Zanna and Patterson.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.11.14 @ 12:00 pm

SOS22:

Yes, we hear about Blackshear (Louisville, concussion), Embiid (KU, knee), McGary (Michigan, back), Keita (Syracuse, knee), Ashley (Arizona, foot), Appling and Payne (Michigan St.), Cobbins (OK St., Achilles).
Yet we hear nothing about Zanna and Patterson being injured. We just hear that Pitt cannot score and look lethargic, etc.
But, at the time, Durand Johnson’s knee was discussed.

Comment by xfmrman 02.11.14 @ 12:33 pm

@sos

i believe you mentioned earlier that pitt is in the top 5 programs in wins in the last ten years. my question is of the top 5, how many of those teams have been to the final four? i truly do not know the answer. it pitt is the only team that hasnt, why? if dixon is such a great coach and pitt is such a great program, shouldn’t they have made ONE final four appearance?

Comment by goalie44 02.11.14 @ 1:19 pm

@tom

why does it matter that frankcan uses all lowercase? big deal.

Comment by goalie44 02.11.14 @ 1:21 pm

On BB in some ways I think we are more of an underdog Wednesday then when we played them there earlier… they have gotten stronger since, and we banged up and slumping… to win would not only be huge but would also lift this team into a late season surge.

On FB… wow, so much Chryst has to stay in a comfort zone of buddies. both sound important for coaching and recruiting.
- Is Douglas the DB coach really coming only to be DB coach? lateral move? Perhaps more shake up coming on the D side of the ball??
- WR recruits Big 10 midwest, DB coach the southeast… shows where recruiting strategy going.
- I keep thinking of Henry at WVU… wow, what a mess up… now their D coordinator Leaves (what writing does he see on the wall…), and we get a real DB dude…. Too bad signing day not next week!!

Comment by Pittscript 02.11.14 @ 1:33 pm

Goalie44,I honestly don’t know the answer to your questions, I do know that Pitt has been about as close to the final four as you get without going. I think Dixon is a great coach and has gotten way more wins out of way less talent than most and has done that consistently playing in the toughest conference. His record speaks for itself and he is one of the most respected men in his profession. He has more than held his own competing with the most successful coaches in the country. Calhoun, Patino, Boeheim, even Coach K. He has done this at a school that had never been much in basketball and without attracting many top recruits. He has consistently developed talent and his players graduate and move on to successful lives. As for Pitt being a great program that didn’t come from me. I think the Pitt program has had considerable success for a decade and has reached a level of a top 20 program. The great programs of college hoops still are perched a notch above the Panthers however. Kansas, Kentucky, Duke are great programs. We have a good program at Pitt.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.11.14 @ 2:13 pm

@ goalie 44, There is an element of posters here who seem to enjoy stressing the fact that JD hasn’t yet gotten to the final 4 or won a national championship. They overlook the fact that prior to him being here that was hardly ever even a consideration. They aren’t satisfied being on the map and think those loyal to JD are holding us back from some imagined level of greatness the next guy would surely achieve. Those of us who watched us fail for most of the last 40 years figure he is about as good as it gets and hope and pray JD will mature into the championship level like many others have done.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.11.14 @ 2:48 pm

The lack of information on Patterson and Zanna is extremely frustrating. Feel like they almost have to be on the floor tomorrow for Pitt to have a chance, but that has to be weighed against what is the best thing to do to ensure this team is as healthy as possible heading into this last part of the season.

But assuming that both will play and neither will be 100%, major offensive contributions from Artis and Robinson, and rebounding on both ends from Young, seems like a must for this team to make tomorrow’s game competitive.

Comment by Carmen 02.11.14 @ 3:08 pm

I just watched the preview of the Syracuse game on the ESPN site. They didn’t mention Patterson or Zanna’s injuries however they made a big deal about The Orange’s forward Mousa-kita’s sprained knee. He averages about 15 minutes a game. I’ll gladly give them 3 Mousa-kitas for a healthy Zanna or Patterson.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.11.14 @ 3:19 pm

@sos.

good posts. i mostly agree. i am one of those fussing about the final four. maybe it has more to do with unrealistic expectations of fans, vs actual success of the program. is there a better coach? maybe.. are there worse coaches? absolutely and i would never want sp to be in charge of any coaching search again!

Comment by goalie44 02.11.14 @ 3:26 pm

Goalie44 I with you 100% on the search angle.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.11.14 @ 3:31 pm

^I’m

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.11.14 @ 3:36 pm

@spirit,

Just found this, “Andy Katz discusses the thumb injury that may be hampering the shooting of Pitt’s Lamar Patterson.” It’s just a 34 second clip, but I can’t get it to load. Judging from the title, it’s just an educated guess:

link to espn.go.com

If you can get it to load, tell me what he says.

Comment by Howard 02.11.14 @ 4:33 pm

“Coach Jamie Dixon tells me that Lamar Patterson’s thumb has really been bothering him.” Really? That’s it? What, pray tell, is f@#$ing wrong with it, Andy? Was this information shared? Was it requested? Is there a timeline on when said thumb will not be really bothering Patterson?

Perhaps we should ask the NSA. If yinz guys are, like (cough) following along, inquiring minds would like to know.

Comment by Carmen 02.11.14 @ 4:43 pm

@Howard, Carmen is right ,I knew more before I viewed the Katz piece.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.11.14 @ 4:45 pm

link to cbssports.com

CBS has Pitt on the front page.

Comment by xfmrman 02.11.14 @ 5:29 pm

@xfmrman, Again no mention of the Pitt injuries, but concern for the Orange’s 2nd team center’s knee problem.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.11.14 @ 5:54 pm

SOS22:

In the article, it is briefly mentioned along with Keita.
But Norlander, Parrish and Borzello, all think that Pitt can (will) win the game. (In their podcast from yesterday)

Comment by xfmrman 02.11.14 @ 6:02 pm

Although hopeful, I am not as confident.

Comment by xfmrman 02.11.14 @ 6:03 pm

Sorry, it is mentioned in this article. One sentence vs paragraphs for the Keita issue, and line-ups.

link to cbssports.com

Comment by xfmrman 02.11.14 @ 6:12 pm

@xfmrman, What happened historically isn’t really a factor….., We might well have been the better team last time we played….., Our injuries are substantial and have severely limited us offensively……, The zoo will be rockin and everyone will be pumped…., Syracuse has struggled in true road games this year….

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.11.14 @ 6:13 pm

I do hope Pitt will try to force some things and put pressure on Ennis to get him to foul. And get Christmas into foul trouble.
Pitt must not forget Cooney. Cannot let him go-off for 32 points like he did @ ND.
And force Grant and Fair to take jump-shots.
Robertson and Gbinije are not offensive threats (but Gbinije is 10-21 from 3).
If Zanna/Young cannot contain Christmas/Grant inside (rebounding and scoring), Pitt is in real trouble.

Comment by xfmrman 02.11.14 @ 6:30 pm

Last 10 Years
322-69 John Calipari, multiple final fours, Nat’l Champ (NC)
318-64 Bill Self, multiple final fours, NC
313-68 Mike Krzyzewski, multiple final fours, NC
298-86 Roy Williams, multiple final fours, NC
295-89 Thad Matta, final four
290-68 Mark Few
290-88 Jim Boeheim, multiple final fours, NC
287-95 Billy Donovan, multiple final fours, NC
285-95 Rick Pitino, multiple final fours, NC
282-90 Jamie Dixon

Pitt is third in Home wins over the last 10 years.

While final fours and national championships are not the only measure of success, you can’t totally ignore them either.

So throw in Michigan State, UCLA, UConn, Memphis and Butler, then it becomes really tough to make a compelling case for Pitt being any higher than the 16th most successful program over the last ten years. Most “independent” pundits have ranked Pitt around number 20.

Bottom line, neither extreme opinion, “fire Dixon” or “Dixon is the best coach in the country and can do no wrong”, is supported by the facts. Pitt has a really good program with a really good coach. Neither the coach nor the program can be considered elite without more post season success.

A win tomorrow would be enough for me for a while, well at least until Saturday.

Comment by Boubabcar Aw 02.11.14 @ 6:43 pm

With Zanna, Randall and Uchebo, Pitt has 14 fouls to give at the 5. I would like to make Christmas work for 40 minutes.
And not give easy lay-ups. Make Syracuse earn their points from the line.

Comment by xfmrman 02.11.14 @ 6:43 pm

@Xfmrman, I think Pitt will be fine on defense, as long as our offense doesn’t allow the Orange to get out in transition. The question is can we score on the zone and rebound while not turning it over. If we aren’t too beat up to compete this could be an old fashioned Big East slug fest. A lot of people hate low scoring slow paced basketball but it is our best chance of winning a tough one against the Orange.HTP

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.11.14 @ 6:43 pm

Sorry 15th.

Comment by Boubabcar Aw 02.11.14 @ 6:45 pm

Early spread is Pitt -2.

Comment by xfmrman 02.11.14 @ 7:00 pm

@boubabcar, I have been active on this site for well over a year and have never seen a single post suggesting “Dixon was the best coach in the country and can do no wrong” I have seen lots of posts calling for his replacement however. Meanwhile Dixon isn’t close to the bottom of your elite group this year. In fact based on preseason projection might be considered to be among the leaders. Another factor worth considering is how many NCAA tournaments did they qualify for. Dixon is like 9/10. Another factor you might want to consider is that none of these men are looking to change jobs and some of them work at places that were perennial contenders for the National championship when they got there. That has to be an advantage.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.11.14 @ 7:01 pm

I think if Dixon were coaching at UNC, Duke, Kansas, or Kentucky he might well have won a championship too, but next time Coach K or Bill Self express an interest in the Pitt job I have to agree we might be wise to have a look.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.11.14 @ 7:10 pm

Hard to believe spread of Pitt -2.

If I were a gambler, I would put lots on Syracuse getting 2. And with my luck, it would guarantee a win for Pitt if I did.

Hope the wise guys are very close to right on, now that we “know how to win a close one”.

Comment by TVax 02.11.14 @ 8:44 pm

Memphis and Butler aren’t better programs than Pitt. Memphis Final 4 doesn’t exist anymore. And they haven’t done much without Coach Cal. And Butler had one really good coach and was really good for a couple if years.

Pitt favored. Don’t get how. Gotta go big on Cuse.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.11.14 @ 9:56 pm

Opened at Pitt -2.
Now it’s Pick ‘em.

Comment by xfmrman 02.11.14 @ 10:17 pm

Since 2000, roughly the Dixon-Howland Era, Butler has had three coaches:

2000-2001 Thad Matta, 24-8, NCAA second round
2001-2007 Todd Lichliter, 131-61, Two Sweet Sixteens
2007-2013 Brad Stevens, 166-49, Two NCAA Championship games, 5 NCAA tourney appearances, 1 elite eight.

Memphis is a tougher case, but here it goes, since 2000, two coaches:
2000-2009 John Calipari, 230-69, six NCAA appearances, 1 second round, 1 sweet sixteen, 2 elite eights, 1 Final game*
2009-2013 Josh Pastner, 105-33, 3 NCAA appearances, 2 second rounds, 1 elite eight

Both have better tourney records, even if you take away Memphis’s championship game.

*NCAA ruled that Derrick Rose had someone else take his SAT before he was committed to Memphis and with no Memphis involvement. Rose denied the charge and still does. NCAA vacated the wins in ’08-’09, including final game.

That same year, assume Gilbert Brown stops Scottie Reynolds and Pitt made the final four, then went on to the final game. Then a few years later the NCAA accused Dejuan Blair of cheating at Schenley and vacated the season, what would we think about that season? Would we pretend it never happened? The NCAA is a joke.

Comment by Boubabcar Aw 02.11.14 @ 10:58 pm

This season could go in many directions. I get the downside, easy to follow that path. However, somehow if Z & LP can get healthy & Cam and JR, who could be benefitting from needing to lift their play sustain this level and throw in efforts from Newkirk Young & Artis this team could peak at the right time.

Comment by Old School Panther 02.12.14 @ 7:09 am

I’d argue Butler is worse. Butler is 12-12 this year, which just happened to occur when they started playing teams Pitt would play every year. I’m not denying Butler’s tournament success in those two years but I’d imagine their overall record isn’t as good if they played in the Big East. Butler has also missed the tournament 5 times in year 2000 cut off and 4 times since Dixon became head coach.

Memphis with Coach Cal better. Coach Cal is a better coach than Dixon. But he also cheats. Coach Cal just is really good at cheating because he insulates himself from it. Memphis without Coach Cal is probably worse. Coach Cal coached the 2008-2009 season at Memphis. Pastner has same tournament results as Dixon. Slightly better record but in a worse conference.

Gonzaga definitely is a worse program too. Most of their wins are from a bad conference. Only 1 sweet 16 since Dixon became coach at Pitt.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.12.14 @ 8:34 am

I too think Pitt has a better program than Gonzaga, but they are similar. Both have great regular season records and horrible tourney flame outs. Gonzaga has feasted on an easy conference schedule, but has traditionally played tough non-cons. Pitt has done the opposite.

Comment by Boubabcar Aw 02.12.14 @ 9:03 am

@Old School Panther, Did you see the movie The Perfect Storm? Your post made me think of the scene where the boat had been pummeled all night when suddenly the wind stopped and the sun came out and for a moment or two the crew thought they were going to make it. Then they realized they were in the eye of the storm and they sunk about 5 minutes later. I read your post and for a minute I thought we were going to make it.

Comment by spiritofsection22 02.12.14 @ 11:51 am

I just have no words anymore……

Comment by WorkinOnMyPittness 02.12.14 @ 9:31 pm

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