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February 23, 2014

Open Thread: FSU-Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 5:32 pm

This isn’t Pitt’s final home game but it is the last one on a weekend. Hence, time to honor the seniors Lamar Patterson and Talib Zanna. Fifth year seniors who already have their undergrad degrees and have been taking graduate level classes this year. And both who needed this eight-day break to try and get closer to healthy.

ESPNU at 6 pm for the ACC Sunday night game. Carter Blackburn and Dino Gaudio will be the announcing duo.

All games are crucial at this point. As disappointed as the outcome has been in a lot of the games in the second half of the ACC conference play, Pitt is still firmly in the NCAA Tournament. It may be hard to believe when we tend to only look at Pitt, and what they haven’t done. But when you look at the other 31 conferences and start looking at their records. Their wins. Their losses. You realize Pitt is not on the bubble discussion because they are solidly in the Tournament.

At least right now. The Panthers can absolutely play themselves to the bubble if they struggle with this final five-game stretch. The final three of four being on the road.

But at the moment, the focus is entirely on the Seminoles.

Dixon said Hamilton is underappreciated because his teams usually are not flashy.

Instead, they win with great defense and rebounding while playing hard and as a team. He also said a lot of schools likely could learn from Florida State, which won the ACC tournament title in 2012.

That’s because the Seminoles have stuck with Hamilton through some tough years.

As a result, Dixon thinks, Florida State always is competitive and winds up fighting for the postseason.

He also said coaches don’t stick around as long as Hamilton has unless they know what they are doing and are successful. He always has admired the job that Hamilton has done.

Coming into this season, Florida State had the third-best ACC record since the 2005-06 season behind North Carolina and Duke. The Seminoles also had the third-most regular-season wins among conference members in that span.

“I thought … when I was watching some of the game film and they had his record and how long he has been there, I said, ‘Wow, he has been there a long time,’ ” Dixon said.

“Then, I sort of laughed because I remember we played against him my first year and so that means I’ve been around a long time as well.”

It also helps that FSU doesn’t place nearly the emphasis on basketball as they do on football. But really Hamilton has had a solid career. He had the ill-fated sojourn to the NBA as the coach of the Washington Wizards when Michael Jordan plucked him from the Miami Hurricanes, but  otherwise has been a solidly successful college coach.

Hamilton’s quick success at Austin Peay led him to Kentucky, where he developed a reputation as the top recruiter in college basketball. From Kentucky, he accepted head coaching positions rebuilding basketball programs at schools better known for football — Oklahoma State, Miami and Florida State. Between stints at Miami and Florida State, Hamilton coached the NBA’s Washington Wizards for a season.

The ACC’s second-longest tenured coach, behind Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, Hamilton has guided Florida State to a school-record four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. Since 2005-06, Florida State is the third-winningest program in the ACC, behind Duke and North Carolina. He led Miami to its first postseason appearances in 31 years and led Oklahoma State to its first consecutive postseason trips in more than three decades.

“I’ve always been excited about taking rebuilding jobs that needed a little fixing up,” said Hamilton, a college coach since 1971-72. “I tell people I’ve been scratching and clawing, clawing and scratching, my entire career.”

For Pitt it has been a lot of work to fix some things over the last week plus.

“For us, it was good, it was needed because we had so many games in a row,” Dixon said. “In the Big East, we had two sort of bye weeks or open days where you don’t play, but in the ACC we only get one and you don’t know when you are going to get them.

“Ours just happened to be in the latter part of the year, but we obviously needed it. We needed to practice. We hadn’t practiced enough given the situation. It is good and it was effective for us in terms of health, too, as some guys needed some time off, and that was important.”

Dixon said Lamar Patterson (thumb) and Talib Zanna (ankle) were able to practice this week but had a few days off after the North Carolina game that helped them get back close to full strength.

He said the only player who wasn’t able to practice was little-used reserve Joseph Uchebo, who got hit in the jaw in the first part of practice Tuesday and is day to day.

Dixon said the practices were a little shorter but intense. He said there was some progress in addressing the defensive and rebounding breakdowns that have hurt the Panthers, who have lost four of their past six games.

And getting the freshmen to be ready to keep going.

One concern for Dixon was the fact that the freshmen hit a “wall” because the college season is so much longer than the high school season.

Pitt relies heavily on four freshmen and will need all four to play at a high level if it is going to continue to improve and have success in the NCAA tournament.

Dixon said he addressed the fatigue factor with his four freshmen — Chris Jones, Jamel Artis, Michael Young and Josh Newkirk — this week. He basically told them that now is the time when they will have to be tough enough to fight through injuries and tired legs.

“We talked to the freshmen, I think they played well and obviously they are getting a lot of minutes because of the injury to Durand [Johnson]. Across the board they have played well,” Dixon said. “At the same time, this is the longest year they had ever been through already at this point. We have talked to them about the fact that this is where we need discipline and commitment going down the stretch.

“They can’t be tired, they can’t be sore; those are things they have to overcome. You can’t let it affect you. They may be there but it can’t diminish your effort or focus.”

To say nothing of the frustration when your shots aren’t falling.

I actually expect a decently paced game. Florida State wants to play strong defense, but they aren’t as stagnant as Miami or Virginia on offense. There will be opportunities for Pitt in transition.





This team has been sliding since the Clemson game. Just tough watching a team that has no zip and Dixon once again seems unable to recognize this team is not clutch enough to win close games.

Comment by chethejet 02.23.14 @ 8:37 pm

Pitt played better vs. Syracuse and UNC, and I had hoped that Patterson and Zanna were getting healthy and that with 8 days off they would come out refreshed and confident. Instead they were the opposite. At home no less. On Senior Night.

I am more patient with Dixon and this program than most, and I am at my wits end. This now feels like a continuation of the last two years. I guess our expectations for this team were raised too high when they started strong in conference. Still trying to figure out where that team is that thrashed Clemson by 30.

So when does spring ball begin? 😉

Comment by Iron Duke 02.23.14 @ 8:38 pm

I don’t even see us making the tourney if we win out?!…we have ZERO good wins….and we now have a bad loss….JD sucks..his style sucks..his inability to change his offense sucks…and the constipated expression on his face that he has for two hrs sucks!!

Comment by Keith 02.23.14 @ 8:39 pm

@htp123 – I’m not making excuses for JD. I’m just pointing out how sometimes it’s the little things – teams getting hot on FTs or 3s – that lead to our losses. Pitt is a good team, not a great one, and has little margin for error.

That being said, thanks for representing at the game tonight.

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.23.14 @ 8:44 pm

Dixon will have better teams next year and the year after becuse he will have better players.
dont give up on him but we should not be in the NCAA play off this year we are not good enough may be the NIT it will be a joke for us to get in this year .

Comment by Frankcan 02.23.14 @ 8:52 pm

I content one shod never pass on an open shot; if the shot is missed so be it. Pitt passed on many open shots simply to run the clock down oy to take a poor percentage shot.

Comment by MariettaMike 02.23.14 @ 8:54 pm

My wife feels sorry for me, she made me a White Russian.

Comment by MariettaMike 02.23.14 @ 8:57 pm

You guys know how many times I heard next year on this blog?

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.23.14 @ 8:59 pm

You guys are idiots have you even looked at who is on the bubble and how bad the bubble is this year? If Pitt wins 2 of the last 4 they are probably in. The bubble doesn’t occur in a vacuum. And a lot of you are over entitled babies who think Pitt basketball is entitled to being ranked forever. It’s like the crowd at the game today. No one showed up and who ever did decided not to cheer. There were empty rows in the student section. Tell me how the heck is the team supposed to play with passion in that atmosphere. Literally no excuse for such a no show against a solid FSU team. The lack of home court advantage is solely on the fans being so lame.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.23.14 @ 9:05 pm

Wardapalooza….the Committee looks closely how a team is playing going into the Tournament. Pitt is a train wreck right now.

Comment by Jackagain 02.23.14 @ 9:08 pm

It’s not JD’s style that sucks. It’s the ACC’s style. The ACCis the worst offensive conference in America. Pitt wasn’t really passing up open looks tonight or slowing down the game they were just missing shots. FSU slowed down the game and went to a burn like offense the second half. Watch some games before you make stupid cliche filled criticism.

Bottom line Pitt is playing a lot of freshman and will probably still make the tournament. Pretty solid in a year where you lost your best shooter to injury.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.23.14 @ 9:09 pm

Just got home, some observations, there must be midterms going on, the zoo was only 75% filled and they were quiet. Very odd when you realize how important this game was.

IMHO, this game was lost by Lamar Patterson, I know he made the last 16 points, mostly when the game was pretty much over. He completely stunk out the joint for most of the game.

For a while Jamie had all four freshmen in and I was thinking maybe they can pull this out, no in comes Patterson and Zanna, who were ineffectual most of the night.

One thing for sure the refs call way more fouls than in the past, is it the ACC, the new rules, or both? It really doesn’t matter, we have to make our foul shots. They killed us at the line.

I don’t know what it looked like on TV, but the reffing looked bad live.

Funny we are getting the results I expected before the season started, the cake non-com and early ACC success really fooled me/us. This team is not that good.

I said that Patterson’s game disappeared at Syracuse and against VA. It resurfaced late against Miami and disappeared again.

If he doesn’t turn it back on, we are done.

One other footnote, Robinson had a leg injury, he is hurting, but gutted it out.

Always easy to blame the coach, but Patterson is no longer in the hunt for ACC MVP.

Comment by gc 02.23.14 @ 9:11 pm

Patterson is in the hunt for a job in the Japanese League…

Comment by Jackagain 02.23.14 @ 9:16 pm

Jackagain you are wrong. NCAA looks at overall resume fist and foremost and they rely heavily on RPI. After loss tonight Pitt’s RPI will drop to mid around 30s low 40s. Pitt wins out RPI will be low 30s or 20s. Pitt also has a lot of road games. Road wins help RPI more and don’t hurt RPI as much so if Pitt goes 2-2 their RPI will be in 30s and will be in.

I still can’t get over the crowd tonight at the Pete. Beyond disgusted.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.23.14 @ 9:23 pm

You should be able to play with passion even if there are no fans in the seats. You don’t play for the fans. Where is the pride?

Comment by gdodson 02.23.14 @ 9:25 pm

The team didn’t get blown out or anything. They just couldn’t shoot. Nothing to do with pride.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.23.14 @ 9:28 pm

Pitt gets some of the worst bounces off the rim at the most critical times this year. That said, we are not good enough to have a bad bounce break our back. Prime example was the fsu three that made it 58-52. The shot clock was about to expire. The kids chucks up the three, hits the rim, rolls around it….and drops. Game set match.

The next stretch is critical to getting on a 4 game run, followed by a w in the tourney and Pitt will be on a 7 out of 10 streak going in. Enough to get in. I question the basketball iq of the players. Zanna trying a three is a prime example. First one of the year attempted for him!! Bad timing, wrong person with the ball in the wrong area of the court.

Can’t teach iq at this level. They either need to have it already, or need to sit the bench and watch. This is why the PC recruits will do well. They “get it”. So to the Pitt team….”I ain’t quittin you”!! Get back on your horse and play balls out from this point forward. Need to get on a roll. I don’t want a new coach. I want a coach that is teaching these kids about transition and not running the same doggone play every time. It don’t work. We should not be hearing the Pitt crowd counting down the timeclock nearly every possession.

Comment by dhuffdaddy 02.23.14 @ 9:28 pm

Patterson was 8 for 21 and 4 for 11 for threes. Most of his scoring came late. He is the only guy on the team that can score, when he is off, so are we.

Our weakness underneath the basket is killing us. Since Zanna’s injury, he can’t make a layup. Young and Artis just aren’t big and strong enough against 7 footers.

No easy baskets for us. As usual they tomahawked and alley-ooped us too many times.

We need a big man for next year BAD.

Comment by gc 02.23.14 @ 9:29 pm

The half court offense is ridiculous. Play around on the outside, wait until there is 8 seconds left and heave something up. Offensive rebounds turn into blocks or turnovers. Zanna and Young had lots of chances and in most cases did nothing, and when Zanna gets fouled in clutch time, forget it.
Maybe baseball is worth watching!

Comment by Jimbo 02.23.14 @ 9:29 pm

I tried cheering for Pitt and making noise when FSU had the ball and only amused a couple pleasant youngsters in the section…Oh, and yelling at the refs, and whining because Zanna didn’t box out more than once.

Live, it looked like the refs called every touch foul on Pitt outside the paint – we couldn’t keep a body in front of their guards – but let FSU bang everyone underneath, and let them double dribble, walk, and charge. But no sour grapes here.

The game was lost when at halftime Zanna and Lamar had a combined 6 points. Zanna had many many opportunities to go up on one touch and put it in and tried for hesitations all night – maybe this was because of the early charge.

Comment by KeyboardKev 02.23.14 @ 9:31 pm

@gc – thanks for the report. Yeah, the officiating was awful on TV too. And the crowd sounded quiet and I saw lots of empty seats. Dino Gaudio still saying what a tough place the Pete is for visitors. Must have been in the script. It can be that way again but it isn’t right now.

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.23.14 @ 9:33 pm

The Committee wipes their collective read-ends with the RPI stat sheet.

link to espn.go.com

Comment by Jackagain 02.23.14 @ 9:33 pm

wardapoloza…..sounds like your pissed?!..and you should be…but your pissed at the wrong person

pitt has lost 14 home games in the past 3 years….14!!!!…we have zero mojo at home…we have a lazy, uninteresting style of offense

btw….our beloved coach has NEVER…EVER beatn a team with a higher seed in the tourney

This program has slowly inched toward the middle of the NCAA pack

go ahead and try to convinece 18 year old kids to come play defense and maybe get a shot or two without being scared as hell!!

Your allowed to be happy with JD…go ahead…..I’m not….I’ll be happy when and if he changes his style…or is out of here!!

and I guarantee we lose the 2016 5 star guy!!

Comment by Keith 02.23.14 @ 9:35 pm

@KeyboardKev – also what was a charge on us was a blocking foul against us at the other end. Happened a few times. Nevertheless, until the last 2 minutes we had many more FT attempts than they did. And failed to convert. Missed at least 4 times on the front end of 1 and 1s. So, despite the poor officiating, we still didn’t make the most of our chances.

Comment by Pitt Dad 02.23.14 @ 9:36 pm

Pitt isn’t waiting for 6 seconds to chuck up a 3 that goes ‘clank’because that’s the game plan…the problem is that they can’t get inside with penetration or with passes, and every team that plays us knows this now.

Comment by Jackagain 02.23.14 @ 9:38 pm

Jackagain, that article proves my point. It’s saying NCAA needs to stop using the RPI and use things like KenPom.

Keith, style of play arguments are such BS. Pitt played a much worst style if basketball 10 years ago but I doubt you or anyone else cared. And the players don’t look scared. They are up and down cause a lot of them are freshman. Artis had a big plays against the Cuse. But was down other games. Making the tournament 90 plus percent of the time ever isn’t middle of the pack.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.23.14 @ 9:45 pm

Looking at the schedule ahead I see Pitt going 2-2 if they’re lucky…maybe 1-3. 2-2 would give Pitt 4 wins in their last 11 games. That’s a formula for the NIT anyway ya slice it…

I hope at least everyone here acknowledges the fact that the Pete is no longer an advantage for this current team. NCST is licking their chops…

Comment by Jackagain 02.23.14 @ 9:49 pm

wardapalooza….your “a lot of them are freshman” is BS too!!..it’s almost march..so I don’t look at them as freshman…and jones is in his second year…and if JD would play newkirk more, he’d be a lot better….look…..we can bitch and argue about whatever…the fact is..for the past three years we’ve been losing ALOT of games…and the only thing that hasn’t changed is our coach…so all fingers are pointed at him?!?!

Comment by Keith 02.23.14 @ 9:55 pm

and his pathetic tournament record!!!

Comment by Keith 02.23.14 @ 9:56 pm

Ward, step away from the koolaid keg before you make me think you are smug or dixon himself.

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.23.14 @ 10:16 pm

Wardapalooza:
So are some sunny side glasses you’re wearing! You define the Dixon Diehards.

Hail to Pitt.

Comment by TonyinHouston 02.23.14 @ 10:18 pm

Wardapalooza:

Keep the calculator out. Making the tournament 90% of the time minus this season if this team doesn’t have a transformation – no, more like a transubstantiation. Keep those prayers going.

I keep reading people who are saying “if the team wins out.” How in the hell is that going to happen based on Miami, Virginia Tech, and Florida State? Did Dixon’s boys think they were just going to show up and win?

Comment by TonyinHouston 02.23.14 @ 10:23 pm

It seems Pitt has no chemistry like they had earlier in the year. Or maybe they have become deflated after the close losses.

Comment by Frank 02.23.14 @ 10:48 pm

@Ward, are you kidding me? Blaming the fans? I’ve heard it all now!

Let’ hope the NCAA doesn’t use the simplest test of all. The eye test, because if they actually see this team play, they will not want them anywhere near a tournament site!!!

Comment by Dan 02.23.14 @ 10:50 pm

Finally in a hotel room. I will never drive and watch Pitt again. Screaming at my IPAD. Got to listen to Hillgrove and Groat on XM Radio. What a cluster fuck Pitt has become. The worst of all Jamie Dixon traditions has hit us again.

I am not going on a fire Dixon rant but I simply cnanot understand when year after year Pitt starts strong and ends in misery in late Feb and March, he doesn’t try someting, anything, different. For God sakes, there are good HS teams that would give Pitt a game now. I think after 9 years, every team has figured out Pitt’s 1-4 offense and every pass and cut off of it.
Everyone has seen our hedges on defense.

Jamie’s stubborness to try anything new and different is going to get him fired one day.

This just isn’t a losing team now, it’s an ugly losing team that is beyond painful to watch.

So here is my solution. Start Newkirk at PG for the rest of the year. Move JR to the 2 or sit his ass on the bench. Ditto’sP Patterson if he has another stretch like the first half today. Zanna is still obviously hurt so you cannot run any form of a zone on defense or we cannot get any boards. As long as we are using 8 players, why not try some backcourt pressure…maybe a 3/4 court trap just to speed up the possesions.

Year after year we have seen the same thing. Someone said it earlier …the only thing that has stayed the same is the coach.

Comment by Dan 72 02.23.14 @ 10:57 pm

@Keith, absolutely. Mustafa Heron. Top ten player now, article on rivals or scout said at the rate he’s playing, he’ll be a top 3 in the country player by 2016. He signed because his Dad is friends with slice.

After watching this crap for a couple years, I’m sure his Dad will tell him to go play at Duke or Kentucky.

Think about it, why would any player with ball skills want to play in some stagnate system.

Agreed, doubt we keep him.

Comment by Dan 02.23.14 @ 10:59 pm

You know who else are Kool Aid drinkers like myself? National reporters who get paid to cover college basketball. But hey I’m the wrong one while you guys are right. Even though you constantly say wrong things like Artis and Young should shoot threes more.

I don’t go around praising everything Dixon does. But he’s the best Pitt could have. Taking a Pitt team to the tournament consistently and having really good teams every couple years is really good especially considering his hone recruiting base is Western PA.

Pitt lost a lot one year. The Birch year. Pitt didn’t lose a lot last year. They were a 6 seed (they had to be higher cause of NCAA Not a great year. But not even close to terrible or losing a lot. This is when you guys are no longer based in reality.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.23.14 @ 11:01 pm

I am a Pitt fan and would rather they not make the NCAA tournament than play like they played tonight against a mediocre team. If Jamie accomplishes anything the remainder of this season it is to improve it’s FT shooting. That should not be too hard to accomplish.

Comment by MariettaMike 02.23.14 @ 11:01 pm

why do you talk RPI if we get in we lose the first game we play do you want to get in just so you can say we got in agein.
we suck it makes no difference wheather it is becuse we play freshmen or not we are not very good
look i dont want a different coach becuse as ben said before the next coach might be worse at least this one wins 20 games a year.
but to tell the truth as the season goes on i wonder if he can really coach or should i say he does not know what to do when things go bad he lose his cool and the team loses there cool i dont know what i mean but i dont like how things go every year it is the same shit may be dixon should go and we could bring back the man who UCLA just fired who was are coach before dixon i am so upst i cant even think of his name.

Comment by Frankcan 02.23.14 @ 11:09 pm

Dan were you at the game? Heron is isn’t switching. That’s just stupid. Never mind the fact that Slice played basketball with his father, basketball recruits rarely switch.

Pitt seasons don’t routinely end in misery. That’s such overreacting nonsense. Pitt had plenty of good finishes in Big East Tournament. Losing in NCAA tournament doesn’t mean you finished bad.

Dan72, yeah James Robinson is at fault and needs to be benched and replaced with a freshman who at times is erratic. That sounds like a great way to win.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.23.14 @ 11:11 pm

Pitt doesn’t suck. They aren’t the best team. But they certainly don’t suck.

You know who sucks? Teams like Boston College and Wake Forrest who fired coaches that were making NCAA tournaments. Their we can do better attitudes sure did them well.

Comment by Wardapalooza 02.23.14 @ 11:17 pm

Don’t count on Mostella ever getting here…he has yet to pass the NCAA Clearinghouse. He can re-apply in the Fall but I think Pitt is hoping for Eubanks instead now.

I wouldn’t count on either though…

Comment by Jackagain 02.23.14 @ 11:20 pm

This team will not be better next year, his recruiting class next year is a zero. Heron and Rowan will not come to Pitt. Dixon will never change he must go or this program will never compete in the ACC

Comment by Chick 02.23.14 @ 11:22 pm

May be we should change if we could get Ben Howland
that would be ok. it might be better then dixon Howland is also a proven coach it would not be a big gamble.
he need a job and he can get to the final 4 something dixon cant do and he recruits better players then dixon and knows how to use them.
dixon needs a rest.

Comment by Frankcan 02.23.14 @ 11:41 pm

Just finished watching on DVR…

Tough loss, but not unexpected. This team is really struggling right now. Could be injuries, could be freshmen, could be other teams are getting lucky as shit against us. It most certainly is not because Jaime Dixon is a poor coach. That’s a joke, and your opinions will be considered a joke if you jump on that bandwagon…

There’s not a coach in the country that doesn’t respect what Jamie has done at Pitt and the disrespect that he gets from some of you is pathetic. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Every program in the country struggles at some point… Could be a few games, could be a few seasons, could be a few decades… We’re struggling right now but there’s no reason to abandon ship… Jamie will right the ship. It maybe not this year, it maybe not next… But I think he’s earned the chance, and your respect for what he’s done for this program.

Comment by Pitt2Cali 02.23.14 @ 11:50 pm

OMG the Panthers season is over! Fire Dixon immediately! The sky is Falling!

Comment by Gordo 02.24.14 @ 1:04 am

Pitt2cali:

You don’t seem to grasp that Dixon is paid well to recruit and win. What’s pathetic is his team’s effort last night.

Comment by TonyinHouston 02.24.14 @ 3:28 am

Unlike the football team, which has limitations, there are not for the basketball team. Not to make excuses for the football program’s mediocrity, it can and hopefully will be better. But I don’t think there is any way football could ever compete regularly for national championships.

But the basketball program with the facilities, fan base, and conference it is in can win a national championship. The only disadvantage is the lack of local talent, but it takes a lot less players to field a basketball team.

So, it is frustrating, watching this program regress. I’m not ready to fire Jamie either, but it’s obvious this program is stagnant right now, and Jamie needs to adjust….

Comment by Pap76 02.24.14 @ 4:47 am

Jack’s point is correct, we cannot get the ball inside, we cannot shoot over the defense and our opponents know this. We have horrible spacing, we get clogged, ball screens aren’t crisp, they’re a traffic jam. Recently been lots of comments about Dixon not wanting egomaniac, me first kids but what we don’t have now, seldom get are deadeye shooters and those kids do have egos. Other coaches can handle those kids without breaking them down, don’t think you can win without them. Dixon has limitations on the program based on what? His deficiency? Shooting the ball is one of the 4 basic elements of the game. Not just one shooter, at least two on the floor at all times. Dixon eschews what you need to win. I’m still dumbfounded at his failure to see Jer Dixon trap v Nova just when Sam had the same look in his eye he had when he took over the OK State game; or his failure to pull them off the line v Butler. We’re all flawed, some overcome them. With Dixon we’re still waiting.

Comment by Old School Panther 02.24.14 @ 6:18 am

I hope I’m proven wrong, but from what I saw today, especially after an eight-day break, I don’t think this team can win two of the next four; plus a game in the ACC Tourney! And to think there are fans out there who think that free throws do not determine the outcome of basketball games, both college & pro…tell that to Gilbert Brown and Dwight Howard!

Comment by Stanley Schweiger 02.24.14 @ 7:25 am

A couple of observations from last night:

1. The Pete was dead. I don’t know if it was the odd start time, the less than full Zoo, the recent slide, or the polite senior ceremonies prior to tip, but the arena was flat. There were few moments when the crowd got into it, especially the Zoo.

2. I’m convinced that Karl Hess gets paid by the whistle. Though, I wouldn’t mind if the quick whistle was consistently applied. I have noticed a palpable difference in the emphasis of what is called by the refs that frequent the ACC. To me, it seems like any hand check on the perimeter is going to get a whistle while the physicality in the paint is a crap shoot.

3. Call it lost mojo, call it lack of confidence, call it lack of talent…but this is a collection of players that just can’t finish consistently. For the guys who want to skewer Dixon at every turn, at some point players have to knock down shots. We pass up good open looks on the wing, miss jumpers and floaters at the elbow, leave points at the rim, and fail to hit free throws. Sorry, that’s execution. Yes, Dixon is responsible for the results, but players need to score the ball. The scheme is getting good looks…you gotta have guys that will knock em down.

4. Another frustrating night. I can’t believe I’m saying this after the 15-1 start…but this doesn’t look like an NCAA tourney worthy team.

Comment by ECH 02.24.14 @ 7:40 am

Here is why I doubt Dixon and don’t consider him to be an elite coach: He has never shown the ability to make adjustments. Just keep doing the same thing and if it doesn’t work, then so be it. Patterson is what he is right now. He has a bad thumb injury (which comes from a very reputable source). It’s not going to get better this season. He desperately needs to make some adjustments on offense that respond to that reality. Running the same 1-4 set ain’t gonna do it. They had a week off and all we got was more of the same. Speaks volumes in my book.

Comment by Carmen 02.24.14 @ 7:50 am

I was against bringing in Adams from New Zealand because I though there were plenty of qualified players in the States Jamie could have offered scholarships to. Now Pitt is paying the piper for Adams’ once-and-done year at Pitt. Hopefully, Jamie learned his lesson. It takes time for players to play as a team. Because of Adams, Pitt lost several players who would be contributing at Pitt today but are playing for other schools. Just my observation.

Hail to Pitt!

Comment by MariettaMike 02.24.14 @ 7:58 am

Carmen – guys have to hot the shots i agree but theae are Dixons guys he recruited to be hitting those shots. My final four party is dying a slow death.

Comment by Upittbaseball 02.24.14 @ 8:49 am

@Pap76, excellent post!

Comment by Dan 02.24.14 @ 10:15 am

I am not one of the fire Dixon bunch, but am frustrated that he never seems to adjust to anything during a game. Even though it was senior night, he needed to bench Patterson and Zanna.

This probably needed to be done earlier in the season to show his freshman he has confidence in them. They are always in an out so quickly, they never get the feel the flow of the game or develop any confidence in their play.

Patterson has been notoriously pathetic in first halves of games. Other than Syracuse when he came out strong. It has to be a mental thing. He was terrible last night.

Zanna got his 11 rebounds but again missed bunnies, foul shots and was ineffective offensively.

Comment by gc 02.24.14 @ 10:30 am

@Ward, I was not at the game. I am a season ticket holder and yesterday was a rare miss for me, for a conference game.

I’ve seen a lot of people, like me, with the same comment. “we’ve been Dixon supporters and defenders, but something’s wrong”.

Ward, we all love Pitt. It’s nice to be loyal.
Loyalty is a great thing.

So is honesty though.

Comment by Dan 02.24.14 @ 10:57 am

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