March 3, 2014

Open Thread: NC State-Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 7:21 pm

Final game at the Pete for the season. Aaron Donald will be there.

Game is on ESPNU at 9pm. Mike Patrick and LaPhonso Ellis calling the game.

Not sure what kind of effort will be coming from the Wolfpack. Obviously not the effort they gave versus UNC last week. Or Syracuse the week before. They likely won’t be as pathetic as they were in the games immediately after those losses.

N.C. State (17-12, 7-9 ACC) will play at Pittsburgh on Monday after a sobering letdown in an 85-70 home loss to Miami on Saturday.

The Wolfpack poured everything into Wednesday’s game against North Carolina, an 85-84 overtime loss, but couldn’t duplicate the effort against the struggling Hurricanes.

Gottfried understood those challenges before the season. He had talked to his team about the danger of Saturday’s game with Miami.

He saw the same pattern after a difficult loss to Syracuse on Feb. 15. The Wolfpack couldn’t avoid some of the same issues that cost it a 73-56 loss at Clemson after the Syracuse game.

At this point, the goal for NC State is to finish at .500 in conference play. They end the season at home against BC, so this should be a big deal for them.

It’s obviously a big deal for Pitt. Especially for the seniors.

“We will be ready, we need to rest up and get our bodies right,” Patterson said after the Panthers beat Notre Dame, 85-81, Saturday in overtime. “This means a lot, my last home game, last game at the Pete. I want to make sure we go out with a ‘W.’ I let Pittsburgh down with a loss on senior night so why not go out and get a ‘W’ in our last game at the Pete.”

Coach Dixon is also bothered by the play of Pitt at home.

Coach Jamie Dixon said he believes the best way to honor his senior stars is by winning their final game before a pro-Panthers crowd at the Pete.

“It’s the last home game. It’s not senior night, but in a lot of ways, it is,” Dixon said. “Most importantly, we have not played as well at home as we have on the road. To me, that’s got to change. We’re 6-2 on the road and 4-4 at home, and that’s never been the case with Pitt. We’ve got to get that changed. We can’t deal with what’s past, but we can deal with what’s in the future. We’ve got to go and play well.”

As usual, Coach Dixon looks to rebounding as being key.

As inconsistent as NC State has been, T.J. Warren has been the one constant. Even when the rest of the Wolfpack was mailing it in against Miami, Warren went for 20 points and 7 boards. He will get his points. Pitt has to do what they did last time with him. Which was make him work for it and have to take a lot more shots to get them.

NC State to be successful needs to attack the basket. Pitt will probably be playing a fair amount of zone to limit their penetration. Just as they did in the first meeting. Their frontcourt is still playing raw, and their 3-point shooting is actually more inconsistent  than Pitt’s.

Not only did that asinine TO in ND almost cost the game it required expenditure of high level energy for addnl 5 mins. Clemson game for NCAA berth. Beware the refs.

Comment by Old School Panther 03.04.14 @ 8:33 am

I agree that the OT win at ND cost Pitt last night as our big guy looked tired. NCS out rebounded us and that was the difference in the game. I also think Newkirk was as hot as Wsrren except Warren playe twice as long as Newkirk. Jamie need to reassess his starters. Perhaps Robinson should sitt more. But that’s my opinion. Jamie knows best.

Pitt is on the bubble according to USA Today but as someone on this blog mentioned, USA Today is the least reliable sports prognosticator and should not be taken seriously. But…

Comment by MariettaMike 03.04.14 @ 8:53 am

Jamie’s record as a coach is starting to look inflated. This year has been a real eye opener to his MO. Load up on patsies and win 20 / make the tournament and everyone thinks you are a great coach.

Comment by Pitt fan in Atlanta 03.04.14 @ 9:11 am

Wardapalooza: Your post about the bright future of the Pitt program is more than a bit off. Next years recruiting is the worst in the ACC with very little near term help. As far as Heron and Rowan, three years is a long way off. If they both improve Kentucky, Kansas and Syracuse will come calling. I doubt that either will end up at Pitt. I hope I’m wrong but the program under Dixon doesnt look to bright

Comment by Chick 03.04.14 @ 9:16 am

Jerry Palm has us mired deep in the bubble too. If we lose to Clemson I don’t think anything less than a run to the ACC champ game will save us.

Comment by ECH 03.04.14 @ 9:19 am

ECH, you are probably correct, and the pre-season schedule will come back to haunt us.

Comment by wbb 03.04.14 @ 9:44 am

I see no passion or excitement on these kids faces or actions. No joy of playing the game.

Been that way for about 3 years now. Don’t know why.

Like they’re in a trance.

Comment by Dan 03.04.14 @ 9:45 am

Hear some people say “The Pete’s lost it’s luster, not so hard to play at anymore”.

Thanks Mr. Obvious. The Pitt teams haven’t been as good as they have been in the past.

Hence, we lose more games, even at home.

Some real genius’ out there.

Comment by Dan 03.04.14 @ 9:49 am

Dan, I think it comes down to what Dick Groat said after the FSU loss: these kids are working basketball, not playing it.

It’s a game. It has to be fun, you have to have confidence that the next possession, the next shot, the next defensive stop is going to be successful. You could see the tension rise again last night when Warren got nuclear hot in the second half. Every shot he took was done confidently. Then the other NCSU guards started stepping into their shots and the dam was broke.

Pitt conversely continued to tighten. Lamar was frustrated at the foul line, the defense grew frustrated with every made shot by Warren, then on offense they started to pass up on open looks in search of the “perfect play” that rarely materialized.

The mojo is lost. It’s up to the team leaders and the coaches to find it. PDQ.

Comment by ECH 03.04.14 @ 9:52 am

We ran into a steamroller last night. Not only were they at their best we were tired and combined with the foul trouble I think we did well to hang in as long as we did.

We could actually benefit from sliding a seed or 2 at this point.

Comment by spiritofsection22 03.04.14 @ 9:55 am

@ECH – last game they had fun was the DJ tribute game with the headbands. At least it looked that way to me, of course it is easy to have fun when EVERYONE is hitting shots from everywhere on the court.

@SOS – if we slide a seed or 2 at this point, we suddenly move to a line on the NIT brackets.

Comment by TVax 03.04.14 @ 10:04 am

The question is do we make the tourney if we do any of the following:

1 – 2 (lose to Clemson, win one ACC tourney game)?
1 – 1 (beat Clemson, lose first ACC tourney game)?

I think if we go 2 – 2 we are in, and in for anything better than that. I think we are out if 0 – 2.

So those two are the question.

Comment by DD 03.04.14 @ 10:37 am

Just a quick comment on the coaching comments above. I honestly believe that Chambers at PSU is a better coach than Dixon. Look what he is doing with little support. Yeah, they’ve lost a lot of close games and had some bad games but he lets his players play. If we had either Newbill or Frazier we would be a way better team on paper but we know Jamie wouldn’t let them do their thing.

Comment by JJ 03.04.14 @ 10:44 am

I think it all comes down to Clemson – win and they’re in. Lose and it’s NIT time. If they beat Clemson, a run in the ACC tourney will be for seed line. If they lose to Clemson, I would think they would almost have to win the damn tourney to get them in. Possibly if they made it to the finals and lost there. Pitt really doesn’t have a signature win, and they won’t get a chance to earn one unless they play a couple of rounds deep. The best games Pitt played IMO were against Syracuse and I think a lot of that is down to knowing their system so well.

The bigger question is; does it even matter? I don’t see them doing much damage in either the NIT or the NCAA.

Comment by thestumper 03.04.14 @ 12:18 pm

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