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May 14, 2014

Not a surprise, but still good news. The ACC is moving the ACC Basketball Tournament up one day, so that the championship game will be played Saturday night rather than Sunday.

The Atlantic Coast Conference will move its tournament championship game to the Saturday night before Selection Sunday after being a Sunday afternoon staple since 1982.

The ACC announced the scheduling change Tuesday during its spring meetings in Amelia Island, Florida.

The ACC tournament will be in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 2015, Washington, D.C., in 2016 and the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, in 2017 and ’18. The 2019 ACC tournament will be held in Charlotte before it goes back to Greensboro in 2020.

Big shock that all the coaches of former Big East teams are happy to get back to normalcy.

“Prime time on Saturday night during the tournament week is another step in the right direction,” Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon told from the meetings.

The ACC, Big Ten, SEC and Atlantic 10 were the highest-profile conferences that have played a Sunday final recently, causing the selection committee to sometimes come up with an alternative bracket depending on who was playing for the title.

The ACC tournament will run a Tuesday-to-Saturday format, meaning the league’s regular season will end on the previous Saturday instead of Sunday. There will be three first-round games on Tuesday of Championship Week, four second-round games on Wednesday, four quarterfinal games on Thursday, the semifinals on Friday and the Saturday championship game.

“I think it’s huge. The Friday night doubleheader resonates around the country, it always has,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “The extra day is good for the two teams with the preparation, and Saturday night you have the whole television audience.

“We’ve talked about this since we came into the league. This will be a great thing to switch to this.”

“I love the move,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey told “I’ve always thought it was powerful when we did it that way in the Big East. The Sunday final is almost an afterthought since the attention is all on the selection show.”

Brey is absolutely right.

You can watch and enjoy the game, but then it is over and you are either already to the next game that day or just thinking about seeding and which region. But Saturday night. It’s the story. It’s the game. It carries over the highlights into the morning and up until the start of the other Sunday championship games.

And the ratings show that it is the right time to show it.

The move will also give the ACC a slightly larger platform for its showcase basketball event. The last Saturday night championship for the โ€œoldโ€ Big East in 2013 (which was also the last year the game was televised on ESPN) between Syracuse and Louisville drew 3.4 million viewers. That yearโ€™s ACC title game on Sunday afternoon between Miami and North Carolina had only 2.2 million viewers, according to Sports Media Watch.

You know ESPN was pushing for this. They need a big draw for that Saturday night with the demise of the real Big East.

I imagine old-school ACC fans — at least the ones in the state of North Carolina — have to be having mixed feelings. There’s all the logic in the world dictating this move. But, you know, tradition. Not to mention it must feel like not only has football taken the lead for the conference, but now the old Big East schools seem to be pushing more changes through.

The reality is simply money. Money drove the ACC expansion in both phases. Money drove the prevalence of the football side of things. Money is driving the move slowly away from Greensboro. And money is the reason that they men’s basketball championship game is moving to Saturday night.

“The Times, They Are A-Changing” i.e., how actually far is Louisville from the Atlantic Coast? ACC Championship in Brooklyn?

If we have learned anything this past decade when it comess to NCAA conferences … “You snooze, you lose!”

Comment by wbb 05.14.14 @ 9:45 am

Congrats to Steve and all the other Ranger/Pitt fans out there. They were the “better TEAM”!

Worried that nice guy/technician Paul Chryst has too many similarities to Dan Bylsma! At least Coach Chryst has settled down our program …we’ll see how he grades out this Fall.

Comment by Dan 72 05.14.14 @ 10:14 am

Bylsma and Fleury must go, time to shake things up.

Comment by gc 05.14.14 @ 10:41 am

The move to Saturday night is a no brainer and it needed to happen. I think moving the tournament around is also a good development for the ACC. I was at this past year’s tourney in Greensboro, NC and I had a good time. The people there seemed to be receptive to the small contingent of Pitt fans. Yes, the old Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden was a great event, but the old Big East no longer exists. A rotating tournament location is still a lot better than the alternative.

Comment by Justinian 05.14.14 @ 11:02 am

I like the move to Saturday night too — but can we please do it without saying “Brey is absolutely right.” I could go the rest of my life without ever having to read that line again.

Comment by Hank the Tank 05.14.14 @ 11:07 am

In regards to the Pens, I think NHL coaches are somewhat interchangable — so I’m OK if they want to try out a different head coach with a different style than Bylsma.

However, I think it’s a different story with Fleury, and would use a similar argument that we have all used with the “Fire Jamie Dixon” crowd. OK, so you want to get rid of Fleury (and you’re entitled to that opinion), but exactly who are you to get to replace him that is better, and it’s also a guarantee that they’ll come here. I obviously don’t think Fleury is the problem, but would love to hear who you’d like to replace him with (again, they also have to be available and you have to sign them before you cut Fleury).

Comment by Hank the Tank 05.14.14 @ 11:13 am

@Dan and GC – it was a great series. I for one am sad that it had to end. Whatever happens next for the Rangers has to feel anti-climactic.

On another note, this is why the Ivy League is different – link to

By the way, the Whiffs never used to take the year off. Singing just fit in with everything else, including athletics.

Comment by Pitt Dad 05.14.14 @ 11:14 am

@Pitt Dad, what a wonderful story. Taking a year off of hoops to sing around the world. Good for him.

A kid with a good head on his shoulders.

Comment by Dan 05.14.14 @ 11:53 am

Skull & Bones, Scoll & Key and the Wolf’s Head make a little different as well ! ๐Ÿ™‚

Comment by Emel 05.14.14 @ 12:02 pm

wow, that whole sentence is a mess. Let’s try it again.

Must have been Tuesday Nite is Martini Nite at a local watering hole.

Skull & Bones, Scroll & Key and the Wolf’s Head make them a little different as well !

Comment by Emel 05.14.14 @ 12:04 pm

Fluery would have had to pitch another shutout from between the pipes with the lack of offense the Pens generated last night. (and in games 5 & 6)

He had already pitched 2 shutouts. Expecting a 3rd shutout in a 7 games series is asking a little too much.

The big problems I see is their power play sucks due to moving the puck around much too slowly, it looks like they’re playing in slow motion.
Crosby plays behind the Goalie too much.

And shorthanded, they play to passive on defense, never put much pressure on the opponents point men on the power play. James Neal takes a lot of stupid penalties in the offensive end.

And overall they are way too soft on defense, letting opponents ‘camp’ in front of Fleury.

And as Dejan pointed out in an excellent article in the trib, don’t protect their ‘superstars’.

“What little toughness Shero provided scarcely saw the ice. Tanner Glass was scratched from Games 2-6 even though the Penguins faced a schedule-tormented opponent and had everything to gain from being more physical. Deryk Engelland never dressed at all. This coach essentially watched with arms folded while his captain was assaulted shift after shift. ”

link to

Comment by Emel 05.14.14 @ 12:12 pm

@Dan – yeah, pretty neat for an inner city kid from Bridgeport.

Comment by Pitt Dad 05.14.14 @ 12:17 pm

@Emel – I agree this one’s not on Fleury. For the first four games, the Pens seemed faster through all 3 zones and more confident than the Rangers. When the Rangers came out for St. Louis in game 5, everything changed.

Comment by Pitt Dad 05.14.14 @ 12:19 pm

Therrian’s defense got to the finals two years in a row. Bylsma won with Therrian’s defense and not done much since then with two of the greatest players in the game. Defense matters much more in the playoffs.

Mostly ugly goals in the playoffs, you need grit.

While Fleury can make the unbelievable saves, he gives up way too many easy ones. It is too bad he really is a likeable guy.

The analogy with Dixon, does not hold up. Bylsma has had great players and has gone out early and badly too many times. When Dixon had Blair, they missed the final four by one good play.

Also Pro sports are different, it is a level playing field. Pitt has only so much they can pay a coach, can’t compete with the elite.

Time is running out for the Pens, Crosby and Malkin will be at their peak for only so long.
They won a cup when they were kids with a different system, time for a change.

Comment by gc 05.14.14 @ 12:25 pm

Fleury played ok yesterday, he lost games 5 and 6.

They have no grit in front of either goal, that is what wins playoff games.

Comment by gc 05.14.14 @ 12:28 pm

You’re not going to get to far in the playoffs when your leader scorer has only 1 goal in the series and a couple assists.

And when your entire 3rd line has 1 goal for the entire series.

You could see this coming with their lackluster performance against 8th place Columbus.

Fluery’s 2 shutouts briefly hid this teams’ deficiencies.

Bylsma and Shero both need given the pink slip.

Comment by Emel 05.14.14 @ 12:31 pm

Crosby is a Pitt BB player. All-world in the regular season, so-so at best in post season.

Remember, Malkin won the post-season MVP when they won the cup … and in fact, Crosby didn’t even play in the last half of the last game.

I’m not anti-Sid, he plays hard and he is highly skilled, but if anything, he tries too hard as evidenced by all the fans and broken sticks the past few games

Comment by wbb 05.14.14 @ 12:49 pm

Special teams has been killing the Pens.

Powerplays in last 3 series losses.

2011 vs. Tampa Bay…1 for 34

2013 vs. Boston….0 for 15

2014 vs. NYR……1 for 20

That’s a coaching problem as you need to adjust your powerplay if it’s not working.

Penalty killing

2012 vs. Flyers…12 for 23 on Powerplay.

Comment by Emel 05.14.14 @ 1:08 pm

Jordan Stall was a great playoff guy. You need a couple of big strong two way players. Guys that can hold their ground in front of the net.

On defense, Scuderi is too slow and Orpik was injured. No Matt Cooke or Max Talbot type of player on offense.

Comment by gc 05.14.14 @ 1:09 pm

Finesse on the power play doe not work in the playoffs, you need muscle.

Comment by gc 05.14.14 @ 1:10 pm

Lundqvist was the difference in that series. Fleury is a nightmare handling the puck, but overall he’s a pretty good goalie. Pens defense simply gave up too many goals as a result of puck watching. Also, Pen’s could’ve also used at least one physical player to put alongside Crosby, as in the days of Gillies playing alongside Bossy; without personnel to do this, Rangers simply took advantage, kudos to them.

Comment by 1618mt 05.14.14 @ 1:16 pm

yep gc.

Maxim Talbot was huge for us in winning the Cup against the Wings in 2009.

But apparently the Pens have structural problems, as they’re drafts have been really bad for awhile now and there’s no one in the minors to bolster the parent club. Especially forwards.

Comment by Emel 05.14.14 @ 1:22 pm

Back to our on problems, saw this online.

“With the loss of another big area recruit, you can go ahead and cue all of the bridge jumpers on the Pitt fan base. Sterling Jenkins shocked no one in picking Penn State on Tuesday night over Ohio State and the Panthers missed out on another local star. Jenkins, from Pitt’s backyard at Baldwin High School, strengthened the argument of Chryst’s haters that believe he can not recruit.”

Don’t think we’ve discussed.

Comment by Emel 05.14.14 @ 1:30 pm

David Durham Could Be Key For Pitt D !

We’re in big trouble if Double D is the ‘key’ for our D.

Despite playing in all 13 games and starting 11 of them, the Charlotte, NC native recorded only 21 tackles and a half tackle for loss, which obviously is not good enough.

That’s not even 2 tackles a game. I believe some of the ‘in shape’ 40 year olders on this blog could accidentally run into 1.6 tackles per game.

Comment by Emel 05.14.14 @ 1:35 pm

I don’t think it was discussed because Jenkins ruled out Pitt a while ago.

Comment by wbb 05.14.14 @ 1:37 pm

lol, that’s a good reason wbb ๐Ÿ™‚

Comment by Emel 05.14.14 @ 1:39 pm

Didn’t the Stache go to Baldwin ?

Comment by Emel 05.14.14 @ 1:44 pm

2 goals in 14 periods in getting blown out by Boston, 4 goals in 3 games in getting blown out by NY. Yeah it’s the goalies fault. Gotta love Pittsburgh, they find a scapegoat & ride him come hell or high water. Bylsma & Shero gotta go. Bylsma can’t get his team to play playoff hockey & Shero filled out his bottom 6 with AHL players & hasbeens. No balls whatsoever.

Comment by Nick 05.14.14 @ 1:44 pm

Charles Spencer, John Malecki, Jason Pinkston … 3 guys who were recruited as DL, switched to OL and were good enough to see time in the NFL. TJ Clemmings could well eb the next.

Maybe, with all of the OL commits the past couple of years, it’s time to reciprocate

Comment by wbb 05.14.14 @ 1:45 pm

Its a make or break year for Chryst. The schedule sets up for a very attainable 9-3 record.

Comment by Tallahassee Panther 05.14.14 @ 1:59 pm

Brad Wanamaker won MVP of the Serie A basketball league in Italy.

Comment by Nick 05.14.14 @ 2:02 pm

@gc “The analogy with Dixon, does not hold up.”

I assume you’re talking about the analogy I made on my 11:13 post…only because I din’t ready any others. If so, I wasn’t comparing Dixon to Bylsma. I agree with you that they are completely different coaching scenarios. I was taking the argument that is often used here (and that I agree with) for the “Fire Dixon” crowd, and using it with Fleury. In other words, OK…you’re not happy with Fleury’s results and want to let him go, but who are we going to get to replace him that is better and will sign immediately?

Comment by Hank the Tank 05.14.14 @ 2:04 pm

Ugh “…didn’t read any others…” is what I meant to say

Comment by Hank the Tank 05.14.14 @ 2:05 pm

link to

Pitt FB finished in middle of ACC for APR in 2012-3.

The 961 score is one point less than 2011-1 but much higher than 2003 when it was 943. Since then, it has edged up every year.

Comment by wbb 05.14.14 @ 2:17 pm

OT Jaryd Jones-Smith is apparently going to be a star this year … who knew?

link to

Comment by wbb 05.14.14 @ 2:21 pm

Placing all the blame on Fleury is harsh, and if we had outstanding D in front of him, he might be good enough. But he did let in weak goals in games 5 and 6 which gave us no chance to close them out.
He was pulled from the playoffs completely last year, that ought to tell you something.

More scoring would certainly help and in the playoffs you need some from the role players.

Jussi far exceeded expectations, few others did.

You have to question the coaching.

Sorry for the Pens talk, but these are the doldrum days for Pitt.

Hopefully some recruiting news and summer basketball will end the funk. Sorry but I have little interest in baseball.

Comment by gc 05.14.14 @ 2:24 pm

I find it interesting that as the merger of Big East teams into the ACC continues the new conference seems to bending to adjust in a way that makes sense.

I was pleased that we were competitive in our first season in both sports and am reasonably confident we can make progress into the future. I hope JD comes up with a hired gun as an assistant this time. I was pretty impressed with how HCPC filled his staff vacancies this year and I think it is vital that Jamie does well filling the big hole Slice left.

Comment by spiritofsection22 05.14.14 @ 2:26 pm

Hank, you are right, can’t replace without someone better.

wbb, funny, he is in the mix according to Chryst, high praise from him, LOL

He is definitely a very large man, hope he can move his feet.

Comment by gc 05.14.14 @ 2:29 pm

Alias Smith & Jones could be the answer at LT since I have some serious doubts about Bisnowaty.

Maybe Biz would be better at Guard where he won’t be exposed as much.

Anything would be an improvement for last season’s o-line. Worst one I’ve ever seen !

Which made Savage’s stats even more impressive.
Think the NFL scouts saw that as well !

Comment by Emel 05.14.14 @ 2:38 pm

I read yesterday (forgot where) that JD will start to focus on hiring an assistant beginning next week, h eis still traveling around looking at prspects (players).

He also said that he would hire candidates that aspire to become head coaches. That may rule out Herrion … in lieu of up-and-comer type

Comment by wbb 05.14.14 @ 2:40 pm

@wbb, I saw a post or 2 here urging JD to act quickly on this hire. I would rather he take his time and get the right guy. The job has enough status that we should be able to pick up a quality guy. The replacement needs to be able to recruit and help develop big men.

Comment by spiritofsection22 05.14.14 @ 2:51 pm

Comment by wbb 05.14.14 @ 3:07 pm

Thanks to all the Dans for your congrats on the Rangers’ victory.

While clearly I had nadda to do with it, it’s exhilarating for a team that I back to make it to the Final Four.

Hail to Pitt, er, the Blue Shirts!

Comment by steve1 05.14.14 @ 4:26 pm

Bylsma was tuned Out time for a change

Comment by 63 team 05.14.14 @ 4:58 pm

I went to Baldwin and saw Jenkins play twice this year…both bad losses He’s ok Big strong guy w lousy footwork.
I’m glad he chose Ped State. No Pitt team with a Baldwin player has ever had a winning season.

There…..discussed. Nuf said!

Comment by Dan 72 05.14.14 @ 5:22 pm

What about Jason Pinkston.

I believe he went to Baldwin and:

2009 selected first team All-Big East by league coaches…named a second team All-American by and

Pitt went 10-3 in 2009. So not quite nuff said.

Comment by Emel 05.14.14 @ 5:33 pm

Jason is currently an NFL starter for the Cleve Brownies.

Thanks to DW !

Comment by Emel 05.14.14 @ 5:39 pm

2009 OL

Lucas Nix – 4 year starter, started a few games for Raiders this past year
Jason Pinkston – starter for Browns until a nearly fatal blod clot put him out of action .. he is still playing but still working his way back
John Malecki – started on DL as soph, played OL final 2 years and actually got some PT with the Steelers (not sure of his current status)
Joe Thomas – 3 yr starter on OL, solid player but never played in NFL

2009 with a good but not great QB (Stull) shows how an effective OL can lead to success. This is why I see hope for the near future with 4 OL starters back this year and plenty of young potential in reserve

Comment by wbb 05.14.14 @ 7:03 pm

Good point, wbb

Comment by steve1 05.14.14 @ 7:17 pm

With Max Wittek not going to TX. Any word on whether he will be visiting Pitt?

Comment by tedsptman 05.14.14 @ 7:44 pm

Good for Michelle Terrion getting to conference final, always thought he was a good coach

Comment by wbb 05.14.14 @ 8:54 pm

Therrien was and is a disciplinarian. He struggles with management of superstars. Canadians don’t have superstars, thus a perfect match.

Pens are mentally weak. They did not have one player step up and say “no sir, not tonight”. Neal disappeared the entire playoffs. Malkin is the teams star. The pens did well considering Crosby must be playing with concussion symptoms. You can’t keep getting drilled in the head and not have repercussions. I kept flashing back to marty mcsorley protecting gretzky. You hit gretzky in the head once and mcsorley hits you in the head times five. Do the math!

Let’s get a recruit or two this week. Anybody understand why scout only indicates Pitt with two verbals? Thanks cupcakes!

Comment by dhuffdaddy 05.14.14 @ 10:26 pm

Why do people here keep saying that Scout lists 2 recruits for Pitt … here is a copy and paste from Pitt’s 2015 Commitment List from PantherDigest:

Kevin Givens
(Altoona Area HS)
Altoona, PA 6-3/230 02/18/2014
TE NR NR Nick Bowers
(Kittanning SHS)
Kittanning, PA 6-4/220 01/27/2014
OT 80 Alex Paulina
(Canon-Mcmillan SHS)
Canonsburg, PA 6-5/295 01/18/2014

Comment by wbb 05.15.14 @ 6:15 am

Yes but why only three? Is it just Chryst’s style or is it something else?

I liked Therrian as well, mandated a defensive system. Maybe too constraining, but Pens sure look undisciplined now. Pens rely on their stars too much, stats in the paper say they lose when Crosby does not score. Hockey more of a team sport than any other especially in the playoffs, you need much more than a couple of stars to win. Unless your star is Lundquist.

Dixon with an interesting comment that NBA should do like Major League Baseball. You can go pro out of high school, but if you choose college, you must stay for three years. I like it, one and done is making a mockery of the college game and the “student athlete”.

The Pro’s get a free minor league in the college game, they ought to treat it with more respect.

Comment by gc 05.15.14 @ 7:37 am

@gc, love that idea. For those that say, you’ll miss watching all the talent and all the stars.

Absolute baloney. I will still watch Ole Miss vs.
Arkansas in football and Missouri vs Louisville in hoops no matter who is playing.

The level of talent would still be extremely high, even losing all the one and done talent.

Kids would still be leading scorers, leading rebounders, myp, and there would still be conferences and tourneys and the big dance.

Wouldn’t miss a beat.

Not being harsh towards those kids, I think that would be a positive.

They really need to go to a league, to beef up a bit, mature, have some NBA affiliated coaches around them to help them.

The one and done is college athletics is a farce.

Maybe some do, I don’t watch Florida St v Florida to see J. Winston. I watch to see the game.

Same in hoops, if Kentucky is playing Louisville, I watch because of the schools.

The play would be just fine.

Comment by Dan 05.15.14 @ 10:49 am

gc, you want another recuit …. here you go

Note this is confirmed by no one, none of the sites are even listing him as receiving a Pitt offer

link to

Comment by wbb 05.15.14 @ 11:53 am

Comment by wbb 05.15.14 @ 12:00 pm

Thanks wbb, looks pretty good but a little on the slow side. Definitely physical. May grow into a D-End. Fits the Chryst mold (another tight end). Hope we got him. Can’t have too many middle linebackers.

Comment by gc 05.15.14 @ 3:22 pm

GC, another preferred walk-on. We may be lagging in 3, 4 & 5 star recruits, but we are killing on walk-ons

Comment by wbb 05.16.14 @ 11:05 am

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