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February 28, 2017

9pm, ESPNU.

As disappointing as ending up in the NIT is, there is one thing more embarrassing. Not even being able to qualify for it. To make the NIT, a team has to finish with a record at .500 or better. Pitt is poised not to make it, if they can’t win at least 2 games. With only 2 regular season games left and the ACC Tourney, the odds are getting longer.

Pitt is still looking for that second ACC road win (Boston College still counts). Georgia Tech is trying to clinch a first round bye in the ACC Tournament and possibly get into the ACC Tourney.

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February 27, 2017

Nothing Surprising, Only Disappointing

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:44 am

The loss on Saturday to UNC was not anything unexpected. Just because Pitt played them well in Chapel Hill a few weeks prior didn’t mean Pitt was going to pull an upset. UNC has been playing a lot better and Pitt has been… as they have been.

No one seems to have wanted to admit this around the team, but defense and rebounding make a difference. At least until it was absurdly beaten into them.

And led to a post game quote from Jamel Artis that kind of sums up this team:

“Obviously we would have liked to come out with a win and it’s very disappointing. We thought we had a good chance to win, but we didn’t go out and play as hard as we could have. I think we learned how important the defensive side and rebounding are to winning a game.”

Way to figure that out 29 games into the season. I’m sure you will take that lesson to heart with all the games still to play.

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February 25, 2017

Open Thread: UNC-Pitt, Senior Day

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 9:18 am

12 pm, ACC Network affiliates or ACC Digital Extra/WatchESPN.

Yeah, I have no idea.

It’s reasonable to expect a loss, but it is the final home game of the season. This team could rain down 3s and win big against an expected #1 seed for the NCAA Tourney. OR they could roll over 10 minutes in. And anywhere in between.

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February 23, 2017

Familiar, But Still Impressive Implosion

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:36 am

I can’t even muster the rage I had last week.

Saw it coming. Knew it would happen. Still, couldn’t hide my shock at the way it went down.

Pitt shot 4-24 in the second half. Which on its face would be amazingly bad. But it gets worse. They came out of the break going 3-6 in the first 5 minutes. Up 47-35. From there, Pitt would make only one more shot from the floor. An astounding 1-18 over 15 minutes. 12 points the rest of the way with the free throws.

Yet, they still only lost by 4 with a chance to send it to OT or win in the final seconds. That should tell you how bad this game was if you were lucky enough not to have watched.

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February 22, 2017

Tossing this up a bit early. Will be a tight window to get home for the start of the game.

7pm, various RSNs (ROOT, YES, NESN, Multiple FOX Sports) and ACCN Extra/WatchESPN.

I was watching a some games last night — Clemson-VT and Indiana-Iowa, primarily — and it seemed like half the conversation between the announcers (and 100% when they went to the studios) was about how teams needed this win to get off or stay on the bubble. They were talking about 4-10 (now 4-11) Clemson  in the ACC and the now 5-10 in the B1G, Indiana.

I know that bubble talk is always a big driver of interest late in the season. Especially in games with middling to below-average programs. But it is making me a little crazy. I swear, when 6-20 Mizzou was playing their best game of the season against Kentucky (ultimately losing), the game calling crew started talking about how if the Tigers kept this up and made a deep run in the SEC Tournament…

STOP!

There is no basis in reality, but the talking point is all about the bubble. I know in the cases of Indiana (big non-con wins) and Clemson (great numbers in statistical analysis). But in the end these are not good teams. Indiana between injuries and horrid inconsistency. Clemson is just good enough to lose. Painfully, heartbreakingly (possibly Faustian in nature for college football, but I can’t be sure), but still losses. Over and over again.

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February 20, 2017

Only Consistency Is In Unpredictability

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 10:48 am

To be fair to Coach Kevin Stallings, it isn’t as if this core hasn’t had consistency issues in the past two years. Games where the offense was non-existent. The defense couldn’t stop anything. It’s just that it wasn’t as frequent, and the blame was assigned elsewhere. (Jamie Dixon is too controlling! James Robinson is too limited as a point guard!)

Of course, anyone who has looked at Kevin Stallings career at Vanderbilt, knows that Stallings’ teams had their own issues with consistency of effort and performance.

Put those two sides together and the uptick of unpredictability from Pitt from game to game makes some more sense. No less maddening, but at least you can sort of make sense of it that way.

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February 18, 2017

Sartorially speaking, I mean.

4pm, ESPN2.

It’s the retro game. Old colors to go with the Script. Sucks when that seems to be the best thing to say about this game.

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February 17, 2017

The only surprise in the firing of Mike Mark Gottfried from NC State was the timing. With only a few weeks left in the season, NC State made Gottfried’s lame duck status official.

The list of names possible for NC State range from the obvious: Archie Miller. To the jump before pushed: Tom Crean. To the absurd: Greg Marshall or Chris Mack. To other alum: Vinny Del Negro. To random natives of North Carolina: Kelvin Sampson.

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February 16, 2017

It’s stale news, but still worth hitting.

Coming back to work for a third Pitt head coach, Charlie Partridge takes over as Defensive Line Coach.

Charlie Partridge, a renowned Florida recruiter who previously served as a Pitt assistant from 2003-07, will return to the Panthers’ staff as defensive line coach, Pat Narduzzi announced.

Partridge rejoins Pitt after serving the past three seasons as head coach at Florida Atlantic University. Prior to FAU, he was an accomplished assistant at Arkansas and Wisconsin.

“I’ve been a big fan of Charlie’s work for a very long time,” Narduzzi said. “I remember watching his defensive lines at Wisconsin and really admiring how they played. Charlie’s players reflected his high energy and passion. He’s an incredibly bright coach who is an excellent teacher and knows how to develop players.”

The opening sentence of Pitt’s press release sums up the hiring.

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February 15, 2017

Wilting Once More

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:38 am

You know how you love your family (hopefully this is true), but you don’t always like them. That’s the way I’m feeling about Pitt basketball at the moment. I love Pitt. Love basketball. I just don’t particularly like this team.

It isn’t the losses. It isn’t the issues with talent. It is that much of the time, this is just such a dumb, unlikable team.

I’m at the point where everything there is to say about this team seems to be in analogies.

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February 14, 2017

Open Thread: VT-Pitt, Spoiler?

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 1:04 pm

7pm, ESPN2.

After the euphoria of  VT’s 2OT victory over Virginia made them a virtual lock for the NCAA, reality set in. First with the loss of their wing guard and leading rebounder Chris Clarke with a torn left ACL. Then there is the fact that they still need to win games in no small part due to a non-con that compared worse than anything even Jamie Dixon did.

That said, the Hokies’ lone victories over top-50 RPI opponents are Duke and Virginia, both at home. Most problematic, as noted earlier this season, Virginia Tech’s non-conference schedule was the ACC’s tamest, and at No. 308 on Monday’s RPI was ahead of only No. 326 Rutgers among Power Five teams.

As Hokies faithful know all too well from the latter stages of Seth Greenberg’s coaching tenure, those are numbers that can cost you a bid.

Tech’s games prior to the ACC tournament are at Pitt on Tuesday and at Louisville on Saturday, followed by Clemson at home, Boston College on the road, and Miami and Wake Forest at home — the Hokies are 12-1 at Cassell Coliseum, stumbling only against NCAA-bound Notre Dame.

It’s never a good sign when you are being compared to Rutgers in… anything.

They do have a road win over Michigan, so there is that. But, yeah. They need to hold serve at home and either beat Pitt and BC or just win one and and a ACC Tournament game to clinch it.

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February 13, 2017

The Way The Ball Bounces

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:40 am

Va-VTBall

If you were one of the handful of people watching the Virginia-Virginia Tech game, then you were treated to this incredible moment.

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February 11, 2017

1pm, ACC Network syndication (ugh) or ACC Digital Network Extra/WatchESPN.

Hard to find this one on regular TV across the country. Clemson-Duke is on the ACCN syndication at the same time. Guess which game most stations outside of Pennsylvania and New York seem to be favoring?

Last time against the Orange, Pitt looked like it had never seen a zone defense before. Settling for nothing but outside shots and not able to work the ball inside at all. On top of that, they still couldn’t rebound. And that was just in the first half.

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February 9, 2017

Pitt Finally Wins

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:45 am

Not since the Big East Tournament of 2001, when Ricardo Greer  dragged Pitt to the Big East Championship game, had Boston College beaten Pitt in basketball. That tradition continued last night as Pitt snapped its 8-game losing streak. Moving to a robust 2-9 in the ACC and out of dead last. Now at second to dead last.

“It wouldn’t have mattered if we were playing the Golden State Warriors,” Stallings said. “We needed a win.”

“When you go on a skid like we’ve been on, you just need a win,” Stallings said. “It doesn’t matter who it’s against. You don’t say to yourself, ‘Well we better get these guys because if we don’t.’ … You just play them as they come and keep trying to knock the door down.”

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February 8, 2017

7pm on RSNs (ROOT, NESN, various FOX Sports) or ACC Network Extra/WatchESPN.

In the last week, Pitt hasn’t looked… horrible.

It’s damning with faint praise when the media notes tries to spin positive road losses at UNC and Duke by a combined 10 points, but when you are harnessed to an 8-game losing streak and yet to win on the road in the ACC, you take what you can get.

The thing with a good, bad team like Pitt is this year. You don’t know anything about the team from game-to-game. Effort, energy, streakiness… It’s all a question mark. Did they play up to their opponents in the last week? Will they have a complete letdown in effort against a team like BC?

I have no idea. I’m guessing the coaches don’t either.

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