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.
Pitt has looked better in the last week plus. Battling against UNC and Duke. Finally notching that second ACC win against BC. (As an aside, off the top of your head do you think BC has more recently beaten Pitt in football or basketball or is it Penn State? Answer at the end.)
Does it continue? I don’t really know, but Paul Zeise remains optimistic that the team never really quit on Kevin Stallings — apparently they only quit a couple games.
The pace on this game should be fairly slow. Pitt has continued to slow things down to get more offensive flow. Syracuse’s style of play is always on the slower end.
Jamel Artis has missed some practice, and the ankle is still swollen. But he is good to go for the game.
I feel like I am now saying this everygame (because I am), but I really don’t know what to expect from this game. From this team. Your guess is as good as mine.
Given the game and old Big East stuff, Stallings was asked his thoughts on the old league — of which he had no part.
He admitted Friday, while chatting with reporters, that he wasn’t a big fan of the old Big East, a conference where Syracuse and Pitt — Saturday’s combatants at Petersen Events Center — used to thrive in physical games that often emphasized defense over offense.
“The old Big East seemed like a 50-point game waiting to happen,” Stallings said. “Really from my perspective, it was pretty boring. I was never trying to carve out time to watch a Big East game on TV.”
Of course, the game wasn’t officiated as close as it is today, and that emphasis was no friend to shooters. Pitt senior Sheldon Jeter said, “It was very physical. It really was. It seems like hand checks never got called back then.”
Jeter added that 310-pound Pitt center Rozelle Nix may be the only Pitt player who fits the old Big East mold.
“Big, bruising,” Jeter said. “If you just looked at him right away, he could play in the old Big East.”
Honest to a fault is the best I can say here. But I’m just not sure you are going to win people over when you call the Big East boring, given the success Pitt had for over a decade. And when you have spent most of the past month complaining about the lack of effort of your own team at playing defense.
(The answer is Boston College. BC beat Pitt in football, 45-7 on October 20, 2001. PSU beat Pitt in basketball, 88-74 on December 6, 2000. They haven’t won since.)