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.
Here’s another one. If you have ever worked with your kid on a project for school or homework. Or maybe just trying to team him or her something — a sport, riding a bike, flying a kite. Whatever.
You’ve explained things. You know what the kid is supposed to do. The kid knows. Yet seems determined to do it the way he/she wants to do it. You know exactly what will happen. As a parent, you can’t do it for them. You have to let them do it their way and get it wrong. Hoping, they will finally figure it out or comprehend that they have to do it a different way.
That’s kind of how I feel watching this basketball team… only they keep going back to the way they want to do it — and failing.
Do we need a recap? When we’ve seen this before? Even Coach Kevin Stallings knows it’s the same thing.
“I can’t really explain how you go from one half to another like that, and that’s happened on several occasions this year,” Stallings said. “It doesn’t make any sense.”
The setback, particularly the way it occurred, unearthed some frustrations from Stallings that he has harbored internally much of the season. His team, as he sees it, again didn’t respond to an adverse situation. Without a true point guard, it often lacks on-court direction to the point where Stallings said it has no offensive flow if he doesn’t call a play. When asked if his team’s second-half fall-off was the product of fatigue, Stallings, while letting out a small chuckle, said his players didn’t play hard enough to be tired.
Pitt shot 16-33 in the first half, including 8-11 on 3s. In the first 7:32 of the second half they were 5-9 including 1-2 on 3s. The rest of the game they went 4-18.
VT Coach Buzz Williams who is friendly with Stallings (everybody likes Stallings it seems) even was asked what he thought happened to Pitt. Williams basically went with the idea that the team has not handled the change in everything around them well.
Even though the starting five played every minute of the second half, that’s no excuse, coach Kevin Stallings said.
“They didn’t play hard enough to get tired,” said Stallings in, perhaps, the most telling indictment of his team in a season full of them.
Pitt’s first-year coach repeatedly shook his head during his postgame news conference, his frustration stopping just short of anger.
The starters played 39, 38, 37, 35 and 33 minutes, but every time Stallings asked them if they were tired, no one admitted to it.
His ultimate explanation, “A lack of energy, a lack of urgency, a lack of what it takes to win a game against a good ACC team.”
Stallings said the answers may run deeper than that.
“I can’t say everything that I think, so I can’t answer that question as honestly as I would like,” he said.
To think, Stallings is actually holding back on his thoughts.
Nothing epitomizes how Pitt self-destructed more then the 7-point sequence. A turnover that led to Ahmed Hill on a breakaway. Rather then let it go, Mike Young inexplicably made a half-hearted attempt to grab Hill at the basket. Hill still scored, Young was properly whistled for an intentional foul, Hill converted both free throws. Then on the inbounds play Justin Bibbs drained a three. All that took place with just one second of game clock.
Self-inflicted wounds and no will to come back from it. Nothing good to say.