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March 7, 2017

7pm, ESPNU.

Wait. Pitt’s favored in this game?

I suppose when a team has only 2 wins away from home the entire season, there is reason to be skeptical. But against Pitt? Pitt has 4 wins outside the Pete, but only one in conference — against BC. Someone has to win.

Still, for Pitt this does not feel like a game they care that much about. Everything seems to be about moving on from this season.

Whether it is about the purpose of the 10 minute benching of Artis and Young — which even Coach Kevin Stallings seems to be hinting is about setting a tone more for the future.

“My job is to uphold the integrity of the process of coaching this team,” Stallings said.

Senior Sheldon Jeter said he agreed with Stallings making his teammates accountable for their actions.

Asked if his coach acted appropriately, Jeter said, “I think so. I think so. He’s been doing it all year, really, as far as punishing guys when they don’t do what they’re supposed to. It’s nothing new. He just wants to show there’s no exceptions to it.”

Stallings said he has spoken to Young and Artis “probably more than anyone about the life lessons aspect of coaching them and being successful as a human being and when basketball is over.

“Whether it’s being on time or how you interface with other people, because I would like to think that what I’m doing is more than just coaching basketball. I hope the impact I’m having on these kids’ lives is bigger and better than just coaching the game and helping them achieve wins or losses.”

“They were fine at practice,” he said. “I certainly didn’t take the time to ask them (how they handled being benched). It’s pretty clear-cut.

“We let the guys know where they stand relative to what the expectations of the program are. I don’t think either one of them was surprised, maybe they were, but I didn’t ask them. I just did what I’m supposed to do.”

Or looking back on the season, overall.

“I think we’ve continued to play hard, but I think there’s a difference between playing hard and really preparing to win,” he said. “In those instances where we haven’t played well, I wouldn’t say that we’ve been preparing to win. I think we go out and play reasonably hard in the game, but our preparation sort of affects what we’re able to do on the court because you can’t be one thing in practice and something completely different in the game on a consistent basis.”

The result is a 4-14 ACC record — the fewest conference victories by a Pitt team in 40 years — and what Stallings admits is a decrease in the players’ overall level of confidence.

“Losing is de-motivating. That takes away some of your spirit,” he said.

Stallings acknowledged he made mistakes this season and he would make some minor changes, if given a second chance.

“But not that many, surprisingly for me,” he said. “I’m not satisfied with the record. I’m not satisfied with some of the dysfunction, maybe, that we’ve had.

“But I’m satisfied with how I’ve tried to coach and educate and lead these guys.”

Heck, on the eve of the ACC Tourney plans for next year’s visit to Barclay’s in the non-con were announced.

The University of Pittsburgh men’s basketball team along with Oklahoma State, Penn State and Texas A&M highlight the field for the 2017 Legends Classic, which culminates with the Championship Rounds at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, Nov. 20-21.

Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Thursday at noon for the Championship Rounds of the 11th annual Legends Classic men’s basketball tournament, and may be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000 or through Ticketmaster.com. Tickets are also available at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center.

All four games of the Championship Rounds will be televised on ESPN networks.

Pittsburgh, Penn State, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M will each host a pair of regional round games on campus in addition to facing off at Barclays Center in the Championship Round on Nov. 20-21. The four regional round hosts combine for 75 NCAA Tournament appearances and eight Final Fours.

Joining Pittsburgh, Penn State, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M in the 2017 Legends Classic are Pepperdine, Montana, Oral Roberts, and UC-Santa Barbara.

Well, at least now we know where and when Pitt will play Penn State next season. Technically the pairings haven’t been announced yet, but come on. Pitt-Penn State and old Big 12 opponents facing each other. The pairings are too obvious. It also means Pitt won’t get stuck with PSU in the B1G-ACC match-up.

But seriously, back to the game today. Sort of.

I can’t believe the team being tired is actually being discussed.

A thin team that’s down to 10 healthy scholarship players — not including guard Zach Smith, who began the season as a walk-on — and has had to rely overwhelmingly on its five starters the past seven weeks faces the arduous task of trying to win five games in as many days, one that begins Tuesday with a matchup against Georgia Tech in the first round of the ACC tournament in Brooklyn, N.Y. How the Panthers fare with that challenge won’t define their season, but it will dictate how much longer it continues.

“It will be difficult, certainly,” Pitt coach Kevin Stallings said. “That’s why we’re just trying to focus on the one tomorrow night. You hope you can win and then have enough rest to come back and play and play well enough to win again. We’ll worry about the fatigue factor when the fatigue factor becomes an issue. We would have to win at least one game, maybe two, before the fatigue would become an issue.”

This season, Pitt’s top five players in total minutes — Michael Young, Jamel Artis, Cameron Johnson, Sheldon Jeter and Chris Jones — have accounted for 78.3 percent of the team’s minutes played, the highest such percentage of any ACC team. With the exception of three games — each of which saw Jeter foul out — each of the five starters hasn’t played fewer than 25 minutes in a game since conference play began Dec. 31.

IF — and, oh, is that a big “if” — the Panthers beat GT, sure fatigue will come into play. Though, Virginia — the team awaiting the winner — might be the bigger issue. The idea that the players will be worn out physically for the opening game? No. Not physically. Mentally. That I can buy.





Olsh olsh

Comment by Alcofan 03.07.17 @ 9:11 pm

Dok-ass

Comment by Emel 03.07.17 @ 9:11 pm

For what it’s worth, I think GT’s cheerleaders are too skinny.

Comment by PittPT 03.07.17 @ 9:12 pm

How do you foul…..and follow that up with a turnover on an inbound.

Up 7 with 44 seconds……

Up 3 with 24 seconds

How does Cam Johnson not get that rebound

Up 2 with 6 seconds

Ice your own free throw shooter at 5.3 seconds and a 3 point lead

Foul opponent with 2.2

Up 1 with 1.4 seconds

Artis tries to miss FT and makes it

Good grief!

Comment by Huff 03.07.17 @ 9:13 pm

It’s official….we’re not the worst team in the ACC. Pop the Ripple corks!

Comment by Jackagain 03.07.17 @ 9:14 pm

This sloppy dicksock is so bad and a embarrassment. Joke

Comment by Upittbaseball 03.07.17 @ 9:14 pm

Stallings under fire needed this more…Pastner meanwhile has already won ACC Coach of the Year.

So it works out for all, and so it goes in the Coaching Fraternity.

Comment by Emel 03.07.17 @ 9:14 pm

Pitt tried and tried and could not give this game away!

Comment by Dan 72 03.07.17 @ 9:14 pm

Jack – Yes we are. They won 4 more games in conf than us.

Comment by Upittbaseball 03.07.17 @ 9:15 pm

I only caught the last minute of the game though….I was watching Donnie & Marie re-runs on TNT.

Comment by Jackagain 03.07.17 @ 9:15 pm

Dokish is a dork. Look at the guy.

Comment by Upittbaseball 03.07.17 @ 9:16 pm

This team reminds me of DePaul in the Big East.

Comment by Isnore 03.07.17 @ 9:16 pm

Jack LOL. Better TV for sure.

Comment by Upittbaseball 03.07.17 @ 9:16 pm

lmao Huff….Pitt tried as good as they could to blow it….but we had the Coaching Fraternity effect come into play.

Comment by Emel 03.07.17 @ 9:16 pm

And Artis can’t even miss a free throw correctly! Can Pitt hang with Virginia on a neutral court?

Comment by KeyboardKev 03.07.17 @ 9:17 pm

UPitt, I’m talking about Boston College….

Comment by Jackagain 03.07.17 @ 9:17 pm

Artis shoots them better when he’s trying to miss.

Comment by Emel 03.07.17 @ 9:21 pm

That was like a Clyde Vaughn line drive shot, nothing but iron, but straight down.

Comment by Emel 03.07.17 @ 9:22 pm

if Luther and Johnson are the future leaders, then we are in a heap of trouble. They were easily the 2 worst players tonight

Comment by wbb 03.07.17 @ 9:24 pm

Shooting %’s all the way around for both teams for this game……were horrendous.

In the 30’s for FG’s…in the 20’s for 3’s…we scored 2 more points on the Free Throw line which was the difference in the game.

Comment by Emel 03.07.17 @ 9:25 pm

I really don’t know how to critique this game. I think the players tried as hard as they could( they just are a little dense). I saw them pay attention to instructions during time outs. The bench gave, and took away. Problems weren’t lack of effort, just knucklehead plays.
Coaching, lots to complain about, but TO at end,well could go either way so I won’t hammer him for that. Yelling at Luther, he deserved to get reamed, but he has to be aware, considering his history. So I give a pass there. We won, he is still robbing us, and that’s that.

Comment by JoeKnew 03.07.17 @ 9:31 pm

Did anyone else think that artis was trying to throw the game??

He was horrible and his expressions and body language was also???

Comment by Keith 03.07.17 @ 9:42 pm

Well, one thing is for sure>>>>Artis left his brIains in the Burgh.

Comment by Isnore 03.07.17 @ 9:47 pm

Brains

Comment by Isnore 03.07.17 @ 9:49 pm

Artis didn’t look like he cared one iota until he drained the long three towards end of game.

You all are too forgiving. This was a terrible showing. I haven’t come down on our coach all year because I stopped watching when our guys stopped giving effort in Louisville game.

I watched tonight and am glad I didn’t watch all year. There is no excuse for not giving maximum effort, every play!

Comment by Huff 03.07.17 @ 10:00 pm

Young played a great game! Jeter played a great game! Milligan gave them excellent minutes off the bench! Artis was a decent point guard! Their rebounding was good! They got the ball inside! They finally won a playoff game!

They clearly made some mistakes, as the above 124 comments indicate, so there will be room for improvement when they beat Virginia tomorrow and Notre Dame on Thursday. Both games will be at 9pm. This could be a fun week!

Comment by Howard 03.07.17 @ 10:05 pm

Artis must be looking forward to an exciting career at Home Depot.

Comment by Jackagain 03.07.17 @ 10:11 pm

I am not surprised that Luther has lost all confidence in his game. Just what you want for next years leaders. I am sorry guys but I can’t support that methodology. Now, I am not saying Stallings should hand out crayons, coloring books and comfort dogs in order to get the best out of his players, but cursing out a player when it is quiet in the gym is just asking for the players to quit.

Agree that Artis appeared to mail it in! He wants to go to Europe via the casinos.

Comment by Huff 03.07.17 @ 10:15 pm

Happy for our guys.

Comment by gc 03.07.17 @ 10:21 pm

Artis is the root of our problems. Lazy, unfocused… on D he looks like he’s just trying not to get hurt

Comment by Dan85 03.07.17 @ 10:22 pm

Berating his players on National TV is something Stallings does well “get your goddamn head in the fucking game!”

I said that to the wife when she fast forwarded the DVR 5 seconds past the commercial.

yeah…..

Comment by Tony in Harrisburg 03.07.17 @ 10:25 pm

I’m not so sure on Artis. I deliberately watched him during time outs and he was paying serious attention. I just think he is dumb as dirt.

Comment by JoeKnew 03.07.17 @ 10:25 pm

We were the better team going in and we should have won. Really makes you wonder WTF happened last week?

Comment by Tony in Harrisburg 03.07.17 @ 10:26 pm

The fact that Artist is still playing point shows what an astute coach he have. Watching our back court of Artist and Jones is hard to stomach. I can not think of two senior guards that have lower bball iq or ball handling skills.

Comment by Jimbo 03.07.17 @ 11:25 pm

Hopefully our 3’s fall tomorrow because we are going to need them….

Comment by Tony in Harrisburg 03.07.17 @ 11:44 pm

A win is a win. Enjoy it.

Comment by Goalie44 03.08.17 @ 12:52 am

Jimbo I agree but who else do they have?

Comment by WLAT 910 radio and the big beat! 03.08.17 @ 6:30 am

Dokish – unfortunate, but he’s too focused on trying to project some sort of image and comes across as a fool. If he stuck to more analytical sports info., he would’ve been fine, but he went in another direction. Embarrassing.

Tony – Per your post above, is that really a direct quote from KS above?

Comment by 1618mt 03.08.17 @ 8:22 am

The one major difference last night was how many times Pitt went to the hoop. Even an alley oop from Artis to Jeter, something I have been calling for all year. Young played a great game vs. Lammers Jeter played hard, and Jones had one of his better games. They won even though their shooting was pathetic. They did finally make some timely shots, which have been missing most of the year. They even tried to give the game away, but had enough of a lead. The refs tried to help down the stretch with the call on Jones and the non-call when their guy pushed Johnson and went over his back for a rebound.

Pitt played better defense and GT certainly helped with poor shooting.

The season probably ends tonight, but who knows in a one and done tourney.

Also interesting was Milligan looked like he belonged, and Luther did not.

Stallings showing some intensity was new as well.

Comment by gc 03.08.17 @ 9:08 am

Someday I have to have a beer with the guy who says;

I would rather watch a feret jack off to a white rabbit in 35 degree rain shower than watch a bald fucksock coach a once proud basketball team.
Comment by Upittbaseball 03.07.17 @ 8:29 pm

Comment by The Hagen 03.08.17 @ 1:59 pm

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