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March 8, 2017

Not Dead Yet

Filed under: ACC,Basketball,Conference — Chas @ 8:35 am

Wait. Pitt won?

Lots of gallows humor in this game. It was ugly. It was hard to watch. Moments of incredible stupidity. There were even a couple smart plays. But Pitt won in the end.

Pitt gave up more offensive rebounds (-4). They turned the ball over way more (13-7). With those differentials, Georgia Tech had a lot more shot attempts then Pitt (+8). But GT is an offensively challenged team (to be kind). While Pitt didn’t exactly light things up, they did just enough from the field and the free throw line to eke out a 61-59 win.

Let’s get the Stallings controversy out of the way. Quick recap. In the second half, as Pitt was trying to get to the basket, Sheldon Jeter dropped to the floor on a Ryan Luther turnover — for unclear reasons at that time — writhing in pain. Play continued with GT missing yet another shot. Pitt grabbed the rebound and play was stopped as Jeter was still down on the court.

As the trainer was tending to Jeter, a hot mike caught Coach Kevin Stallings yelling at Luther, Goddammit, get your fucking head in the game!” You might even have already come across some did a quick edit of the video to make it look like someone was yelling that at Jeter on the floor with the trainer over him.

The rush to condemn Stallings — by Pitt fans — was quick, and a bit over the top. I didn’t care about the cursing, and frankly, he was right about Luther. Luther had played 14 minutes at that point and had 0 points and 0 rebounds. He looked lost out there.

That said, that was absolutely the wrong time to be screaming at Luther — not because of the hot mike — but because the only concern should be for Jeter. There was no way to know at that point his status. Yes, the trainer was over there, but this is one of your players. Heck, this is the one player that has gone above and beyond on- and off-the-court to try and give Stallings a chance with this team.

Moving back to the game.

Pitt overcame its own poor shooting — especially in the first half from the perimeter. Pitt was 1-11 on the first half on 3s. But were sort of in control of the game because GT was missing everything, and Pitt was 10-17 on shots inside the arc. Very odd seeing Pitt getting a lot of points in the paint.

Pitt continued to miss from outside at the start of the second half. At one point, being 1-13 on 3s. Then they finally started falling — from Chris Jones. Jones had 2, Milligan had 1, Mike Young and when really needed, even Jamel Artis hit one.

Cam Johnson was in foul trouble during the game, but GT also stayed all over him. Not letting him have space or be set. As good a 3-point shooter as he is, he needs to be set and ready to shoot. Johnson is not one to come off a screen or be moving. He either has to be set when the ball comes to him, or he has to be going straight on to the basket when firing.

Artis had another mostly miserable game. He came up with some big shots late — and correctly fouled GT before the shot with 2.2 seconds left in the game as Pitt was clinging to a 3-point lead. Still, if Artis isn’t scoring you can see him visibly struggle to stay focused on the game at hand.

Now Pitt goes against Virginia for a third time this season at 9pm on ESPN2. We’ll see if Pitt can put together another good effort and energy.

I don’t have a problem with a coach getting on a player, but Stallings’ manner of doing so shows a “leader” who lacks control and acts like a schoolgirl when things don’t go his way. Disappointing.

I’ve always thought that Cam would be the guy who’d benefit if we had guards who could penetrate or a big man who could collapse a defense (for kickouts in both cases), unfortunately, we don’t have either right now.

And finally, Virginia is living proof that you can win with SLOGBALL in the ACC- Jamie should’ve kept recruiting sloggers and we would’ve been fine, instead his experiment to try to get athletic length backfired. Hindsight is 20-20.

Comment by 1618mt 03.08.17 @ 9:10 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

Comment by gc 03.08.17 @ 9:21 am

I am having trouble with the site, jumping up and down and not holding still (technical terms) Anyone Else?

Again, I have been criticized for calling Pitt Fans Fair Weathered, but really jaded when we can’t be happy with a win.

At least Stallings was showing a little fire, and our guys have enough pride not to quit.

Comment by gc 03.08.17 @ 9:28 am

@gc – I’m happy with the win. I’m unhappy with the overwhelming underachievement this entire season. There is enough talent on this team to be in the NCAA tourney albeit not to go far. There is enough talent on this team to have a winning conference record. So, given that, you have to indict the coach for failing to maximize the outcomes. If he were a young, inexperienced, first-time head coach, that would be given as an excuse. HCKS was hired, presumably, because he had the experience to step right in and achieve. He failed.

Nevertheless, I will be rooting hard tonight, happy the team made it to play another game.


Comment by Pitt Dad 03.08.17 @ 9:36 am

Don’t be fooled gc…Stallings act was like a really bad movie..that has a good people leave the theatre satisfied.

Comment by Emel 03.08.17 @ 9:37 am

Nothing more nothing less.

He was up standing the entire game, when he sat thru most of the dreadful season.

Heck Pitt might even make a run, to dispel some of the uprising among the faithful.

Comment by Emel 03.08.17 @ 9:40 am

GC – Coaches need to show fire and KS did that last night, which is good, but I personally think his specific handling of Luther was in poor taste- a little more constructive and less bitchy would’ve been helpful.

And with regard to Luther, he’s been out for probably 1.5-2 months, right? Of course he’s going to be out of sync. His poor performance last night should’ve been expected. Right now Nix is a better player, but I would think that Luther’s play will improve as he gets his legs, etc.

And one other key factor last night, we were the better foul shooting team, which was a key factor.

Comment by 1618mt 03.08.17 @ 9:40 am

The less the cameras are on Otis, the better for Pitt…in the long run.

Comment by Emel 03.08.17 @ 9:41 am

Comment by Emel 03.08.17 @ 9:43 am

Brian Gregory who was HC at GT won 21 games last year.

Pastner won 17 this year. So how does that equate to ACC Coach of the Year. 17-15 gets you CoY.


Comment by Emel 03.08.17 @ 9:46 am

What an ugly game – almost unwatchable. If we play the same, another 20 point loss to VA.

Comment by rayhpgh 03.08.17 @ 9:46 am

Are we really going to get on Stallings for swearing at another grown man that isn’t getting the job done? Please don’t call Luther a kid. A can drive a car, serve in the armed forces, ect.

We can get on Grandpa Turd for a lot of things this year but lets not say he’s being too hard on the players.

Comment by AJ 03.08.17 @ 9:49 am

All season I have wanted Jeter to do more work in the paint. He has shown real flashes of being able to do good things down there and, while he’s not huge, he’s strong and athletic enough that he should be spending far more time looking to receive the ball within 7 feet of the basket than 25 feet from the basket.

Was also stunned when Milligan drove to the hoop and dished off to Young for a dunk in the first half. How many drive and dunks from the run of play (not a fast break) do you think this team had all year? I would bet less than 10 and probably less than 5.

Artis looks tired. No legs on his shot. Passes lazier than usual. More poor decisions than usual.

Stallings’ decisions – lack of time outs, sub patterns, etc. continue to just astound me. I don’t get it at all.

Comment by Praise the Lard 03.08.17 @ 9:52 am

UVA is beatable as we beat them before, and the revenge factor for the blowout loss just 2 games ago should also come into play.

And UVA’s NCAA seed won’t change much if they lose.

Comment by Emel 03.08.17 @ 9:52 am

Confused why no Nix when we need to sub as much as possible to keep them fresh for future games, should they happen. I also still don’t understand not playing Manigault. The lack of timeouts and sub patters are insane. I am hopeful that we shoot much better from 3 tonight and maybe have a few less turnovers to stay competitive.

Comment by ShorePitt 03.08.17 @ 10:00 am

Funny, Artis hasn’t had a 20 point game since the night he was white hot at L-Ville.

A span of 15 games.

He’s lost a lof of confidence in his outside shot.

They need to rub him off some high screens to get him a couple open looks early the game and hopefully he could nail a few.

Comment by Emel 03.08.17 @ 10:06 am

He had had 9 games of 20 points or more before than L-Ville game.

The highlites being the 43 point outburst at Ville.
He had 31 against Rice.
And 30 against Marshall.

Comment by Emel 03.08.17 @ 10:08 am

Agree about Nix…Shorepitt

However Manigoat is another story. Neither him or Wilson should see the floor in a one and done.

7 players is enough, Syracuse and other teams regularly played and won with short benches.

These are 20 year olds, we use to play for hours and hours…everyday of the week. And thought nothing of it. And neither do they.

Comment by Emel 03.08.17 @ 10:11 am

A HC Pitt should have had on their shortlist, if we would have had a legit AD, should have been Greg Marshall, currently at Wichita State.

He has another 30 win team this year, his 4th.

Has a career winning % of .725 (Dixon’s was .716)

13 NCAA Tourneys in 18 years as HC at Wichita and before that Winthrop where I saw him coach, since it’s in a suburb of Charlotte.

This guy is a great coach. Pitt should have got him instead of Otis.

Comment by Emel 03.08.17 @ 10:25 am

# 2 Villanova only has a 7 man rotation btw.

I could find many more examples.

link to

Comment by Emel 03.08.17 @ 10:32 am

@Emel It’s all about expectations. The coaches didn’t think GT had a chance to win any games and would finish last. They thought Pitt would finish 12th. I really have to wonder whether the Pastner and Stallings factors were built into those pre-season expectations. I suspect both teams would have been projected for better finishes with other coaches.

Artis’ 3P shooting faltered after the Louisville outburst I believe he was 21 of 80 in that subsequent 15 game span. Artis had 178 total FG attempts in that span. So nearly 45% of his attempts were from 3. The Blather’s perception appears to have been reality.

Comment by Barvo 03.08.17 @ 10:32 am

Current line – Pitt +10, o/u 117. The over looks good but can Pitt keep it that close?


Comment by Pitt Dad 03.08.17 @ 10:49 am

While KS’s outburst was unfortunately picked up by a hot mic, I remember what an old professor would always tell us: “It’s easier to cool down a fanatic then it is to heat up a corpse”! While his one word was certainly inappropriate, KS showed some flame last night. Could his job be in jeopardy?

Comment by pittman4ever 03.08.17 @ 10:52 am

Not a Stallings fan but c’mon, you think he is the only coach to tell a kid to get his effin head in the game? If they put mikes on the coaches, all the games would be X-rated.

I get that Luther is rusty, but he looked totally lost last night and made plenty of poor decisions.

Lot’s of frustration to go around this year, players, coaches, fans. The only people we have heard nothing from is the Athletic Dept., and Administration. They are in hiding.

Comment by gc 03.08.17 @ 10:52 am

Pitt had 589 3P attempts last season in 33 games. Pitt currently has 700 attempts in 32 games this season. Pitt shooting little more than 1% better from the arc this season over last. A little more than 1% worse overall this season over last.

Pitt had 417 offensive rebounds last season. Maia and ANO combined for 74 of those in 648 minutes. Pitt has 307 offensive rebounds thus far this season. Nix has 18 offensive rebounds in 121 minutes.

Pitt attempted 1919 field goals last season. 589 were from 3P. ~31% of all attempts from 3P.

Pitt has attempted 1781 fields goals this season. 700 have been from 3P. ~39% of all attempts from 3P.

Maia and ANO combined for 106 points in 648 minutes last season. Nix has 27 points in 121 minutes.

Pitt had 547 assists and 384 turnovers last season. Pitt has 465 assists and 386 turnovers this season.

Comment by Barvo 03.08.17 @ 11:03 am

In total disbelief that we won. Those last 2 minutes were TOTALLY set up for a classic SOP.

Comment by DD 03.08.17 @ 11:10 am

A win is a win right? Good for the players/team. Good for Pitt. A couple more and they avoid the losing season stigma. LET’S GO PITT!

So why the bashing of the coach? Why not give the poor bastard a break man?

I’ll tell you why;

He decided to show up and, ya know, actually try to coach on the sidelines a day late and a dollar short.

He has done NOTHING to be deserving of the benefit of the doubt. He doesn’t like the fans and the fans don’t like him. In fact it is no doubt true that he doesn’t even like himself.

So, when he spouts billingsgate worthy of a Marine drill sergeant, and directs it at a young player just off the DL while a teammate lies writhing in pain with an unknown at the time cause, well, yes, that was yet another display of classlessness. It is during times of high emotions when character is often revealed.

He has done nothing to bank any goodwill capital. Think about it this way; if Jamie was still here and the hot mic caught that episode, while there may have been some who were taken back, it would have passed with little or no comment. Of course that couldn’t have happened because there would not have been a microphone near a coach kneeling on the court impulsively reacting to check on an injured player.

Comment by Wally 03.08.17 @ 11:13 am

~ Barvo….yea you’re right. Expectations game the media loves to play and in this case the coaches as well.

So the same coaches who game after game, call Otis an ‘offensive genuis’ …..setup Pastner with super duper low expectations.

Seriously they thought GT was going to finish lower than BC. What on Earth would give them that idea. They seriously did Pastner a favor.
Wonder why 🙂

Comment by Emel 03.08.17 @ 11:19 am

gc – poor decisions and out of sync? That’s what rusty is, what’d you expect??

And regarding KS’ handling of Luther, it’s not an issue everyone is going to agree with, I just think its a little schoolgirlish.

And Wally, it’s very unlikely Jamie would’ve behaved like KS, and if he did slip up once, he would’ve earned a pass. Jamie has his faults, we all do, but one of them isn’t being classless. So, not a good comparison.

And by the way, I happen to agree with Emel’s sentiment, not a fan of Pastner. I don’t dislike the guy, but I’m not buying into the idea that he’s a good coach, maybe averageish.

Comment by 1618mt 03.08.17 @ 11:29 am

Stalling brings too much drama. Lol. Even wins have controversy.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 03.08.17 @ 11:30 am

1618mt, I emphatically agree. I was trying to say the same thing but obviously failed in my word structure. My point was Jamie would have been 100% focused on Jeter, not the game or Luther. Sorry for the confusion.

Comment by wally 03.08.17 @ 11:33 am

Probably Stallings’ BEST effort all year. If only he could have coached others so well.

The one highlight that comes to mind was his calling a timeout at the end of the Game with Pitt on the Line. Clearly, it was to remind his Players to immediately foul Ga Tech and put them on the line… which they did.

As to his OUTBURST aimed at Luther… anyone watching the Game with an OPEN mind should realize how Luther does seem to NOT have his head in the Game much of the time.

People here like to criticize Artis and some even question his effort and smarts.

In my opinion, he scores HIGHER in both in comparison to the Luther I’m seeing… now that he’s finally back on the Court.

Comment by PittofDreams 03.08.17 @ 12:06 pm

Wally – oh, apparently my bad as well, thanks for clarifying.

POD – one thing about Artis, is he’s being asked to play out of position (as is Young, assuming he’s supposed to play Center), and although he’s had his share of bad TO’s, he’s doing a much better job of handling the point than I would’ve guessed he was capable of. Kudos to him and KS on that. I just wish he’d get his shot back, one more chance…

Comment by 1618mt 03.08.17 @ 12:12 pm

Success of the Pitt Bball coach, whoever he may be, will be met when Blatherites stop mentioning JD.

And that is not a criticism! I have been doing it all year long. Just an observation. Looking forward to the day we can say, “Jamie who?”.

Comment by DD 03.08.17 @ 12:13 pm

Speaking of Luther, if I were Stallings I would consider having him play under the Basket at both ends of the Court.

Compared to last year, Luther looks pretty slow… too slow much of the time to cover his Man.

Granted he’s not the best jumper in the world. But he’s clearly TALLER than Young who is also listed at 6-9.

I for one would be curious to see what he could do playing underneath.

Comment by PittofDreams 03.08.17 @ 12:13 pm

As for tonight… Las Vegas was apparently right about favoring Pitt yesterday.

Today, Virginia opened as 11 Point Favorites.

If Stallings is able to put TWO well-coached Games back to back… who knows?

And of course a 20-20 night by Young ‘n Artis might help.

Comment by PittofDreams 03.08.17 @ 12:17 pm

The yelling incident looked bad, especially considering who was on the floor, but it is very common among D1, hell even HS, basketball. Coaches yell. Coaches curse.

Time circumstances just made it worse than it is but, if we want Stallings fired, it is worth exploiting since it will take something other than W/L record to get Pitt to eat the buyout … and he has a history of exploding at inopportune times. This isn’t an isolated incident, which adds to the drama (that really isn’t or shouldn’t be there).

But still, lets exploit the shit out of it. I’m down. Fire Stallings.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 03.08.17 @ 12:18 pm

TT – I’m pretty sure Stallings is getting paid $2M+/yr, he should act like it. Plus, he has a history in that area, so he deserves the scrutiny. That said- yes, I will be rooting for him, one more time this year. H2P.

Comment by 1618mt 03.08.17 @ 12:30 pm

1618mt – I’m all for exploiting it to get him fired but each coach has their own on court personality. Some curse and yell. Some stare. Some sub players out immediately. I’ll grant you, the guy has horrible timing and it’s not an isolated incident of him looking like a jackass on the court. He should have better awareness of time and circumstance. That’s his coaching style though. I can’t get too upset over it … except that I want him fired so I’m doing my damnedest.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 03.08.17 @ 12:37 pm

FWIW, I have no problem with his yelling (except the cursing).

What I have a problem with is his coaching. None of the players has shown any discernible improvement this year; in fact, if anything, they seemed to have regressed.

If he is not getting through or just plainly doesn’t have the necessary skill to teach, then he has to take the bulk of the blame for this year because it his responsibility.

Comment by wbb 03.08.17 @ 12:40 pm

Barvo, good data.

In fact, I was even thinking that this current team may be as bad at shooting than any team under Dixon, and JD is certainly not observed as offensive genius

Comment by wbb 03.08.17 @ 12:44 pm

Please ! Let’s end this awful disaster / nightmare tonight. Watched too many Pitt games this season that just gave me Irritable bowel syndrome. The bright side is that with every loss we are closer to a new coach! By the way – give me one good reason why we do not have an athletic director yet ? ! ?

Comment by daddylonglegs 03.08.17 @ 12:56 pm

I don’t watch ESPN or other sports national media.

Are any of them making much of this Otis f bomb rant against a kid, coming off the DL ?

Comment by Emel 03.08.17 @ 3:20 pm

It’s not just 85 percent of us that think this…

link to

Comment by Tony in Harrisburg 03.08.17 @ 4:45 pm

1st line in that story is a good one

“Talk about being on brand. Kevin Stallings just exudes dickheadedness.”

Comment by Tony in Harrisburg 03.08.17 @ 4:46 pm

lol Tony.

I can imagine the media uproar, had Lex been black.

Comment by Emel 03.08.17 @ 6:33 pm

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