March 13, 2017

Nothing particularly coherent. Just the jumble trying to work through after a week of basketball and then the NCAA Tournament field (and NIT) being set.

Let’s all give a big cheer for the NIT having a fantastic sense of humor. Days after Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim, in a post game press conference, went off on the uselessness of Greensboro, NC as a site for the ACC Tournament (he’s not wrong). Followed by Greensboro’s twitter feed dropping the mike. And just for good measure, the minor league team piling on. The NIT gave the #1 overall seed a home game with UNC-Greensboro. It is truly an amazing thing when the NIT can actually pull a significant amount of attention from the NCAA Tournament bracket.

No CBI worries for Pitt. A team with mainly seniors and looking at a ton of roster turnover, would get no value in something like the CBI. And let’s face it, no one presently on or coaching this team wants to go back on the court.

As for the NCAA Tournament and bracket. About the only team that I feel got screwed out of a bid would be Illinois State. But otherwise, not much to complain regarding the teams in the field.

No real problem with the top two seed lines either. After that, things get interesting. It was surprising how much weight appeared to be placed on the record of teams in conference. In theory that should be the way it is, with much better competition and harder to pad records. But in this day of unbalanced scheduling because of the size of most major conferences, that can be significantly misleading.

Dayton and Wichita State as a 7-10 match-up is the biggest stunner. One because WSU was so low in seed, then to have them face each other — with the winner getting Kentucky. Both Archie Miller and Gregg Marshall were considered more likely to stay at their respective schools through this coaching carousel cycle. You have to wonder, though, with the way they got placed in the NCAA Tournament if they don’t take another look at some of the open positions.

Shocked that Florida State still landed a #3 seed (going back to that whole unbalanced schedule producing a pretty record). I thought they should have been a #5 seed. They start the Tourney against Florida Gulf Coast so there will be some trendy upset picking with that game. FSU probably got bumped up a seed to keep them from facing another ACC team in the first weekend.

Miami-Michigan State is a great match-up between coaches. Larranaga-Izzo. It won’t be a pretty game, but it will be interesting.

Still trying to understand how South Carolina as a #7 seed gets to play in South Carolina in the first weekend. Not that they will get past Duke if they win their first game, but still.

Go Bucknell.

If you are looking at coaching changes, the only openings in the Power 5 conferences are NC State, LSU, Missouri and now Illinois.

All four of those jobs have some good history and even some level of recent success.  There are factors that should make the jobs seem attractive. Yet, when you start ranking them in their own conference, they are essentially no better than middle-of-the-pack in terms of desirability and potential.

There is no question you can win there. But there is nothing providing any inherent advantages to the jobs over most of the other gigs within their respective conferences. Its why you see so many of the highly sought, highly thought of mid-major coaches stick with where they are. The money may be bigger at first, but will they get the same potential longevity, and do they wait for the really high ceiling jobs to come open? It really is tougher for the power five schools to find that next really good coach — who is willing to leave a good gig.

Illinois fired Bruce Weber five years ago (it seemed, rightfully so), but had only made the NCAA once under Jim Groce. Weber to his credit hasn’t been bad at K-State. Getting to the Tourney three times since being pushed out of Illinois — not great, either, just “slightly above average.”

Bruce Pearl at Auburn has improved slightly each year since taking over, but nothing like the way he did at Tennessee. Now he finds himself having to defend the progress when it is noted that he is 15-38 in the SEC.

Eleventh-seeded Auburn lost a 10-point lead and fell to No. 14 seed Missouri in overtime 86-83 at the SEC Tournament Wednesday night in Nashville, Tenn.

Pearl quickly made it clear that he’s not concerned about his job security on the Plains.

“If you want to put my ass on the hot seat, it’s not,” Pearl said.

Pearl, who signed the program’s first five-star prospects in freshmen Mustapha Heron and Austin Wiley, is 44-54 in three seasons at Auburn and 16-38 in SEC play. He finished 15-20 in his first season and 11-20 in his second. This year the Tigers (18-14) notched their first winning season since 2009.

Not only does Pearl feel good about the direction of the program, he doesn’t foresee making any changes to the staff next year.

“I think the staff is pretty solid,” he said. “I know the staff is solid from the standpoint of I’m pleased with my staff. All my assistants are ready to be head coaches. If that’s something that they desire and look to do this fall or spring, I will support them. My anticipation is it’ll have to be a pretty good job for them to leave. I think they’re excited about next year and sort of seeing this through.”

Auburn last made the NCAA Tournament in 2003, the longest active drought in the SEC, and the NIT in 2009.

Pac-12 continues to struggle with getting their network shown places. But, their commissioner just got an extension, making over $4 million per year.

Take the time to read this tremendous piece on bitter, old Bob Knight.

The ACC Network can’t get here soon enough.

Per usual, a primary topic was the ACC Network, scheduled to launch in conjunction with ESPN as a linear channel in 2019.

Commissioner John Swofford, media consultant Dean Jordan and ESPN’s distribution team updated the ADs on revenue projections, the network’s essential component. The ACC’s most recent federal tax return, for 2014-15, showed an average per-school distribution of $26.2 million, but with the Southeastern Conference projecting $40 million-plus per school in fiscal 2015-16, and the Big Ten about $50 million in later years, the ACC is behind.

Babcock declined to share numbers, but Florida State athletic director Stan Wilcox told FSU’s Board of Trustees on Wednesday that the conference hopes for $8-10 million more per school in the network’s first year, $15-20 million more thereafter. This according to the Noles247 website.

“We typically talk about what other conferences are doing,” Babcock said, “and where we’re positioned well and where we have some catching up to do. … We don’t mind overachieving and doing all we can to win, but I wouldn’t mind (SEC- and Big Ten-level money) every year just by opening the mail, and hopefully the channel will give us the upside to do that. …

“I’m confident (ESPN) will figure it out, whatever television looks like. For as far as I can see, people still want to consume sports live. That’s the one thing.”

And when the ACC Network launches, expect ESPN and the conference to make sure some primo games air on the network to make sure people subscribe (or just complain loudly).

A glance at 2019 schedules reveals Virginia Tech and Clemson as likely candidates to play conference games on Week One.

Florida State, Miami, North Carolina, Louisville and Duke have marquee non-league games on the books that week against, respectively, Boise State, Florida, South Carolina, Purdue and Alabama. But Virginia Tech and Clemson are set to play Championship Subdivision opponents Furman and Wofford.

So don’t be surprised if those games get bumped to later in the season so the Hokies and Tigers can play league opponents that week, with one opening on Thursday, Aug. 29.

“You want to have a quality launch, and certainly games that are appealing are really important,” Swofford said, without offering details. “And not only in that particular year. … We are spending a lot of time talking about scheduling. …

“There are some concerns about those (FCS) games being frontloaded on everybody’s schedule. That’s probably not good going forward with our business decisions and scheduling decisions related to the channel.”

Don’t expect Pitt to be one of those marquee early games unless it turns out UCF has become really good — and popular. The Pitt-PSU game that year is in State College. And at this time, unless there is a reschedule, Pitt has all non-con games scheduled and set for 2019.

Maybe it is the optimist in me, but I see Pitt as a great opportunity, POTENTIALLY, for an AD…a lot of things are f-ed up. I like situations like that because it means upward mobility potential is great, and big changes can happen without a ton of labor. Its like the opposite of why no one wanted to replace Dixon. I would think a lot of potential ADs would see Pitt as a nice opportunity with a lot of room for improvement.

That said, I capped Potentially because the prereq is a willingness by the admin to allow change. Sometimes that means just letting procedures and power structures change, sometimes that means allowing more $$ to flow, and sometimes both. I have no idea where Pitt falls on these two things.

I do hear on this board from time to time that “Pitt has money.” I am sure they do. But that is not the same has having reallocatable money. I mean, I make a decent salary…other people like me go on all sorts of vacations, buy toys…me, between debts, buying a house at the peak of the market and other factors, am practically house-poor. It just all depends I guess.

Comment by DD 03.14.17 @ 1:37 pm

DD – I’m optimistic too. We’ve had an administrator (SP) and a fundraiser (Barnes). What Pitt needs is a leader.

Regarding money, Pitt is/was a top 25 school regarding the size of their endowment. We always hear it’s earmarked for education but you can’t tell me that someone creative couldn’t find a way to tap it … and repay it.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 03.14.17 @ 2:11 pm

So the Beaver Stadium upgrade will happen in phases and is part of a 20 year plan released by the athletic department.

Where the hell is Pitt’s 20 year plan?

Being that the Rooneys are already picking a fight with the stadium authority, Pitt better get one.

Comment by notrocketscience 03.14.17 @ 2:11 pm

notrocket – Barney stuffed it in his purple suit and took it with him to Oregon State.

If you get on his twitter account you see that (while still on Pitt’s payroll) Barnes was presenting his fan experience committee ideas to Beaver Nation.

Comment by Erie Express 03.14.17 @ 2:20 pm

Rocket – Pitt’s 20 year plan is to go twinsies with the Steelers again, in 15 years, when they replace Heinz.

In all seriousness (well, that is kind of serious), it’s been mentioned a couple of times that Pitt has started preliminary research on a Pitt only stadium … notice how I didn’t reference on campus stadium (That’s the OCS, OPG)… because Pitt’s own stadium may be off campus too.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 03.14.17 @ 2:24 pm

Pitt needs to do something before Interest Rates rise, which they will do… eventually.

Right now money is cheap. Float a Bond, etc.

Everyone it seems is moving forward.
We seem to be stuck in Neutral….eternally.

Comment by Emel 03.14.17 @ 3:02 pm

Manigault gone!

Comment by ShorePitt 03.14.17 @ 3:04 pm

Pitt’s top rated incoming freshman, Aaron Thompson’s high school teammate has decided to transfer.
Good bye Corey Manigault.

Comment by xfmrman 03.14.17 @ 3:08 pm

The guys coming in can’t compete in the ACC. Why can’t we get rid of Stallings and start fresh now. No point in making the process last another 5 years.

Comment by ShorePitt 03.14.17 @ 3:13 pm

ShorePitt – I’m not a fan of KS either, primarily because I don’t think he’s a very good coach, but suggesting the recruits coming in can’t compete in the ACC, when you have not the slightest clue to support the idea, is not help adding a lot of insight. Frankly, I’m pretty confident KS is a better recruiter than JD, so I wouldn’t knock the kids coming in just yet (even though he hasn’t had much time to recruit yet). It’s what he does with them that worries me.

Comment by 1618mt 03.14.17 @ 3:22 pm

You’re probably right, I don’t have an indepth knowledge of the guys coming in other than reading what others have written about them. I don’t watch highschool games, but I trust the stuff I read when its pretty consistent across the board. As far as his KS coaching, the number of leads he blew this year, the lack of timeouts, the lack of substitutions all lead me to believe we’re screwed. Look at the buffalo game, that was the last straw for me.. This program is a joke. Maybe everyone is wrong about all these guys coming in, but I have a feeling it’s going to be a long few years. Then we’ll fire KS and rebuild yet again.

Comment by ShorePitt 03.14.17 @ 3:29 pm

Per Verbal Commits, which compiles the various ratings into a composite rating.

Only one coming in that might be ACC mid range player is Thompson.

The rest are totally replaceable.

None of them including Thompson are program changing type players.

What they are… are the type of players that will keep Pitt at the bottom of the ACC standings.

So if we lost the whole class (and we wouldn’t because Pitt is their best offer anyway), it would not be a huge loss at all.

Comment by Emel 03.14.17 @ 4:10 pm

7 bodies does not make a great recruiting class.

Just a large one.

Comment by Emel 03.14.17 @ 4:13 pm

I like the class coming in but it’s worth losing if we get the right coach … like a Kevin Keatts. I, personally, think Thompson will be a stud having seen him play a handful of times. I also saw Manigault, and liked him, but never saw him in the same light as I see Aaron Thompson. Speaking of which, yes, those two were teammates but Paul VI is a basketball factory. Kids come and go all the time. Manigault lived on the other side of the beltway (Suitland, MD) and would stay with a Paul VI foster family to play basketball there. Who know how close these kids were, if at all.

I just have no interest in watching a rebuild with a coach that I think will ultimately fail … and then have to rebuild again when he ultimately leaves. Just stop the bleeding now and move on. We’re already rebuilding this year anyways.

I know some are tire of the negativity … I’m usually on that side of the fence … but this was such a bad hire under such nefarious conditions that we have a right to demand better.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 03.14.17 @ 4:17 pm

If you thought the Offensive Genius has the offense humming along this year (Pitt scored 3 ppg less this year under Offensive Otis than last year), wait till next year.

I doubt we will avg 60 ppg next year.

Comment by Emel 03.14.17 @ 4:18 pm

Haven’t seen this on the Trib, but Corey Manigault appears to be a goner too !

Local media seems slow on the uptake.

The Pitt basketball team lost the second member of its 2016 recruiting class when sophomore guard Crisshawn Clark announced on his Twitter account his intention to transfer.

So Manigault would be the 3rd and final member of the 2016 recruiting class.

Just found this on ESPN.

Manigault and Clark transferring from Pittsburgh

Per the article:
“The transfers are the latest in a mass exodus at Pitt.”

link to

Comment by Emel 03.14.17 @ 4:44 pm

Forgive me if already posted, but Manigualt now also out.

link to

Agree with 4:10 post Emel. Amazing the pumping going on with the class elsewhere though.

Comment by Barvo 03.14.17 @ 4:45 pm

Give Stallings more room for additional 2 star recruits.

Hey is that positive or not !

Comment by Emel 03.14.17 @ 4:47 pm

@Emel The point differences were all due to the tougher schedule and loss of JR!

Pitt retiring 0 next season!

If Stallings now dumps Nix, Milligan and Wilson he’ll have expunged Dixon’s last two classes. Built in excuse for next year “Look at the young roster I had to coach”

Comment by Barvo 03.14.17 @ 5:15 pm

Erie – save us with a positive update the rumor.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 03.14.17 @ 5:17 pm


Thanks for the insight on Paul VI.
I was concerned that the loss of Manigault may effect Thompson. And that the incoming class would look worse.
I do hope that the staff is looking to bring in at least one more big man (grad transfer?) for 2017.

Comment by xfmrman 03.14.17 @ 5:19 pm

The front porch for Pitt will always be the medical center. The admin does not care much about athletics. Your foyer is athletics. Arent coats hung in the foyer while the entertainment goes on in other rooms?

Comment by TX Panther 03.14.17 @ 6:11 pm

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