January 10, 2018

Hold On To The Damn Ball

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:41 am

There was some good news from the VT game on Saturday. Players found some range from outside the arc more consistently. There was a lot more fight inside for rebounds. Despite the final score looking like a blowout, Pitt kept it tight most of the way.

Turnovers, though… Jeez. I don’t know what to say right now. This team just does not take care of the ball.

Turnovers yet again undid the young Panthers. In a losing effort, they were forced into 17 miscues, off of which the Hokies got 22 points. A Virginia Tech team that thrives at a quick pace was regularly handed opportunities for fast breaks and easy baskets.

For Pitt, it’s not a one-game exception, either. In its past four games, the last three of which have come against ACC teams, it has been forced into 72 turnovers, an average of 18 per game. Those 72 turnovers have come on a combined 281 possessions, meaning 25.6 percent of its trips down the court have ended in a turnover. On the season, Pitt has turned it over on 21.8 percent of its possessions, the 44th-worst mark among 351 Division I teams.

Perhaps no Pitt player has struggled with turnovers more consistently than Carr, in part because the freshman point guard has the ball in his hands more than most any other player on the team. He has been forced into turnovers on 28 percent of the possessions in which he is on the court and was forced into six turnovers against Virginia Tech, the sixth time in 16 games he has had at least five turnovers.

I don’t even know where to begin.

It’s not like Pitt needs to, or even can at this point, slow it down a bit more. This team is among the slowest tempo teams in the country. 301 out of 351 programs. Fun fact, the ACC has 4 teams with an adjusted tempo in the ranked in the bottom 50: Pitt, GT, Syracuse and of course Virginia. Only Florida St. and Duke are in the top 50 for Tempo. Remember when the ACC was the up-tempo conference, and the Big East took crap for being the slow, slog, physical conference?

Getting sidetracked. Back to turnovers. Pitt’s offense struggles as it is with the lack of an inside game. Turning it over, over 25% of the time in ACC play is going to keep Pitt out of almost every game.

Carr keeps talking about slowing it down and being aware, but it has to be more than that. He has to show more awareness of the defense. He is a wonderful, young offensive talent. I would suggest he is potentially Pitt’s best offensive point guard since Carl Krauser. And when he does see the court, he can make solid passes and plays for his teammates.

Right now, his handle is sloppy and his court vision still hasn’t adjusted to the speed and size of the college game. And yes, we all know there is no other real option. Pitt has to ride with Carr and the growing pains.

+ comments

Chas, I agree about Carr. Watching the VT game, it seems to me that he tries to penetrate too far and gets himself into trouble spots. It seems like he knows what the problem is, he just needs to recognize it at game speed and while under pressure. Most likely he got away with these moves in high school.

Comment by KeyboardKev 01.10.18 @ 9:24 am

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