November 25, 2015

It’s at 7pm

Students out of town. Night before Thanksgiving. Should be a sparse crowd except for those whose significant other is a saint or just wanted that person out of the way so they could lose their mind in peace preparing for Thursday.

This is part of why there is such an abundance of Thanksgiving-time basketball tournaments. Logically, you would think TV interests would prefer more of the activity to take place a week or two later as college football games really thin out.

But the coaches and schools would rather avoid having to do home games without students and people heavily distracted by family dysfunction. If they are going to play games in front of small crowds, why not do it in some other locale in a tournament that gets media exposure?\


November 24, 2015

Protecting the Interior

Filed under: Basketball,Players,Tactics — Chas @ 8:29 am

Pitt’s frontcourt is in far better shape than last year. The additions of Nelson-Ododa and Maia are to replace Uchebo and Randall are obvious. Nelson-Ododa and Maia are better shot blockers. They are more aggressive on defense, more consistent rebounders and they are better on offense.

That isn’t to say they are all-ACC caliber players. They are simply better than what was. The one issue that is bedeviling to this point, though, is the emphasis on freedom of movement and more fouls being called.


November 20, 2015

Open Thread: Detroit-Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 5:42 pm

8pm on

Little odd on the time, but it is a Friday night, so it should make it easier for fans to get to the Pete.

Detroit is from the Horizon League. Under Jamie Dixon, Pitt has never lost to a Horizon League team (10-0). I only note that, because when Dixon was still an assistant, he was a finalist for the Wright State job that went to Paul Biancardi (then, an Ohio State assistant).


November 18, 2015

Later than I wanted, but time has been limited during daylight.

Pitt planned for a sleepwalk of a game after traveling back from Okinawa, and they delivered. The Pumas of St. Joe’s College (somehow, apparel and shoe company Puma does not sponsor them) were the big patsy on Tuesday. A subpar D-II team that came for a beating and delivered on their end.

The first half was extremely sloppy and you could see the lack of energy from Pitt. They missed a lot of shots from outside. Struggled at times with defense. Yet still led by 14 at the half.


November 17, 2015


Pitt is 0-0-1 to start the season. Or whatever joke you want to make about the Armed Forces Classic that never happened. There are unsubstantiated reports/rumors that Pitt and Gonzaga are looking to make up the game. As much as people want to start freaking out about RPI and SOS for Pitt after just the first weekend, Gonzaga probably could use the boost as well because of their conference. Not for Tourney making, but for seeding. Might help in making it happen, but I doubt it.

Tonight starts the patsy portion of the non-con. Not that they should be taken lightly, as NC State, Wisconsin, Illinois, UCLA, etc. demonstrated in their season openers at home.

Should it be mentioned that Virginia lost to George Washington last night? GW is not a patsy, but still. Virginia battled a lot of foul issues as the freedom of movement edict to the officials is in effect. Go figure, that Virginia might struggle to start the season to adjust to that.


November 13, 2015

Oh, happy days. Basketball is back.

Pitt starts the season in Okinawa, Japan in the Armed Forces Classic against the number 9 team in the country, Gonzaga. The game is slated for a 7pm (but pushed to 7:40) start on ESPN. That is assuming no disruptions by an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.5 in Kagoshima, Kyushu, Japan — some 763 kilometers away — didn’t disrupt things. (It didn’t.)


November 6, 2015

Oh, Hey. Basketball

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:32 am

I know, football game in a little more than 24 hours. But I’ve been neglecting the basketball for way too long. Besides, Pitt has their only exhibition game tonight.

Pitt ditched the usual two exhibitions for doing a closed scrimmage with Georgetown last week and tonight’s exhibition game against Division II Gannon. Pitt should be fine against Gannon, but struggle early. As long as they don’t end up like St. John’s and lose by 32 points (Durand Johnson shot 0-7) in their exhibition.


September 11, 2015

Health and Clearance

Filed under: Basketball,Coaches,Dixon,Injury — Chas @ 12:32 pm

Somewhere this week, a bit of basketball had to be posted. Between Conner’s injury news at the beginning and the Backyard Brawl at the end, there was always something a little more breaking to post. Now, here we are a little more than 24 hours to a football game and you are looking at a basketball post.

Starting with the news yesterday that Damon Wilson was academically cleared by the NCAA. The news was initially tweeted out by Jeff Goodman of But there could be more.


September 3, 2015

Oh, ACC. I know the transition has been difficult for the last decade plus. To go from a basketball-centric conference to… well, slightly less of a basketball-centric conference.

Trust me. we get it. After the time spent in the Big East, we Pitt fans understand that there can be a slight incomprehension echoing in the conference offices about staying focused on football season.

Still, to release all the ACC college basketball schedules in the afternoon, the day before college football kicks off the season? Not a week ago or two weeks. Just some 30 hours before a game involving one of the teams from your own conference kicks off the season. That is some Big East level idiocy.


September 1, 2015

Last Minute Guard Happens

Filed under: Basketball,Injury,Recruiting — Chas @ 2:20 pm

Busy day.

The Jonathan Milligan transfer is real.

The University of Pittsburgh men’s basketball team has added JUCO guard Jonathan Milligan for the 2015-16 season head coach Jamie Dixon announced Tuesday.

“We are fortunate to be able to add a guard of Jonathan’s caliber at this point in the year,” said Dixon. “He is a promising combo guard who received a lot of high major interest out of high school and while he was at Kilgore College. He has the ability to score from a variety of spots on the floor and break down defense by getting into the lane. He also has the quickness and instincts to be an outstanding defender in our program.

Milligan averaged 14.3 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game last season while leading the Kilgore College to a 21-9 record and a Region XIV Tournament appearance. He increased his scoring to 17.5 points per game in conference play en route to claiming first team all-region and Region XIV all-conference accolades.

I love that the press release manages not to mention that he had to be released from his NLI with FGCU.


August 30, 2015

Recruiting info can be nebulous, confusing and contradictory at the best of times. How about around midnight on a Saturday night?

Jason Jordan is a sportswriter for USA Today  covering high school sports.


August 10, 2015

Newkirk Heads Elsewhere

Filed under: Basketball,Transfer — Chas @ 6:13 am

I know, this should be nothing but football coverage at this point. But…

In the space of his two years at Pitt, Josh Newkirk went from speedy sparkplug, to the guy some wanted to supplant James Robinson at point guard, to the guy who became lost on the court, to one of the players many expected/wanted to transfer because his play had fallen so far, to “oh, he had an injury, that explains it.”

In May, we finally learned how bad his injury really was. He needed microfracture surgery on his left knee.

Microfracture surgery is still such an emerging surgical technique for athletes after an injury. In some ways it is akin to UCL (Tommy John) surgery in the 80s. It works, but the recovery rates and level of recovery from where the player was, vary greatly.


July 31, 2015

McConnell-Serio guided the youthful Panthers to 20 wins and the NCAA Tournament last year. 

Serio-McConnell <<< That’s intensity!  Match that Narduzzi!

PITTSBURGH—University of Pittsburgh athletic director Scott Barnes announced today that head women’s basketball coach Suzie McConnell-Serio has signed a new contractual agreement that runs through the 2020-21 season.

Arriving at Pitt in 2013, McConnell-Serio has revitalized the Panthers’ fortunes in quick and impressive fashion. This past year she guided a youthful squad to a 20-12 record—including a 9-7 mark in the rugged Atlantic Coast Conference—and the program’s first NCAA Tournament in six years.

“Within a very brief period of time, Suzie McConnell-Serio has made a remarkable imprint on women’s basketball at the University of Pittsburgh,” Barnes said. “On and off the floor, she has Pitt on the rise and we are thrilled to announce this commitment to her and our women’s basketball program. Suzie is nationally respected as both a coach and person, and we couldn’t be more excited about her leading our program into the future.”


July 15, 2015

If it’s possible for a press release to downplay something positive, I think this one qualifies.

Mike Young was chosen to be the student-athlete repesentative on the NCAA D1 Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee. What is the Oversight Committee?

The Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee will ensure that appropriate oversight of men’s basketball is maintained, will enhance the development and public perception of the sport and make recommendations related to regular-season and postseason men’s basketball. The committee will prioritize enhancement of the student-athlete educational experience (academically and athletically), and in doing so, promote student-athletes’ personal growth and leadership development.

The Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee will supervise qualifications and/or selection procedures for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. The committee will review recommendations from the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee and process other issues related to the administration of the championship. The committee will assume many of the duties of the former NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Issues Committee and will provide direction to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Rules Committee regarding playing rules. The committee will be comprised of representatives from each divisional subgroup.

The OC is made up of 12 members and an additional 4 non-voting members.


June 25, 2015

I knew Pitt had a lot of players getting some off-season surgery, but I didn’t know it was this many.

[Pitt Coach Jamie] Dixon, who has three players out with surgeries and at least five others recovering from previous surgeries or nagging injuries, said the changes to NCAA rules also played a part in the decision.

“The rules have changed to where you could only have two players from one college team on each of the summer league teams,” Dixon said. “That sort of made it difficult with only so many Division I players available to have the kind of competitive league you are looking for.

“Hopefully, it is something we can revisit for next year, but, for this year, it just didn’t seem like it was going to be able to work out.”

Josh Newkirk earlier followed by James Robinson and incoming transfer, Sterling Smith, recently had off-season surgies.


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