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March 28, 2015

Something to Chew On

Filed under: Basketball,Conference,Football,Media — Reed @ 7:48 am

I just saw this article from DiPaola of the Trib and thought it would be good to get your collective blood pressure up before you really start your weekend…

New Mississippi State coach Ben Howland said Friday former Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson never received proper credit for the Panthers’ move from the Big East to the ACC.

“I hope people realize what an unbelievable job Steve Pederson did for Pitt basketball and the university,” Howland said on TribLive Radio. “You would not be in the ACC today were it not for his vision.”

Pederson hired Howland in 1999 and guided the Panthers to two NCAA Tournament appearances in four seasons.  Howland left Pitt for UCLA, where he guided the Bruins to three consecutive Final Four appearances, including a national runner-up finish in 2005-2006. His lead assistant with the Panthers, Jamie Dixon, succeeded him at Pitt.  UCLA fired Howland after the 2012-13 season. Mississippi State hired Howland on Tuesday.  Pitt fired Pederson in December.

If Pitt was still in Pitt Stadium and playing in (Fitzgerald Field House), you’d be in the AAC in a no-bid league with (non-revenue) football and wondering what we’re going to do next,” Howland said.

Discuss please until we have news from today’s scrimmage to talk about…

Note: the number to call if you feel like you are about to hurt yourself or others is 1-800-STEVEAD

March 22, 2015

That NC State team showed up last night. The one loaded with talent. Swift, long guards who can shoot from the perimeter and keep the other team’s guards from getting open looks. A burly frontcourt that can dominate on both ends. Most importantly, their collective head stayed in the game the entire way. You watch them on a night like that and wonder how they are not a top-ten team.

Then you think back to the game against LSU where they didn’t show up for the first half (and a chunk of the second). The BC game. A slew of others, and it boggles the mind. I don’t trust them, but I’m not surprised by anything they do at this point.

Notre Dame made it to the Sweet 16 to keep the ACC perfect in the Tournament so far. Did not expect that.

The Big East is survived by Xavier. Other than Villanova going down last night, this is not totally surprising. Georgetown was a popular upset pick against Eastern Washington, so the fact that they made it to Saturday before losing is a kind of progress… I guess. St. John’s had no chance once it was learned that Chris Obekpa was suspended.

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March 21, 2015

Woefully poor form of me not to acknowledge the Women’s Hoop team. They made the NCAA Tourney and play today at 11 am on ESPN3.com against Chattanooga. An amazing turnaround.

As for the other NCAA Tourney…

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March 20, 2015

Well that first day was predictably bananas.

UCLA and the Alfords continue to lead a charmed life.

The Big 12 faceplants — hard. Texas down to Butler. Iowa State never put away UAB, destroying brackets everywhere.

Then there was Baylor blowing a huge lead against Georgia State. Creating an all-time moment at the buzzer. Both for the shot by R.J. Hunter and Head Coach/Dad Ron Hunter.

I can’t tell you how many times I keep watching that.

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March 17, 2015

Open Thread: Opening NIT, GW-Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 1:38 pm

7pm on ESPN tonight.

I’m assuming the hashtag #NITerrific will be in effect tonight on Twitter. Hopefully only with humor, cynicism and a touch sarcasm; but not bitterness. It’s fine line between being willing to poke fun at your own team and self-loathing/hatred.

GW was never a serious threat to make the NCAA Tournament, but they had a solid season. Big wins over Wichita State (and even, Hawai’i dammit) to win the Diamond Head Classic. Wins over NCAA Tournament teams Dayton and Rhode Island in the A-10.

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March 16, 2015

A Solid Addition For 2016

Filed under: Basketball,Recruiting — Chas @ 9:15 pm

For all the frustration of this past season. For all the questions about Pitt’s recruiting. It is easy to forget that the 2015 and now 2016 class looks pretty good.

Damon Wilson is a 4-star point guard that Pitt needs. I’m probably more optimistic about Rozelle Nix than others. Probably more than I should since the last good JUCO addition was Jermaine Dixon, and it has been nothing but whiffs since. There is still hope that Cheick Diallo chooses Pitt — which would change a lot of things.

Meanwhile the 2016 class remains anchored by Mustapha Heron. One of the top recruits nationally, and he has remained firmly with Pitt even with Assistant Coach Barry Rohhrsen going to Kentucky. Maverick Rowan was lost the minute Adidas asserted their influence (shoe deals giveth, and taketh).

The 2016 class still improves noticeably and with a position of need as Corey Manigault verbaled today.

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March 15, 2015

Sorry to have been offline most of the week. Had to do a bunch of overnights for work this past week, and the adjustment didn’t go well. Basically, I felt like a zombie all week. Missed a ton of games and couldn’t muster enough coherent thoughts in my down time to post. Not even on Twitter.

So, I feel recovered a bit now, just in time for the Selection Shows.

The NCAA Tournament selection begins at sometime around 6pm on CBS. That really doesn’t impact Pitt directly. Other than the discussion of bid steals and what that means in terms of pushing other teams down to the NIT.

The NIT announcement comes at 8:30 on ESPNU. As much as Pitt has lost 4 straight games to knock itself out of the NCAA  Tournament bubble talk. As negative as some have been after everything, Pitt hasn’t pushed themselves out of the NIT. It would be a complete stunner to see them not make the NIT. The only issue is whether they are going to be a high enough seed to host a game or two.

March 10, 2015

Slumping Into the ACC Tournament

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 7:41 pm

I had a bad feeling heading into the game with FSU. It’s why I put off the open thread. Left the laptop at my desk so I wouldn’t even look at Twitter. I was already feeling negative about the game, I didn’t need it amplified and then magnified.

Not much to say on that. Demoralized after letting the two games get away from them late, Pitt just reverted to the team that struggled so badly in the first half of ACC play. Weak defense. An offense that struggled and led to more frustration and mistakes.

Is the team tired from all the minutes logged? Probably. But that fatigue only became noticeable as the morale slipped on the losses and knowledge of how they had worked so hard to get to the cusp of an NCAA Tournament bid, only to fritter it away.

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March 7, 2015

Sorry. Busy morning. Half-assing it. Just got home.

March 4, 2015

A win won’t get either team into the NCAA Tournament, but it certainly knocks them down to the NIT.

Lousy ACC Network coverage tonight. Many will be forced on to their computers to watch via ESPN3.com for the 8pm game.

As mentioned earlier, it is Senior Night for Pitt. Those of you going, please get there soon to help send off the seniors before the game.

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Senior Night for Three

Filed under: Basketball,Honors,Players — Chas @ 8:48 am

I’ll toss up the open thread closer to game time. For now, just a focus on the players that move on after this year.

Senior night still matters. It gives us a chance to be reminded that the kids that have been wearing the blue-and-gold are more than the names on the jerseys. They are more than the victories and losses. The successes and failures. The way we support our school through their play.

They have their own stories. They have their own futures. While their playing career for Pitt is ending, so much more of their life is just beginning.

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March 1, 2015

Open Thread: Pitt-Wake

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 1:46 pm

I feel like I have to repeat this every time I post on basketball. The most important — and only — thing Pitt can do to make sure it gets into the NCAA Tournament is to keep winning. All bubble talk is reactionary and about “if the season ended today” speculation. That’s why I don’t worry or put much stock in the “last four in, last four out” stuff that every ESPN broadcast (and to be fair I caught similar stuff on CBS and Fox yesterday).

You can make yourself frantic for no reason by whipsawing between NC State losing to BC to BYU beating Gonzaga to Texas failing at Kansas while Boise beats SDSU meanwhile… oh, you get the picture.

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February 26, 2015

Assorted Basketball Items, 2/26

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:15 am

Not quite VT. Almost, but not quite.

The Louisville Chris Jones was suspended, reinstated and then booted off the Cardinals Sunday. Rick Pitino said he would have nothing more to say on the matter. I’m guessing he won’t be able to play that card very well in light of the news.

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of former University of Louisville basketball player Chris Jones on charges of raping one woman and sodomizing another.

The warrant, obtained by University of Louisville police, was signed Wednesday by Jefferson District Judge Katie King.

The warrant says that one of the women was hospitalized Sunday and able to identify Jones as her assailant. One of the women is 19 and the other 20, according to the warrant.

Ugh.

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February 24, 2015

9pm

ESPNU

Late night for those of us in the East who are getting up there in years — or have small children.

Olivier Hanlan has been very hot for BC lately. In the last three games he had 32, 32 and 19 points. He went for 18 last time they played. That hasn’t helped BC too much as they have lost 8 straight and have not won a game in a month.

9-17 overall record, 1-13 at the bottom of the ACC. Needless to say a home loss would be devastating to Pitt.

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It has been a couple decades since Pitt the waning days of the college basketball season wondering if they did/will/can do enough to make the NCAA Tournament. It has been rather straight forward for Pitt. Either they were clearly good enough that the issue was seeding. Or the Panthers were simply bad and not in the conversation. As such, the understanding of the bubble can be a bit confusing.

So, to simplify things, I’m going to put a little primer on Pitt’s situation. It’s not all encompassing, but it hits the key point.

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