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November 26, 2014

Rough Night Doesn’t Cover How Bad It Was

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:40 am

Before my 7-year old son went to bed, he implored me to DVR the game so he could see it later. I’m not going to let him see it because he should not be exposed to that kind of sick violence at his age.

Hard to find the positives when a 17 point difference in the final score was more cosmetic as to how badly Pitt was beaten. San Diego State thoroughly dominated Pitt from the beginning to end of the game.

Pitt’s offense could not find any consistency. There were brief spurts of competency, but SDSU’s defense continually disrupted Pitt. That Pitt came away with so many empty possessions wore hard on the team. Especially in light of what was happening at the other end.

In something I had not seen from a Pitt team in years, the kids out there stopped playing as a team for a spell late in the game. I don’t want to call it selfishness as much as frustration bubbling over. You could see the individual players trying to do everything themselves. Especially on offense. No looking to pass or find a better shot. Just angrily trying to make something happen on their own. It didn’t go well.

As far as defense. Oh, where to begin.

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November 25, 2014

Pitt-San Diego State. The Aztecs are a very good defensive team that struggle with scoring. In past years, we might call them the mirror image of Pitt. Pitt is a team that has more offense than in past years, but will it be enough when the defense has been so porous? I don’t know.

Over the years with Pitt, the strong defense has usually prevailed — at least before getting to the NCAA Tournament. Especially when the team that relies on offense is not a clear juggernaut.

For Pitt to win this game, the three-point shooting will have to be there and the rebounding will have to at least match the effort shown last night.

10 pm on ESPN.

Struggling Through Silverswords

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 7:56 am

Pitt couldn’t lose this game, but they weren’t their most inspiring. It was a win, though, and Pitt plays tonight at 10 pm against San Diego State who made it through a late double-overtime battle with BYU. Mountain West payback on the Cougars.

The Panthers came out with much more energy than (I guess) they did against Hawai’i and definitely more than against Samford last week. They got the message about attacking the rim both for rebounding and trying to score.

Unfortunately they were struggling to score early. So even though they were killing Chaminade on the glass and getting a lot more shot attempts, they were not converting the opportunities with any consistency — other than when Mike Young had the ball.

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November 24, 2014

Open Thread: Pitt-Chaminade

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 8:32 pm

Okay, so that first game in the 5oth state didn’t go as planned. Not in the least. If you are looking for the silver lining — and admittedly you really have to look — losing that way probably made the point about needing to play defense better than any lecture, practice session or film session could have. Not that Coach Dixon didn’t emphasize the film session.

And it was lots and lots and lots of film watching. And then when there was a little more film to watch before the day was done. It apparently was an all day affair in the video room as he tried to, as he said “get them to see the things we need them to do that they aren’t doing defensively. Each team had a designated practice time at the gym but Dixon opted not to use it and again, instead had a very long and at times, unpleasant, film session.

Hopefully things can only go up from there. Tonight Pitt takes on the Chaminade Silverswords.Which is just awesome to type. The game is on ESPNU at 9pm.

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November 21, 2014

Open Thread: Pitt-Hawai’i

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 9:02 pm

No TV. Just radio or watching a gamecast refresh on your computer. The tip-off is midnight — which is Saturday — but they kept it confusing by saying Friday repeatedly. Turns out they were doing that by claiming the tip was at 11:59.

Either way, I’m not staying up to listen to a radio stream. TV or ESPN3.com and I might have given it a go. In this case, I’m just going to get some rest. I’ve gotten old and soft.

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November 20, 2014

Better to Be in Maui Than Buffalo

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:30 am

The Pitt basketball team is in Hawaii. They play the University of Hawaii at Midnight tonight/tomorrow morning.

If you watched the Samford game, then you saw Pitt go small for large portions of the game. The front court of Mike Young, Jamel Artis and Sheldon Jeter. It’s surprising only insofar as Coach Jamie Dixon has always played a true center. This year, however, the options at center are far less than optimal.

Both Joseph Uchebo and Derrick Randall are extremely limited in their skill sets. They can rebound. Play a bit of defense. But that is about it. When it comes to the offensive side of the ball, they are amazingly deficient.

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November 16, 2014

Open Thread: Samford-Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 11:30 am

I was starting to work on a recap rant diatribe review of the football game yesterday, but decided I didn’t want to start drinking that early on a Sunday morning when it doesn’t involve a tailgate.

So, instead, let’s get ready for Samford.

The game is at 1pm and is part of the Maui Invitational package. No, really. The game was set up for Pitt by the Maui organizers.

In the Pittsburgh area, it is on ROOT, but since it is a syndicated ACC Network/ESPN game you can watch it on line at ESPN3 and plenty of other outlets including the ESPN FullCourt package, FoxSports West, FoxSports South, Sun Sports and Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic.

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November 15, 2014

Okay, let’s get this out of the way. Durand Johnson’s season long suspension.

“Durand will remain in our program and practice,” [Head Coach Jamie] Dixon said. “However, he will not compete in any games this season. While it is disappointing, we will encourage Durand to make the most of this year personally, academically and athletically.”

There was no nebulous “team rules” citation. This appeared very suddenly, as a week ago Johnson was playing big minutes in the final exhibition game. My instinct in a suspension like this, is that it is academically related. That appears to be the likely reason.

It sucks for Durand Johnson. Everyone raves about him as a person and a teammate. He accepted his role as an energy guy coming off the bench. He worked on his defense. There was a strong expectation that he could make a leap coming back from his ACL injury and with more playing time coming his way.

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November 14, 2014

Sorry, literally and figuratively buried the last two days with work and snow. Oh, so much snow. Way too early.

Season opener. The game is on your computer at ESPN3.com starting at 7pm.

Pitt faces a Niagara team that was not very good last year. This is probably good, as Pitt’s defense has been suspect in the first couple of exhibition games. Not having Cameron Wright available has the perimeter D a bit weak. Much to Coach Jamie Dixon’s chagrin.

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October 30, 2014

Projected for Upper-Middle

Filed under: ACC,Basketball,Conference — Chas @ 7:47 am

So the Media Day for the ACC Operation Basketball went off yesterday. Other than the awkwardness with academics and investigations at UNC and Syracuse, it was a typical media day. Coaches and players answered the same questions. The conference commissioner filibustered as long as he could to minimize the time allotted to the media to ask questions.

And, of course, the preseason conference poll was released. The ACC has its voting done by all the local media covering the teams (I’m sure my ballot just got lost in the mail).

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October 29, 2014

That’s right. ACC basketball media day is today. Coach Jamie Dixon, James Robinson and Cameron Wright are down in Charlotte for the day.

The ACC is doing interviews and taking fan questions on Twitter with the hashtag #ACCTakeover . I don’t see any problems when UNC Coach Roy Williams gets his turn. What could go wrong?

There will be coverage on ESPNU and on ESPN3.com all day today.

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October 21, 2014

Basketball Season Rolling Up

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 7:18 am

The Blue-Gold Scrimmage was Sunday. There’s another fan/student event on Friday night — nice tie-in for homecoming weekend. The first exhibition is on Halloween. The season opener is in 3 1/2 weeks. Time to run some links.

I’m going to skip specific preseason prognostication mags. Basically Pitt is being projected into the NCAA Tournament. The expectations in the ACC are anywhere from 5th to 8th with most putting Pitt at 6th behind Duke, UVa, Louisville, UNC and Syracuse.

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October 1, 2014

Slouching Towards Basketball

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 1:46 pm

That’s right basketball practices start to get underway. On Friday, it’s the annual Oakland Zoo Scrimmage. It actually appears to be a really fun thing for the students (and fans that can make it).

Pitt fans and the Oakland Zoo student cheering section will get their first glimpse of the 2014-15 Pitt Basketball team when the program hosts its annual Oakland Zoo Scrimmage on Friday, Oct. 3 at the Petersen Events Center. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the scrimmage begins at 7 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. Parking is available for $5.00 in the OC Lot.

All Oakland Zoo members are encouraged to arrive early due to pre-scrimmage festivities. Oakland Zoo tee-shirts with the new logo will be on sale in the Team Store. All students in the arena by 6 p.m. will have the opportunity to take a photo with the Pitt Basketball team for the 2014-15 team poster and pre-game intro video. Zoo members must have their tee-shirts on and be in their seats at 6 p.m. Oakland Zoo members will receive loyalty points for attendance and will have the opportunity to be a guest coach on the benches with the team.

The scrimmage will tipoff at 7 p.m. The Panthers will likely play two 16 minute halves.

Immediately following the scrimmage, the Pitt Basketball team will hold its annual pizza party and meet and greet for the Oakland Zoo on the floor.

Pitt’s media day is the day before. Thursday. The full schedule is now complete — including times and TV/Internet broadcast schedule. I’m a little relieved that the there is no internet or TV broadcast for the Hawaii game. Midnight (East Coast) start time on Thursday/Friday would be rough to stay awake and watch. Let alone function at work that day.

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September 28, 2014

Looking For Something Positive

Filed under: Basketball,Injury,Players — Chas @ 9:48 am

Maybe there’s some good news from Pitt basketball.

Senior guard Cameron Wright, Pitt’s leading returning scorer, had surgery Friday after breaking his left foot a week before the team’s first practice, a team source said.

Wright, who broke his foot Thursday, is expected to miss 10 weeks.

The Panthers’ first practice is scheduled for Friday.

/sigh

August 28, 2014

Well, the dates are all set. The ACC television is set. The times for many of the non-con games and any accompanying TV coverage are still unknown.

The ACC released its complete schedule with dates and times yesterday (PDF).

Pitt’s ACC opponents were already known, just not the dates. February is going to be brutal (PDF).

Feb2015Brutal

The week before that is a Saturday home game against Louisville on CBS. Pitt’s ACC schedule definitely has a very difficult middle. The start and ends are noticeably weaker. But that middle. Oh, that middle stretch of late-January through the third week of Februrary. It’s very likely that in that 9 game stretch ND and Bryant will be the only unranked teams Pitt faces.

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