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December 10, 2016

2:30 PM on CBS Sports Network (hope you can find it).

Jamie Dixon looms over this game more than I want.

I’ve been doing my best to stay off that topic for a few reasons. I’d rather just focus on the season when there are actual games taking place. It’s not fair to the team and Kevin Stallings. I’m trying to give Kevin Stallings a chance to do things his way and not let too many biases influence how I see it. Constantly harping on what I think Dixon would have done. Or projecting comparisons is just not going to do any good. It’s a very polarizing topic, especially when it comes down to the players on the Pitt roster and talent. It very much has a Walt Harris-Dave Wannstedt vibe to it. Only without the hometown bias Wannstedt enjoyed.

But today. For this game. The topic is rearing its head.

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December 8, 2016

Averting The Epic Collapse

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:33 am

I just don’t know.

It’s not that beating Buffalo is worse than losing to Duquesne. (Clearly, it isn’t.) It is just the way this game went down was oddly more disheartening. The loss to Duquesne was frustrating and created anger.

But this game. This game was disheartening.

To be up 26 points with under 4:30 left in the first half and end up with only a one point lead at 6:30 left in the entire game. That was some epic frittering.

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December 7, 2016

Take It Out on Buffalo

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 6:23 pm

7pm, ACC Network Extra/WatchESPN

After the Maryland win last week, I wrote that this was still going to be an up-and-down season with frustrating losses. I just didn’t think Pitt was going to prove my point the very next game.

You can put an asterisk by this game if you want because Jamel Artis was suspended for the game, but there is no excuse to lose that game. Pitt, as a team, played a really lousy game and never seemed to care that they were. Up until the end when they realized they were going to lose and it was too late.

As a fan, there is nothing more frustrating to watch then when your rooting interest is visibly disengaged.

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December 2, 2016

I’ve tried. I’ve really tried. I’ve wanted to care about the City Game as more than just another non-con. I’ve made fun of their rebranding efforts and derisively referred to them as the Stage Magicians. I’ve written a few posts about their ineptitude over the years

Moving it to the Con Paint Store, was a good effort to try and make it special. But other than the humiliation of losing to a bad team and ending a 15-game winning streak against the Dukes, it’s hard to feel any animosity or hate towards Duquesne that should go with a rivalry game.

Maybe it’s me. Maybe as a non-native I just don’t get the same impact of friends and families torn apart by their loyalties and the importance of this game within the area. The trash talking that must go on between the two sides.

/thinking

/pondering

/contemplating

Nah.

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November 30, 2016

Feeling A Bit Better About Pitt Basketball

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:31 am

Don’t get me wrong. This is going to be a bit of an up-and-down season (and that’s not a tempo joke, I swear). There are going to be some frustrating losses. And probably a blowout loss or two. But that shouldn’t take away from a very good and satisfying win last night.

Pitt went on the road to a top-25 team in a power conference and won. They didn’t just scrape by. They blew the Terrapins off the court late in the first half and could get away with coasting most of the second half. For god’s sake, Ryan Luther and Sheldon Jeter were playing at the same time in the second half. That’s how big the lead was.

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November 29, 2016

7pm ESPN2.

Small sample size and all, but after six games, Pitt’s tempo is ranked 256th nationally per, KenPom. Maybe — and I’m just spitballing ideas here — the players have as much to do with the pace as the coaching style. The players always say they want to get up-and-down the court. But they also want to score and win.

Pitt can score. The offense is still one of the most efficient nationally. The defense, though, is something else.

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November 25, 2016

Open Thread: Morehead St.-Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 4:44 pm

I have to believe nearly every blogger who has seen their school getting this team on the schedule has at least considered the James Bond/Austin Powers-esque jokes about this school’s name. “We’re getting Morehead? … Wonderful.”

I may have started drinking before starting this post.

Morehead wasn’t expected to be a big challenge coming into the season. It seems less likely with their head coach suspended.

Morehead State basketball coach Sean Woods has been suspended with pay, effective immediately, while the school investigates complaints it has received.

“Resulting from complaints received, the institution has begun an investigation involving the head basketball coach. While we continue through the formal process, we believe it is prudent to suspend the coach until the investigation is finished,” Morehead State athletic director Brian Hutchinson said.

In his first season, Woods was suspended for a game for shoving a player. Woods was 75-63 in his first four seasons and received a contract extension this past offseason through the 2019-20 campaign.

Seems like we are looking at a David Rice or Mike Lonergan situation. Those always end well. That they suspended him and are having a formal investigation after the season is underway does not bode well for his future.

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November 22, 2016

Open Thread: Yale-Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 3:17 pm

7pm, ACC Network Extra/WatchESPN.

Mike Young picked up his second consecutive ACC Player of the Week honors.

The cynical part of me is going to watch with an eye towards whether Pitt can put forth a decent and consistent defensive effort this game, or do they revert to type.

As much as Coach Kevin Stallings emphasized up-tempo and offense in the offseason, once the season started he’s like most coaches: time to play some dang defense.

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November 18, 2016

4:30 pm, ESPN2. Hope you finish work early today.

It wasn’t close to a debacle, but it wasn’t great either. Losing to this SMU team was not a surprise, but the second half performance by Pitt was disappointing.

As we have seen in all three games, Pitt is still a team that will go on extended scoring droughts and its commitment to defense ranges from indifferent to inconsistent.

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November 17, 2016

Ponies and Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread,Opponent(s) — Chas @ 8:41 am

(Treat this as the open thread, as well. I am short on time and on DVR delay the next two nights due to my daughter’s school musical.)

It’s hard to believe that in all the years Kevin Stallings coached at Vandy, the Commodores never made it to Madison Square Garden. Just by virtue of the years and number of events had at MSG, you would think there would have been one game.

Pitt plays a good SMU team tonight. As usual Larry Brown cut corners and ran afoul of the NCAA on recruiting — again. Also, as usual, Larry Brown went Larry Brown over not being “appreciated” (read: more years and money — despite the NCAA sanctions and his suspension) and quit over the summer.

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November 15, 2016

Sorting Through Small Sample Size

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:23 am

Two games into the basketball season and Pitt is 2-0. A not completely surprising, but still disappointing tough win over Eastern Michigan and a relatively easy win over Gardner-Webb

In terms of the raw numbers, Pitt is as expected. KenPom ranks them at 52d nationally based on their Adjusted Efficiency Margin (Offensive efficiency – Defensive efficiency). On the offensive side, they are 23d nationally and defensively down at 81st. Their tempo at this point is 181st nationally — right around average.

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November 14, 2016

Open Thread: Gardner-Webb–Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 6:37 pm

Sorry about this being last minute. Late day and my turn to pick up my daughter from practice — which naturally ran even later.

The game is on WatchESPN/ACC Network Extra at 7pm.

Hopefully the struggles of the first game were just opening game nerves and working out some kinks. I’m trying to maintain optimism in the first week.

November 11, 2016

Basketball Is Back

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 8:01 am

Season opens tonight. It’s a game courtesy of the 2K Classic against Eastern Michigan. EMU is coached by a Jim Boeheim disciple, so plenty of 2-3 zone defense looks. Not to worry, though, because if there is one thing Pitt has had little problem with is the Syracuse zone and– Oh. Yeah. That was the other guy.

Okay, well, it’s Eastern Michigan. The… I was going to say Emus simply because it matches, but it is apparently the Eagles. A directional Michigan school in the MAC. How much risk can there be?

Oh. Picked for 1st or 2d in the MAC West division in various preseason pubs. Experience in the backcourt. A MAC Freshman of the year and 1st team All-MAC center.

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November 9, 2016

Not the Way to Shorten the Bench

Filed under: Basketball,Injury — Chas @ 8:29 am

Rough day yesterday. Bad news with Crisshawn Clark being announced out for the entire season.

The Pitt sophomore will miss the 2016-17 season with a torn MCL and torn meniscus in his left knee, the same knee in which he suffered an injury that forced him to miss all of last season at the junior college level. First-year Panthers coach Kevin Stallings said Tuesday it’s not known yet whether Clark also suffered a complete tear of his ACL.

“I’m really, really devastated for him because he had worked so hard to get back,” Stallings said. “Any time you see something like that happen, you hate it.”

The injury occurred Monday at Pitt’s practice on a non-contact play. He will undergo surgery at a yet-to-be-determined date to repair ligament and meniscus damage.

In the immediate aftermath of the setback, there’s no set timetable for Clark’s return and any larger impact the injury has on his future his uncertain.

“We’ll see what this means for him going forward,” Stallings said. “It certainly ends his season. What impact it has on his future, we’ll figure that out in due time. I’m disappointed for the team, but really disappointed for Crisshawn.”

The JUCO transfer was expected to be in the rotation at guard. He had a very good outside shot and would have fit well in Coach Stallings offense.

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October 31, 2016

Clearing Basketball Tabs

Filed under: ACC,Basketball,Conference — Chas @ 7:40 am

The season is less than 2 weeks away. ACC Media Day. Low expectations from without, higher from within. Time to catch up on some things. And I’m not even getting to recruiting in this post.

ACC Media Day was last week, and Pitt ended up as the preseason pick to finish 12th.

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