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February 20, 2017

Only Consistency Is In Unpredictability

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 10:48 am

To be fair to Coach Kevin Stallings, it isn’t as if this core hasn’t had consistency issues in the past two years. Games where the offense was non-existent. The defense couldn’t stop anything. It’s just that it wasn’t as frequent, and the blame was assigned elsewhere. (Jamie Dixon is too controlling! James Robinson is too limited as a point guard!)

Of course, anyone who has looked at Kevin Stallings career at Vanderbilt, knows that Stallings’ teams had their own issues with consistency of effort and performance.

Put those two sides together and the uptick of unpredictability from Pitt from game to game makes some more sense. No less maddening, but at least you can sort of make sense of it that way.

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February 18, 2017

Sartorially speaking, I mean.

4pm, ESPN2.

It’s the retro game. Old colors to go with the Script. Sucks when that seems to be the best thing to say about this game.

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February 17, 2017

The only surprise in the firing of Mike Mark Gottfried from NC State was the timing. With only a few weeks left in the season, NC State made Gottfried’s lame duck status official.

The list of names possible for NC State range from the obvious: Archie Miller. To the jump before pushed: Tom Crean. To the absurd: Greg Marshall or Chris Mack. To other alum: Vinny Del Negro. To random natives of North Carolina: Kelvin Sampson.

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February 15, 2017

Wilting Once More

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:38 am

You know how you love your family (hopefully this is true), but you don’t always like them. That’s the way I’m feeling about Pitt basketball at the moment. I love Pitt. Love basketball. I just don’t particularly like this team.

It isn’t the losses. It isn’t the issues with talent. It is that much of the time, this is just such a dumb, unlikable team.

I’m at the point where everything there is to say about this team seems to be in analogies.

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February 14, 2017

Open Thread: VT-Pitt, Spoiler?

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 1:04 pm

7pm, ESPN2.

After the euphoria of  VT’s 2OT victory over Virginia made them a virtual lock for the NCAA, reality set in. First with the loss of their wing guard and leading rebounder Chris Clarke with a torn left ACL. Then there is the fact that they still need to win games in no small part due to a non-con that compared worse than anything even Jamie Dixon did.

That said, the Hokies’ lone victories over top-50 RPI opponents are Duke and Virginia, both at home. Most problematic, as noted earlier this season, Virginia Tech’s non-conference schedule was the ACC’s tamest, and at No. 308 on Monday’s RPI was ahead of only No. 326 Rutgers among Power Five teams.

As Hokies faithful know all too well from the latter stages of Seth Greenberg’s coaching tenure, those are numbers that can cost you a bid.

Tech’s games prior to the ACC tournament are at Pitt on Tuesday and at Louisville on Saturday, followed by Clemson at home, Boston College on the road, and Miami and Wake Forest at home — the Hokies are 12-1 at Cassell Coliseum, stumbling only against NCAA-bound Notre Dame.

It’s never a good sign when you are being compared to Rutgers in… anything.

They do have a road win over Michigan, so there is that. But, yeah. They need to hold serve at home and either beat Pitt and BC or just win one and and a ACC Tournament game to clinch it.

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February 13, 2017

The Way The Ball Bounces

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:40 am

Va-VTBall

If you were one of the handful of people watching the Virginia-Virginia Tech game, then you were treated to this incredible moment.

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February 11, 2017

1pm, ACC Network syndication (ugh) or ACC Digital Network Extra/WatchESPN.

Hard to find this one on regular TV across the country. Clemson-Duke is on the ACCN syndication at the same time. Guess which game most stations outside of Pennsylvania and New York seem to be favoring?

Last time against the Orange, Pitt looked like it had never seen a zone defense before. Settling for nothing but outside shots and not able to work the ball inside at all. On top of that, they still couldn’t rebound. And that was just in the first half.

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February 9, 2017

Pitt Finally Wins

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:45 am

Not since the Big East Tournament of 2001, when Ricardo Greer  dragged Pitt to the Big East Championship game, had Boston College beaten Pitt in basketball. That tradition continued last night as Pitt snapped its 8-game losing streak. Moving to a robust 2-9 in the ACC and out of dead last. Now at second to dead last.

“It wouldn’t have mattered if we were playing the Golden State Warriors,” Stallings said. “We needed a win.”

“When you go on a skid like we’ve been on, you just need a win,” Stallings said. “It doesn’t matter who it’s against. You don’t say to yourself, ‘Well we better get these guys because if we don’t.’ … You just play them as they come and keep trying to knock the door down.”

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February 8, 2017

7pm on RSNs (ROOT, NESN, various FOX Sports) or ACC Network Extra/WatchESPN.

In the last week, Pitt hasn’t looked… horrible.

It’s damning with faint praise when the media notes tries to spin positive road losses at UNC and Duke by a combined 10 points, but when you are harnessed to an 8-game losing streak and yet to win on the road in the ACC, you take what you can get.

The thing with a good, bad team like Pitt is this year. You don’t know anything about the team from game-to-game. Effort, energy, streakiness… It’s all a question mark. Did they play up to their opponents in the last week? Will they have a complete letdown in effort against a team like BC?

I have no idea. I’m guessing the coaches don’t either.

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February 4, 2017

Open Thread: Pitt-Duke, K Returns

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 9:45 am

1pm, CBS.

The good news, Bill Raftery will be doing the color commentary.

That’s about it for the good news.

Duke is at home. They get an extra emotional lift with their coach, Mike Krzyzewski, returning to the bench after taking a month off for back surgery. Which means additional slobbering over Krzyzewski by — well — everyone on or associated with the broadcast. And you can bet they have had it drilled into them all week what happened last year at the Pete.

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January 31, 2017

7 pm ESPN2  if you dare.

Had to work overnight the last two nights. The kids are stir crazy with two straight snow days bumpin g out the weekend. It’s been like an extended Sunday afternoon evening for them with that expectation of going back to school the next day. Each day. Wife has been home sick. And somehow thinking about Pitt basketball is the thing bringing me down.

Even the game notes seem depressing. I mean, when the game notes can’t spin positive…

So, yeah. I’m going to watch. I can’t help myself. It’s too late for me. Save yourselves. Do something else tonight. Use the open thread to talk about signing day for football or something.

January 28, 2017

12:00, RSNs (ROOT, NESN, YES, various Fox Sports) and ACC Network Extra/WatchESPN.

Both teams are 1-6 in the ACC. Pitt is at home. They will be having a “Blackout Game.” Complete with black unis that all the cool kids love and free t-shirts for fans.

…and Pitt is the underdog.

I think I was annoyed by seeing that Pitt is a 3 point underdog for all of 10 seconds. Then a simple thought put it in perspective, “Would I bet on this Pitt team?”

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January 27, 2017

Where Do We Go From Here

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:23 am

That has to be the question being asked around the Pitt basketball program at the moment. By the players. By coaches. Support staff. The Athletic Direc– Never mind on the last one.

I don’t want to say the Louisville game was rock bottom, because it is amazing how teams when they are in a spiral can find heretofore unknown depths to plum. I am cautiously optimistic, though, that the last game was about as low as can go in terms of score differential.

It’s the little things.

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January 25, 2017

The Stuff of Legends

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 7:05 am

In the future — no I don’t know when, exactly — when Pitt basketball is better. When this year has receded a bit into history. Pitt will have a bad game. They will lose by double digits. It won’t be pretty. A flat out bad loss.

Somewhere, whether on Twitter, a message board, a blog, or some other social media outlet not yet in existence. Someone will go off on a hyperbolic rant on the team, player and coaches. Insisting that that game was the worst ever. That that team just gave up and that no Pitt team has ever quit like that before.

And that person will be wrong. Oh, so wrong. Because last night. On January 24, 2017. At the Pete. Against Louisville. This Pitt team set the standard of quitting by which all other Pitt basketball teams will be judged.

It’s an accomplishment. Something we can tell future generations. We were alive for it. We saw it. Whether on our TV, our computer — though, judging by pictures of the attendance, very few can claim this — or even live.

January 24, 2017

7pm, ESPNU.

Welp, this should be… something.

After Jamel Artis put the team on his back and nearly dragged them to an improbable comeback two weeks ago, you can bet Louisville Coach Rick Pitino has his team zeroed in on making sure Artis is defended at all times. Very likely with some double-teams and trying to trap as much as possible.

In theory, this should open things up for other Pitt players on the court to have opportunities with open looks and open drives to the basket. Whether that translates to points is anyone’s guess.

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