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January 10, 2018

7pm ESPN2.

Okay, this is possibly the worst Duke team defensively under Mike Krzyzewski. It is also, quite possibly the best offensive team he’s ever had. Frankly, Duke has just overwhelmed opponents on offense.

Pitt, for all the love other coaches give Kevin Stallings for his skills regarding offenses, is not a good offense. In no small part to the problem of turnovers at a ridiculous rate. Something that destroys any offensive rhythm and efficiency.

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Hold On To The Damn Ball

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:41 am

There was some good news from the VT game on Saturday. Players found some range from outside the arc more consistently. There was a lot more fight inside for rebounds. Despite the final score looking like a blowout, Pitt kept it tight most of the way.

Turnovers, though… Jeez. I don’t know what to say right now. This team just does not take care of the ball.

Turnovers yet again undid the young Panthers. In a losing effort, they were forced into 17 miscues, off of which the Hokies got 22 points. A Virginia Tech team that thrives at a quick pace was regularly handed opportunities for fast breaks and easy baskets.

For Pitt, it’s not a one-game exception, either. In its past four games, the last three of which have come against ACC teams, it has been forced into 72 turnovers, an average of 18 per game. Those 72 turnovers have come on a combined 281 possessions, meaning 25.6 percent of its trips down the court have ended in a turnover. On the season, Pitt has turned it over on 21.8 percent of its possessions, the 44th-worst mark among 351 Division I teams.

Perhaps no Pitt player has struggled with turnovers more consistently than Carr, in part because the freshman point guard has the ball in his hands more than most any other player on the team. He has been forced into turnovers on 28 percent of the possessions in which he is on the court and was forced into six turnovers against Virginia Tech, the sixth time in 16 games he has had at least five turnovers.

I don’t even know where to begin.

(more…)

January 6, 2018

12 pm

ACC Network Affiliates, ACCDN/WatchESPN.

Says something about the match-up when this game is listed as the ACC Network game for 12pm, and the affiliate stations are a lot sparser then usual. It really says something when the local ACC affiliate in Cleveland (WUAB) isn’t carrying the game. Why? Because the station in question is owned directly by Raycom, and the ACC Network syndication is produced and distributed by Raycom.

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January 3, 2018

In an otherwise predictable loss by Pitt to Louisville, there was the added bonus of Coach Kevin Stallings getting into it with a fan or two near the end of the game.

During the second half, with the game well out of reach, Stallings reacted to a fan near his team’s bench who the Pitt coach said was saying “something bad” about his players. At a certain point, Stallings responded, according to various reports, by saying “At least we didn’t pay our guys $100,000.”

“We’re down, the game’s over with; you don’t need to insult kids that are out there trying to fight hard and do their best,” Stallings said after the game. “I should have chosen some different words, but I’m not going to let people take shots at our players.”

When asked, the second-year Pitt coach declined to elaborate what the fan said about his players.

“That’s enough,” Stallings said.

I know, color me shocked as well that a coach who has a history of outbursts that get caught on a mike did so once more.

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January 2, 2018

9pm.

ESPNU.

Fun fact. Pitt hasn’t won a game at the Yum! Center (0-6). Kind of makes me feel even less sympathetic that the place is a giant sucking vacuum of debt for the City of Louisville, even with the Cards giving back some. Not that the City or the University can feel great about the long-term costs. Especially in the short-term damage from finally having to part ways with Rick Pitino.

Speaking of Louisville and more fallout from the scandal. (Which completely beats talking about the actual game.)

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December 30, 2017

Open Thread: Miami-Pitt, Almost New Years

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 12:45 pm

4pm.

Regional TV broadcasts if lucky, or ACC Network Extra/WatchESPN.

It’s this or hate watch the Fiesta Bowl (Go Huskies!).

A belated Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas. And an early, Happy New Year.

Sorry to have been away, yet again. Been more then a little crazy. Including few days of squirrel madness. A squirrel getting into the attic the day after Christmas, eventually finding it’s way to the basement before going back up to the attic. Culminating in trapping it last night.

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December 23, 2017

Pitt Beats Towson — Yay?

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 11:14 am

So many conflicting emotions over this game. Towson is a good team this year. They were a top-100 KenPom.com team. A top contender in the Colonial — one of the better mid-major conferences. They were the legitimate favorites in the game. This was Pitt’s first win over what could be considered a quality opponent.

On the other hand…

It’s still playing Towson. And pardon the elitism or snobbery, but that’s a hard mental block no matter how young, inexperienced and not particularly good Pitt is this year. Pitt had to comeback multiple times. The fact that Pitt was a home dog against them is more then a little troubling even with Ryan Luther on the shelf.

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December 19, 2017

Figuring Out Rebounding

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:37 am

For all the things Ryan Luther was bringing to each game — the only senior, scoring, fouls, etc.  The one thing he did that no one else on the team has been doing is rebounding. And it isn’t even close.

Among Panthers averaging more than six minutes per game, he had the best defensive rebounding percentage. On a team that struggles to rebound on offense and and prevent opposing teams from doing the same, he had the highest offensive rebounding percentage, collecting 14.2 percent of Pitt’s misses while he was on the court, the 50th-best mark among Division I players. The Panthers’ next-closest qualifying player in that category — freshman Terrell Brown — is at 9.2 percent.

Luther was also collecting about 20% of the defensive rebounds. Pitt has been an abysmal team with rebounding. Now with Luther out for at least two weeks, the rebounding issue is going to be significant.

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December 9, 2017

8pm ESPN2

I should be looking forward to this game more then I am.

I love games between Pitt and WVU. The natural, good hate that bubbles around the teams and the fans. This should be the kind of game where you hear the cliche, “You can throw out the records when these two…”

Except you really can’t. Not tonight. These teams haven’t played in five years. The overwhelming majority of players have no real connection to the Backyard Brawl. Pitt has a coach that has no familiarity with it.

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December 6, 2017

Pitt Survives Its Lack of Defense

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:39 am

Clearly, I underestimated the ability of this young Pitt basketball team to play down to the level of its competition.

Pitt may have won four in a row, but there is an inconsistency even in these wins, as this one and making it past High Point illustrated. Whether it is effort, coaching, youth and/or talent.

Mount St. Mary’s was as close to assuming a gimmee even for Pitt this year. The Mountaineers are the worst team on Pitt’s schedule to this point. Yet, Pitt gave them a huge opportunity to get the win.

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December 5, 2017

7pm, ACC Network Extra/WatchESPN

Have to admit, I like Pitt’s chances tonight. The — Google’s “Mount St. Mary’s mascot,” double-takes, clicks a few links to verify, well, okay then — Mountaineers of Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Oh, my. Their mascot is one, “Emmit S. Burg.” Oh, and let’s not get started on drowning bunnies.

Sorry, definitely went down a rabbit hole.

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December 1, 2017

Hey, It’s City Game Night

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:28 am

I swear, if Pitt basketball ruins 13-9 Day for me… Well,  I’ll rant and complain so uselessly…

It’s been a while since I got around to — well, much on this site. But especially basketball. In that time, Pitt has gone 2-2.

After bottoming out against Penn State (I recognize the words, but not the arrangement), Pitt played better against Oklahoma State — but still lost. They seemed to be showing improvement by handling Lehigh relatively close to how they should. Then fell back a step, struggling to close out High Point.

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November 20, 2017

9:30 pm, ESPN3– It’s WatchESPN.

I’m not sure I’m emotionally ready for this.

This past Saturday was rough enough. And for all the the supposed acceptance of Pitt not being anything close to a good basketball team this year. For already seeing them lose to a team coached by Ed DeChellis. For losing to Montana, while this other team won by 13. And now to be a 10 point underdog to Penn State?

You’re asking a lot of me.

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November 16, 2017

The Dream of A Perfect Season Is Dead

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 12:52 pm

Phew. That nightmare scenario is done within the first week of the season.

Pitt finally notched its first win in basketball last night. I would go with some cliche about how it wasn’t pretty, but let’s face it. Nothing about this season is going to be pretty.

I missed the first half (apparently this was a good thing), where Pitt continued to show no awareness on defense and left shooters on the perimeter alone. To the tune of UCSB going 8-15 on 3s.

The lack of defense on the perimeter coupled with no fear of the frontcourt defending the rim has led to an all-hands-on-deck approach. Redshirts be damned.

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November 15, 2017

Open Thread: UCSB-Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 5:39 pm

7pm ACC Network Extra/WatchESPN

Aw, hell I don’t know.

UC-Santa Barbara is in the Big West. They went 6-22 last year and fired their head coach. Joe Pasternack is now the guy. Pasternack had been the head coach at the University of New Orleans. Succeeding some guy named Buzz Williams. UNO folded their basketball program in 2011, and Pasternack became an assistant at Arizona under Sean Miller. He was also the associate head coach there.

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