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.


March 21, 2016

Jamie Dixon Heads To TCU

Filed under: Basketball,Coaches,Dixon,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 6:01 pm

Well, now basketball gets on the coaching carousel.

I am saddened. I know plenty of you are celebrating. Fine.

It probably was the smart move for Jamie Dixon and Pitt. This wasn’t a case where the AD wanted him gone like Jeff Long to Walt Harris. At the same time, the school was not exactly stopping him.

The stuff I referenced earlier today about Buzz Williams has been turning over in my mind. I have to believe Dixon spoke with Ben Howland and was reminded of how that ended.

I liked Jamie Dixon as a coach and as a representative of the University of Pittsburgh. I don’t think things were as gone as some suggest.

I’m not pretending things were great, but some of the revisionism and denigration of Dixon to rationalize why he should go was beyond stupid.


Dixon Watch 2016

Filed under: Basketball,Coaches,Dixon — Chas @ 7:26 am

I don’t know.

Just get that out of the way now. I don’t know if Jamie Dixon will leave Pitt for TCU.

Here I was trying to decompress for a couple days with the end of the season. Just trying to enjoy the games that were playing and regroup. Nope.

I thought it was absolute silliness a week or two ago. Now, it seems to be a real possibility.


February 15, 2016

Dixon Stuck?

Filed under: ACC,Basketball,Dixon — Justin @ 3:37 pm

I had a thought I posted about on twitter that I wanted to elaborate a bit on but I’ll start with a few caveats. First, Jamie Dixon is a great coach and the odds are whenever he’s replaced the new coach probably won’t be on his level. Second, I do not advocate firing Dixon; he has earned the right to try and get this program back to where it was a few years ago.

But, do I think he will turn it around? Doubtful. (more…)

September 11, 2015

Health and Clearance

Filed under: Basketball,Coaches,Dixon,Injury — Chas @ 12:32 pm

Somewhere this week, a bit of basketball had to be posted. Between Conner’s injury news at the beginning and the Backyard Brawl at the end, there was always something a little more breaking to post. Now, here we are a little more than 24 hours to a football game and you are looking at a basketball post.

Starting with the news yesterday that Damon Wilson was academically cleared by the NCAA. The news was initially tweeted out by Jeff Goodman of But there could be more.


January 10, 2015

Clemson dreams of being Pitt when it comes to basketball.

This will be the 400th Pitt game for Coach Jamie Dixon, as the man in charge. It is also, potentially, his 300th win. There may be some talk of that.

Dixon is 15 games into his 12th season as Pitt’s coach. The Panthers are 11-4 overall and 1-1 in conference play.

“A lot of people recognize and talk about it, but I don’t give it a lot of thought, to be honest with you,” Dixon said. “When I sit down and look at it, I might think a little differently — the numbers.

“As I think about it now, I’m just thankful I’ve been able to coach at the university that many years. It does speak to being at a place a long time.”

The emphasis has been on the speed at which it has been accomplished or in comparison to how long it took other coaches to reach 300.


August 12, 2014

Just best to stay out of Reed’s way when he’s rolling like this.

So, just to note that while the full schedule of dates, times and TV appearances have yet to be released; ESPN did announce their Big Monday schedule. Pitt gets two appearances on the ACC slate.

January 19, 7pm at Duke

February 16, 7pm at Virginia

Disappointing not to get a home Big Monday game, but Pitt is featured in 2 of the 8 ACC Big Monday games. The same number of appearances as Duke. UNC and Virginia each have three appearances. Louisville and Syracuse make only one appearance each. Not too bad for a team that will be considedred 6th to 8th in the ACC preseason polling (some combination of Virginia, Louisville, Duke, UNC and Cuse will be most prognosticators top-5).


May 16, 2014

Other Basketball Things

Filed under: Basketball,Coaches,Dixon,Money — Chas @ 7:42 am

So, the ACC is going to experiment with a 30 second shot clock in exhibition games this year.

“Our coaches and ADs both felt it would be an enhancement to the game in today’s world,” Swofford said. “It adds more possessions and potentially would speed up the game.”

NCAA men’s teams have used a 35-second shot clock since the 1993-94 season.

Swofford said league coaches submitted the proposal to the athletic directors during the spring meetings, and the athletic directors embraced the idea. The ACC would give its feedback on the use of the 30-second shot clock to the men’s basketball rules committee.

“That’s where the game is headed,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon told ESPN’s Andy Katz at the NBA draft combine in Chicago. “We want to be ahead of the game. We want to provide data and see what it’s like.”

Presumably, Coach Dixon is at the NBA draft combine to support Lamar Patterson.


May 15, 2014

Not a lot left from the ACC meetings. Coaches have already been departing.

The news now shifts to bigger picture things like NCAA changes. The five major conferences agitating for more control of their own interests within the NCAA was the major talking point.

One of the big topics at the ACC’s spring meetings this week was the potential changes to the NCAA governance structure. The Division I Board of Directors recently endorsed a new model. It will be officially voted on in August and one of the primary shifts would be to give the “power five” conferences — the ACC, Southeastern, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 more autonomy to create legislation.

“The whole idea here is that you would have some permissive legislation that would allow some schools to do things but not require everybody to do things,” Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson said. “So if we felt like, as five conferences, this is something we were really interested in doing, that if it made sense and we could pull it together, we could take it through the five without everybody voting on it.”

This week, the athletic directors met with Wake Forest president Nathan Hatch, one of the leaders in the NCAA’s reform efforts. The goal was to get a clearer picture of what the restructuring meant and how it would be implemented.

One of the early sticking points in the review process has been the supermajority needed for the power five to pass new legislation.

Any item would be voted on by the 65 schools, as well as 15 student-athlete representatives, and need a two-thirds majority to pass.

The support is mixed on this idea. There appears to be a split among the schools and conferences on this aspect. Some such as the Big 10 and Big 12 want a simple majority. Schools in the ACC seem to be more in favor of the supermajority. Honestly, I’m not sure on which would be the better approach. It isn’t clear to me on the details, so I can’t say which would be the way to go.


November 14, 2013

All the other Pitt basketball links not tied into the game.

Early signing period for the 2014 class started yesterday. Pitt was drama free with both Sheldon Jeter and Ryan Luther signing their NLIs. Welcome. (No official press release yet, but recruitniks have tweeted out that both signed.)

I talked about how I expect more utilization of the zone because of the rule enforcement earlier. Missed this article that makes the same point. Get used to seeing a lot of articles pro and con (and, generally a lot of bitching) about the new emphasis on enforcing the rules. Mike DeCourcy had a good one before the season started that really summed up a lot of the reasons why the NCAA decided to get tighter with the rules.

It’s the coaches who’ve injected the physicality into the game, gradually asserting their value over the past 15 or so years by instructing players to use their hands to contain penetration, to bump cutters trying to execute intricate offenses, to push players out of post position with forearms to the tailbone.

No one who is not affiliated with the teams or necessary for the competition to proceed, such as the clock operator or referees, is permitted to attend the closed Division I scrimmages teams are permitted to schedule. But there has been lots of buzz about how foul-plagued some of them have been, such as one involving Huggins’ Mountaineers and the Ohio State Buckeyes.

There’ve been some exhibition games that turned into foul fiascoes, as well. Dayton and Division II power Findlay combined for 96 free throw attempts last weekend.

There is a reason this is happening. The players are fouling.

I really don’t mind the rules emphasis. I don’t think it puts Pitt at any true competitive disadvantage. Watching the first couple of games you can see that they players are being taught to do different things in an effort to adjust. A lot more movement with the hands on defense. Trying to disrupt line of sight and get the ball out of the opponent’s hands. It won’t be pretty at times, but it was needed.


July 15, 2013

I know some other heartwarming stuff. A new recruit. I’ll get to the football side, but I have a bunch of basketball links I just want to get off the browser.

Steven Adams has been playing in Orlando in the NBA Summer League. Coach Jamie Dixon has been down there to watch him a couple times in between hitting the various AAU Tournaments. Good puff piece on Adams.

Adams understands where he is in his development, which is why he’s taken to coaching with such enthusiasm.

“Whatever they say, I’ll do because they know what’s best for me,” Adams said.

During breaks in Orlando, Adams sat next to Thunder assistant coach Mark Bryant near the end of the bench. Bryant provided non-stop instruction, and Adams listened intently.

By the end of the week, Adams had begun raving about Bryant and the rest of the Thunder’s staff like a child who had just met his heroes.

“They’re legit,” Adams marveled. “They are awesome.”

For now, the Thunder wants to keep everything simple with Adams. His job is to defend, rebound, run the floor and set good screens. Adams said he is focused mostly on improving his pick-and-roll defense. Everything else, he said, is “just a bonus.”


When cutters attempted to get to their spot during summer league play, Adams instinctively would step in and give them a little nudge with his shoulder. When matched up against low-post players, Adams bodied up to them and consistently bumped them off their spots.

“That’s one of the things that we’re going to require out of Steven is that he play physical basketball,” Kalamian said. “Luckily for us, he likes to play that way.”

Not sure if that’s all instinctive. That reads like the basics he would be taught at Pitt to play in the Big East.


March 24, 2013

Sorry. I have been trying to get healthy and pull double shifts the last week or so. Somehow the two don’t work well together. I was working on a post-mortem post on the Wichita State game yesterday when the news of Dixon’s extension started seeping.

That kind of changed things a bit.

So let’s work from this point. Jamie Dixon is not going anywhere.

Stating that he intends to “finish his career at the University of Pittsburgh,” Pitt men’s basketball coach Jamie Dixon reinforced that commitment today when he signed a 10-year contractual agreement that runs through the 2022-23 season.

Dixon owns the highest winning percentage in school history (.753) with a 262-86 record from 2003-13. He has led the Panthers to nine NCAA Tournaments in 10 seasons, the most NCAA appearances by a Pitt coach.

“Pitt and Pittsburgh are home,” Dixon said. “My family and I feel blessed to be part of such a great institution and wonderful city. It is the people who truly make a place special. I could not be surrounded by better players, staff and administration. These aren’t just people I work for and with every day. They’re friends and I’m very thankful for that. I would like to express special appreciation to our leadership team of Chancellor Mark Nordenberg, Athletic Director Steve Pederson and Executive Vice Chancellor Jerry Cochran. Their guidance and friendship have been invaluable. I greatly appreciate the faith and support they have always shown me since my arrival at Pitt.”

I know there is a vocal minority that feels like Dixon should be gone; along with a very frustrated group after the Wichita State flop ready to say good-bye and don’t let the door hit you on the way out to USC.


March 13, 2013

I’ve tried to ignore it since midseason, because it is rather silly. Still, the storyline is getting a little more play so I guess it’s time to write a bit about the idea that Coach Jamie Dixon would take the USC job.

Is it possible?

Well, sure, most things are possible. But it isn’t very probable.

Last week. Last week — mind you — Jeff Goodman at CBS Sports wrote about USC talking to Syracuse’s coach-in-waiting Mike Hopkins. In writing up the potential of Hopkins, Goodman noted who the guy USC AD Pat Haden had at the top of his list.

The hip pick is Pittsburgh’s Jamie Dixon returning to the West Coast (that’s where he’s from). The 47-year-old Dixon is set to go to his ninth NCAA tournament in 10 seasons since taking over for Howland. It could happen, but Dixon has had other opportunities to leave — including one before Kevin O’Neill took the USC job three years ago — and has spurned them all. The USC program is in a better place now, and Pittsburgh is headed into a stacked ACC, so it makes more sense for him to head west now than it did a few years back. However, the question becomes his buyout and whether he’d actually pull the trigger when the time comes to make a decision.

Dixon, from what I’m told, sits atop Haden’s list.

The themes are all hit. Heading to a new conference. The ACC is stacked. He’s from the west coast. USC isn’t quite the dumpster fire it was three years ago. The one thing it doesn’t try to claim: that Dixon wants to take the USC job.


September 29, 2012

A fantastic piece by Luke Winn at that talks about the exploitable flaw in the RPI system. How it can be gamed, by numbers savvy coaches with their non-con to create a high RPI ranking without actually taking huge risks.

The NCAA tournament selection committee uses the RPI formula to assess teams’ non-conference strength of schedule (NCSOS). Two-thirds of RPI’s NCSOS is based on the raw winning percentages of a team’s opponents, and the other third is based on the raw winning percentages of opponents’ opponents. A team vying for an at-large NCAA tournament bid is best off having a respectable NCSOS rank and a number of wins over RPI top-25, top-50 or top-100 teams. While the selection committee has stated that RPI is just one of many tools it uses, the fact remains that schedule strength is viewed predominantly through the RPI’s lens.

The problem is that it’s a warped lens. Seventy-five percent of the RPI formula is about strength of schedule (SOS), and because the RPI uses the flawed metric of raw winning percentage to assess SOS, it fails to provide a true measure of the quality of opponents.

Here’s how that works. If you schedule decent to good mid- and low mid-majors. That is teams that can be expected to do well in their own conference, you puff up your own RPI because they end the year with 18 to 20+ wins. Even if most of those wins came in the MEAC or such.


August 3, 2012

A few basketball items to put out there before football becomes the primary.

Lists. Lists. Lists.

Okay, just one. Athlon follows up ranking the coaches in each conference with an overall list of top college basketball coaches. Coach Jamie Dixon ranks 13th on the list which is more than respectable. Izzo ranks first in case you were wondering who was #1.

Still no word on the final game for the non-conference schedule. And hence, no schedule announced from Pitt. As part of the trend, the only pre-season tournament that hasn’t announced its seedings is the one in which Pitt will participate.

The Atlantis Bracket announcement Thursday leaves just one major tournament to be completely unveiled: the 16-team NIT Season Tip-Off Nov. 21-23. The four hosts are Kansas State, Pitt, Virginia and Michigan. If you were to seed this event then it would probably go 1. Michigan. 2. Kansas State. 3. Pitt 4. Virginia. Virginia and Pitt probably have the most to gain. Michigan and Kansas State play in power-rating rich conferences and are playing strong schedules. Pitt is in the Big East, which will provide plenty of RPI pop and quality wins, but has a soft nonconference slate, putting even more pressure on this event.

No matter what, Pitt will get hammered by the punditry for its non-con this year.


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