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March 22, 2015

That NC State team showed up last night. The one loaded with talent. Swift, long guards who can shoot from the perimeter and keep the other team’s guards from getting open looks. A burly frontcourt that can dominate on both ends. Most importantly, their collective head stayed in the game the entire way. You watch them on a night like that and wonder how they are not a top-ten team.

Then you think back to the game against LSU where they didn’t show up for the first half (and a chunk of the second). The BC game. A slew of others, and it boggles the mind. I don’t trust them, but I’m not surprised by anything they do at this point.

Notre Dame made it to the Sweet 16 to keep the ACC perfect in the Tournament so far. Did not expect that.

The Big East is survived by Xavier. Other than Villanova going down last night, this is not totally surprising. Georgetown was a popular upset pick against Eastern Washington, so the fact that they made it to Saturday before losing is a kind of progress… I guess. St. John’s had no chance once it was learned that Chris Obekpa was suspended.

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March 21, 2015

Woefully poor form of me not to acknowledge the Women’s Hoop team. They made the NCAA Tourney and play today at 11 am on ESPN3.com against Chattanooga. An amazing turnaround.

As for the other NCAA Tourney…

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March 20, 2015

Well that first day was predictably bananas.

UCLA and the Alfords continue to lead a charmed life.

The Big 12 faceplants — hard. Texas down to Butler. Iowa State never put away UAB, destroying brackets everywhere.

Then there was Baylor blowing a huge lead against Georgia State. Creating an all-time moment at the buzzer. Both for the shot by R.J. Hunter and Head Coach/Dad Ron Hunter.

I can’t tell you how many times I keep watching that.

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March 17, 2015

Open Thread: Opening NIT, GW-Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 1:38 pm

7pm on ESPN tonight.

I’m assuming the hashtag #NITerrific will be in effect tonight on Twitter. Hopefully only with humor, cynicism and a touch sarcasm; but not bitterness. It’s fine line between being willing to poke fun at your own team and self-loathing/hatred.

GW was never a serious threat to make the NCAA Tournament, but they had a solid season. Big wins over Wichita State (and even, Hawai’i dammit) to win the Diamond Head Classic. Wins over NCAA Tournament teams Dayton and Rhode Island in the A-10.

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March 15, 2015

Sorry to have been offline most of the week. Had to do a bunch of overnights for work this past week, and the adjustment didn’t go well. Basically, I felt like a zombie all week. Missed a ton of games and couldn’t muster enough coherent thoughts in my down time to post. Not even on Twitter.

So, I feel recovered a bit now, just in time for the Selection Shows.

The NCAA Tournament selection begins at sometime around 6pm on CBS. That really doesn’t impact Pitt directly. Other than the discussion of bid steals and what that means in terms of pushing other teams down to the NIT.

The NIT announcement comes at 8:30 on ESPNU. As much as Pitt has lost 4 straight games to knock itself out of the NCAA  Tournament bubble talk. As negative as some have been after everything, Pitt hasn’t pushed themselves out of the NIT. It would be a complete stunner to see them not make the NIT. The only issue is whether they are going to be a high enough seed to host a game or two.

March 7, 2015

Sorry. Busy morning. Half-assing it. Just got home.

March 4, 2015

A win won’t get either team into the NCAA Tournament, but it certainly knocks them down to the NIT.

Lousy ACC Network coverage tonight. Many will be forced on to their computers to watch via ESPN3.com for the 8pm game.

As mentioned earlier, it is Senior Night for Pitt. Those of you going, please get there soon to help send off the seniors before the game.

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March 1, 2015

Open Thread: Pitt-Wake

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 1:46 pm

I feel like I have to repeat this every time I post on basketball. The most important — and only — thing Pitt can do to make sure it gets into the NCAA Tournament is to keep winning. All bubble talk is reactionary and about “if the season ended today” speculation. That’s why I don’t worry or put much stock in the “last four in, last four out” stuff that every ESPN broadcast (and to be fair I caught similar stuff on CBS and Fox yesterday).

You can make yourself frantic for no reason by whipsawing between NC State losing to BC to BYU beating Gonzaga to Texas failing at Kansas while Boise beats SDSU meanwhile… oh, you get the picture.

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February 24, 2015

9pm

ESPNU

Late night for those of us in the East who are getting up there in years — or have small children.

Olivier Hanlan has been very hot for BC lately. In the last three games he had 32, 32 and 19 points. He went for 18 last time they played. That hasn’t helped BC too much as they have lost 8 straight and have not won a game in a month.

9-17 overall record, 1-13 at the bottom of the ACC. Needless to say a home loss would be devastating to Pitt.

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February 21, 2015

It’s a nooner on ACC syndication. That’s a problem because they ACC has two noon games to syndicate. In addition to Pitt-Syracuse there is the GT-UNC tilt. Sure that’s a beat-up-on-an-old-hobo kind of game with the disparity between the two teams and it being a home game for UNC. Still, that messes things up.

What I’m saying is that my local affiliate in Cleveland is opting for the hobo beating game. Which means I’m stuck watching on ESPN3.com. Which could be tolerable with the news that DirecTV now has the ESPNWatch authentication complete. Which means I could stream it through my TV. If I had taken the time to install it earlier. If I wasn’t looking at a likely DVR delay because of all the weather this week messing things up so badly I have to do a slew of other things all morning and into the beginning of the afternoon. Oh, hey, snow today. Fantastic.

/end self-pity complaining

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February 16, 2015

It’s supposed to be a nasty evening in that region. There was actually talk of postponing the game. Pitt made it to Charlottesville, however, and the game goes on. It may be a smattering of locals and the students only, but they will play tonight. No one wants to miss out on Big Monday. That’s ESPN at 7pm.

Both teams play slow tempo. It needs to be repeated. Even as Pitt’s offense seems to have opened up, their tempo hasn’t noticeably increased. Virginia is simply one of the slowest tempo teams in all of college basketball. Counting on what can be an insanely stingy defense and offensive efficiency.

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February 14, 2015

Open Thread: UNC-Pitt

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

So, UNC has size and rebounds well.

North Carolina leads the ACC in offensive rebounds (15.1 per game), defensive rebounds (27.7 per game) and total rebounds (42.8 per game). North Carolina also is first in rebounding margin (plus-9.7).

It’s no coincidence that the Tar Heels will be one of the tallest teams the Panthers will play this season, featuring six players 6 feet 8 or taller.

Dixon said there is no secret to what he has emphasized in practices leading up to this game. He said if the Panthers don’t rebound well, they will not win.

“We have made it very clear to our players that this is a strength of theirs,” Dixon said. “They are a very good rebounding team, and we are coming off a game in which we got outrebounded. We did a lot of drills at practice that we normally do when we don’t get it done on the glass.

“We have talked about it, and we have made it very clear that we need to match their size and their intensity in going up and getting rebounds.”

Oh, and a top 3-point shooters in the country.

They also have to limit point guard Marcus Paige, North Carolina’s leading scorer.

Paige is one of the top 3-point shooters in the ACC — seventh in 3-point shooting percentage and sixth in made 3-pointers per game — but is streaky. Even when he misses, though, North Carolina’s rebounding ability allows the Tar Heels to turn his missed shots into second-chance scoring opportunities.

What could go wrong?

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February 11, 2015

It blows my mind that a conference game that involves a top-10 team gets this kind of regional distribution (not simply Pittsburgh, but all over the country). 8pm on a Wednesday, and this is it? The game is also on ESPN3.com (subject to blackout) and on the ESPN FullCourt package.

This is the kind of coverage that makes it imperative that the ACC gets its own channel in the next five years. Still, it could be worse. It could be the Big East on FoxSports 1.

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February 7, 2015

Yes, it’s a “blackout.” For which, Jamie Dixon speaks for all of us older curmudgeons.

“Everything’s about gimmicks and promotions nowadays,” Dixon said. “Fans are excited. Our players are excited. You’ve got to do things that excite the players, excite the fans. I wouldn’t notice the difference, I guess, until it got pointed out.”

Preach it!

Rebuttal:

“I’m excited,” sophomore Jamel Artis said. “They’re great uniforms.”

“The jerseys are dope,” senior Cameron Wright said. “The student section will be popping.”

So, opinions vary.

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February 4, 2015

A lot has changed in the way Signing Day goes down. It used to be the paper work was faxed to the school and no one would officially know anything until the school released the list later that day. Instead, fans would rely on the recruiting sites to report (thanks to coaches and the kids themselves) when the paper work was received/sent.

Now, the programs themselves happily let us know. All the reports come in via Twitter, and it goes a lot faster. QUICK EDIT/NOTE: It looks like the first news on Twitter for the receiving of NLIs is coming from HC Pat Narduzzi‘s twitter account.

Pitt has a small class. It was always going to be that way, regardless of who the head coach was. Just the way the numbers break for this year. I would say, that worked out to be a good thing in what has turned out to be a transition year. No scrambling to fill lots of spots. No overwhelming number of defections and flips.

15 14, maybe 16 15 kids will be part of this class.

The fun officially kicks off at 7 am Eastern.

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