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November 25, 2014

Pitt-San Diego State. The Aztecs are a very good defensive team that struggle with scoring. In past years, we might call them the mirror image of Pitt. Pitt is a team that has more offense than in past years, but will it be enough when the defense has been so porous? I don’t know.

Over the years with Pitt, the strong defense has usually prevailed — at least before getting to the NCAA Tournament. Especially when the team that relies on offense is not a clear juggernaut.

For Pitt to win this game, the three-point shooting will have to be there and the rebounding will have to at least match the effort shown last night.

10 pm on ESPN.

November 24, 2014

Open Thread: Pitt-Chaminade

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 8:32 pm

Okay, so that first game in the 5oth state didn’t go as planned. Not in the least. If you are looking for the silver lining — and admittedly you really have to look — losing that way probably made the point about needing to play defense better than any lecture, practice session or film session could have. Not that Coach Dixon didn’t emphasize the film session.

And it was lots and lots and lots of film watching. And then when there was a little more film to watch before the day was done. It apparently was an all day affair in the video room as he tried to, as he said “get them to see the things we need them to do that they aren’t doing defensively. Each team had a designated practice time at the gym but Dixon opted not to use it and again, instead had a very long and at times, unpleasant, film session.

Hopefully things can only go up from there. Tonight Pitt takes on the Chaminade Silverswords.Which is just awesome to type. The game is on ESPNU at 9pm.

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November 21, 2014

Open Thread: Pitt-Hawai’i

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 9:02 pm

No TV. Just radio or watching a gamecast refresh on your computer. The tip-off is midnight — which is Saturday — but they kept it confusing by saying Friday repeatedly. Turns out they were doing that by claiming the tip was at 11:59.

Either way, I’m not staying up to listen to a radio stream. TV or ESPN3.com and I might have given it a go. In this case, I’m just going to get some rest. I’ve gotten old and soft.

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November 16, 2014

Open Thread: Samford-Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 11:30 am

I was starting to work on a recap rant diatribe review of the football game yesterday, but decided I didn’t want to start drinking that early on a Sunday morning when it doesn’t involve a tailgate.

So, instead, let’s get ready for Samford.

The game is at 1pm and is part of the Maui Invitational package. No, really. The game was set up for Pitt by the Maui organizers.

In the Pittsburgh area, it is on ROOT, but since it is a syndicated ACC Network/ESPN game you can watch it on line at ESPN3 and plenty of other outlets including the ESPN FullCourt package, FoxSports West, FoxSports South, Sun Sports and Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic.

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November 15, 2014

12:30 pm on the syndicated ACC Network.

Which ever team loses will have a fan base barely holding on to a shred of hope for a very minor bowl. Well, I’m sure UNC could turn to basketball as they usually do. Albeit with the academic/athletic scandal seemingly creeping closer and closer towards impacting their sacred cow ram.

In a way this game is a simple and cliched one. For Pitt to win this, they have to disrupt UNC’s offense. They cannot let them get into a rhythm on offense. The tempo of the UNC offense depends on them moving the ball. They don’t simply come out and try to run all the plays at a speed pace. They increase the tempo and pace as they get success and confidence. That is why their heavy volume of penalties this year has been such a problem. Self-inflicted disruptions and slowed pace.

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November 14, 2014

Sorry, literally and figuratively buried the last two days with work and snow. Oh, so much snow. Way too early.

Season opener. The game is on your computer at ESPN3.com starting at 7pm.

Pitt faces a Niagara team that was not very good last year. This is probably good, as Pitt’s defense has been suspect in the first couple of exhibition games. Not having Cameron Wright available has the perimeter D a bit weak. Much to Coach Jamie Dixon’s chagrin.

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October 25, 2014

Open Thread: Homecoming 2014

Filed under: Football,Open Thread — Chas @ 9:00 am

Pushing this out early, because with the 3:30 start time that means some actual time to tailgate. That means pushing this post out and hitting the road to Pittsburgh almost as early as a 1pm start.

Thankfully they don’t administer sobriety tests on the way to the pressbox. I’m not saying I’ll be intoxicated, but this game does offer that possibility.

Fast links:

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October 16, 2014

Open Thread: VT-Pitt on a Thursday

Filed under: Football,Open Thread — Chas @ 3:11 pm

Love Thursday night home games… in theory.

The reality of them sticks me at home, as I am perpetually unable to make the trip to the game — the need to take off early on Thursday and likely Friday. Or trying to drive the 2+ hours sometime after midnight. That no longer seems like fun.

Justin will have the birds eye view from the press box in my stead.

I’ll be on my couch with a fresh growler of beer watching and tweeting all game.

Pitt needs this game.

Final Run Through For The Hokies

Filed under: Football,Open Thread — Chas @ 11:17 am

Okay, do yourself a favor and read these two posts from over at The Key Play. Further confirming my view that neither side is going to do anything too out of character for this game. Both teams have coaches that have their game plans. Know what the identity of their respective teams should be, and will not deviate far off the script. I will note, that if there is any way to sneak Walt Harris onto the sidelines for the game, do it. I think it would give the Hokie collective severe heart palpitations. Anything to further mess with their heads.

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October 4, 2014

Very underrated part of this season — at least from my perspective –no games landing right on a high holy day. I am reasonably certain that one home game every year landed on one of those three days. Got past Rosh Hashanah. Yom Kippur ends at sundown — 30 minutes before the game today. Granted that means I will start drinking after no food or drink for 24 hours, but what could go wrong?

Hate to say it is a must win for Pitt, but it may well be. The idea of riding a 3-game losing streak into a bye week and then facing VT on Thursday night to try and snap out of it. That should give Coach Paul Chryst night terrors.

Pitt somehow needs the O-line to step up huge tonight for the offense to have a chance. James Conner can’t run if there’s no room, and Chad Voytik won’t even have a chance to upset fans if he is constantly blitzed and pressured.

Then there is a defense that has faded so badly in the second half of two straight games. I don’t expect a wild crowd from Virginia. Even in the best of times, the folks in Charlottesville aren’t exactly the rowdiest.

 

September 27, 2014

Open Thread: Akron-Pitt

Filed under: Football,Open Thread — Chas @ 5:56 am

Have to throw this up early. Beyond the usual need to hit the road before sunrise, I am abandoning the press box for regular seats so my daughter and I can attend the game. That means some actual time to tailgate with friends, walk around the family-friendly activities and no laptop. I’ll still be tweeting in-game, but it will be nice to wear Pitt gear to the game and cheer out loud today.

Akron has struggled to stop the run. That happens to be what Pitt does really well on offense. James Conner should have a good day, and hopefully the rest of the running backs get some work. I know he has been a workhorse, but with seven conference games to play there is still the concern of wearing down.

Defensively, Akron does play a spread-style offense. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some early struggles by the Pitt defense — just like with FIU — before really clamping down on the Zips. Not to mention their running backs battling injuries. Their offense hasn’t done much since their opening game against Howard.

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September 20, 2014

Open Thread: Iowa-Pitt

Filed under: Football,Open Thread — Chas @ 6:00 am

Got to get moving. It is not quite dark, but the morning gloom is only beginning. The drive to the Burgh awaits.

No idea how this game breaks. Pitt should be able to win this game, but this has something of a must win for Iowa.

To start the season 1-2 is not the hole expected for a team that before the season, was believed to have a chance to win their conference division. Lose this game and beyond the record, the fanbase will essentially be checking out of the season in September. Kirk Ferentz may not be going anywhere because of his contract, but that doesn’t mean the fans have to stay.

For Pitt it is about one more step in trying to change the narrative of a flailing, fumbling around program that has been the embodiment of mediocrity and bad bowl destinations. A win doesn’t mean Pitt will win the ACC Coastal division. Nor does it mean they will land in the top-25 rankings. What it represents would be one more step out of the doldrums.

September 13, 2014

Open Thread: Pitt-FIU

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

A lot of running around this morning. Wife and daughter off on their own thing. Morning soccer for the boy falls to me. Hitting the grocery store (thank goodness Ohio allows growler service in them). Grabbing a quick lunch to take home and settle in for the expected massacre.

The game is on FoxSports1. If you have DirecTV it is channel 219. Not sure on the other services. This means no ESPN3.com coverage, so start digging around for this channel.

If you don’t flick away by the end, you will get to see former coach/player Dave Wannstedt on the FS1 college football show afterwards. Wonder if he’ll have anything to say? I caught a bit of him last week in anticipation of the Michigan State-Oregon game. Eh.

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September 5, 2014

Open Thread: Friday Fun, Pitt-BC

Filed under: Football,Open Thread — Chas @ 4:05 pm

Your basic info.

7p, ESPN

Announcers: Dave Flemming and Danny Kanell. (Boy, I’m going to miss the Friday freakery of the Tessitore effect.)

A lot of pixels used this week — thanks Reed and Justin — on recapping Delaware and looking to this game.

Cautious optimism, tempered by past disappointments. A breeding ground for my specialty, dark cynicism.

Here are the twitter feeds for myself and Justin if you want to follow that way.

I want the win. I want to see some insanely unbridled optimism that would come with it.

 

August 30, 2014

Open Thread: Blue Hens-Panthers

Filed under: Football,Open Thread — Chas @ 10:20 am

I’m trying not to read too much into my bag strap snapping as I approached the press gate — but if Pitt blows this I’m totally using it as an omen of doom in the recap later.

It’s a beautiful, humid day. I swear I won’t be reading anything into Pitt’s conditioning today.

Have to believe Pitt will win this game. In fact, I will shave my goatee/van dyke if they lose. Considering I haven’t shaved it off for over 10 years, this has me putting some, um, skin on the game.

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