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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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January 31, 2015

Oy.

Aron Nwankwo is out with a torn labrum. Technically it isn’t season ending, but it is probably darn close. That sucks.

Chris Jones will not start. Instead Josh Newkirk will get the start. Maybe switching their places will jump start both of their shooting. Both have been lousy lately. I know, make your own shuffling deck chairs jokes.

This has been a rough season. Everyone’s more than a little salty at this point.

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January 27, 2015

For us anyways. Buzz Williams made the surprising jump to VT last spring. As well as VT making the surprising financial commitment to him. As tough and miserable as his Marquette teams have made Pitt at times, he will always hold a special place in my heart for pissing off WVU fans by dancing a bit to “Country Roads” after knocking off the Hoopies.

7pm on ESPNU. I’m just getting home in time.

Artis and Young have been relatively consistent offensively. Let’s see if more than one guard can help with the offense tonight.

January 25, 2015

Open Thread: Louisville-Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 2:55 pm

CBS on a Sunday at 4pm.

It’s kind of simple. Whichever team can shoot from outside today will win. I hate typing this, but Pitt needs to drain 3s to win this game.

Both teams struggle with scoring. While Louisville has more size inside and guys who can attack the basket, they don’t plain just don’t do it enough. Preferring to jack up shots.

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January 19, 2015

Open Thread of Doom: Pitt-Duke

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 6:51 pm

I want to be optimistic. Really. Just can’t be dishonest about the chances tonight, so I’m going with gallows humor.

Duke is favored by nearly 15 points. It is the start of the brutal gauntlet of ACC games, and Pitt struggled through the easier portion. This is on the road at Cameron. Against a top-10 (15?) team.

Could Pitt pull an upset? Sure. Do I really believe it could happen. Not after watching the way the Blue Devils shut down Louisville on Saturday.7pm start. Big Monday ESPN game. Pitt hasn’t exactly played up to an opponent this year, would love to see this change the script.

January 17, 2015

Open Thread: GT-Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 2:31 pm

The win over FSU was needed. Seeing Aron Philips-Nwankwo be the sparkplug was just plain positive energy. Here’s a flashback to his first mention on this site, nearly 5 years ago.

Today it is Georgia Tech. The Yellowjackets are 0-4 in the ACC, but they are fully capable of making this a miserable game for Pitt. They have all been close losses for GT, but still losses.

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January 14, 2015

Open Thread: FSU-Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 6:24 pm

I hate that watching Pitt basketball games feel like a chore. Especially in mid-January. But it really feels that way at the moment. And not simply because I’m getting old and the game doesn’t start until 9pm.

For the most part, Pitt teams under Jamie Dixon have been — and I hate to go cliche here — “better than the sum of their parts.” They have been teams that overachieve. No one player is so much better than everyone else. Think about all those teams over the last 10+ years and how few individual players made 1st team Big East. They went out there and were so cohesive. They fed off of each other. The execution was so consistent.

This is not that kind of team. If anything, since the new year, this group has been worse than they should.

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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.

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January 6, 2015

Open Thread: Pitt-BC

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 3:30 pm

Hope everyone is staying warm and safe. Trying to reestablish the rhythms of kids going back to school with all of the other things after winter break. Coupled with the perfect timing of bad weather and a wife that waited until now to catch some bug to lay her out. And of course, we are all coming off a lousy weekend for sports in Pittsburgh.

So, tonight is a kind-of-late weekday game. Pitt at Boston College at 9pm. The game is all over the RSNs — Root, NESN, YES, CSN, plenty of the FoxSports and ESPN3.com.

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