May 3, 2016

Basketball Notes, 5/3

Filed under: Basketball,Players,Prognostications — Chas @ 7:45 am

It’s the time for recruiting. Coach Kevin Stallings have put out plenty of offers. For transfers, grad transfers, still deciding kids in the 2016 class, and especially kids for the 2017 recruiting class.  Big men, guards, shooters, forwards. They have been all over the place. Nothing close to concrete. Makes it kind of difficult to get a handle on what they are looking for — other than players. Now it just comes down to landing some.

On media related news, Paul Zeise is leaving the Pitt basketball beat for the Post-Gazette. He’s been moved up to sports columnist/opinionator. Zeise was a very good beat writer first for Pitt football and then basketball. He’s been grinding for years on that side and has raised his profile on the general sports side for the last few years via radio work. It’s a well-earned promotion.


August 26, 2015

Fan Fest was last night, which signals the end of training camp. Practices now, are ostensibly about getting ready for the first opponent. While most of college football begins this weekend. Pitt has an extra week.

In a way this is good. As eager as I am for Pitt’s season to start. To make the trips to Pittsburgh and see my friends. It is the end of summer, and this extra weekend allowed me to avoid major screw-ups because I forgot when Pitt’s season begins and scheduled other things. For example, I don’t have to disappoint my daughter by cancelling at the last minute on a nighttime 5K we are doing this Saturday (only downside is watching college football all day without drinking).


July 25, 2015

Whether it is the schedule or the learning curve of a first-time head coach or the voluminous questions on the defensive side of the ball, the prognostications that can be found in the numerous preview guides — and the ACC pre-season media poll — have not exactly been raising expectations for Pitt’s upcoming season.

Let’s take a look at the various prognostications.


February 24, 2015

It has been a couple decades since Pitt the waning days of the college basketball season wondering if they did/will/can do enough to make the NCAA Tournament. It has been rather straight forward for Pitt. Either they were clearly good enough that the issue was seeding. Or the Panthers were simply bad and not in the conversation. As such, the understanding of the bubble can be a bit confusing.

So, to simplify things, I’m going to put a little primer on Pitt’s situation. It’s not all encompassing, but it hits the key point.


February 10, 2015




Oh, you want more detail?

Mostly slim.


July 25, 2014

That Cautious Optimism

Filed under: Football,Prognostications — Chas @ 9:11 am

Tyler Boyd got left off the  pre-season 1st team All-ACC squad. For what it’s worth, Phil Steele did the same in his annual preview guide. I wonder how much of that is a “disrespecting” of Boyd or a belief that his numbers will drop with increased focus and Chad Voytik at QB. Either way, it isn’t a huge thing beyond additional motivation. As should be the fact that no Pitt players outside of Boyd were even in the second team.

You would think that a team that apparently has only one “sure” star player coming into the season wouldn’t have much in the way of expectations.

And yet, there seems to be a lot of positive views to Pitt. The two deepest previews of college teams have surprisingly upbeat takes. The ones that look at the make-up of the squad and the deeper numbers like where Pitt is heading.


May 29, 2014

Happy National Pitt Networking Day.  I’ll be hitting the Cleveland one after work. Hope some of the Northeast Ohio readers make a showing.

The ACC will be supposedly be announcing something “big and breaking” today. Fingers crossed its the announcement of Bojangles coming to Pittsburgh.*


April 11, 2014

Is there anything more absurd than posting a top-25 list for the next season within minutes or hours of the final game of the season? Yes. Compiling a list of the rankings to see where your team fits. I’m nothing if not ridiculous so here are the ones to date.

Gary Parrish at CBS Sports had his out minutes after the UConn-Kentucky game ended. Pitt got slotted in there despite the departures of Lamar Patterson and Talib Zanna at #23.

After that Pitt tends to get lumped in with others who may crack the polls but not ready to be ranked before the season begins.


August 23, 2013

I know, I know. College football starts in less than a week. In nine days Pitt’s season begins. But yesterday was a rather busy day for basketball stuff so it’s time to put it out there along with some other things in the tabs.

In player news, Rutgers transfer Derrick Randall got NCAA clearance for immediate eligibility at Pitt. This was considered a mere formality since other Rutgers transfershad already been granted immediate eligibility.

“It obviously gives us a big body, an experienced guy,” Dixon said. “We thought he could be a really valuable addition, especially after losing a guy in March.”

With center Steven Adams in NBA, Pitt planned to use power forward Talib Zanna, a 6-9 senior, in the post. Randall, a center or power forward, averaged 2.1 points and 1.5 rebounds as a sophomore.

“He didn’t put up big numbers, but I think he has some strength,” Dixon said. “He could be very good defensively, and he could be a very good rebounder. It gives us flexibility. It gives us the possibility of having five big guys and the versatility to go small or big.”

Randall is 6-8, 250 pounds. No one is expecting him to be a huge difference maker, but a good role player. He gives Pitt some needed depth inside for the next two years. Randall is a low-risk, moderate-reward pick-up.


July 22, 2013

Quick! Which division is Pitt in? Atlantic? Coastal? Coastal? Atlantic? Bzzzzp! Time’s up.

The correct answer is… (flips to preview guide)  Coastal. Yes, of course. Coastal. Knew it all the time. Just like I already know who is in what division without question.

Okay, it’s going to take a while. But if I can learn to type Krzyzewski without double-checking I can master this.

Okay, the ACC media made their picks for the Atlantic and Coastal Divisions.

Pitt was placed in a solid fifth in the Coastal Division.


October 11, 2012

The Edge of Basketball

Filed under: Basketball,Players,Prognostications — Chas @ 8:33 am

Holy crap, today is Pitt’s local media day. Tomorrow night is the midnight madness event. The season is looming, and for some, possibly taking on greater importance with the continuing struggles of the football team (and for those who are total Pittsburgh sports loyalists, the NHL lockout, the Pirates, and maybe even the Steelers). Guess it’s time for some links.

Big East schedules — for one final season — evaluated. Pitt, unsurprisingly, gets a low score from ESPN. That’s okay. Pitt fans also gave it a low score.

Toughest: NIT Season Tip-Off (Nov. 12-23)
Next-toughest: Detroit (Dec. 1)
The rest: Mount St. Mary’s (Nov. 9), Fordham (Nov. 12), Oakland (Nov. 17), Howard (Nov. 27), vs. Duquesne (Dec. 5 at Consol Energy Center), North Florida (Dec. 8), Bethune Cookman (Dec. 15), Delaware State (Dec. 19), Kennesaw State (Dec. 23)
Toughness scale: 3 — Yikes. This is a whole lotta meh for the Panthers. The NIT will help. Assuming they beat Fordham and/or Robert Morris or Lehigh (the latter of which won’t be easy), a trip to MSG will likely produce a matchup with Michigan and either Virginia or Kansas State. The rest is pretty grim, but then again so was Pitt last season. It might be not be a bad way to go about the season.

The Lehigh game will be the obstacle. Then it is Michigan under John Beilein. The idea of facing a Beilein team always terrifies me. Simply because you never know if their 3-point shooting will be hot or not. You know they will bomb away. You just don’t know what kind of shooting night it will be.


June 4, 2012

Some Pitt Previewing

Filed under: Football,Prognostications — Chas @ 10:50 am

The preview guides are coming! The preview guides are coming!

I’ve cut back on what I actually buy in recent years (as oppose to read, scan, peruse at the local B&N). Generally sticking to the Phil Steele and Sporting News previews. I was nearly tempted to buy the Lindy’s guide this year, simply because they did this.

[Related, this puff-piece on Todd Graham energizing the ASU football program is interesting only because it mirrors just about every puff-piece we read last year with Graham at Pitt. Right down to (publicly) saying nice things about the old staff and bringing energy to a fanbase that was growing apathetic.]

Phil Steele came out this past week. After years of picking Pitt to win the Big East, Steele drops them down to 4th. Amusingly/frustratingly enough, he seems to indicate that running his simulations he could envision Pitt winning the Big East. He even lists Pitt as the 15th team on his “Most Improved List,” to suggest higher expectations for a 6-7 team. But burned enough times he’s not taking that chance. Instead he’s going out on a limb with another perennial underachiever: USF. Er, what?


October 13, 2011

Basketball Gets Closer

Filed under: Basketball,Players,Prognostications — Chas @ 1:10 pm

Today was Pitt’s Basketball Media Day. If you want to see the Jamie Dixon opening presser, here it is.

College basketball officially gets underway at midnight Friday/Saturday. No midnight madness events for Pitt. As the practices loom, it is time for more preseason rankings and previews. Time to hit the links.

NBC’s Mike Miller puts Pitt at #10 in his preseason rankings. So do Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish at The CBS rankings have 4 Big East teams in the top-10. All four happen to be football schools. Go figure.

Former ND player and their current color guy, Jordan Cornette, does an interview to preview the Big East. Not a lot regarding Pitt, until it comes to the issue of toughest place to play.

Going into the Oakland Zoo at Pittsburgh, their fans are nuts. You’re warming up before a game, and they know your little sister’s name, they know your ex-girlfriend from eight years ago, they know your mother’s maiden name. Those Pittsburgh fans are brutal, but they make it a fun environment. And Pittsburgh plays so much better at home then other teams in the country.

And thanks to Jeff Eisenberg for the link for Twitter.


February 16, 2011

Simply because the home-and-home games with the Bulls left on the schedule are the easiest. This team hasn’t missed on that all season, and they can’t afford to now. The other four games on the road at St. John’s and Louisville and at home against WVU and ‘Nova are all toss-ups in my mind. Pitt may be favored in them, but those are all going to be tough games.

The Tournament is getting closer and Pitt is looking better and better for a #1 seed (possibly even the overall No. 1).

The Panthers know how important a No. 1 seed is for NCAA tournament success. They advanced to the Elite Eight two years ago when seeded No. 1 in the East Region and came tantalizingly close to the Final Four before losing to Villanova.

“I think it’s very important,” senior forward Gilbert Brown said. “Having that No. 1 seed brings a confidence and swagger, but it also makes you more focused because everyone is out to get you. Everyone is coming for us and bringing their best game. If we can maintain the way we’re playing we’ll get it, and it will definitely benefit us in the long run.”

Pitt has some tough remaining games on the schedule, but if the Panthers can finish the regular season 4-2 or better they will likely earn a No. 1 seed. The Big East regular-season champion has earned one of the four No. 1 seeds the past two seasons and in three of the past five.

I really don’t see the team that wins the Big East regular season being snubbed for a No. 1 seed. It’s been the toughest conference all season, so it would be hard for the selection committee to say that the best team in the best conference is unworthy of a No. 1 seed.


February 14, 2011

There’s a rhythm to certain things. Especially in the media and debating polls. After the Number One team loses.

In a situation like this weekend where Ohio State lost a close one at Wisconsin — where no road team wins. You get the arguments that the No. 1 team, maybe shouldn’t fall just because they lost. Especially when you look at where and how they lost. You have the debate about the 2 and 3 teams. Maybe the No. 4 team, but that seems too far a reach. Especially since it would mean dropping the No. 1 team all the way to No. 4.

In particular with Pitt, and the initial reaction to the win on Saturday. Everyone acknowledges that it was a great win for Pitt. A tough road win, against a top-10 team in the toughest conference. Done without Pitt’s leading scorer. But the debate kind of leaves Pitt out of the discussion, for vague reasons. Whether it is tired, inaccurate claim that Pitt lacks sufficient offense, or another team is just playing so much better than everyone else right now (Texas), or another is has the most NBA-potential talent and depth (Kansas), or that the other has the best NBA prospect (Ohio State).


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