August 7, 2014

Maui Bracket Set

Filed under: Basketball,Non-con,Schedule — Chas @ 6:50 am

The bracket was released for the 2014 Maui Invitational Classic. Since Pitt will get there a little early to play Hawaii, they get an extra game. Pitt gets to start it out against the host — Chaminade. Assuming no upset (yes, yes, we all know: 1982. Virginia. Ralph Sampson. Yada, yada, yada.), Pitt moves on to face BYU or SDSU in the semis. Given the recent past, I would expect it to be SDSU.

I’m not sure if it is just a few people getting negative or just a conditioning thing, but I actually saw some complaints about Pitt’s bracket on Twitter and message boards. Mainly that it is a negative to have the game against Chaminade because it hurts the RPI. And a little unfamiliarity/little too casual in dismissing a team like SDSU. The Aztecs have been one of the best teams in the Mountain West. They were a #4 seed last year, going out in the Sweet Sixteen to Arizona. Odds are, if it is Pitt-SDSU in the semis, SDSU will be considered the favorite.


July 9, 2014

At Last, The Completed Non-Con

Filed under: Basketball,Non-con,Schedule — Chas @ 6:43 am

I’m back. A bit of traveling for the holiday week(end). Try to get back into things Monday night and the storm that ripped through our area knocked the power out for a good 12 hours or so. The power outage wasn’t the worst — except to my 12-year old daughter who found her tablet useless without wi-fi. Especially since it happened at night and we were able to sleep through half of it.

The worry was all the contents of the fridge and freezer. Well, it was the worry of my wife. Within the first hour of the outage, she’s ready to declare everything in the fridge is doomed. Followed by the ice cream in the freezer. By the morning, she’s planning to toss everything from the freezer. Lose power for more than 24 hours and she is considering a new refrigerator, because who knows what may linger in the old one.

Keep in mind that the minute we lose power, she all but padlocks the doors to the fridge so none of the precious remaining cold escapes.

My only concern was how soon the water from the storm would get into the ground and into our basement. Every time there’s an outage I think about how I really need a battery back-up for the sump pump. And every time the power comes back I put off the move.



June 11, 2014

Pitt Has That Final Home Date

Filed under: Basketball,Non-con,Schedule — Chas @ 7:22 am

Pitt tends to wait until August to put out its basketball schedule. Most of us rely on piecing together the non-con by leaks and releases from other schools.

As you may recall, Pitt posted a need for a home game at the end of 2014.

The lucky team that accepted was  Florida Gulf Coast University.

FGCU has added a travel addition to its non-conference schedule, visiting Pittsburgh on Tuesday, Dec. 30, to go along with a previously announced game at Xavier on Dec. 28, FGCU athletic director Ken Kavanagh said today.

With 31 total games permitted each season, FGCU and other A-Sun schools have 17 non-conference games to find. Xavier, which is paying FGCU $95,000 with other compensation for the one-time game, and Pittsburgh are one-year deals. Schools can accept up to four “guarantee” games, although FGCU is planning to cut that number to three this season.

Have to imagine Pitt is paying close to the same amount for that game. Kind of a shrewd scheduling by FGCU to put those road games back-to-back. An extra night in a hotel instead of an additional flight.

May 30, 2014

One More Gametime Set

Filed under: Football,Non-con,Schedule — Chas @ 7:38 am

Be honest. You really weren’t sure that the road game at FIU would be shown anywhere but on some pirated stream. Instead, it will be a game on FoxSports 1. Yes, they are still a real channel despite airing Big East basketball games. A noon game, but it counts.

To remind every one, this is FIU. They are not the school that fired Carl Pelini for alleged drug use or whatever the allegations now are. That’s FAU. No, FIU is the school that had rising coaching star Mario Cristobal and inexplicably fired him after a rebuilding year to eventually hire… Ron Turner.


May 21, 2014

Credit and curses to J.D. for noting this site. It’s a Craiglist or want ads for basketball games. Rather than individually calling each school, you can post your wants and needs for a game. Specify the date and/or the kind of opponent you want and hope someone gets back to you on this.

For example, UNC-Charlotte posted this gem: “Looking to buy a game for the opener. Competitive $$$$ – RPI 200 and below. Please call or email. Thanks.” They want a guarantee game with an opponent that won’t ding their RPI too much.

That “200 RPI or better” caveat is very common in the ads for a lot of major conference and high mid-majors looking for guarantee games.

Then there are the really sad ones. The ones looking to be bought. Like Alabama A&M looking to have practically their entire non-con on the road:

Hello Coaches! I hope you all enjoyed Dallas as well as the very exiting NCAA Tournament. We are looking for some games to fill our buy dates. They are as follows: Nov. 17, 21, 22, 23, 24, 29, Dec. 14,-23, Dec 29-30. Please help us out in this endeavor. Thanks Coaches!

It’s never been easy, but it is a different kind of rough being a player for a HBCU these days.

Pitt has posted their remaining need:


As you can see, Pitt is looking to fill a final home game right before the New Year. Pitt has a bunch of challenging road/neutral site games. And like many other programs on the list, they need a home game to fill that has to start at home.

So who wants to spend the rest of their day coming through the list to find Pitt a game?

May 1, 2014

Well, the rumor this morning was that Pitt might get Ohio State. Really, though, that didn’t make sense since Pitt hosted last year and so did Ohio State. Pitt had to be going on the road for the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. My main concern was another dog game where Pitt ends up with Rutgers.

Instead Pitt gets a team that has a blue-blood reputation and a still hateable coach in Tom Crean.

The refurbished ACC and Big Ten will stage some high-profile matchups in their annual challenge series in the coming season, highlighted by national championship contenders Duke and Wisconsin clashing in Madison on the second night of the event.

In other notable matchups, Syracuse will visit Michigan, Ohio State will travel to Louisville, Indiana will host Pittburgh and North Carolina will welcome Iowa to Chapel Hill, sources confirmed to Maryland, which left the ACC at the end of this past season to join the Big Ten, will face longtime rival Virginia to College Park.

Pitt’s non-con schedule is definitely taking a step up this year. With Indiana (who should at least be a fringe NCAA Tournament team) on the road and the Maui Classic. Plus you know Coach Jamie Dixon will find a game in NYC or nearby as he likes to do.

The downside is that the home non-con will probably remain lackluster with that many neutral court and a solid road opponent.

December 17, 2013

Not Sweating the Non-Con

Filed under: Basketball,Non-con,Schedule — Chas @ 7:21 am

I’ll understand if you were wringing your hands over Pitt’s non-con schedule again after this past weekend. The non-con has not gotten better looking. Not after Cinci went down big to Xavier. Penn State showed why it doesn’t get basketball respect after losing to Princeton at home — by blowing an 18 point lead with 6:34 left. Duquesne lost to Robert Morris. Heck, Fresno State and Albany lost over the weekend.

So no matter what computer metric you use (KenPom, RPI, Sagarin…), Pitt’s non-con strength of schedule is down near the bottom.

It’s the reason why Pitt is still unranked despite piling up a 10-0 record. Stanford is presently the best win, and while nice, provides no boost. And thanks to getting blown out by Xavier, the same can be said for today’s game with Cinci as far as potential impact — assuming a win.


November 6, 2013

So this is a nice addition to the future football schedule.

Pitt and Oklahoma State will play a home-and-home football series during the 2016 and 2017 seasons, the schools announced today.

On Sept. 17, 2016, the Panthers will play at Oklahoma State in Boone Pickens Stadium.

The Cowboys will visit Heinz Field in Pittsburgh the following season on Sept. 16, 2017.

I do like that the dates of the games are 9/17/16 and 9/16/17. But then I’m a little tired and at this point easily bemused.



September 13, 2013

Some accumulated links to make it worth doing a post, before sundown and fasting begins.

On the recruiting front, Pitt is yet to officially have any commits for the 2014 class. So they make the list of teams “in trouble” with their recruiting class.

The Panthers have yet to land a commitment in the Class of 2014, and the roster next season is hardly imposing. Dixon will lose wing Lamar Patterson and big man Talib Zanna. It looks as though Pittsburgh is the favorite to land former Vanderbilt forward Sheldon Jeter, who transferred to Polk Community College. However, Dixon could also use another wing (i.e. Isaiah Whitehead) and a big man such as Josh Martin or Gary Clark.

Also on the list of “in trouble,” Michigan State, Michigan, Indiana, Gonzaga and UConn. So it isn’t really about “in trouble” so much as trying to land some very good players who aren’t deciding right away.


August 2, 2013

[Ed. Note: Hosting company had network problems today. I tried to publish this just as it went down.]

As we all know, one of the way Penn State did their best not to play Pitt was to claim they simply could not “afford” to lock into a home-and-home series. They needed at least a 3-for-2 deal or some other arrangement to make it clear that they were the alpha dog get enough home games. Pitt never flinched in holding firm against that. Not Pederson. Not Long. Wasn’t going to happen.

Now WVU works to find non-con games. They are looking to set up regional games (cheaper travel and games their fans might actually care to see) and neutral site games.

Holgorsen speaks excitedly and openly about other possibilities he’d like to make realities to fit his vision and to position his team for a spot in the playoff.

I’d be in favor of us and Pitt playing once in Pittsburgh (at Heinz Field) because it’s a big venue and because we’d have more people than they would,” Holgorsen said. “Us and Penn State in Philadelphia. If you can do a home-and-home, great. If you can’t, then do one game in a bigger venue. The home-and-home with (Virginia) Tech was already announced. A home-and-home with Virginia, or a neutral-site game with Virginia in (Washington, D.C.)?”

[Emphasis added.]


July 25, 2013

Lehigh Returns

Filed under: Basketball,Non-con,Schedule — Chas @ 6:53 am

The trickle of non-con scheduling continues. As part of the Legends Classic that Pitt will play at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, they will also get a couple home games that are ostensibly part of the tournament. One of those teams will be Lehigh.

Lehigh University’s men’s basketball team was chosen to be a part of the 2013 Legends Classic and will play road games against the University of Houston on Nov. 17 and University of Pittsburgh on Nov. 20.

Last year Pitt played Lehigh at the Pete as part of the NIT Season Tip-Off, and it went so well they decided to do it again. The game actually gets some national run as it will be aired on ESPNU that Wednesday. Giving Pitt a chance to get to .500 against the Mountain Hawks.

July 17, 2013

Just some of the topics in the basketball notes.

Still no official word on the full men’s basketball schedule. Typical I know, none of the major men’s basketball programs have announced a full schedule yet. And for most, not even the non-con. Instead there are the trickles. Like ESPN announcing some of their non-con tournaments. Including the Legends Classic that features Pitt at the Barclays Center:

Nov. 25: Pittsburgh vs. Texas Tech (7:30 p.m., ESPN2); Stanford vs. Houston (9:30, ESPN2)

Nov. 26: Consolation game (7 p.m., ESPN3); Championship game (9:30, ESPNU)

If this goes as hoped — and 5 of the 6 pundits ESPN listed for this think so — Pitt will play Stanford on Tuesday night for the Championship. Important because Stanford is the only other program (aside from Pitt) that will have any expectation of being an NCAA Tournament team. Not to mention being on ESPNU beats being an internet broadcast every time.


June 6, 2013

Pitt was already scheduled to play in Brooklyn on November 25 and 26 as part of the Legends Classic. Now Pitt will add a trip to Madison Square Garden.

The University of Pittsburgh basketball team will play Cincinnati as part of the 2013 Jimmy V Classic doubleheader scheduled for Tuesday, December 17 at New York’s Madison Square Garden, ESPN announced on Wednesday. The Pitt-Cincinnati contest will be played at 7 p.m. ET as part of a doubleheader that will be followed by a Florida-Memphis matchup at 9 p.m. ET. Both contests will be televised on ESPN.

In a way it is something of a coup for the newly named American to stick two teams in this situation. Especially in Madison Square Garden where the basketball-centric Big East still considers it their Tournament home.


May 24, 2013

Enjoy the Weekend

Filed under: Football,Non-con,Schedule — Chas @ 4:22 pm

I’ll try to post over the weekend — here’s hoping that there won’t be any bad news necessitating it.

But heading into the weekend, let’s check in with West Virginia football scheduling plans.

The move to the Big 12 costs West Virginia its rivalry game with Pittsburgh, and the Mountaineers only have Maryland remaining as a natural non-league rival, and that could end when the Terrapins may the questionable move to the Big 10.

“I would love to get Pitt back on the schedule, I would love to get (Virginia) Tech back on the schedule, I would to get UVa back on the schedule, another school that we used to play a lot, and even Penn State,” [WVU AD Oliver] Luck said. “Is that possible? Well, it takes two to tango, but I think the good news is we will see some stronger non-conference schedules as we go forward.”

The wonderful thing about the article is how it is completely couched in trying to build a schedule for the future college football playoff. Getting the right strength of schedule and all that. Oliver Luck — and of course the writer of the piece — doesn’t even mention the travel costs for WVU as an issue. No not that. That isn’t at all the point.


May 8, 2013

Okay, so as the match-ups for the ACC-Big Ten Challenge were being leaked this morning, it became clear that Pitt wasn’t going to land one of the heavyweights from the B1G. That’s not surprising. Pitt will not be considered in the preseason as one of the top 5 or 6 teams in the ACC. So, Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan St., Ohio St. and Indiana weren’t going to be likely opponents. Among the best of the rest there would have been Iowa, Illinois and Purdue. But Iowa and Purdue got leaked and their opponents were not Pitt.

So, more and more likely it was going to be a Pennsylvania battle.

And indeed it will be. Penn State comes to the Pete on Tuesday, December 3.

Now the Nits will be better than they were this past year. They have a bunch of decent players coming back from injury, including Tim Frazier.

But, from helping the overall strength of Pitt’s non-con schedule it won’t do much.  So that’s the bad news. Also John Johnson won’t be eligible to play for Penn State for that game.

I’m still relatively happy with the game. There really was no reason for Pitt and Penn State to stop playing basketball. Other than the fact that Penn State was really tired of being embarrassed. Hopefully this will be the spark to renew this as an annual game.

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