November 16, 2016

I hope no one is assuming Duke is a gimmee at this point. Duke is a good team that has noticeably improved from the start of this season to this point. It was expected to be a rebuilding year for Duke, and it has. But there have been improvements in this team as the season progressed

Duke is sitting at 4-6, but it is not the same team that lost to Virginia and barely eked out a win over Army. They upset UNC the week before. They lost by only 3 to Virginia Tech the week before that. And last month they held Louisville and presumptive Heisman winner Lamar Jackson to by far their lowest offensive production of the season in a loss. (Plus, they beat ND which even if ND sucks, is worthy of giving them some props.)


November 15, 2016

Sorting Through Small Sample Size

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:23 am

Two games into the basketball season and Pitt is 2-0. A not completely surprising, but still disappointing tough win over Eastern Michigan and a relatively easy win over Gardner-Webb

In terms of the raw numbers, Pitt is as expected. KenPom ranks them at 52d nationally based on their Adjusted Efficiency Margin (Offensive efficiency – Defensive efficiency). On the offensive side, they are 23d nationally and defensively down at 81st. Their tempo at this point is 181st nationally — right around average.


November 14, 2016

Open Thread: Gardner-Webb–Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 6:37 pm

Sorry about this being last minute. Late day and my turn to pick up my daughter from practice — which naturally ran even later.

The game is on WatchESPN/ACC Network Extra at 7pm.

Hopefully the struggles of the first game were just opening game nerves and working out some kinks. I’m trying to maintain optimism in the first week.

Good to be Dead Wrong

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 7:23 am

And this is yet another reason why I don’t gamble.

I think the last time I was as dead certain of a Pitt loss that wasn’t was the 13-9 game. If we want to go cliche, then “That’s why they play the game.”

It was a day when Pitt went on the national stage — this was a national ABC telecast, not regional — and made a statement.

When James Conner reminded everyone that he is a hell of a running back, and a lot more than just an inspiring story.


November 12, 2016

Open Thread: Death Valley Days

Filed under: Football,Open Thread — Chas @ 10:34 am

3:30 pm, ESPN.

This won’t be the normal open thread intro.

I haven’t had a lot (anything) to say this week about the game today. Mainly due to the fact that I don’t know what to say.

Not in a this team sucks, it always has sucked and always will suck kind of downer. It’s that Pitt right now has a glaring weakness that has not gotten better. That Clemson will completely exploit that weakness. That Clemson is a top team in the country with better players almost across the board to boot. I can’t envision a scenario that leads to a Pitt win.


November 11, 2016

Basketball Is Back

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 8:01 am

Season opens tonight. It’s a game courtesy of the 2K Classic against Eastern Michigan. EMU is coached by a Jim Boeheim disciple, so plenty of 2-3 zone defense looks. Not to worry, though, because if there is one thing Pitt has had little problem with is the Syracuse zone and– Oh. Yeah. That was the other guy.

Okay, well, it’s Eastern Michigan. The… I was going to say Emus simply because it matches, but it is apparently the Eagles. A directional Michigan school in the MAC. How much risk can there be?

Oh. Picked for 1st or 2d in the MAC West division in various preseason pubs. Experience in the backcourt. A MAC Freshman of the year and 1st team All-MAC center.


November 9, 2016

Not the Way to Shorten the Bench

Filed under: Basketball,Injury — Chas @ 8:29 am

Rough day yesterday. Bad news with Crisshawn Clark being announced out for the entire season.

The Pitt sophomore will miss the 2016-17 season with a torn MCL and torn meniscus in his left knee, the same knee in which he suffered an injury that forced him to miss all of last season at the junior college level. First-year Panthers coach Kevin Stallings said Tuesday it’s not known yet whether Clark also suffered a complete tear of his ACL.

“I’m really, really devastated for him because he had worked so hard to get back,” Stallings said. “Any time you see something like that happen, you hate it.”

The injury occurred Monday at Pitt’s practice on a non-contact play. He will undergo surgery at a yet-to-be-determined date to repair ligament and meniscus damage.

In the immediate aftermath of the setback, there’s no set timetable for Clark’s return and any larger impact the injury has on his future his uncertain.

“We’ll see what this means for him going forward,” Stallings said. “It certainly ends his season. What impact it has on his future, we’ll figure that out in due time. I’m disappointed for the team, but really disappointed for Crisshawn.”

The JUCO transfer was expected to be in the rotation at guard. He had a very good outside shot and would have fit well in Coach Stallings offense.


November 7, 2016

Not So Good

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 8:18 am

Sorry about the lack of open thread and Sunday posting. Last minute work stuff pulled me away all morning Saturday. By the time I got home, it was after 2pm. My wife was nice enough to DVR the game for me, which I had failed to do. Otherwise I would have missed out on having a glimmer of hope, before it was extinguished.

I can’t say I was expecting a win, but I wasn’t expecting that second half either.


November 4, 2016

To be fair, he did address it, but declared the topic dead to him going forward.

There was a laughable attempt to link Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi to the vacant Purdue job early in the week. It wasn’t by the media. Their only reference to Purdue was that reportedly the powers that be at Purdue were looking to go big on the hire and willing to make a financial commitment.

Basically, boilerplate stuff from the Boilermakers.


November 3, 2016

Prepping for Miami

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 7:26 am

Good history with Miami is not something that can be recalled vividly. Since 1984, Pitt is 2-17 against the Hurricanes. With many, many blowouts. 11 of the losses by 20 points or more.

Miami has been in something of a talespin since their last-minute loss to FSU. Losing four straight. Mark Richt is having Al Golden-level success in his first season. On the flip side, you could say they are a lot like Pitt. Beating the teams they should beat, and losing to the better teams (and Notre Dame). Their losses are to VT, UNC, FSU and ND.


November 1, 2016

Nagging Narduzzi

Filed under: Football,Media — Chas @ 7:40 am

Pitt Head Coach Pat Narduzzi got a bit animated on the sidelines during the VT-Pitt game last Thursday. Seemed that the frustration with the secondary and that as a defensive-minded coach, calls for pass interference were going against only the defense, were really starting to bother him.

I didn’t really care about that part. Jim Harbaugh stalks the sideline like a maniac and goes bug-eyed on an official at the drop of a hat. You can see maniacal moments from coaches from the pros down to Pop Warner. When you are winning — Harbaugh — it’s the passion that is part of the key to your success. When you aren’t — Pelini — it’s being unable to control your emotions.


October 31, 2016

Clearing Basketball Tabs

Filed under: ACC,Basketball,Conference — Chas @ 7:40 am

The season is less than 2 weeks away. ACC Media Day. Low expectations from without, higher from within. Time to catch up on some things. And I’m not even getting to recruiting in this post.

ACC Media Day was last week, and Pitt ended up as the preseason pick to finish 12th.


October 28, 2016

Pass (Un)Happy

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 7:40 am

Another game, another loss because secondary was torched.

Tech’s emphasis on testing Pittsburgh with deep passes was a matter of necessity, in Hokies coach Justin Fuente’s opinion.

“They don’t give you a whole lot of choice with the way they play,” Fuente said. “The amount of people in the box, the leverages, how compact they are in there. I thought our guys accepted the challenge. They knew that going in. It certainly wasn’t a surprise.”

And Pitt fans knew it coming into the game. The only question would be how many they would get. Give VT’s QB, Jerod Evans a lot of credit. He didn’t miss too many shots. He put the ball where the receivers at least had a chance.


October 27, 2016

Sorry about the week off. I was out of town on business and then meetings that took up way more time than anticipated. Got back late last night, and it is right back to everything else. Tonight it is Virginia Tech coming to Heinz Field for the big Thursday night ACC game.

As is tradition, the guys at The Key Play and I exchanged questions about the respective programs ahead of the game. You can find my answers to Joey’s questions here.


October 21, 2016

ACC Matchups During the Bye Week

Filed under: ACC,Conference,Football — Steven Callahan @ 6:07 am

Week 8 of the college football season is coming up and the University of Pittsburgh Panthers are getting a much needed week off. While the Panthers are enjoying their only bye week of the season, there are still a few interesting games being played in the ACC. Some of these games can have huge impact on Pitt’s season, so the fans are still going to have a lot of interesting football to watch this week even without their favorite team playing.

With Virginia Tech rolling over Miami last night, the chances of full Coastal Chaos are slightly diminished. Miami is now 1-3 in the division with three straight losses, and at this point are only looking to make a bowl game. Virginia Tech now sits upon the top of the Coastal with the head-to-head edge over North Carolina and no losses in the division. The game at Heinz Field next Thursday could be their de facto clincher, as their remaining ACC games are at Duke, Georgia Tech and Virginia.

The other three ACC games played this week will all take place on Saturday afternoon. The most important of these three games is the matchup between the North Carolina Tar Heels and Virginia Cavaliers. The Tar Heels are tied with Virginia Tech at the top of the Coastal Division. Since Pitt lost a very close game to North Carolina earlier this season, they can only advance to the ACC Championship Game by finishing the season with a better record than the Tar Heels. North Carolina has to lose at least one more game this season if Pitt wants to win the division, so it might as well happen this week against Virginia. The Cavaliers are not a very good football team, so it will take a great performance to knock off North Carolina. It is worth noting that North Carolina has only two wins by double digits this season. As much as they were preseason darlings, they have not been that consistent.

The other two ACC games this week are among teams in the Atlantic Division, so they do not have that much impact on the Pitt Panthers. The game between Syracuse and Boston College has very little impact on the entire conference since both teams are sitting at the bottom of the ACC standings. NC State will also be going on the road to face Louisville this Saturday. While it does not directly alter Pitt’s season, fans should be rooting for a Louisville victory. The ACC will look like a much stronger conference if they have two teams in the top 10 of the rankings. This can’t happen if Louisville, led by Florida native Lamar Jackson, loses to NC State. A strong conference will give Pitt a much better bowl game if they are unable to win the Conference Championship game.

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