Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Officially Moved

The blog has moved to 

Good Day

I've moved on to bigger and better things

In this blog's humble beginnings, well who am I kidding this blog was never humble, I wrote game recaps and posted them as Facebook notes.  It seemed like a fun way to enjoy my senior year.  I lived about 3 blocks from the Pete so I could race home, shoot the breeze with the roommates and then go write about what I just saw.  And I'd like to think I had about 10 loyal readers, and then another 10 or so that would occasionally look at them if they saw them on their news feed.

Now, was there really a point to write to only twenty people, I think so, but I decided to try and branch out.  Some people said other people would want to read my thoughts, so created this blog.  I began posting recaps on here and not on facebook.   The blog also gave me the ability to post pictures and links and photoshops that facebook didn't have.  The postings became more colorful to say the least.
I'm not sure if my readership declined because they were more easily accessible there or not, but I needed to make the transition anyway.  Manifest destiny bitches.

I tried pimping the blog on some more well-known Pitt blogs like www.pittblather.com and I got a few encouraging comments from the regular commenters there after the owner of the site linked to me in one of his posts.

But still, not a lot of readers.  So I sold my soul to the twitter devil.  As defense for my reliance on the Internet, I would say, "I may use Facebook and YouTube and whatever a lot, but at least I don't have a f*ckin twitter."  I thought it was the dumbest idea ever.  I don't need to know what famous people are doing, and why would I care what my friends were doing.  I already get enough of them on Facebook or in actual real life.  Welp, can't say that anymore.  However, the most important aspect of twitter for me is to get the word out.  So I got a twitter for that.
Well that and a desire to play the #PaulMartinPowerball contest they have at the Pensblog.  Seriously, every night you guess a time you think Paul Martin is gonna score.  Closest to the actual time wins money.  If he doesn't score then the pot goes up.   The problem is that Paul Martin can't score to save his life.  The pot has gone from $5 to now $145.  

So I've started tweeting my recaps with hash tags like #hailtopitt and what not.  Only 11 followers right now but apparently some wvu fan followed me after I wrote about the last backyard brawl.  Honestly I did nothing but rip on them in that post, and he hit follow.  It almost makes you think maybe not all...nope wvu still sucks.

I really don't care to follow people.  Right now I'm basically only following a few friends and some news sources for the Pens, but it appears I'll have to do more if I want people to ever see these tweets and thus read the blog.

Commence whoring myself out to all Pitt fans on twitter.
If you enjoy Pitt basketball, and are on twitter, I'm going to find you, and follow the shit out of you.

Allow Breaking Benjamin to explain.

I've also edited the info of all the YouTube videos I've posted of Pitt basketball over the past four years to now include links to this blog and my twitter.

Hey anything I can do to spread the word.

So is there even a reason for this post?  It's officially the first post that doesn't recap a game.  The answer is yes.

When I was making this blog, I picked the name iampittbasketball because it was an inside joke with my friends to say that WERE stuff, with emphasis on the were.
Example:
To a friend who's quite skilled with computers:  Yeah well you ARE the Internet
To a friend who's a missionary.  You ARE Focus
And mine was always "You ARE Pitt Basketball"  Hence the name.

The downside of this is that it's not very easy to remember.  When I was looking for a catchy name for the blog, I just kept JO's Basketball blog as default.  Now that I have found a kickass name in View From The Zoo, it made sense to change the url so that it matched.  The only problem is I'm not sure if there were any readers I'm no longer in contact with that bookmarked the site long ago as iampittbasketball.  

Therefore I've created a new blog at www.viewfromthezoo.blogspot.com.

The great thing about blogger is that you can import old posts from another blog into your new blog, so when you click on that link it'll look exactly like this one does except with the new url and title and the lack of this post.  And it only took me like 45 minutes to format all the colors and background and gadgets link text color and all that other crazy shit so that it looks the same.

In conclusion I wanted to change the blog url so that it was something that was easier to remember and matched the blog title and my twitter handle.  But I didn't want to delete this blog's url in case some people had bookmarked it.

Could I have just told you that last paragraph and skipped everything before it?  Probably.
Will I probably make another post and say exactly that?
Indeed.
But I just wrote a 16 page paper in 3 hours tonight so I was in a writing mood.  And 16 pages for me is a lot.  I'm a friggin high school math teacher for crying out loud.

Hail to Pitt for the last time on this blog,
JO


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Game 29 The Race for the Losing Record Continues Pitt 54 Louisville 57

Dixon is the worst late game coach I've ever seen in my entire life.

Moore had another big game with 16 points, but I'm just going to talk about the last 90 seconds.

Pitt turned it over 19 times, but anyway.  Pitt was down 53-48 with the ball.  Robinson got an offensive rebound and was flagrant fouled by Dieng.  Two shots and the ball.  Time to make a comeback.
Me to my Dad: "I bet he misses both and they turn it over."

Clank

Clank

Pitt loses the ball turnover, no points on the trip.

I hate being right.

After a Louisville miss, Woodall, who was 0-8 at that point hits a jumper from the right elbow, and Bill Raftery calls Woodall clutch, or says "ONIONS!' or one of his stupid catchphrases.

Another Louisville miss and Patterson makes a great pass underneath that Taylor actually catches and dunks.

Pitt 52 The Ville 53, 29 seconds left.

Oh man, oh man oh man.

Pitt with a good foul, and Louisville misses the front end of the 1 and 1.  Rebound Pitt.  They cross halfcourt with 18 seconds left.

"Timeout Pitt!  Set up a play"

Woodall almost turns it over.

"Nooooo what are you doing?!?!"

Woodall doesn't give it up, forces some leaning jumper that barely touches iron.

Rebound Louisville, they make 2 free throws.  And NOW Dixon calls timeout.

"Okay, plenty of time to set up a good 3 to tie."

Woodall takes 9 seconds before going for a quick two.

Are you kidding me?  There are only 4.1 seconds left now.  Siva makes 2 free throws and Gibbs misses a 29 footer to tie.  No recapturing of Providence game magic there.

Woodall and Dixon blew this.

Pitt's 15-14.  Losing record looms.
JO

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Game 28 Why is this team so bad? Pitt 47 USF 56



Moore is the only one who showed up.  He had a career high 21.
Preview for next season when Moore plays like this every game.
Actually the equation should look more like this.
Poop - (Hustle - Talent) + Actual 2 Guard who does more than shoot yet still can + Junior Jumps + One and Done - One dimensional player + Healthy abdominals = Return to tournament

So let's review the math.  We take our current team which is poop, subtract Nasir Robinson, who offered Hustle without talent.  But according to the distributive property, we gain in talent by getting rid of Nas.  We add in James Robinson a guard who does more than shoot yet still can and factor in what I hope to be typical junior year increases in play for Moore and Patterson (even if this is Lamar's 4th year).  We add in a potential one and done big man in Steven Adams and some healthy abdominal muscles for Tray as well as subtract Gibbs and his one dimensional play and we have a return to the NCAA tournament.

Any questions?

Hail to Pitt,
JO

Friday, February 17, 2012

Game 27 The End: Pitt 48 WVU 66

The end of an era.  This will be the last backyard brawl, perhaps for a while.  Next year wvu will be in the big 12, and getting to see at least 2 basketbrawls per season (and sometimes 3 in the BET) will be a distant memory.

I enjoy when Pitt beats wvu more than any other school (UCONN is up there as well) but I'm not too bummed about it.  I hope wvu enjoys getting 60 pts hung on them from some of those big 12 offenses next year.

I guarantee you Pitt wins the Big East next year and gets slaughtered by someone in the BCS.  Only because Pitt is a master of winning watered down conferences.

Alex Smith still gives Pitt nightmares.

So now that we don't have to see the hoopies anymore, let's take a walk down memory lane to all 5 home games against wvu since I've been at this lovely university.

Freshman year - February 8, 2008
Pitt had a rough year this season, "The General"  Levance Fields hurt his ankle in non-conference and Pitt struggled without its top point guard and leader for a good 2 months (sound familiar?)  By this time though, Fields was back and Pitt was making a run toward winning the BET.  WVU wasn't very good this year, but you knew it would be a close game.  Pitt would get destroyed by wvu in morgantown in about a month because some joke named Joe Alexander  would score unlimited points.  He used 5 or 6 good games at the end of that year to get drafted #8 overall by the Bucks.  He played a year then was out of the league.
This was actually the one game freshmen year I didn't go to because I got Pens tickets.  I got to watch some of it during intermission by trolling the people who had tvs in their sections, then my dad called me when this happened.
What a shot.  Also that play by Blair earlier is amazing.  WVU choke city on the free throws.

Sophomore year - Feb 9, 2009
Dejuan Blair and Sam Young.  WVU had no chance this year.  Pitt won both by double digits including this one at the Pete.  WVU would beat us in the BET but only because we wanted to lose and rest up for a final four run, which we failed to attain.  Friggin scottie reynolds.

Junior Year - Feb 12, 2010
WVU had the superior team this year.  They were ranked #4 headed into this matchup with a rebuilding Pitt (still ranked #23 though).  Nine days earlier they had slaughtered the Panthers by 19.  I can't do this game justice by talking about it.  It was the greatest game I've ever witnessed in any sport.  Luckily the last 6 minutes of regulation and onward are all on youtube.
The hoopies would get the last laugh though.  They made it to the final four.

Senior Year - Feb 24, 2011
Pitt shot 57% as they swept WVU for the second time in 3 years.
Box Score

Final Undergraduate Totals
Pitt 6 wins (4-0 home, 2-2 road, 0-1 neutral)
wvu 3 wins

Which finally brings us to this year.  Pitt won in wvu a few weeks ago.  Read about it here.

Unfortunately, my undefeated streak against wvu ended tonight, much like my undefeated streaks against a lot of teams ended this season.

WVU controlled most of the first half, holding leads of up to 7.  Pitt went in front briefly at 23-22, but it ended with wvu up by 1 26-25 at the half.  Brawls are usually low scoring so this wasn't a cause for concern.  It would be a big second half.
Side note, the Pete passed out Gold T-shirts for a "GoldOut".  They also gave the Zoo towels to wave with the phrase
"Brawl So Hard" on them.  There are several things wrong with this.
1. "Brawl so Hard"
2. The towels were like terrible towel color gold, which matches up with the gold trim of the wvu unis and not with the vegas gold of the pitt logo and of all the zoo shirts they gave out.
3. Again, "Brawl So Hard?"  Really?...

I went to get food during halftime because I had to work tonight and hadn't eaten in forever.  Got the chicken finger french fry combo.  Smart.  The fries were kind of plain so I decided to put a little salt on them.  I opened a pack and sprinkled a little on.  Way too much!  Ahh!  Oh then I started to eat them.  Turns out that wasn't salt it was sugar.  Sugar fries?  Don't try it.  It's not good.

Then the buzzer went off and it was time to start the second half.
Pitt stayed in the locker room.  I'm pretty sure my 6th grade rec team that went 2-7 played the second half.  Unlimited bricks.  Now I'm going to give grades because the whole point of this post is to talk about what happened but I really don't want to.  I had to sit up in peanut heaven because I didn't get out of work in Monroeville until 8.  But I had the lovely Miss HK with me so it wasn't a total loss.

Oh one more rant.  Pitt oversold tickets to this game.  They sold out the bottom bowl of the zoo, and the two overflow sections, then they sold SRO tickets for that little concourse area.  Effin don't sell SRO tickets, because then I get screwed and end up there with my 5230523523 loyalty points, and the people that probably only get a ticket because of the SRO chances get to sit in the lower bowl.

Here's how they should fix it.
If you're one of the last names to get picked in the lottery, you're automatically in the upper deck.  Save the lower bowl for people who care (and those who write blogs about the games) and not jokes who only go to big games.

Grade time:

Gibbs - When Gibbs gets his name called for the starting lineup, his little celebration or whatever is to get patted down by a teammate.  This is simple and yet clever.  Because Gibbs is a deadly shooter, so he is armed and dangerous, get it?  Or at least I thought so.  But in reality when Nick Rivers pats down, Gibbs he finds nothing.  If Gibbs was armed, then Rivers would find something, then take him back into the locker room and give him a full cavity search.
Gibbs shot 2-11 tonight and missed all 5 of his 3's.  Clearly unarmed.  Grade D

Woodall - Remember when Tray scored like 800 points that one week against wvu  and Villanova?  Well that's a lifetime ago.  He shot 5-16 this game, missed all of his threes like Gibbs and made several careless decisions in the second half.
Grade: C-

So Pitt's two best players combined to shoot 7-27 from the field and 0-9 from three.  For the record, every other Pitt player shot 10-19.
That's how you lose games.

Robinson - This would be another one of those games where you wonder why Nas is trying to play the power forward position in the Big East.  He just couldn't get anything going down there among the trees in the post.  Only 5 points.  Also, he had the assignment of trying to check the best player in the Big East and probably a 2nd team All America, Kevin Jones.  Jones is like 6'8" with 3 point range.  Nas is 6'5" maybe with 3 ft range.  Mismatch city on both ends.  He did pick Jones' pocket once down low which was probably his only highlight.
Grade for Nas C+ because at least he didn't foul anyone 90 feet from the basket today.

Patterson - Patterson is the one player on this team who could stand to be a little more selfish.  He's a big guard who can drive and has the strength to finish with contact.  Unfortunately, he didn't attempt a shot inside 20 feet 9 inches (that's the length of the 3 point line fyi).  He was 1-3 from deep with 5 rebounds and that's all she wrote.  Grade C

Zanna - Zanna actually tried.  He had a nice tip-in and attempted to play defense on the Turkish Hammer Deniz Kilicli.  Grade B-

Dante Taylor -
JJ Moore - The FAN postgame show made JJ their player of the game.  He shot 3-3 from the field and made both of his free throws for 10 points.  His second three cut the wvu lead to 10 with like 4 minutes left and you thought for a second they might make a comeback, but then they didn't.  Grade B+

Epps - It was so bad that Dixon actually had to put Epps in for an offense/defense switch in order to foul people then put Gibbs and company back in for offense.  Epps managed to not foul anyone in his two minutes despite that being his primary purpose.  Also once Dixon was not able to switch back so you had a backcourt of Epps, Wright and Johnson trying to lead a comeback for one possession.
Dixon should be fired for allowing those three guys on the court together for any amount of time.  Nothing against those guys, but there should never be a moment when Gibbs Woodall or Patterson have a pulse that at least one of them isn't out there.  Grade n/a

Wright - Same thing as Epps, only he played 5 minutes.

Johnson - He made a jump shot and missed a pair of threes.  Grade C

Gilbert - Love the kid, but he is absolutely terrified of having the ball in his hands for more than two seconds.  He got an offensive board in the first half, and very easily could have gone up strong and either dunked it or got fouled, but instead he frantically tried to pass the ball out.  I know he wants to be a team player and he knows his limitations (which is to say everything on offense) probably better than anyone on this team, but come on big fella, take a shot.  He did provide the defensive highlight of the night when he sent some guard's floater into orbit.
Grade B

Pitt stands at 15-12 (4-10 BE) with 4 games left + the BET
They are home against USF, away against Louisville, home against St. John's and away against UCONN.  So you can pretty much book Pitt's first non-20 win season since the 2000 season.  I think it will be more of a race to see if Pitt can avoid a losing record.  One win would clinch at least .500 record regardless of what happens in the BET.  Though Pitt might get invited to the CBI at 16-16 and lose to some joke school like Wagner in the first round.

Wait a minute?  You mean to tell me Pitt already lost to Wagner this year?  And at home?  Son of a...

Only a few more weeks and this season will mercifully end.
Praise God,
JO

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Game 26: Pitt 66 Herb Pope 73

Okay, so Pitt played Seton Hall today.  And as is always the case when Pitt plays the Pirates, I must talk about Herb Pope.

Simply put, Herb Pope is one of my favorite players of all time, of all time.  And now a brief history.  He played basketball at Aliquippa High School and graduated the same year I did (2007).  He was a beast there.  But he also grew up with the wrong crowd.  He verbally committed to Pitt as a sophomore, but he realized that he had to get away from here.  He had bounced around to several different homes and schools his entire life.  
A timeline:
2006 - Was the Post Gazette player of the year as a junior
On another note, the fabulous five that year was Blair (NBA), Pope, DJ Kennedy (4-year starter at St. John's), Terrelle Pryor (#1 football recruit in nation and 3 year professional at the ohio state university) and Jonathan Baldwin (you're reading a Pitt blog, you know what he did).  For western Pa not having a big reputation for basketball, that's a hell of an all-star team.  Pryor and Baldwin both had several d1 offers for basketball as well.
Fall 2007 - 2010 - Enrolls at New Mexico State, but is ruled ineligible for the first half of the season because some class he took online didn't count.  (Oh I'm sorry, it was kind of hard for him to keep track of his credits when he was in 4 different high schools and had 4 bullets in him).  Anyway he played the second half of the season and was a beast.  He transferred to Seton Hall, sat out the 08-09 season then proceeded to lead the league in rebounding during the 09-10 season.
Now - Is one of the favorites for Big East POY, Excellent Sports Illustrated article about him from this year

Honestly, it's impossible to not root for this guy.  He's been through more crap than any 22 year old should ever have to deal with.  He's become a cult hero to my dad and me.  The phrase "yeah but he's no Herb Pope" is said quite frequently.
Example:
Me:  [Insert player name] scored 25 last night.
Dad:  Yeah, but he's no Herb Pope.
Me:  Few people are.

He's currently projected as a second round pick.  I really hope he makes it.


Oh, there was a basketball game played today...oops.

Why you shouldn't hate the Hall:  If Herb Pope wasn't enough, one of my best friend's fiancee works as a missionary there.  Oh and it's a Roman Catholic school.  Boss.

This game wasn't supposed to be on television, which is probably some type of evil sorcery orchestrated by people who are threatened by this blog (cough cough The Pitt News).

I haven't ripped on them in quite some time.
The Pitt News is awful.  In fact, if you write for the Pitt News you shouldn't even be on this blog, you should be at home, coloring.

"Aren't you going to talk about the game?"

Shut up haters.


The game was eventually picked up by WTAE so it was all good.

Recap city:
The first half was all about some joke player from the Hall named Cosby hitting unlimited 3's.  He was 5-6 at one point.  Patterson kept the Panthers in it, and the Hall led by 2 at the break.


Pitt had a player named Attila Cosby during the dark ages.  He was a decent shot-blocking forward.  He was also crazy.  He was kicked off the team for fighting assistant coach Orlando Antigua.  Then he transferred to George Washington where he beat up a 46 year old prostitute.  A lot of people how messed up the Pitt program was when Howland took over in 1999.  At one point, I am pretty sure almost every player had been arrested.  Two players who weren't involved with the popo?  Brandin Knight and Jaron Brown, and you know how they turned out.  Howland kicked like 6 guys off his team and basically started fresh.  Anyway, the coach who recruited all of these criminals and almost directly caused the end of the Pitt Panther basketball team,  Ralph Willard, also has a son.  And of course that son, Kevin Willard, now coaches you guessed it, the Seton Hall Pirates.


Ahhh man, I told you there was a point to that story.


Is this post even about this game?


I don't even know anymore.


Anyway, Pitt had a 61-55 lead in the second half, and I was starting to believe.  Gibbs was carrying the team (he had 26).  But then they went ice cold and the Pirates got hot again from 3.  Back to back triples and suddenly Pitt was down 66-62.  It was 67-66 when the Pope got lose off a pick and roll and layed it in with 30 seconds left.  Zanna completely lost him.  So then on the next possession Woodall had his pocket picked, and when Seton Hall tried to play keep-away Robinson tried to murder Pope and was called for a flagrant one.  Okay, it wasn't that bad.  Total bs call.


It's probably not a good idea to piss off Herb Pope.


Pope hit the free throws, was fouled again and hit 2 more and Pitt didn't score again.  Final.


Robinson was a combined 0-10 from the line and field until 5 minutes left when he got a layup.  Woodall was 2-10, and none of the bench helped out.  It was the Patterson and Gibbs show and it wasn't enough.  This officially ends Pitt's streak of 10 consecutive seasons with at least 10 Big East wins, the streak of 20+ wins is also in jeopardy.


NIT!  NIT!  NIT!


I predict Pitt will get to the Average Eight of the NIT and then blow it in spectacular fashion because they can't make the Final Four of any tournament.


Hilljacks come to the Zoo on Thursday night,
JO









Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Game 25: Pitt 51 South Florida 63

I had to teach CCD from 7:00 - 8:15 tonight, therefore I only caught the last 10 minutes of this game.

This is what South Florida just did to Pitt's NCAA tourney hopes.

That's all I got,
JO

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Game 24: Pitt 79 Villanova 70

Another game, another win for Pitt.  I'm sitting here at the place I'm watching the Super Bowl so I'm going to try to do this recap quickly before it starts to get crazy.  That and I have a short assignment I have to finish before then as well.  I could always do it during half time, or during the commercials.

"But the commercials are the best part."
You are what is wrong with this country.

I'm being serious, if I hear one person (and I'm watching the game with about 60) say, "Shhhh" during the commercials, when they weren't quiet during the game.  Well, I might just punch them.

Anyway.

Giants 31 Patriots 27 (that's what Dirk said and I have to side with him)

Why you should hate Villanova:

I had final four tickets if Pitt won.  Courtside.  For twenty dollars.  Heartbreak city.

Villanova hit a couple shots early on.  They were up 21-16 midway through the first half.

And then Tray Woodall took over.

He hit back to back threes, then found Gibbs who got fouled and threw up a desperation shot that went in for the and 1.  Unbelievable run and Pitt was suddenly up 15.  They got up as much as 18 in the second half before nova made a bit of a run, getting to within 3 and having a chance to tie it, but Maalik Wayns (pronounced like wayans) is a joke and missed the three (7-22 on the day for their best player including 1-10 from three).  Nova's big Mouphtaou Yarou (just checked it I nailed that spelling first try) had about 14 boards but shot 3-13.

Anyway, Pitt won and here are the grades.

Woodall - 29 points from him.  That's all you need to know (Career high).  He and Gibbs combined to go 19-19 from the line  to put the game out of reach.  There were a couple awful passes from Tray (he threw the ball into the stands twice) but still what a performance.  If he ever learns how to reduce his turnovers he could be a Ty Lawson type player for this team.
Ty Lawson won a championship.
Grade A+

Gibbs - 25 points, vintage Gibbs is all you need to know, shot 50% from three and above 50% overall.  Grade A+

Patterson - He and Nas both got into foul trouble.  He had 8 points but he spent a lot of time on the bench.  He fouled out in the last 30 seconds on a bogus charging call.  Grade C

Robinson - After going 13-13 in his last two games, Robinson came back to earth percentage wise with a 2-7 performance.  He also had 4 fouls and 3 turnovers.  Bad game from Nas.  Grade C-

Taylor - He had 9 points and 5 rebounds and made a couple nice plays but the one thing I remember from him is absolutely blowing a layup when he was all alone.  He was on the right block and tried to bank it, but missed the rim completely.  Awful.  Grade C

J Johnson - Not much from him.  9 minutes, missed his only shot.  Grade C-

C. Wright - He missed two layups.  One he got stuffed and another he just blew it.  Bad game.  Four steals though, so I guess that's good.  Grade C-

Moore -

(Just so you guys get it, I didn't forget to write a recap of Moore's performance, it's actually in invisible ink...or font...or something)

Zanna - 4 points 8 rebounds.  He had a nice putback in the first half, that's all I remember from him.  Grade B-

Pitt's 4-7 in the Big East.  They're slowly climbing back into it.

One game at a time,
JO

Monday, January 30, 2012

Game 23 Live Recap: Pitt 72 wvu 66

I'm trying something different here.  I'm going to be making comments about the game as it is going on.  There are a lot of Pitt-WVU stories I could share right now, but I'm going to save it for the February 16 home game.  For that one there will be unlimited videos and pictures and jokes.

Well okay one joke for you:
This is a Syracuse blog, and one of the best things is a comic strip or something featuring the Big East mascots arguing about conference expansion and whatnot.  There are several posts about this, deemed "The Octonion", but this is the first one I read and probably the funniest.
http://www.nunesmagician.com/2011/4/13/2107119/the-octonion-villanova-big-east-football-tcu-syracuse-uconn-louisville-pitt
"Love me some corner woooooo!"

Why you should hate wvu:  Refer to your Pitt acceptance letter or receipt from the last piece of furniture you bought.

The Hoopies are coming out hot.  They've made their first four shots and lead 10-5.  Zanna had a nice offensive rebound and putback after missing his first attempt.

Announcer:  "Jamie Dixon has a winning record against every team in the Big East."
-Unreal Stat
Thank God, hoopies finally missed on two chances and Pitt ran the other way with Nas finishing the layup.

Kevin Jones (the BE's leading scorer and rebounder) finally made an appearance.  Pitt is getting killed on the offensive glass.
Pitt recruited Jones and he was down to Pitt and WVU.  He chose wvu because he makes poor decisions.  Pitt signed Dwight Miller instead, who played here sparingly before transferring to Tennessee.  He redshirted in 08-09, played a little the next year, then went to a jc in Texas before coming to Tennesse this year.
Jones meanwhile has had a successful career as the 5th teenage mutant ninja turtle.

Hoopies in a half-shell?
Hoopies continue to make shots, I am not pleased.


Idiotic shot selection from Pitt.  Pitt down 17-9 midway through the half.

Huge sequence from Pitt.  Patterson stripped Kilicli (the Turkish Pitt assassin)
Then Taylor finished after several chances.  Patterson missed.  Taylor missed a dunk, but had the intelligence to let go of the rim as the ball bounced out so he wouldn't be called for basket interference.  Then he grabbed the board and got a 3 point play out of it.

5 minutes without a field goal for the hoopies as Pitt is making a run, had a chance to take the lead but Tray threw the ball into the stands for the umpteenth time this game.

Passes in this game are horrendous from both sides.  Woodall is playing out of control, and yet he just tied it at 21 with an and 1.

Fun fact, watching gamecast on espn.com and the feed is 3-4 seconds ahead of my tv at home.  My dad thinks I'm a profit, just told him how I'm predicting Nasir Robinson turnovers (well actually it's not that hard since he does it quite frequently).

Tray just buried a huge 3 just in front of the buzzer.  33-29 Pitt at the break.  Woodall has 16.  Kilicli held to 1-5 from the field.  He had 19 at home against Pitt last year.
Huge sequence from Taylor to start the second half.  He got an offensive board at the free throw line then dished underneath to Robinson for easy bucket.  Then they switched roles and Robinson gave to Taylor for the and 1.

Huggie Bear is pissed.  He just got a technical before the free throw.  Hoopies throwing shit on the court, most likely their corn cob pipes.  Gibbs makes 1-2 of the technicals and Taylor completes the And 1.  Pitt by 10.  Jones is all wvu has.  What a soft team.  Or should I say "soff."


They're trading baskets right now, not too much to talk about.  Pitt leads by 7.  Gibbs is invisible.

Johnson had a breakaway and took 7 steps before laying it in.  No traveling call.

Nas just picked up his 4th foul with 9 minutes left and Pitt has only one timeout left.  Buckle up.  Turnover Pitt but wvu freshmen with a careless charge.  Pitt still up 4.  Gibbs with a great cut but the Turk blocked it.  Pitt leads 54-52 under 8 minutes.

My Dad: They [wvu] sure do love that corner 3.
wvu:  Woooooo!  Love me some corner!

Last media timeout:  Pitt 63 wvu 58 and headed to the line.  2:26 left

Woodall with a very nice Dwyane Wade drive and pull-up off glass to give Pitt the 68-62 lead with under a minute to play.  Time to make some free throws.
Pitt made them.
Game.

Hail to Pitt,
JO

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Game 22 Not Bad: Pitt 72 Georgetown 60

Pitt's making their run.  Unquestionably their best performance of the season.

Why you should hate Georgetown:  In addition to cooking meth in their free time, we can look back on the end of the world and the role the Hoyas played in it.  You see, in August, Georgetown played a friendly exhibition game against the Bayi Rockets in China.  Then this happened.


Way to piss off 1.2 billion people G-Town.  Jokes.  One kid from the zoo wrote on a white board "Fight this kid?" and had an arrow pointing to one of his friends (who was Asian naturally).  That's pretty darn creative, offensive maybe but the guy I was next to (also Asian) thought it was hilarious.  So it's okay then, I guess?

Oh and Hoya Fans stink.  Here's them talking all kinds of smack on one of their blogs.  So smug

Anyway, Pitt went on a huge 15-1 run in the first half.  Midway through that run, this happened.


That would be me on the far right


Grades:

Ashton Gibbs - Quiet game from Gibbs.  He only hit 1-3 3's, and finished with 13 points with 4 of them coming off garbage free throws in the final minute.  He got blocked a few times, but generally I liked his game.  He tried for the mid-range.  His biggest moment was probably a baseline jumper in the middle of the second half that keyed a Pitt run after G-town had closed to 6.  The shot was a rainbow that just got over one of the Hoya bigs.  Unfortunately, he had 4 turnovers vs 0 assists and for that I gotta bring him down to a
Grade:  B+

Woodall - He continues to be a turnover machine (4) and shoot poorly (a combined (1-12 now in his return) but he still had 10 assists and Pitt is much better with him out there.  Once the rust is off and we get the Woodall of November, Pitt will be dangerous.  Grade B+

Patterson - MVP of the night.  Patterson was on fire (6-8 fg 5-5 ft for 18 points) to go along with 4 rebounds and 7 assists vs 0 turnovers (the only Pitt player who played significant minutes not to give it away).  Patterson has incredible body control, he'll start to drive and you'll be like "Oh God he's outta control" but then he'll twist his body in some weird way and lay it in with ease.  Play of the game goes to him.  After the Hoyas had cut the lead to 6 again with just under 8 minutes to play, Lamar went right at their bigs and laid it in and got fouled.  After the TV timeout, he knocked down the free throw and Pitt was safe again.
Grade:  A+

Nasir Robinson - Nas made all 9 of his shots and 5-6 of his free throws for a season-high 23.  Huge coaching adjustment by Dixon to play Patterson in the high post where Nas usually is and letting him instead backdoor all day for countless layups.  This is the Nas we should expect if he plays to his strengths, which is down low and using his body to muscle it in.  Anytime he handles it, well bad things will happen.  He also had 8 rebounds.
Grade:  Anytime he makes 83% of his foul shots, an A+ is the only grade I can give him.

Zanna -  Talib had 8 points and 10 rebounds (I swear he had at least 20, I question those stats), doing most of his work in the first half.  He hurt himself  in the second half and played limited minutes (giving way to Dante down the stretch).  I'm pretty sure he got hit in the nuts, in fact I know he did.
Grade A, mostly for the sympathy, nobody likes to get hit in the nuts.

John Johnson - He took a couple open threes when it was given him, and he made one of them.  It was an important three (as all of Pitt's second half baskets were) helping keep the Panthers comfortably ahead by 8-10 points.
Grade: B

JJ Moore - Crap in 10 minutes.  Didn't make a shot.  High point was getting fouled on a 3 and only making one ft.  Grade D

Dante Taylor - I give up on Taylor, he's just not good.  I was super hard on Taylor last year, then optimistic that he would make the Dixon junior season jump but yeah it's not happening.  He was strong defensively actually but overall just disappointing.  He did have a dunk on a defensive lapse by G-town for his only basket.
Grade C

Malcolm Gilbert - I love this kid.  He is so happy to be out there.  He always looks over and waves when we yell his name (not during game action obviously he's not easily distracted).  Pitt has yet to pass him the ball on offense in his Pitt career (at least I think), but he'll get better.  He'll get a post game.
Grade:  Not really enough to warrant a grade.

Cameron Wright - 6 minutes and recorded 0 stats
Grade: n/a

Telling Stat:  Pitt shot 19-22 ft and Gtown 7-12.  Well look at that.  Pitt won by 12.  Coolbeans

Headed to Hoopieville on Monday,
JO

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Game 21 Break on Through to the Winning Side: Pitt 86 Providence 74

Wooooooooooooooooooooooooo!





Let's pretend it says basketball okay?


I'm going to start this post off by wishing my mom a happy 57th birthday today.  She's pretty awesome.  A little back story, my dad used to have season tickets to Pitt basketball during most the 1980s.  After they got married in 1980, he started bringing her.

Poll Question:  If you asked my mom what her favorite thing to do at these games was, what would she answer?
A) "I loved watching Big East basketball at its peak."
B) "The food."
C) "I loved slapping their big butts when they went to the locker rooms."

If you answered, C, then you would be correct.  Her favorite ass?  Well that would belong to hall of fame Georgetown and New York Knicks great Patrick Ewing.

"Dat ass" - My mom


On a much less gay note, it was also the 24th anniversary of this:

This was voted the #1 NCAA dunk of all-time.
Video of the top 50 is here (worth watching if you have 14 minutes to spare)



#6 on the list belongs to this man
Forgot to add this from last game.  What a player.
Julius Page does a pre-game show on the radio and he had an interesting comment.
"They can't let their offense lead to defense."
Normally, you hear coaches saying that you want your defense to lead to offense, meaning turnovers and easy points in transition.  But what Julius meant is that the Panthers can't let the fact that they're not shooting well on the offensive end impact their hustle on the other end of the floor.  He pretty much hits the nail right on the head for the last several games for Pitt (until tonight).  Pretty solid analysis for someone who wears his hat backwards.

And lastly, before I actually recap this game, I can't talk about Pitt Providence without posting this:
"Releases it in time...AND BURIES THE SHOT!!!"
"They just don't lose at home"

Oh man, that second quote stings a little this year, doesn't it?

But Pitt won.

They might not lose again the rest of the year.

"Yeah but Providence stinks"

Jump in a pool of acid.  Hail to Pitt.

Grade Time.

Gibbs - He was on fire in the first half, picking up 16 of his team-high 22 in the first 20 minutes.  During about a 45 second stretch he hit 3 triples in a row and broke the Friars' will to live early.  Here's one of those threes:

The crack against Gibbs is that he has been too reliant on the three this year.  He used to hit 3 or 4 mid range J's a game and it did wonders creating space for him and his teammates.  With the way Pitt has been struggling and giving up early leads Gibbs has had to let fly from deep a lot more than he should.  Here's a play that happened a few minutes before Gibbs caught fire from deep and it has a lot greater impact than the 2 points on the scoreboard.
Gibbs coming off a curl, gets a screen and pops the 17 footer.  Money in the bank.  Why does Pitt not do this more?
Regardless, very nice game from Mr. Gibbs.  Grade A+

Travon Woodall - Well the rust from last game is gone.  Woodall was hotter than Gibbs from deep, going 4-4 from downtown to finish with 17 points and 9 assists vs 1 turnover.  We need this from Tray every night for the rest of the season.  You want proof of the effect Woodall's absence had on this team, watch this game tape.  Grade A+

Lamar Patterson - Almost a double double from Lamar with 9 points and 11 boards.  He was a force on the offensive glass keeping several plays alive by tapping the ball away from the Providence bigs down low.  Something I noticed about Patterson is sometimes it seems like he's going in slow motion when he's driving.  I'm not sure it's a bad thing, it's pretty obvious he doesn't have Woodall or Johnson speed, but it's just something I thought watching tonight.  Anyway.  Grade A

Nasir Robinson - Nas shot better in this game (7-13) for 14 pts and 6 rebounds, and most importantly he only turned the ball over twice (2 to's or less has to be a goal for him every night).  However he also tried to knock down a jumpshot from just inside the foul line.  Let me just say that if Nas' jumpshot fell out of the ugly tree it would every branch and twig on its way to not being in the basket.  Honestly, can Pitt hire a shooting coach to work with him?  His jumpshots rotate sideways.  Shooting a basketball is not that effing hard.  I'll even volunteer to help him.  Nas if you read this (you obviously aren't cuz only like 3.7 people actually do)  Help me help you.  Help me help you.
He's a lot more effective when he's doing things like this

Grade A-

Talib Zanna - He had a couple tip-ins and a few rebounds, but nothing spectacular.  I'd give him an A, but he attempted to drive and pull up for a contested shot early in the shot clock once in the first half and for that he gets a B+

Dante Taylor - Shit game from Taylor 1-4 from the field for only 4 points to go along with 2 rebounds 2 turnovers and 3 fouls in 14 minutes.  His best play was getting a homerun pass with 28 seconds left in the game and rather than try to beat the last defender off the dribble stopping and pulling the ball back out.  Smart play, even though it didn't really matter.  Grade C

Cameron Wright - Missed all three of his shots and didn't do anything of merit.  Grade C-

JJ Moore - He made a shot, but didn't do much else.  I really hope his career mirrors Sam Young's (wishful thinking probably).  Young had a very solid freshmen campaign (avg about 7.4 a game) then regressed his sophomore season as he struggled to find playing time behind John Degroat and Levon Kendall (seriously Dixon, he couldn't beat those guys out?)  I don't think Sam left the gym that entire summer and he came back and dropped 22 and 9 on Houston Baptist in my first game in the Zoo in 2007, and we knew we had a star.  Maybe it'll happen with JJ?  I'm really looking for him to make the traditional Dixon sophomore to junior jump (previously seen with B. Knight, A. Gray, S. Young, G. McGhee, B. Wanamaker, etc.)  Grade for this game though, C+

John Johnson - He shot 3-4 from the field for 7 points with  2 assists vs 0 turnovers.  You can't ask for a better game from him. He gave Ashton and Tray a breather, didn't turn the ball over and knocked down open shots.  Also, at the end of that Nas video is Flipp drilling a three.  Grade A

Stats of the game:  Pitt only committed 10 turnovers and shot 55% (11-20) from 3.

Georgetown comes to the Pete on Saturday.  Let this game be a springboard back to respectability.
Hail to Pitt,
JO

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Game 20 College GameDay Edition: Pitt 63 Louisville 72

Disclaimer:  Please don't read this if you are easily offended.





But this game just pissed me off and I'm going to show my anger through pictures, because all blogs are better with pictures (something I had forgotten now that I don't have photoshop anymore).


As I said before, the GameDay crew was here.

GameDay Bus in front of Sutherland Hall
GameDay Set




 Which of course means Erin Andrews.

Erin looking quite lovely

She definitely got the loudest cheers


And after seeing Erin, the Zoo was very excited.



And now that all of the material from my crappy iPod touch camera has been shown, time to actually talk about basketball.  A depressing thing that I realized during this game was the fact that Louisville is the only team I have not witnessed Pitt beat at the Pete since I've been a student here (5 years).  My freshmen year they lost (but beat them in the BE Tourney).  My sophomore year they lost at Louisville (When Pitt was 16-0 and ranked #1 for the first time).  My junior year they staged an epic comeback to win at the Pete but I couldn't attend.  And last year they lost at Louisville again.  Shame.  Oh well, plenty of wins over the Cuse and UConn to brag about.

Again, I'm getting sidetracked.  Rather than give actual letter grades for this game and all future games pending some miracle,  I will instead answer the question "Did he give a fuck?"
And I'm going to have a fellow mathematician help me out with this one.
Current Fucks Given 0
Pitt jumped out to an early lead, but when Woodall left with two early fouls, the Cardinals started to make a comeback.  The sad part about Pitt losing this game is that Pitino didn't even have to press and Pitt would turn the ball over.  We all know the Pitino matchup press, but if you don't here's some material to familiarize yourself with it.
http://www.coachesclipboard.net/MatchupPress.html

http://coachingbetterbball.blogspot.com/2009/03/louisvilles-run-and-jump-matchup-press.html


This Louisville team isn't as strong defensively compared to the past so Rick laid off it.  When he did bring it out, late in the first half, this was Erin's reaction.

One last comment on Louisville.  Their pg is almost always someone you would enjoy punching in the face (I hate Edgar Sosa)
The current model:  Peyton Siva

Punch me in the face

Onto the player grades


Gibbs - He had an okay game.  He was 4-10 from three and finished with 14 points but he didn't get to the line at all.  In fact, Pitt was 1-6 from the line as a team.  Which is absolute bullshit, but whatever.  They could've made more than 16% of them anyway.
Did give a fuck?:  Yes, but the problem is that he isn't a leader.  He's alright with being the scorer, but he doesn't have a leadership bone in his body.  You want an explanation for Pitt's downfall this year.  Well, besides the fact that they can't shoot.  It's that their two seniors have regressed to their freshmen selves.  Remember the turnover-makin layup missin machine Nas was a freshmen?  I just described his current play.

Robinson - I kinda started talking about Robinson in the previous post, but again same thing.  He just is not talented enough.  He's getting the ball too high in the post.    If you force him to drive a little he will undoubtedly lose control of it.  On his big nights, he's almost always getting the ball directly under the basket and using a nice reverse to avoid the block.  Someone told me Nas has like 17 more turnovers on the year than any other player.  Makes sense.
Did he give a fuck?  No, because if he did he would stop trying to drive and commit infinite turnovers.
Current fucks given: 1

Woodall - He missed all 5 of his shots and only 2 assists vs 3 turnovers, but Pitt seems so much more relaxed breaking the press when he's in there.  They still stink at it, but there is marked improvement.  
Did he give a fuck?  Two actually, corresponding to the two quick fouls he got that killed Pitt's early game surge.
Current fucks given: 3

Patterson - Pitt's best player last night.  He hit a pair of threes to go along with 5 reb and 7 ast vs 1 turnover.  He had a couple nice drives  in the second half.  He was using the glass like Tim Duncan (with the left hand even).  He also buried a 25 footer from the top of the key at the first half buzzer that gave Pitt hope and cut the lead to only 3.
Did he give a fuck?  Yes, Patterson needed a game like this as he had been struggling lately.

Current fucks given: 4

Epps - He played one minute and had one assist and one turnover.
Did he give a fuck?  Nope, or else he would spend every waking minute in the gym fixing his jump shot.  Here's a video of him warming up with Tray.  Tray's in black.  








Look at the follow through for both of them.  Nice one for Tray, non-existent in Epps.  He actually shoots better than Tray in this video, but that's because they aren't in a game.  In game action when you have a split second to shoot with a guy in your face, not following through will lead to a brick almost every time...or in Epps' case, every damn time.

Current fucks given: Still 4

Taylor - He was 4-5 from the field and 3 of his buckets were dunks (including one incredibly athletic putback slam).  No player's confidence matters more than Taylor's to this team right now.  I could argue Moore as well, but his swagger is completely gone because Dixon yanks him after every mistake.  Maybe next year for him, but back to Taylor.  If Taylor gets an early bucket, he gets pumped and plays the rest of the game inspired.  You can see it in his eyes.  He got that bucket tonight and he went after it the rest of the game.

Did he give a fuck?  In this game yes, but it's infuriating that he doesn't show that kind of intensity every time he's out there.

Current fucks given: 5

Wright - Played 8 minutes, missed a jumper from the wing for his only contribution.
Did he give a fuck?  No not really, not enough action to warrant it.

Current fucks given: 5

Johnson - He made a three and had a nice steal and layup in the first half (it put Pitt up 13-7 at that point).  Pitt should start looking for him more in the same way they did with Gibbs as a freshmen.  If teams are going to not let Gibbs have any space on the perimeter, then Johnson has to look to get open.  He was a few times and Gibbs didn't feed him, which is more an indictment on Gibbs passing skills than Johnson, but whatever.
Did he give a fuck?  Yes

CFG: 6

Zanna - 7 points 6 rebounds in 19 minutes.  I wish Zanna had more of a mean streak in him.  He tried to showcase this new 5 foot jumper he's been working on but it missed.
Did he give a fuck?  Yes, he will improve, as long as he doesn't break his finger like he did last March.

CFG 7

Moore - Played 12 minutes.  Had one bucket.
Did he give a fuck?  No, because Dixon has reduced him to mush.

Final CFG - Seven, corresponding to the number of Big East games Pitt has lost.

This Pitt team isn't making the NCAA's or even NIT
If you have a problem with this, then my father has an answer for you

I'm out,
JO

Monday, January 16, 2012

Game 19 Meh: Pitt 63 Syracuse 71

No one on Syracuse's team had ever beaten Pitt.  That is now no longer the case.  Pitt had won 5 in a row at the Carrier Dome (longest streak ever by an away team).  Also no longer the case.

I still believe in this team.

I do not know why.
They played well in this game and could have won if not for just some awful free throw shooting.  More on that later.

Let's give grades now before I get too upset about Pitt starting 0-6 in the Big East for the first time ever.

Syracuse started the game on a 13-0 run.
Then Pitt sacked up and got it to 19-15.  But they could never get any closer.  Syracuse would open up a huge lead (highest of 14 in the second half) but then Pitt would battle back.  A Zanna jumper made it 49-45 with about 8 minutes left and I was thinking about believing in Miracles.  Then Captain Boeheim called a timeout, designed a perfect play for an open 3, a Pitt miss, and another uncontested 3 and the lead was back to ten and Pitt never challenged again.

Epps - After playing well against Marquette, Epps did nothing really in his 9 minutes.  He missed another 3 (that's like 0-14 or something on the year) and he didn't play in the second half.  When Pitt got down 13 early on, there's no way Dixon could keep Epps on the floor with his poor shooting.  Grade C-

Patterson - Patterson wasn't awful but he didn't stand out either.  He had 10 points 5 rebounds 3 assists, but he did miss all three of his 3 point attempts as well as going 4-7 from the line.  Grade B-

Gibbs - Gibbs had no space whatsoever against the Cuse 2-3.  The fact of the matter is that the Orange are just huge.  And Pitt starts 4 guys 6'5 and under, which can work (see Villanova's 06 team) but only if they're small and quick.
Nasir Robinson is not very quick.  Gibbs shot 2-11 from 3, which is remarkable considering he didn't see the basket all night.  Grade B-

Zanna - Zanna has hands of stone.  He wasn't credited with any turnovers, but I think that if he gets his hands on a rebound and then fumbles it out of bounds (something Pitt did at least 5 times tonight) then they should give them a turnover.  The most impressive thing about Zanna's game tonight was the fact that he made 3-4 from the free throw line.  He along with Taylor, Robinson and Patterson all missed infinite Bunnies down low.  They'd get an offensive rebound (18 total) and then Syracuse would be in their mouths and the bigs would block it or the guards would knock it loose.  Just unreal  hands from all of Cuse.  Grade B

Robinson - Wow.  Just wow.  I don't even have words for how awful Nas was in this game.  1-5 from the field.  2-8 from the free throw line.  Three straight possessions early in the second half, Nas made a power move and got fouled, the 2nd and the 3rd shots were this close to going down for the possible and 1.  Each time it just rimmed out and Robinson had to go the the Charity Stripe (which I will now refer to as the LeMont stripe because for Pitt, that shit is never free.
Also of note:  Jay Bilas has a boner for Robinson.  "Robinson is a playmaker in the middle of that zone."  Bilas said that statement at least 10 times this evening.
I like Bilas, but he was just infuriating tonight with his commentary.  Of course they had to bring up the Butler game and then have the nerd to say that many people thought Pitt would have won the national championship had they gotten past Butler ("they were a better team for most of the year than UConn")  Yeah, well they probably would've choked against Wisconsin in the Sweet 16.
Nasir Grade:  Made me want to cut my wrists then go walk barefoot in the ocean on some coral.

Sleepy Taylor - Let's see.  Taylor would get an offensive rebound.  Then try to go back up strong and get stuffed.  That is Taylor's performance in a nutshell.  11 total rebounds (7 offensive) but only 2-7 from the field.  He is a joke.  Grade D

Moore - He hit an early 3 that was huge in cutting into the Cuse's gift-wrapped 13-0  cushion after tip-off, then he had a nice take in garbage time.  30 minutes of game action in between that he was invisible.  Grade C

Johnson - He hit his first 3 triples, but he was a little reckless with the ball.  He only had one turnover but he was losing control too much for my liking.  9 points from those 3's, at least he's finding his stroke again.  Grade B

Wright - His line 10 7 and 3 is actually not bad, but it was aided by a ridiculous last 2 minutes.  He hit a 3, had a nice pull-up in the lane in the last minute and a half.  In the first half he had a really nice coast to coast layup for an and 1 that he actually converted.  Grade B

Pitt was down 9 after the first half.  In the second half they actually outplayed the Cuse in the second half (37-36).  They had 10 turnovers in the first ten minutes of the game and then only 3 over the last 30.  So let's see, they won the first half against Marquette and the 2nd half against the Cuse.  They're close to putting it together.  Get Woodall back and let it ride.  Gameday in your mouths on Saturday.

I believe,
JO

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Game 18: Pitt 57 Marquette 62

Another game, another loss.  What is encouraging is that Pitt actually played well in the first half.  They even had a five point lead.  I'm not much for recapping all of what happened so this will be brief.  Point is that Pitt had another second half  meltdown and they're 0-5 in the Big East.  In my four years as a Pitt undergrad, Gameday never came to Pitt.  They didn't come when they were #1 for 3 weeks and had a first team all american (Blair) and another guy who was honorable mention on some aa lists (Young).  They didn't come when Pitt won a conference outright that got 11 ncaa bids.  Yet it is becoming increasingly likely that this year, Gameday will come to Pitt to feature a Panther team that is 0-6 in the Big East and losers of 7 straight.  They play @ #1 Syracuse tomorrow night.  They seem to have the cuse's number but with the way both team's are playing, I don't have high hopes for this one.  As strange as it sounds, this game may be Pitt's last chance to salvage an NCAA tourney bid.  I know there are 11 BE games after this but 0-7 is damn difficult to come back from seeing as how I think around 10-11 conference wins will be needed to get a madness invite.  A win over the #1 team could be just the kickstart the panthers need to salvage a 9-9 record in conference.  And it would certainly help the RPI when the Panthers end up on Bubble watch in March.  A loss here and they're done for real.
For the first time in I'd say 10 years Pitt will go into a game as massive underdogs. Even when they were facing teams with a higher ranking than them, you were never incredibly surprised when Pitt pulled off upsets.  Pitt was always a tough game, especially at the Pete, but everywhere really.  It's because Pitt really hasn't been overmatched in a game since the 2001 Big East Tourney Final.  That would have been the year before Pitt started their Madness run.  They won 3 straight (remember at the time no one had won 4 straight to take it).  They beat Miami, then shocked an ND team with Troy Murphy on it, and then a decent Cuse team before getting obliterated by Troy Bell and Boston College on Saturday night.  Pitt had no chance.  They lost by about 30.  Another game might have been the Regional Semi in 2007 against UCLA.  It was a #3 vs #2 matchup but did anyone really think a team led by Aaron Gray was gong to have any chance against a UCLA team in the midst of a 3 straight final four run that featured idk maybe like 6 players who got drafted.  No chance.  Anyway, that's the type of matchup pitt faces tomorrow.  But quickly, let's go over Marquette since that's the point of this post.

Marquette coach Buzz Williams has beaten every BE team, except Pitt.  Until now.

I'm not giving everyone grades but there are a few things I'd like to highlight.

Gibbs put the team on his back.  If Pitt is going to be successful this will have to be the norm the rest of the way.  He put up a career high 29.  Something that is unfortunate is that Gibbs having a huge game is usually a sign that Pitt loses.

Robinson and Patterson flat-out sucked.  Every time I think, "Hey the Panthers should give Nas the ball more, he's like their only low post presence,"  he finds a way to turn the ball over 7 friggin times from the forward position.  Unforgivable.  Patterson had his fair share of turnover problems as well.

Epps started and he actually played well.  He still hasn't made a shot all season (like 0-12 from the field now) but this game had to be a huge confidence builder.  He ran the point well, he was driving into the lane then dishing off.  And most importantly he took the ball out of Gibbs' hands and moved him to the 2.  It's a shame that Johnson and Epps are two players because we could combine Flipp's shooting with the way Epps ran the point today we'd be in business.

Lastly, concerning Dante Taylor, I'll let a quote from the comments on PittBlather take it from here.
From some guy named Keith:

"I think Taylor became a McD’s all american by eating 67 McNuggets in 90 seconds,because it surely couldnt have been for basketball"


Well said my friend,
JO