Big Lead Sports Bar


State of the Panthers

--Looks like we're going to have quite the field in the first annual Mondesi March Madness. So how far do you have Pitt going?
--The Pitt-Georgetown Big East Championship Game was a shocker. 65-42. I still can't believe the "performance". Pitt shot 16 for 61 (26%) from the floor, compared to 52% for the Hoyas. First-round draft pick Aaron Gray led the way with a 1-13, 3 point, 5 rebound performance. For those of you who insist seeing those numbers against resident Georgetown big man Roy Hibbert, queue your barf bags. Hibbert finished with 18 points and 11 boards on 8-of-10 shooting.
--Here's a simply unreal stat: other than Sam Young, no Panther made more than two shots from the floor.
--3-pointers, you ask? How does 3-17, .176 strike you? (A Graves 0-3, L Fields 1-2, S Young 0-2, T Biggs 0-2, L Kendall 1-1, K Benjamin 0-1, R Ramon 1-6)
--I have a legitimate question. Why did every talking head seem to think that if Georgetown won the game, they had a shot at a 1-seed, but not once did I hear the same thing uttered about Pitt? Because it's a media love-fest with the mystique of 20 years of Hoya basketball, John Thompson, and Patrick Ewing, that's why. They can't wait for a program like the Hoyas to be back on top again. It's a great story.
Let's face it, Pitt is just not a sexy team. They don't have a Kevin Durant, a Greg Oden, or any other intriguing individual that Bill Simmons blogs about on a daily basis. They have a projected first-rounder who is solid but also capable of a 1-for-13 championship game.

They don't have a legendary coach or the son of a legendary coach. They play team basketball and stress defense. These are not characteristics that excite the masses outside of Pittsburgh.
I happened to catch a few minutes of Mike and Mike ESPN radio show on Friday, and they were practically gushing about Georgetown: "They're back! They have such a great team...and Patrick Ewing, Jr., coming off the bench!!!!"
Calm down, Greenie. Ewing, Jr., a fourth-year junior, averages 4 points and 2 rebounds per game. Using my Eli Manning Theory, if his name is Patrick Smith, he doesn't even warrant a mention on the radio (the Eli Manning Theory = if his name was Eli Smith, he would not have been the #1 pick, and might not be the entrenched starter in NY right now).
Ewing, Jr. plays 13 minutes a game. Mentioning him in a discussion about Georgetown is as relevant as bringing up the name Tyrell Biggs (13 min., 3 pts, 2 reb.) when talking Pitt.
-Back to the Pitt vs. Georgetown debate (before the massacre). A few comparisons:
Pitt 27-6
Georgetown 25-6
RPI ranking
Pitt 5
Georgetown 10
Losses (with RPI rankings)
Pitt had 6: at Wisconsin (4), at Oklahoma State (51), Marquette (22), Louisville (46), at Georgetown (9), at Marquette (22). Average 26.
Georgetown had 6: Old Dominion (35), Oregon (21), at Duke (16), Villanova (15), Pitt (5), Syracuse (52). Average 24.
Top-50 RPI wins
Pitt had 8: Florida State (41), @ Syracuse (52), Georgetown (9), WVU (60), @ WVU (60), @ Villanova (15), Marquette (22), Louisville (46)
Georgetown had 10: @ Vanderbilt (48), @ Michigan (55), Notre Dame (34), @ Louisville (46), Marquette (22), WVU (60), @ Villanova (15), Pitt (5), Villanova (15), @ Notre Dame (34)
Wins over teams ranked 200 or worse in the RPI (the inflated-victories category)
Pitt had 3: Robert Morris, Duquesne, Buffalo
Georgetown had 7: Hartford, Fairfield, Ball State, James Madison, Winston-Salem, Navy, Rutgers
Unless I'm seeing things, these resumes look pretty similar to my eyes. The only possible explanation for the perception that Georgetown could have been a one seed while Pitt could not is that G-Town was hotter down the stretch. But if you consider the "Body of Work" catchphrase that's been beaten over our heads, you could cover up the names of these teams and not tell much of a difference. Except that Pitt doesn't have anyone named Ewing or Thompson.
--The potential tournament games facing Pitt are verrry exciting. Pitt-Duke in round two. Pitt-UCLA, Pitt-Gonzaga, or Pitt-Indiana in round three. Pitt-Kansas, should the planets align and they advance to the Elite Eight. Let's hope that the team focuses more on what happened Thursday and Friday and makes Saturday a forgotten memory.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Boy Louis, you really hit the nail on the head with that one.

However, your overview of Pitt basketball leads to my comment: In addition to the poster boy for poor conditioning, Aaron Gray, why do all of you think that the Pitt team falters so often in the Big East title game? Simple, they're sucking fumes every year by the title game. You'd have thought that someone there would have figured that one out a long time ago!

It's one thing to play two games a week, but three games or even four games in four nights? You'd better be in fantastic shape for that.

Here's another intersting aspect about Pitt basketball. All year long you hear that they "Have nine starters". So what do they do when the Big East grueling playoffs come around? They shorten the minutes for some of the guys and let a guy like Aaron Gray take out a union card in the Bricklayers Union.

Hey, I'm not saying that Tyrell Biggs is the answer, but man, could he have done worse thatn Gray was doing? At least he had a fresh set of legs!

It's very hard to be critical of a man like Jamie Dixon who has had so much success, but if there is a criticism of his coaching, it's that he can be hard-headed when he's behind. Hey, if a guy's shooting 1-9 in the first ten minutes, sit his ass down. It's obviously not his night. Let him get settled down, get a little wind back and maybe start him back in the second half. But to keep this player in there when he physically wasn't up to it wasn't fair to him or the team.

Pitt needs to get serious about conditioning if it ever wants to win that tournament. Think of the regular season as a series of 100 yard dashes. Think of the Big East like running a marathon.