Thursday, January 5, 2012

DePaul 84 Pittsburgh 81

Pitt has officially hit rock bottom losing to the conference's perennial doormat, DePaul.

All five starters reached double figures, led by Talib Zanna's 16 points on 8 for 8 shooting.  He also had 7 rebounds.  Zanna started in place of Taylor who lost his starting job for the second time this season.

Ashton Gibbs added 13 points but had another bad shooting night going 5 for 15 from the field.  He also had 4 assists an 2 steals.

Nasir Robinson also had 13 points on 4 for 11 shooting.  He also had 7 rebounds and 3 turnovers.

Lamar Patterson added 10 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 steals, but also had 3 turnovers.  He shot just 4 for 13 from the field.

John Johnson had his first start and also had 10 points on 3 for 9 shooting.  He also had 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 turnovers.

Off the bench, Dante Taylor had 9 points and 5 rebounds, while J.J. Moore added 7 points and 5 rebounds.

The Panthers are now 11-5 overall and 0-3 in the Big East.  It's the only time in Jamie Dixon's career that he has lost four in a row.  Next up for the Panthers, they are hosting Rutgers on Wednesday, January 11.

53 comments:

  1. I don't see 9 more wins on their schedule.

    MG

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  2. 1. Why was Epps even in the game at crunch time?
    2. Why did we take everyone off the lane when it was obvious that there was a high percentage chance that Epps would miss? (he has missed every free throw he has taken this season).
    Jamie, for all his virtues, is a poor game coach. I doubt that Herrion would have let Jamie get in that position.

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  3. This is utterly disgraceful. Doke are you going to write any articles on the hoops team other than the short one from last month as to why they suck (besides mini game / stat recaps). Thought BE bball, and Pitt hoops in particular was your specialty.

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  4. What was Epps doing in the game with it on the line?

    You have Robinson inbounding, that leaves Gibbs, Johnson, Patterson and Moore.

    Also why is Taylor and not Zanna playing defense on the last DePaul possession?

    He exited stage left and the lane was wide open.

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  5. I already wrote one about why they suck. How many more times can I say it? You can all see it as much as I can. There's no secret.

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  6. Dixon is obviously not coaching well. Things definitely have to be changed in the offseason. It may be time for some new coaches.

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  7. I unfortunately don't think Pitt has hit rock bottom Chris yet - remember, this was supposed to be the "easy" part of the schedule. When they lose to Syracuse by 40+ points or turn the ball over 35-40 times against Louisville, then we can say it is rock bottom.

    Two quick questions for you. Did anyone but me think Lamar's dunk when he dribbled all the way from half court when Ashton and JJ were up ahead and could have easily been passed to was a huge bush-league move? I was amazed by that and as a coach would have taken him out of the game at that point. Maybe I am overreacting. Does this point to divisions on this team at all?

    Secondly, Epps and Wright are looking like two wasted scholarships for the next three years. I know some expect Wright to improve, but he has already been in the program for 1 1/2 years and continues to show nothing but the ability to turn the ball over. I know it is not the nicest thing to do, but is there any chance Dixon overrecruits this offseason and sends Epps and Wright on their way? Thanks Chris.

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  8. There were many moments where I actually thought "uh oh, this team is in trouble", like when Taylor gets a rebound and put back then does the "Superman" move like he accomplished something. Dixon is losing this team fast.

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  9. Dante's superman was ridiculous. It's a bad team and shit happens but the TO's are what's killing them. It's the dumbest team of the Dixon era. What's the over/under on turnovers against Louisville? They'll still beat 'Cuse - they always do.

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  10. Make no mistake, DePaul may have been the perennial doormat going into this one. However, DePaul has better players as of right now than Pitt. That much is clear and when you have won as much as Dixon has, there is no excuse for that. If you want to be elite, you have to consider this. Would Duke or UNC or Kentucky go into DePaul and lose? Not likely. If I was Steve Adams I would reconsider this whole thing.

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  11. Make no mistake, the Anonymous poster above is an idiot

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  12. Chris, was the Patterson dunk when he didn't pass ahead to two open teammates one of those "uh,oh" moments for you?

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  13. A complete idiot.

    But regardless, Jaime needs to wake up. The first half defense was MUCH better b/c he actually played Johnson/Epps/Moore/Gilbert and put the ball in Johnson's hand, who created space for everyone.

    Then he panicked in the second half and stuck with Gibbs handling the ball most of the possession and with Nas/Patterson/Gibbs on the defensive end and gave up 53 points. Young and Melvin KILLED Gibbs and Patterson in the second half.

    He has to live with some of the mistakes JJ, John Johnson, and even Epps/Gilbert are going to make and he has to get Gibbs back to the 2 and let Johnson/Epps handle the damn ball.

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  14. No story on the Lucas Nix legal issues Chris?

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  15. Isn't this blog titled "Panther's Prey?"

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  16. Is there an undercurrent of news not yet uncovered to explain what is obviously poor execution on the court and poor coaching? Is Dixon having personal problems we don't know about? Is there a major drug problem on this team? Put aside the rah rah Pitt take on Birch's departure and consider what was going on with his teammates to make him leave and what is still going on. Dysfunction reigns supreme now. How in the hell did the wheels fall off so fast? Perhaps there is a book written about successful programs jumping the shark then being consumed by it? We're in big trouble here.

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  17. First of all, watching Epps stand 10 inches from the free throw line was kind of weird. I have not giving up on Dixon. He is and will be a great coach. We are having major issues getting good point guard play and Gibbs had turned into a different player playing the point. i like john Johnson, i like Nasir and Gibbs. i think Lamar, Wright and Taylor are over rated, however, I still believe they can turn things around. There are going to be no changes in the off season and the only thing Jamie can do better is become less stuborn and mix his combinatins around more. i actually thought Epps played well in his 6 minutes pushing the ball up the floor, however, he seems suspect at ball handeling

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  18. Epps isn't that bad and frankly, we need to let him play and take the ball out of Gibbs' hands. Let Epps and Johnson handle 10 and 25 minutes of the PG position a game. Let Gibbs take it for 5 minutes and 2 guard for another 26-27 and move on. No one on this team should be playing more than 32-33 minutes at this point.

    Btw, the centers were awesome tonight. 11-11, 25 points, 15 boards, etc.

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  19. To those who write pithy, negative comments about Mr. Dokish: As a webmaster of my own blog, houstonisdwatch.com, let me offer this counsel: 1) Have you paid to come on this site? 2) Are you asked to make a donation? 3) Are you contending with annoying pop-up ads? 4) Do you know who is funding this site? Of course, Chris Dokish has created and maintains this site. He decides what content to publish. After all, he is the webmaster. This appears to be a voluntary effort on his part so lay off. I'll admit it. I'm a huge fan of Chris Dokish and I keep his analysis on the differences between Walt Harris and Dave Wannstedt as a must reread. Bottom line: We went a year or two without regular Dokish analysis (I can't remember the old site he maintained - a site that essentially disintegraded after Chris left). So maybe the smart asses can take their 'tude to cnnsi.com's Fans Nations where being a smart ass is a requirement to post.

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  20. Thanks. It's basically one "anonymous" who needs to get a life. He clearly has an agenda. I don't even think he's a Pitt fan.

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  21. Apparently, Gibbs and Epps wouldn't talk to reporters after the game. Only Nasir Robinson did, according to Ray Fittipaldo. Sounds troublesome.

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  22. Chris, any news on the black eye that Dixon was wearing earlier in the season?

    Just wondering if it was team related, family related or just a freak accident.

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  23. I don't know. Nothing salacious, I'm sure.

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  24. Thanks, I was just wondering if maybe there was something else causing some distraction. This season has me chaking my head looking for answers.

    This game tonight was winnable and it just seemed that the focus needed was missing.

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  25. I expect Pitt to get Woodall back and then be able to make the NIT....no way they do if he's out much longer.

    I'm looking at Pitt's remaining BE schedule and I see 4-6 wins max.....

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  26. My concern is that they are no better with Woodall. Woodall can score and dish, but he turns the ball over a ton and isn't very good on Defense, either.

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  27. The thing is though that Gibbs will be able to play the 2 again and start scoring a little better.

    And I doubt Woodall turns the ball over more than Gibbs when he's playing PG.

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  28. It will definitely help to have Woodall back. I don't know how much, though.

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  29. Where is Jaron Brown (my favorite), Carl Krauser or Levance Fields when you need them? Guys that battle and are fearless? There is a crisis of confidence on this team, one that I've never seen on a JD-coached team. Too bad, but they need to work to build some positivity out of a horrid season (so far).

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  30. Tray Woodall is probably the only guy that has that swagger to bring his teammates around. Regardless, the point is they need to fully commit otherwise its not going to happen.

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  31. Not only did those three you mention battle, but they were actually good basketball players. They didn't have an enormous amount of raw physical talent but they knew how to play basketball. I'm not sure Pitt has any players like that that just knows how to be a good basketball player.

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  32. Right now I'd trade 2 starters and a bum to be named later for Chevy Troutman....

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  33. Love the site Chris. Based on your hit count, I'm sure you don't let the posts by a few randoms bother you.

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  34. piss off to anonymous who makes the randomly idiotic statements repeatedly here all the time. i think its about time his mother takes the computer away from him and makes him do his junior high social studies homework. now on to the game. 1st half wasn't to bad but the 2nd half was horrible. i think the gibbs experiment at the point should be over with at this stage. he can play that position but not very well at all. he's a shooter plain and simple. epps and johnson need to run the point til woodall gets back. are they good at it? not really but they are the best options at this point and it lets gibbs get back to concentrating on getting his shots. as for wright i think he is just plain bad. never really saw what the coaches ever saw in him to be honest. as others have said there is no sign of any leadership on this team whatsoever. you have players who seem to be more concerned with look at me moments than concerned about playing team ball. i had concerns about this years team at the beginning of the year but never thought it was going to turn into this. it happens to every program once in awhile and this is pitts year for it. i will also agree with others that jamie dixon does not seem like himself this year at all. i had heard reports that he was upset about the move to the ACC and am starting to wonder if there is some behind the scenes tension going on between him and the administration over that. i'm a pitt fan to the core and am still hoping they find a way to right the ship and make it to the big dance. i'll keep rooting them on no matter what happens and know things will get better next year.

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  35. Over the long haul having a dud season may be a good thing for Dixon. Up until now he has not had to face any real adversity or re-examine how he approaches the game or recruiting. The true test will be how Dixon deals with this season moving into next.

    Prediction: The next Anonymous post will rip Chuck Noll for going 1-13 and drafting that bum Bradshaw.

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  36. That's actually a good point and I was thinking about that myself. Maybe this will make Dixon realize that he has to change some things.

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  37. Ranking of disappointments for pitt:
    1. Dixon- cause he's the head coach, he has to be number one, it comes with the territory. Rushed Woodall back too soon, had Epps in the end for that late game situation, and can he figure out a way for his players to break the press more effectively? I have seen the same press breaker for most of the time. Has to receive blame for some of his players not progressing as they could be.
    2. Gibbs- trying to prove he can play in the NBA, he has made it look like he can't even play in the NBDL. He has disappeared way too much on the court and terrible defense at the end of this game with that soft foul.
    3. Birch- was supposed to be a talented big who provide shotblocking and defense with some offense coming to him by the end of the season. Instead listens to bad advice and bails.
    4. Taylor- Was supposed to break out this year and be a quality Big East post player. Instead, he can't finish any plays, especially with contact and is in constant foul play. His free throw shooting just adds to the bad play.
    5. J.J. Moore- Fans criticized Gilbert Brown cause he never reached his potential, and J.J. Moore may be the same thing. Supposed to be an above average offensive player, but his scoring has been lacking and his ball handling hasn't been exactly good.
    6. Guard play other than Gibbs- Can't anyone handle the ball? The press by DePaul and even Cincinnati wasn't that good, and they still just made awful turnovers. Good basketball players don't make those silly, sloppy turnovers. My high school coaches would put me on the bench for making those bone-headed mistakes. Can somebody consistently shoot the ball?
    I don't think Pitt will make any postseason this year. I have consistently defended Dixon from criticism he has received from fellow pitt fans, and I still think he is the man who will lead the program to the Final 4. He is one of the ten best coaches in America. Does anyone remember Roy Williams having his team missing the tournament a few years ago? It happens to the best coaches.
    The future appears to be bright however. Dokish has been praising the incoming recruits coming in. Adams sounds like he's going to be a beast. NBA scouts and recruiting evaluators are saying he's the real thing. Robinson is said to be a better version of Levance Fields, which has to have pitt fans drooling. Most of the players who are playing are young, which I don't think most fans are keeping in mind. Johnson, Wright, Epps, Gilbert- freshmen, Moore, Patterson, Zanna- sophomores. This year will be remembered as an anomoly

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  38. One thing I've been talking about with some national writers today is how Ashton Gibbs REALLY wanted out of college this year. He did not want to come back at all. It was nothing against Pitt, he just didn't want to be in school anymore. And as we talked, we kind of came to the conclusion that his heart was just not into it this year. And that's too bad because he's hurting his legacy.

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  39. That is sad to hear because it's hurting what he wants to do in the future. Every clunker he throws up or time he feels like not playing that hard, his future earnings will go down

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  40. I'm not suggesting that he's consciously not trying, but I think he's not been happy and in a good frame of mind this year, and it's having a harmful effect on his play. The fact that he stormed out of the locker room tonight without answering any reporter's questions is another sign of that.

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  41. The ankle injury he suffered earlier this year has also been another negative. Who knows how healthy he has been playing, especially with the increased minutes with Woodall out, and how much that has been affecting his shoot

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  42. Bad ankle, out of position, and senioritis. It's the perfect storm and it's raining mediocrity.

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  43. Glad to see Nasir isn't letting his injury and all of these other excuses affect him. He is one of the few bright spots on this team. I know you have said he isn't a great basketball player, but man has he gutted it out and performed. He is finishing most of his shots and putting everything on the court. Sad to see that he isn't being rewarding for this and enjoying his last year.

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  44. Doke,

    Does Pitt have its eyes on an Junior College point guards? Is there a great one out there who would entertain playing for Pitt? It seems like they need a ball handler, to say the least ... might these use Birch's scholarship to change the team a bit or is that scholarship already utilized?

    THANKS.

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  45. They'll have another scholarship now and they need a big man to replace Birch so that's where the one scholarship will go. As for a junior college PG, they won't need that because they will have James Robinson coming in next year and he is an excellent ball handler and floor general.

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  46. Gibbs' heart not being into it has been evident all year. There's no reason for his FT percentage to have declined -- he's just not focused. And sure, Jamie reevaluating himself, his approach and his assistants is a good thing -- and I'm very sure that he lies awake thinking about what he can do to make the team better.

    Say what you will -- and there are lots of issues, like a lack of Jaron Brown or Wanamaker-type leadership -- but unforced TO's cost us 3 of the last 4 games.

    Hey Chris, can you get rid of the "anonymous" profile?

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  47. Chris,

    You'll probably get these questions a lot over the next day or two so please disregard if you've already answered and I missed it but...

    1. Why is Epps on the floor in that situation? You have Gibbs, Patterson, Moore, Johnson and an inbounder as better options.

    2. Why can't Dixon draw up an inbounds play to get a shooter the ball. I know teams are denying Gibbs and Gibbs isn't very quick and able to separate himself but in games past we had to inbound to Taylor on multiple occasions and last night Epps? I can't understand this.

    3. How is the lane that wide open??? Gibbs guarding one-on-one with the Atlantic Ocean behind him is doomed for failure. I have to imagine Dixon coached them up better than that. Do you attribute the clear out with no help to coaching, players basketball iq or just a great call/play by DePaul?

    As always, your work is much appreciated.

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  48. I'm as frustrated as any Pitt fan, and I still love Coach Dixon, but I do think some changes need to be made...here are my suggestions:

    1) Cameron Wright is asked to transfer.
    2) Malcolm Gilbert starts. he may be raw, but he'll play hard all the time.
    3) Gibbs has to stop playing the 1, he's not a point guard. He has to be a #2.
    4) You have to give John Johnson the keys to the team until Woodall gets back.
    5) Lamar Patterson must pass the ball at least two times on any possession in which he wants to shoot. The guys a ball hog, and he's just not that good.
    6) Our Defense ain't that good, so I'd play more zone. yeah, we probably aren't good at that either but at least you don't let people drive and kill you all night.

    Just my thoughts. Frankly, Pitt is overdue to have a down year. It was bound to happen sometime. And Dokish, love the site and your analysis and insight, don't let the hater d-bags get you down!

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  49. The lane is open because the defenders are slow, have poor technique and don't communicate well. As far as strategy, with Pitt up 2 the strategy should have been for the help to stick to the 3-point shooters and force a 2-point effort. If you remember a few years ago this similar scenario against WVU when Ramon hit the game-winning 3 from the corner: Huggins blasted his defender who left to help on Benjamin because they stressed not to do that. With the way Depaul was knocking down 3s in the 2nd half, I'm sure that was the strategy.
    That doesn't excuse anything else that happened, and it only reinforces the perimeter defense issues Pitt has, but it wasn't a strategy issue.

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  50. Chris,

    Not surprised to hear your comments about Gibbs having senioritis. Your research and inside scoop is what helps to set you apart. He has seemed pouty and disinterested all season. It is only going to get worse as he realizes (if he hasn't already) that he has absolutely zero chance of playing in the NBA.

    And I agree, what kind of pressure are they putting on Woodall, like he's going to be the savior of the program when he gets back. He's an average point guard at best, and I don't think his presence is going to help Gibbs make the short runners that he is missing by several feet, or help Taylor get a clue, or get Patterson to actually look before he throws a pass. Maybe that's why he took that ball to the hoop instead of passing it up ahead- he was afraid he'd throw it away.

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  51. As I recall in the past Dixon's teams were pretty solid regarding the fundamentals of the game minus free throws, this team seems to have a hard time doing anything right, they play well in spurts but lack consistency, I guess you can say they are just outright horrible.

    This team might not get an invite to the NIT's!

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  52. Send it IN, Jerome!January 6, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    I'm simply shocked at how quickly and how far this team has fallen. Pitt has 60% of its starters back from a 1-Seed in March Madness, and we just lost to DePaul? DePaul??

    I think we have these major problems:

    1. Too short. With Nasir in the lineup, we have 4 guys 6'-5 or smaller. That's a high school team.

    Nasir should be coming off the bench at 3 to alow Taylor and Zanna to move to 4 and get Gilbert in at 5. But Dixon will never do that.

    2. We've been exposed at PG, no depth. When Woodall is out, we need miracles to survive.

    3. Assistant coaches (just a guess). We've lost some good ones, and it appears we've failed to replace them -- quality wise -- with the new guys.

    4. Birch vacuum. They'd never admit it, but it seems obvious to me that Birch leaving took something out of the Esprit de Corps. I don't think they've won since.

    NIT? You need a winning record to make the NIT, and our easy games are in the rear-view mirror. Unless this team gets a lot better fast, our only chance is to run the table in the Big East tourney from Day 1, ala UConn last year.

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  53. No one mention Patterson?? OMG... the guy is PITIFUL! He can't play perimeter defense... and he constantly gets beat off the dribble. His assist/turnover ratio has to be negative... oh and his shooting is woeful!

    And does anyone notice - no one ever walks over to help him up?? Hmmm...

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