Wednesday, February 8, 2012

South Florida 63 Pittsburgh 51

Well, it's not officially over yet, but unless Pitt goes on an unreal tear, they will not be playing in the NCAA tournament this year.

Tray Woodall was the leading scorer with 11 points and he became the only Panther to get into double figures in the last minute, on an uncontested layup.  He also had 5 rebounds, just 2 assists, and 4 fouls.

Ashton Gibbs played very poorly and came away with just 4 points on 2-9 from the floor.  Amazingly he attempted just one three pointer (and missed), and had no free throw attempts.  What a total lack of leadership when the team needs it most.

J.J. Moore came off the bench for 9 points, while Nasir Robinson added 8 points and 4 rebounds, and Talib Zanna had 8 points and 5 rebounds.

The Panthers shot 34.6% from the floor while USF shot an incredible 57.5%, thanks to the Panthers matador defense in the lane.

Pitt is now 15-10 overall and 4-8 in the Big East.  The next game is noon Sunday at Seton Hall.


  1. Doke- obviously way too early (and I still haven't given up on this season, although I probably should), but any thoughts on whether you think nexts years team is an NCAA tourney team, or is Pitt in danger of spiraling out of the national spotlight and back to mediocrity.

  2. I think this is just a bump in the road. It happens. As of now I see no reason why they won't be significantly better next season.

  3. Im assuming Gibbs didnt face the media tonight?

  4. They lose Gibbs and Robinson (first and third leading scorers). I just don't see where the extra offense will come from. Short of Adams coming in and having a Dejuan Blair esque freshman year, and moore and taylor drastically improving (which if this year was any reflection could be doubtful), I see this team struggling big time to score points next season. Even more so than this year. I suppose patterson's production could increase, but I still think the only consistent (proven) scorer will be woodall. Plus I don't see any defensive stoppers. Zanna is soft, and taylor disappears for games at a time = no solid post defender. Woodall, Johnson and Wright look small and slow footed and unathletic on defense. I pray I am wrong, all of these guys improve as Jamie players typically do, and Pitt gets back to its consistent winning ways. Someone please convince me I am wrong.

    1. You sir, are a complete idiot. Neither Robinson nor Gibbs can create their own shot and are a big reason why our offense isn't any good.

      That isn't the most insane thing you said, however. That would be that Johnson and Wright look slow footed and unathletic on defense. Robinson and Gibbs leaving is an immediately upgrade on defense. Johnson is also already a more dynamic offensive player than Gibbs and with Johnson coming in, we'll have three excellent ball handlers that can all pass. It would be nice to see Moore develop some more strength and a better handle so he can be effective getting to the rim b/c Patterson is WAY to unathletic to be starting for a big time D1 team, but the upgrade at center will be significant. Adams is darn good.

      But this idea that Johnson and especially Wright, who is debatably the best athlete on the team, looks slow footed anywhere is just unobservant.

    2. Wright... ur kidding...
      He seems to only go in for defensive purposes... he is very good on defense but looks lost on offense... like he isn't suppose to shoot the ball just pass it to Gibbs.
      John Johnson is good...
      Patterson is consistent and that is why he starts over Moore.
      Next year.... the 5 with Adams/Gilbert and the 4 with Zanna/Taylor. Should dominate the boards, the question will be will the guards send it inside and can zanna/taylor finish around the boards. Adams/Gilbert is unknown at this point.

    3. Crimhead:

      The statement that Johnson is "already a more dynamic offensive player than Gibbs" should win you the moron of the year award by a landslide. Gibbs will finish his career as one of the top 10 scorers in Pitt history, not to mention he has the most made 3 pt field goals in Pitt history, and is probably in the top 5 for 3 point shooting percentage. Additionally, he has led the team in scoring the past 3 seasons. John Johnson, while I hope he goes on to have a stellar career at Pitt, averages about 5 points per game, and will likely end up scoring about 1,000 points less than ashton gibbs for his career. Grow a brain.

      Furthermore, despite his faults, Robinson has a nose for the ball and usually has decent touch around the rim for being 6"5. He is more of a scoring threat than Zanna and Taylor by far. Unless one of those two step up next season they will miss Nas.

      Saying Patterson is "WAY too unathletic to be starting for a big time D1 team" is also a bit far fetched. Maybe if you are talking UK or UNC, but he is a solid contributor this year, can create for others, and knock down the occasional jump shot. By the end of his career he will be, and currently is, a solid contributor.

      While Wright is certainly a better defender than Gibbs (which isn't saying much), calling him "debatably the best athlete on the team" is a joke. I have not seen him attack the rim once this season. He has demonstrated zero explosion. How can you even put him in the same stratosphere as JJ Moore athletically.


    4. Rhino -

      I didn't say Johnson was a better scorer, I said he was more dynamic. Gibbs is one dimensional. He creates nothing is my point. Robinson has decent touch around the rim, which any 6'5" player would. He can't create anything himself - any of our big guys can dunk the ball or lay it in. Patterson can't guard anyone and can't create anything, either. This is the entire problem with the offense - no one can create anything off the bounce except for Woodall because they simply aren't athletic enough. John Johnson can, JJ Moore could if his handle was better and he didn't play like a statue. And Wright attacking the rim is irrelevant as to whether he's a great athlete or not as that was in response to him being slow footed. JJ is a great athlete and he doesn't attack the rim, either. That's sad, but true. But Cam Wright and JJ are the two superior athletes on the team. Have you seen some of the ridiculous dunks Cam Wright can do? Lord, he can put the ball through his legs and stuff the thing. He can run and jump as well as anyone. He's a great athlete. Cam Wright may not have the skill to take advantage of it, but he can play some defense for sure. Why else would they take a shot on the kid? He can't shoot, can't dribble, and can't pass particularly well. But he is a great athlete for sure.

      The problem with this team offensively - and I cannot believe you all are defending the players on this team that are directly responsible for the subpar offense - is that they cannot create offense off the dribble or with their athleticism. So unless we are running a Princeton style-offense that relies on deception or something else to create space or opportunities, we are going to struggle on offense with Patterson, Gibbs, and Nasir in the game as the same time because they can't break a decent defender down. That's why the offense is poor. Simple as that.

      If you guys can't see that, please explain to me why the offense is so bad? It's those three guys playing that many minutes. Next year, Dixon may still play Patterson a lot, which is a problem on the defensive end, but will be fine on offense if Woodall/John Johnson/Robinson are playing guard because they can break people down. Patterson will be strictly perimeter at that point, but that's okay on offense. JJ is a much better player in that regard as he can shoot and can defend at this point much better than Patterson - which shows you how much JJ Moore has improved this year on D - and he has the potential with another year of ballhandling/strength/toughness improvement to be able to get to the rim. Patterson should be a solid bench player and zone breaker. He can pass and shoot very well.

      If our problem is offense this year, the answer is to play Woodall/John Johnson/JJ Moore at the 1-2-3. I also think that's a much better defensive team as well, but Dixon had the chance to play those guys earlier in the year - you can lump Khem Birch in there as well - and wouldn't do it. If you want to look at the single reason this team isn't good it's less to do with Woodall going down and more to do with Dixon's unwillingness to play the less experienced, more athletic guys and let them make mistakes and get better, rather than the less athletic guys that know the system better and have minimal ceiling.

  5. I don't see NCAA for Pitt this year...
    they will probably have to win the BE tourney.
    I see probably only 6 teams from the BE this year...
    Question will be... will Pitt even make the NIT?

  6. Pitt should make the NIT with 17 or 18 wins. WVU, Ohio State and North Carolina have all won the NIT in recent memory, so if Pitt ends up there I'll be rooting hard for them to win the tournament and hanging a banner at the Pete.

  7. Woodall plays all year and they win 20+ and its just another pitt season. No PG, no wins, is how this season shaped up. It was obvious they would be a defensively challenged team all year. No reason to think that the incoming class won't bring a lift, and that some of the underclass (Johnson, Patterson?) won't improve.

  8. Everybody do me a favor and let's get back to respecting everybody's opinion without calling each other names. I would like to keep this place as a rational place to discuss Pitt sports without turning into the crap that goes on with other message boards. We can disagree without getting personal.

    1. A BIG Thank You for this post Chris. Being a Pitt fan, this is the 1st place (site, blog - whatever) that I go to when I turn on the computer because it doesn't get personal.

      If these guys want to trash each other, I would suggest the pantherlair where it's a free for all and where they have their fun.

      Hopefully, you will continue to be able to have a relatively clean site.

  9. Gibbs looks like he has hit a physical wall as well as whatever other issues seem to have distracted him from his normal game this season.

    Pitt was outrebounded last night but yet Dixon did not turn to playing Zanna and Taylor together, a combination that helped win the Nova game.

    I realize Dixon has had great success playing undersized strong forwards in the past but there are times this season where that philosophy is just not working and he is reluctant to change his strategy.

    That reluctance to try something a little different when the tried and true is not working is an area of Dixon's that I don't understand. He has gone to more zone this year but it has been a painfully slow process and they certainly are a long way from playing it effectively for any stretch of time.

    Nonetheless isn’t coaching about adapting to your players strengths? At least that’s the argument that
    Graham’s detractors have used and to an extent I would agree. When your smaller lineup is getting beat on the boards, at times just physically overpowered, shouldn’t the coach try to counter that in every way imaginable?

    Perhaps no strategy would have impacted the outcome last night but if you don't try everything at your disposal have you done your best?


  10. Doke - Pitt is in huge trouble next year unless they recruit a SG and Dixon actually allows the kid to play significant minutes. Also, I just cannot understand why Gilbert isn't being given any minutes. It is not like Taylor/Zanna are so good that the team suffers when they are out.

  11. Nasir Robinson should consider trading in a good portion of his heart and grit for more height and better ball-handling and FT-shooting skills.

    I cringe every time he puts the ball on the floor, expecting another turnover. And he'd be laughable at the free-throw line if he played for any other team.

    Furthermore, I know he's "listed at" 6'-5 (sheesh, I hate that practice, whether in football or hoops...). But he's shorter than Patterson. So either we have a 6'-7 guy playing at 3 (we don't...), or else we have an actual 6'-3ish guy playing at 4 when Nasir is on the floor.

    Grit schmit, that's a HS-sized lineup that will get you mugged when you play teams with legit front courts -- like USF.

    For the love of all that is decent and holy, Jamie, PLEASE bring Nasir off the bench for a spark. Unfortunately, I doubt he'd log major minutes for any other team in a major conference, let alone start.

  12. I'm certainly no basketball expert but I do watch the Pitt basketball team regularly and what I have observed is that Dixon is loathe to try anything else (supposing he has anything else in the cupoboard or in reserve????) and that this current team lacks some fire and dare I say heart. I just don't see the hustle and drive I've seen from the old teams. It may not make a difference in the long run but when they come out flat they really seem to tank it for an entire game.

  13. Chris do you think Sheldon Jeter ultimately gets an offer and what is your assessment of him if you've seen him. I get the sense that he is the typical, "he could play at Pitt" kind of guy that isn't going to make them better or help take the next step.

    My one holdup on this team being significantly improved next year is Dixon's lineup decisions. He continues to play favorites. Nas Robinson has been that guy for years, he should never have been and should not be a starter (he is a spark effort guy and that is it). Next up, Cam Wright, he cannot play 2 guard at this level because you need someone to score at that position. His defense is not nearly good enough to merit playing time, yet there he is game in and game out. I still believe JJ Moore would be a lot more developed of a player at this point if he was on Robinson or Wright's leash. If he puts up a shot that doesn't fit perfectly with the offense he's yanked. Then he ends up playing with 0 aggressiveness, attacking mode, or confidence when he re-enters. I'm not saying Moore is tremendous or even would be, but its hard to know what he'd be like if Jamie showed some confidence in him.

  14. Doke- Thanks for the blog; I check it very often, an excellent source of information and good opinions. It has taken the place of most of my visits to scout or rivals as you have to sift through all the bitching and complaining and wvu/psu threads. At least on the free boards, not sure about the premium memberships.

    A question on recruiting. I am going to watch Oak Hill tonight as they play my local high school and was wondering when was the last kid we got from there? Why do we not seem to be involved with those kids anymore? I live close by and would be nice to go watch them play with pitt commits or even kids undecided and cosidering Pitt from time to time.

    1. I believe Atilla Cosby may have been the last at the very end of the 90's. He was suspended and then left school after getting in a fight with an assistant coach, I think Oliver Antigua (I believe he punched the coach).