Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Final Four reality...Learn to love it

In the ten years that Jamie Dixon has been the head coach at Pitt, only 24 schools have gone to the Final Four, and that's out of 351. That includes UConn, North Carolina, Louisville, Michigan State, and UCLA three times, and Duke, Florida, Ohio State, Kansas, Kentucky, and Butler twice. North Carolina, Louisville, Michigan State, UCLA, Duke, Kansas, and Kentucky have been legendary programs for many decades. UConn became a power nearly twenty years before Dixon started coaching at Pitt. Billy Donovan at Florida, and Thad Matta at Ohio State, are at universities where their budgets are virtually unlimited, and where they have recruiting advantages over Pitt.  Brad Stevens did such an amazing job at Butler that he became the head coach of the Boston Celtics at the age of 36!!!

Among the rest, Jim Boeheim at Syracuse, Eddie Sutton at Oklahoma State, John Calipari of Memphis, and Bob Huggins of West Virginia, are also future Hall of Famers. Bruce Weber led Illinois with Bill Self's players.  Once those players left, Weber had a losing record in the Big 10 and was eventually let go. Self is building a Hall of Fame career at Kansas. Villanova of course got in with a last second shot against Pitt. Michigan got in last year with John Beilein (after his 21st year as a Division 1 coach). John Thompson III got in with a big year in 2007, but he hasn't made the Sweet 16 for the past six seasons. 

The rest are all sleepers.  Georgia Tech got in with Paul Hewitt in a year that he went 9-7 in the ACC.  He was eventually fired. In his ninth season at LSU, John Brady made it, but then was fired one and a half seasons later. The other three- George Mason, Virginia Commonwealth, and Wichita State are as about as sleeper as you can get. 

Bottom line, your chances of getting into the Final Four are extremely low. If you need the cold, hard facts (and it's amazing that some of you still do), 1 in 14.625 schools made it to the Final Four in the last decade. That means only 6.8% of D-1 schools made the Final Four in the last decade. And if you can manage it more than once you are considered a legendary Hall of Fame coach. 

12 comments:

  1. I can understand why Pitt never got to a final 4 but why can't they ever beat a higher seeded team and constantly lose to "Cinderella's" year after year.

    KRF

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  2. Don't worry Chris. Jamie and Pitt will make to the Final Four at some point, and then we'll hear the same people start saying that sure, Jamie can reach the Final Four, but he can't win a championship.

    Frankly, I think the more valid criticism is how Pitt has yet to beat a higher ranked team during these past 12 years, even though they haven't had as many opportunities as some would claim.

    As your earlier post cities, Pitt hoops is one of the better programs in the country, and most fans would love to switch places with us.

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  3. With JD at the helm, the presumed recruiting pick-up with the return of Slice and the move to the ACC .... we will make it to the Final 4 in the near future ... Hail to Pitt !

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  4. I will always remember the fact that Pitt was 2 points short of the Final 4 to a team that went 21 for 22 from the foul line. Whereas, WVU made it the following year against a team that not only missed 17 foul shots, they (Kentucky) went 4 for 32 on three-pointers. The Eers won the game by 7.

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  5. My take as to why Pitt never pulls an NCAA upset is the same as why Marty Shottenheimer has lost so many playoff games at home. Their teams often overachieve during the season, thus getting a higher seed than their actual talent level.

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  6. I love the approach. Best way to get over the huge dissapointment of Pitt Football is to focus on Pitt Basketball!

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  7. I guess the question is,
    Is Pitt Basketball an elite program or is it a 2nd tier program?
    Many, myself included, consider Pitt basketball an elite program and therefore Final 4 should be a goal. The writeup suggests, if Pitt makes Sweet 16, consider ourselves lucky.
    They don't think like that in Kentucky, UNC, Duke, Kansas, Indiana, Syracuse, Louisville, Michigan State to name a few.

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  8. I'd still want Jamie Dixon as the coach at Pitt for the next 15 seasons if it meant never even making it to a Final Four. Making the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 is pretty cool too and while it would be a bummer to not make it to a Final Four, the reality is it's hard to win in college basketball, period. I think Pitt will be get to a FF one day, and I'm already looking forward to the future with guys like Mike Young, Robinson, Jeter, D. Johnson, plus the shooters who are being added in Ryan Luther and Maverick Rowan.

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  9. This post doe nothing to explain never beating a higher seeded team and constantly being upset by lower seeds in the tournament. When Pitt lost in the second round as a 1 seed I lost my faith in JD. Good regular season coach and abject failure as a postseason coach.

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  10. RE OOC sked:

    On previous posts this is a constant complaint. What the posters fail to realize is that Dixon is not necessarily in control of the OOC. The program likely has revenue targets -- targets that are satisfied by playing at home. Adding stronger OOC teams means home-and-home deals, which may be revenue negative. That's not Dixon's call.

    That said, it is an impediment. Players and coaches get better with practice. Being in unfamiliar situations is always negative. While conference play involves unfamiliar arenas and hostile crowds -- those are conference games. It is easier to get "up" for a league game. And -- the unfamiliar arenas become familiar to the coaches. The Tournament involves unfamiliar arenas and unfamiliar opponents. Pitt does need to experience that as a team more in the OOC schedule. Pitt should try to schedule a home-home with a Kansas or Ohio State -- and (here's the rub) put their home game at Consol. Home crowd, but "neutral" court. The more Pitt can mimic the Tournament in the OOC, the better prepared it will be for the Tournament. The holiday tournaments are nice, but you can get some real duds in there.

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  11. Outside of last year (and that was a *good* WSU - despite having no lottery picks or 5-star recruits) and that Pacific game - I can't remember Pitt ever getting blown out in the tournament.

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  12. PITT has overachieved in the Regular season based on their style of tenacious defense and outworking other ranked teams(Uconn, Cuse). Unfortunately in the post-season this doesn't work since EVERYONE plays hard and these ranked teams have superior talent than PITT. Sans 2009 with Sam Young & DeJuan Blair. Obvious answer is recruit better players and slightly alter the style of play.

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