Syracuse Game Info

Zoo folk,

We finally have what probably is the biggest game on the home schedule this coming Saturday vs #6 Syracuse. Not a top 5 opponent, but a top 10 opponent almost as good. There’s a couple of things we wanted to let you guys know of so you can be aware…

1. The Pete opens at 5 am on Saturday to let folks in. We’ve had many many people ask us what time to get in line for “good” seats. That’s entirely up to you. We can almost guarantee you will not be the first in line if you stroll up to the Pete at 5 am though. We’ve had folks asking about tenting on Friday night, and the athletic department told us they’d “rather have students just come at 5 am”. Take that whatever way you want to.

2. Every fan in the building will receive a gold shirt similar to the “This Is Our House” shirts given out the past two years at other games. Every Zoo member in the LOWER bowl will receive a little something extra as well (barring the shipment not making it here).

3. Wear a bathrobe to the game. Syracuse starting guard Michael Carter-Williams was caught trying to steal a bathrobe and gloves from Lord & Taylor in December. When we had general meetings asking about this idea, students thought this was a fun idea. So wear a snuggie, a bathrobe, or even a blanket if you have to. Have some fun with it too. Shower caps, pajama pants, whatever you want to spice it up. (Bathrobes also function as a pillow in line, FYI)

4. Zoo Animals. Folks always mention we need more animals in the Zoo. So we’ll be printing up some blown up “big heads” of animals (instead of random celebrities). We encourage students going to the game to find some pictures of animals, and make a poster out of using a site like www.blockposters.com (super easy to use to print out on normal printer paper). Go nuts, and make a ridiculously sized elephant or giraffe. Have some fun with it. We’ve seen some animal hats and other props, so you can have those too.

5. The Pete now has a system for us to post messages to the Zoo and fans in the Pete via the jumbo-tron  Think of it as a giant electronic whiteboard. We’ll certainly still use the normal whiteboards to communicate as well.

6. If you weren’t at DePaul, we have a 5th cheer on offense. It’s “Lets Go” *clap clap* “Pitts-burgh” *clap clap*. If you have any suggestions for more chants, let us know!

7. Pitt football Junior Day. 35+ 2014 football recruits will be at the game, including some of the top prospects in PA. Make sure they feel welcome, and let them know to come to Pitt as they walk by the Zoo as they come in.

8. We’ll have all the normal stuff on the rap sheet we usually hand out before games. If you have some good dirt on a player, tweet it or email it to us.

That’s all, folks. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestion feel free to tweet them (@OaklandZoo) or email them to us (TheOaklandZoo@gmail.com)

Lets Go Pitt, and Beat the Orange!

-Leaders

2012-2013 Oakland Zoo Designs: The Return of the 6th Man

Zoo folks,

We’re excited after many months of working on them to reveal the Oakland Zoo T-Shirt designs for the 2012-2013 Basketball season. Lots of people loved last year’s design, but others thought there were some things wrong with it. We listened to a lot of the critiques people had about last year’s design including the lack of a ball, that it didn’t say Pitt on it, and others. So for this year’s design we addressed them. There are elements of many past Zoo designs incorporated into both the front in the back. One person we showed them to described the shirt as a “Greatest Hits” of the Zoo designs of the past. Enough talk, however, here’s the front:

As you can see, the orange ball is back, along with the larger ball in the background. The design is anchored by a stylized basketball court with the Pitt logo at center court. We kept the fort symbol from last year’s design, as it’s a great hat tip to the city’s start as Fort Pitt. We’ve made it very obvious this is a Pitt basketball shirt while making it something even a non-Pitt fan can appreciate.Now for the back:

Back of the 2012-2013 Oakland Zoo T Shirt

The back is something we’re especially proud of. We combined the Cathedral design that has been used the past 2 years with the “6th Man” idea that was last seen on the 2008-2009 shirt. It mimics what the players have on the back of their jerseys. The Zoo has always been the 6th man for our team, and we wanted to bring that back. Now the back of the Zoo shirts almost entirely match the back of the players’ Hyper Elite jerseys.

We’ve spent a good amount of timing coming up with brand new phone/computer wallpapers, twitter avatars, cover photos. Those are all available here: http://imgur.com/a/dO1gf

Now, the shirts are not yet in, but should be available next week. We will of course update you when they’re on shelves. They’ll be available at the Team Store at the Pete, the Pitt shop on Forbes, and the Pitt Shop (Outside Vendor) on the corner. Off campus, they”ll be available at area Dick’s and other places. Also available this year to start out are Oakland Zoo hoodies, and Oakland Zoo shirts in lady sizes.  The hoodie was the #1 item requested when we did our survey this summer. We will let you know when those are in soon, should be next week. We have one other item we hope to have out before the season, but that can wait. If these items sell well, we can branch out into doing other Zoo related items.

All that’s left now before the season is simply counting the days till Midnight Madness on the 12th of October and the opener on November 9th. Lets Go Pitt!

The 2012 Oakland Zoo 3v3 Charity Basketball Tournament

We’re happy to announce a little project we’ve been working on the past few weeks. We’re going to be hosting a 32 team, 3v3 student tournament for charity on September 30th on the courts of the Pete. All proceeds from both spectators and competitors are going to be donated to the local Boys and Girls Club of Western PA. They are a great organization, and we wanted to help some place local. Our plan is to turn this into an annual event to help raise money for different causes each year. The event will be open to the public (students and non students) as well at $1 per ticket, which 100% of that goes to charity. We’ll also be there accepting any additional donation you’d like to give. Anything and everything is appreciated. Here’s the hard details:

  • Tournament is September 30th, check in 11-11:30 with first tip being at noon.
  • 3v3 half court games, double elimination bracket, 4 person teams (3 players, 1 sub to use interchangeably)
  • Teams can be made up of Pitt students only, male or female (don’t have to be all of one gender)
  • All games but the championship are played on the Pete main court and practice court on 9/30.
  • Championship game will be played during half-time of a Pitt men’s basketball game (date TBA)
  • Entry fee is $40 per team ($10 per person). This covers the entry fee, and gets you a free tournament t shirt.
  • The rest of the entry fee is donated along with any other proceeds to the Boys and Girls club of Western PA.
  • Coach Jamie Dixon and some of the players will likely (barring recruiting, other circumstances) be present at the tournament. Chance to talk/meet them.
  • Registration forms are available here: registration form. Rules and official details will be released soon.
  • Registration forms along with $40 entry fee in cash are due by Friday, 9/21 to the Panther Ticket Office in the Pete Lobby

Now, here are the prizes for the 2 teams that make it to the championship game:

2nd Place:

4 free 2012-2013 Oakland Zoo T shirts

Get to go into the Pete before a Pitt Men’s basketball game of their choice, and get seats of their choice. (i.e. they don’t wait in line)

1st Place:          

 4 free 2012-2013 Oakland Zoo T shirts

Get to go into the Pete before a Pitt Men’s basketball game of their choice, and get seats of their choice. (ie they don’t wait in line)

Autographed Jamie Dixon basketballs

Names on new Tournament Trophy

A behind the scenes Pitt basketball experience with Jamie Dixon

Obviously the first 32 teams to get their form and money in are the ones in the tournament, so get your teams together ASAP if you for sure want to play.

Huge thanks to the athletic department and Coach Dixon for allowing us to put this together and putting forth the Pitt prizes. If you have any questions, please tweet @OaklandZoo or email theOaklandZoo@gmail.com if you have questions or want to donate money.

A Mid Summer Night’s Update

Hey, Zoo folk! Hope you all are enjoying your summer, whether you’re working, taking classes, or just relaxing. We wanted to give you a mid off-season update on how things are progressing on our end. We’ll start with the things most people would care about, and work our way down. It’s a little long, but full of info.

1. 2012-2013 Oakland Zoo T-Shirt Designs

We are in the final stages of creating the t-shirt designs. The design was done by the same person who has done the past two years’ designs.  We can’t tell you exactly what it entails, but can tell you we addressed many of the problems people had with last years design. Beyond that, I can say the back has some really cool elements from past shirts combined with some new stuff. We don’t want to spoil any more though. The design will be released sometime in September or October, and we’ve been throwing around some ideas to reveal the designs to you guys and hand out some free Zoo shirts with the new design in the process. The feedback from people we’ve showed it to has been extremely positive. We’re excited to release them when we can.

2. More ways for Pitt fans/Zoo folk to communicate with us, and each other.

We wanted to make it even easier for people to communicate with us and each other to share ideas about ideas for games, trips, cheers, etc., so we made a new Facebook group under the new groups format that’s been done. The link for the facebook groups page is here Oakland Zoo group page. For you Redditors our there, we also made a new Oakland Zoo reddit. That’s here: Oakland Zoo Reddit. As always, we have the @OaklandZoo twitter and theOaklandZoo@gmail.com for you to use as well. Use these however you like to help discuss ideas and things you think would help make the Zoo better.

3. Zoo Meetings / Opposing Team Dossier

One thing we want to try this year is have actual meetings. Where/when/how often is still completely up in the air, but this is a face-to-face extension of #2 above. We would use these meetings to plan new cheers/pranks/events during games to do. Also using these meetings, we can research opposing teams, and have a dossier on each team we can hand out to Zoo members as they enter games. (eg, the names of Syracuse’s starting five’s mothers, stupid classes they take, etc). During the first semester, we’d maybe only meet once or twice as the schedule usually isn’t exciting enough to warrant this much work. When the Big East schedule rolls around, however, having a meeting for every 2-3 home games sounds perfect. Have an idea for a cheer or something to make the Zoo better? Bring it to one of these meetings. Can ask the leaders questions as well about what we’re allowed to do. More information on this as the year gets closer.

4. Attempting to bring back Zoo field trips

The Zoo has a budget to work with each year earning money from the t shirt sales. In the past, this money has been used to pay for groups of Pitt students to travel to places like WVU, and sit together to cheer. Unfortunately (in an awesome way), the Zoo was far too loud and disruptive at WVU and they refuse to sell us tickets directly anymore. We’re thinking of looking into what it would cost to send some folks to Georgetown, Louisville, Nova, etc. We think this would be a LOT of fun, and would try to make this something you can do for a small price. This would be a heck of a way to experience the last year in the Big East. This is something we’ll discuss in the meetings mentioned earlier.

5. Actual basketball news

To give you a short update on the team, they are training very hard. From what it sounds like, they’re training 2 or 3 times a day. There are times they’ve come back from Greentree games and gone and played pick up with each other. The chemistry on this team is really something to be appreciated. They like each other a lot, and they like playing with each other a lot. Last year proved that any expectations before the season starts are premature, but do not be surprised if this team is very very good. The new players give a nice influx of talent to the experience of our returning guys. Overall, they have the talent to do well, but it will come down to how they execute together.If you haven’t been following closely, all of the new players  ( Freshmen James Robinson, Steven Adams, and Chris Jones, along with transfer Trey Zeigler) are on campus and doing well. If you haven’t been able to see any of the Greentree summer league our guys participate in, here’s a link to Panther Sports Network who do the highlights for all the summer games: Greentree Highlights. (James is #48, Lamar is #21, Steven is #64, and Trey is #7)

That’s pretty much it for now. Hope this guys gets you a little more in tune to what’s been going on during the summer. We want to constantly push the Zoo forward to make it better than it ever has been, and we’re gonna need your input and ideas this coming year for that. This is YOUR student section. Let’s make it the best we can.

Hail to Pitt!

PS Keep on the lookout for some big news for students football-wise. Some changes coming to the Gameday experience at Heinz Field.

Last Home Game and Other Stuff

Zoo folk,

As we’re approaching the end of the regular season, just wanted to let you know of a few things. Obviously the team’s season hasn’t gone as well as we all had hoped, but despite people trying to say otherwise the Zoo did its part. For Rutgers, Louisville, Georgetown, and WVU the Zoo was at 90% full or better with Louisville and WVU being sell outs. That means out of the 6 Big East games we’ve had while classes have been going, 4 were pretty much full for a team that hasn’t been above .500 in Big East play all year. For the other two, USF had about 65-70% full and Providence was pretty dismal. Providence was at the tail end of the 8 game losing streak, however.

Our last game is this Wednesday at 7 pm at the Pete. Since it’s our last home game, we’re hoping people come out and help the team finish on the right foot. If you haven’t been to a game this year, be there! For those that didn’t attend Senior Day last year, we had cutouts of the seniors that members of the Zoo could sign as kind of a parting gift. Gary, Brad, and Gil all told us they absolutely loved this, so we did the same for Ashton and Nasir for this year. We didn’t have them for Senior Day at USF because they changed it too short notice for us to get them in time. We’ll have the cutouts and sharpies for people to sign them with before the game on Wednesday (not to mention the return of the giant Jamie Dixon head). Nick Rivers received his cut out last year, so he’s taken care of.

We still need votes in the student section of the year contest yet. We need to make the top 8 to make the finals, and as of Friday we were well out of there. The top 8 are put before the Naismith Board of Directors, and they vote on the best student section of the year based on the votes and criteria the athletic department submitted in the fall. The deadline is midnight tomorrow, and it would be super awesome to have everyone vote at least once. It’s super easy, just follow the link on facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/ilovecollegehoops?sk=app_148595948584796

Lastly, we’re thinking about getting students a lot more involved in the Zoo’s Gameday activities, chants, traditions etc. for next year. So we’re thinking about having a completely open meeting sometime after the season is over that anyone can come and suggest ideas for things the Zoo could start doing. Not only does this allow people to share their ideas, but also bounce them off of a large group to see if they’re good or not. Your suggestions could be anything from new cheers, to new ticketing policies, to things you didn’t like about this year. Sweet Caroline at Pitt football games was born out of similar meetings like this. Is this something people would be interested in coming to? Let us know on twitter @OaklandZoo or email us @theOaklandZoo@gmail.com. This would be YOUR chance to let us know exactly what you think could be better in the Oakland Zoo. It’s YOUR student section.

That’s all for now. As always, if you have any questions or anything you can tweet us or email us.

Thanks,

Leaders

Gameday Comments/Providence/Georgetown/Best Student Section

Hey Zoo folk,

Wanted to start off by saying you guys were great for Gameday. Result was not what we wanted but we certainly did our part. The leaders received numerous compliments from the both the athletic department and the Gameday crew saying the Zoo was loud and engaged for the morning show. With how many people showed up to support (at the time) a 0-6 BE team, they wondered how many thousands would have showed up for a top 10 team. For the game, people were tweeting us saying how loud and into the game we were along with mentioning the atmosphere seemed great. Dickie V and Dan Shulman commented numerous times on the Zoo. The last quarter of the game wasn’t terribly loud, but that’s understandable with the way the game was going. It seems like overall ESPN were glad they came, and it should help to bring them back in the future.

To future game business,  there’s a game against Providence tonight at 7. We know morale for the team is horribly and absurdly low right now, but we gotta keep supporting them. That’s what student sections (and especially the 2nd rated Zoo) have to do. We really believe half the problem with this team right now is just confidence. If they get that 1st win tonight, we have a feeling they’ll get it going again. Game starts at 7, same procedure as always. Need and hope to see you guys there.

Georgetown comes to the Pete on Saturday at 4. They are a top 10 team, and Pitt could really really use the win. The game starts at 4, so you can even sleep in a little and then hop on over to the Pete for the game. We are either undefeated or have only 1 loss at the Pete versus top 10 teams (not 100% sure). Let’s keep that one record safe. Especially if the team wins tonight, we could push them over the edge on Saturday. Be there!

This is something we REALLY need everyone’s help with. Naismith is doing a student section of the year contest where people vote everyday to get into the top 16. After that, another vote is done to get into the final eight. At that point, the Naismith board of directors decide on the winners. We know this is a really bad year for us with the way the team is going, but the Zoo has never been more well known. ESPN voted us #2, the Zoo’s twitter gets dozens of new followers by the week (added 200 this week alone), and we just had a great showing on gameday. We still have pride as a student section, and it would be awesome to win this. Go to this link. You can vote everyday, and we need as many votes as we can get. Tell your roommates, friends, family, etc. to vote. Anybody that’s a Pitt fan, get them to vote!

Lastly, 2012 Pitt commit Steven Adams moved into the top 5 in ESPN’s 2012 rankings. The big news, however, is he will be playing at a local area high school in a tournament on Sunday afternoon. It’s called the PBC Legends classic at Ambridge Fieldhouse and all the info is here. Adams plays at 2:00 pm for ND Prep. The Zoo leaders and some others will be getting a group there to show him support. If you’re into the Pitt connections, Pitt football recruit JP Holtz plays at noon, and Sheldon Jeter, a 2012 Pitt target, will play at 3:30.

If you have any questions on anything, as always you can tweet us @OaklandZoo or email us. We try our best to answer quickly.

Thanks guys,

Leaders

ESPN College Gameday comes to Pitt

What we’ve been waiting for all year is finally here: ESPN Gameday. There’s essentially three stages for the day: Gameday broadcast, Women’s game versus WVU, and then obviously the men’s game versus Louisville.

6 AM: Doors to the Pete lobby open.

8:30 AM: Gates to the floor are open for people to get their seats for Gameday

10 AM: ESPN Gameday broadcasts on ESPNU.

11 AM: Gameday broadcasts on ESPN

11:50 AM: State Farm Half-Court Shot for $18,000 (we’re being told the person will be RANDOMLY selected)

This is how the ticketing situation for Gameday works. Gameday is FREE for EVERYONE. Our goal is simply to have as many people at the Pete as we possibly can. Lobby opens at 6.

Now here’s some important info: To reward early support, those that come to Gameday in the morning with a ticket to the men’s game will receive a wristband that gives you priority entrance to the men’s game over those that do not come to Gameday. If you do not come to Gameday, you will have to wait a half hour later than those that did to enter the arena for the game.

This will be confusing, but for Gameday we do NOT sit in the normal Zoo sections. We are behind the private boxes. See the picture to the right

For the morning show, the students will be in the GREEN sections

The women’s game is after. Would definitely encourage people to stay for that. After the Lady Panthers hopefully trounce the Hoopies, the entire arena floor will be cleared out to get it ready for the men’s game at night. The lines will be already set up outside the Zoo entrance for the priority and normal students. At this point, all you have to do is wait. Depending on how many people waiting, most should be able to wait inside the lobby. At 6:30 pm (2.5 hrs before tip), the priority wrist band students will be allowed in to get their seats.  All other students will be let in at 7:00 pm. After that, it’s just like a normal game until the tip at 9 pm.

That’s it for the strict details. This is a huge deal for our university and basketball program. It doesn’t matter what the record of the basketball team is. Gameday is a way to show off our university and how proud we are to be a part of it. The sustained success by the basketball team is the reason Gameday has come. The Oakland Zoo and Pitt fans are literally shown off for 2 hours to the country (and that’s not counting the game). It’s our time to go nuts and show our support. Make signs, paint yourselves, get blow up heads, wear animal costumes, be loud, be ridiculous. Everything you thought about doing at a sporting event to show support, do it (within reason).

For the game, let Rick Pitino and Louisville know exactly what we think of them in our house. Be on them the whole game. Cheer, be loud on every possession.

If you have Zoo wide cheers or something else you want to do, let the leaders know. Tweet @OaklandZoo, email theOaklandZoo@gmail.com. If we update this with any changes or more info, we’ll let you guys know!

-Leaders

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