Well Now What?

I just realized that it has been two days since I witnessed the loss at Dayton, and I had yet to write anything about it. Perhaps it was shock, or depression, or simply trying to keep it out of my mind.

To summarize the first half for those of you whom ESPN considered insignificant, because WVU obviously has more fans, I have never seen so many fouls called in a single half of basketball. That doesn’t even begin to describe the fact that both teams ended the half with 10 fouls, Dayton was charged with at least two carries, and Pitt must have had half a dozen travels.

Without Mike Cook, the team was in trouble. With over half the team having 2+ fouls, they were in real trouble.

I am not one to usually make excuses, but the officiating was horrendous. If Blair had been able to play his normal minutes, things would have been better. Had Gil not gotten three fouls in the first half, maybe his play would have been better.

But as any good Panther fan would know, that doesn’t begin to describe the real issues at work. Levance Fields, the General, is out 8-12 weeks with an ankle injury. Ronald Ramon is rumored to have injured his shoulder, although not as seriously as Levance.

Some people have claimed that Pitt’s season is over. Some real, die hard Panther fans seem to have thrown in the towel. With hopes of a 1 or 2 seed in the tournament, disappointment has set in.

I don’t imagine that is Jamie Dixon’s response. I don’t imagine that is Sam or DeJuan’s response. I am not naive enough to pretend that the team will keep plowing through opponents like they have so far. People have to be serious though, the season is far from over.

Pitt still has Lafayette, their 12th non-conference victory in hand. That leaves them with a 12-1 non-conference record, and an RPI in the top 10.
This is not the Big East conference that we are used to. UConn, Syracuse, and Louisville are all very beatable teams. We still have Rutgers, South Florida, DePaul, and two games against Cincinnati. We have home games against WVU and Villanova.

If Pitt is able to finish in the top 5 or so of the conference standings, an NCAA tournament berth is still very possible. If Pitt managed to go 11-7 in conference, with a win in their first Big East Tournament game, their record in the tourney selection would be 24-9.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. This struggle will not kill our Panthers. You better believe it will make them stronger.


5 Responses to “Well Now What?”

  1. J Jones Says:

    We need at least 9 wins and to get those Coach Dixon is going to have to figure out a remarkable game plan. Our backcourt looks to be one of the worst in the country let alone the Big East. Ramon hasn’t been the same this year and Benjamin hasn’t played the type of minutes he is about to play over the next two months.Levance really was the heart and soul of this team. His play at point guard made our new up-tempo style offense work. Without his passing and penetration the offense looked lost. Bad shot selection was par for the course all game.We were going to lose to Dayton even with Levance it seems. They absolutely put it on us and Brian Roberts was the difference.I hope we see a return to old school Pitt basketball. Let’s eat up clock, play extremely tight defense, and beat the shit out of every player on the other team whenever they go for a shot or rebound. We need to get scores back down in the 50 and 60’s. If we make the tournament in this situation Coach Dixon deserves National Coach of the Year. It is very bleak for the Panthers but we already have 11 wins.

  2. Jay Millz Says:

    Suddenly the win vs Duke and @ Wash are huge. We’ll be seeing Pitt on the list of bubble teams come early March.Ramon at point is devastating, and the up tempo offense needs to be abandoned completely. They need to play bigger and revert to old school style Pitt basketball, beating the hell out of the opponent on the glass and in the paint.Its going to be tough, but on the strength of their non-confernce record, their favorable home schedule (playing Georgetown and Louisville @ home is huge), and Blair I think the Panthers will make the tourny. And if we can get Levance back in March, we’ll be a HUGE sleeper as a lower seed.

  3. Headband jones Says:

    if we come out of this and make it to the tournament then it proves to the nation that we are a great basketball program. Ever since the Duke win, we have been getting a lot of positive attention and guys like Andy Katz and Doug Gottlieb, guys who never used to give us that much credit, have started to recognize the strides we’ve made in the past decade. Before the Dayton game and before Mike went down, it was easy to think our team was on track to finish in the top 5. Now it’s not so much about where we finish, but how we finish. I don’t care if we don’t win another game. That’s a lie, but if we play the rest of our games with passion and determination and come out every night ready to play then I’m happy with this season. Guys like Gil and Brad will get a chance to grow as players and that can only help us. Guys like Keith and Ronald can finish their Pitt careers as leaders. If these four guys show us what they’ve got and step up their games, it may not be enough to get us to where we were before Mike and Levance went down, but it will definitely help and it will make every Pitt fan proud.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Despite your deletion of my comment, I still believe that Pitt will not receive an invitation to the NCAA tournament.

  5. Keith McBride Says:

    It was a well-written, thoughtful examination of Pitt’s weaknesses.Traditionally, comments with more than one sentence are more appropriate.

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