Go Hooooome…You Know the Rest

Well, as Keith said, nearly a riot last night at the Pete. Incredible, incredible victory for the Panthers, and a really awful defeat for the Mountaineers- is there any other way to win? A few people have said that WVU isn’t as great a team as Georgetown or the other teams at the top of the Big East, and they would be correct. However, they played us close last night, and when you’re in a tight game, it doesn’t matter the school on the front of the jersey or the names on the back- some teams can bring it when the night is right (See: Rutgers). The fact is, Pitt found themselves down 2 with 9.5 seconds remaining in basketball version of the Backyard Brawl, and responded in the most thrilling of ways. I know I speak for a lot of people when I say that the second that ball was in the air was the longest of my life.

The shooting wasn’t incredible last night, but 40% is a step up from the UConn game, so hopefully we’ll see this trending upwards, especially with what should hopefully be an easier game against 13-9 Providence, but I’ll save that preview for later. Confidence was sorely needed, and this game should certainly give us some of that. Last night, I was very interested in the play of our two true freshmen- Brad Wanamaker and DeJuan Blair. I think that Blair had a little bit of an off game last night. He is a force in the paint, but after what happened with the shot blocking of UConn, it almost seemed like DeJuan was still a little afraid to just take it straight up. Granted, there were some terrible fouls down low that the refs managed to “miss,” but I don’t hold that accountable in any game. With 20 seconds left in the game, DeJuan needs to take that ball straight up to the rim and try, if nothing else, to draw the foul instead of trying to make a move under the basket and go for the tougher reverse. We sometimes forget that he is only a true freshman, so it’s things like that which I hope to see improve over time.

I’m getting more and more impressed with the play of Brad Wanamaker. Every game, he seems a little more in control, a little more mature, and a lot more game-ready. Hitting that three early on was huge for his confidence, and I love the way he tries to get inside and make something happen. It’s a little tough right now because the three players we have capable of driving to the rim- Keith, Sam, and Brad- only do so sparingly, so the defense knows how to handle it. I think once Levance gets back, he and Brad will have some great plays together when the defense collapses on Fields and he kicks it out to Brad for either the open shot or a follow-up drive past a confused defense. Brad’s defense is also getting much better, and I really think by next year he’ll be a very solid contributor to a very good team.

On a little bit of a different note, Darnell Dodson (remember him?) is redshirting this year at Miami-Dade JUCO, so hopefully he’ll transfer back to Pitt in 2009 with three years of eligibility remaining and become the great player we thought he would be when first got recruited to Pitt. For those of you who don’t know, Dodson should have been a true freshman this year along with Brad, DeJuan, and Gary McGhee, but didn’t get past the NCAA Clearinghouse and had to go to JUCO to improve his grades. Also, it’s being said that Levance’s likely return is against Louisville at home, leaving us with two tough road games at Marquette and Notre Dame. If Pitt can go 2-1 in our next three games and get Fields back with a record of 20-6, we will be in very good shape.

Posted in recap, WVU. 8 Comments »

8 Responses to “Go Hooooome…You Know the Rest”

  1. Keith McBride Says:

    I agree about Brad, but I still wish he would take more shots. I think his past failures cause him to constantly second guess himself.He and Keith pass up way too many open looks on the outside.

  2. 13-9 Says:

    Gil is starting to do the same thing. In the UCONN game, he missed 2 open 3 pointers and he was very hesistant the rest of that game to take anymore 3s

  3. Drew Margulis Says:

    Don’t forget about Gil, Merlin. He is phenomenal when he drives, and finally has started to feel more confident taking the ball to the hook the second half of the season. However, I’d still like to see him do it more.

  4. Merlin Says:

    True, Gil has started to drive more to the lane, I definitely forgot about that when I was typing this up- still thinking a bit about the Gil of old. And i completely agree that we’re passing up too many open looks. There was one memorable play where Keith easily had 6 seconds to himself outside the three point line and just froze from taking the shot. I’d rather us go 1-5 in those shots then drive in and take awful, contested layups

  5. Keith McBride Says:

    Gil is finally realizing that his mid-range jumper is a big threat. It should only get better.

  6. The Prowler Says:

    As frustrating as it is, it isn’t too much of a surprise that many of the Pitt shooters are getting hesitant and lacking confidence lately. Lets take a look at who they are. Sam Young is the only one not hesitating to pull the trigger on a regular basis, and he is the Junior veteran right now.Blair, Brown, and Wannamaker are all freshmen. It isn’t a surprise that when they hit adversity such as cold shooting that they would get hesitant. They were all probably such studs in high school that they never had to face these kind of struggles. Experience will get them through it.Then there is Benjamin. Even though he is a senior, he has never really been a significant contributor until this season. So he has veteran experience, and yet still has that fear of making mistakes and ending up back on the bench to finish out his career.And Ramon doesn’t get to play as a shooter because he is busy at point.I think they will get through it, but the freshmen need to find away to get the confidence back.

  7. 13-9 Says:

    I think getting levance back will be huge, he brings a swagger that this pitt team might be missing. Also, it will allow ramon to do his thing more often. I cant wait for the big east and ncaa tourny, we are gonna surprise some teams, especially with fields back.

  8. Ian Says:

    I just want to say thank you to everyone in the Zoo (and for the last 30 seconds everyone in the arena) for gettin behind the team when they really needed it. This is something that needs to be done every game, and i think we can do it. Hail to PittWe are the ZooAAAAAAAAAAAOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAOOOOOOOOAlso thanks from the whole drumline for the givin us some love

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