Providence Comes to Town

So, a bit of possibly very exciting news today, but I’ll hold off until later to tell you what it is- nothing like suspense in a blog post. So, after that incredible ending to the WVU game, the Panthers find themselves at 6-4, just a game out of a bye the in Big East tournament, but heading into the toughest part of the Big East Conference schedule. We do get a bit of an easier game tomorrow night against the Providence Friars, but this is still not a team to be taken lightly. They have posted impressive wins at UConn (77-65) and home against then-number 18 Arkansas, 67-51. They are also 4-7 in the Big East, a mark that would knock them out of the tournament if the season ended now, so this is a team desperate for wins.

Luckily for us, the Friars are not at optimal health. Manhattan transfer and starting guard Jeff Xavier is playing through some pretty bad pain in his foot, which has him wearing a boot similar to Levance’s anytime he’s not on the court. Hopefully this will affect his dribble-drive ability and keep him out on the perimeter, where he’s only a 37.1% shooter. He’s had quite a few double-digit scoring effors in the last few months, but most of these come either against bad teams or on less-than-stellar shooting nights (6 for 17 against Seton Hall, for example). Another player capable of putting up points for the Friars is G-F Geoff McDermott, a junior out of New Rochelle HS in NY, who’s had 11 games in double digits this season. He also is injured, with fluid building up in a sore in an undisclosed location, perhaps contributing to his only scoring 10 or more in two of his past ten games. He does, however, average 8.3 rebounds and 5 assists a game, so it’ll be up to Sam and Tyrell to keep him off the boards and limit his passing.

One player who doesn’t look so impressive on the stat sheets but has improved over the course of the season is 6-11, 240 pound center Randall Hanke. He started his first game on December 9th, and while he only averages 8.4 points and 3.1 rebounds on the season, those numbers are very deceiving. Still not much of a rebounder, he has put up 18, 21, and 16 points in his last 3 games in addition to putting up 20 and 23 in earlier games. He’s also added 7 blocks in his last 4 games while shooting at a high percentage from inside. I would imagine that DeJuan shouldn’t have too much of a problem with Hanke, but he could get in there and alter some shots, similar to a shorter Hasheem Thabeet. However, because of the low rebound numbers, I’m not overly concerned about his effectiveness under the basket. In other restricted Friar notes, last year’s starting guard Sharaud Curry is out for the year with a stress fracture in his foot, and previous starter/key reserve 6’8″ forward Jonathan Kale has been suspended indefinitely by coach Tim Welsh, and his return has not been stated.

Alright, now to the slightly exciting news for today. I know I’m going to get some comments about this, and how it’s unlikely to happen- so before you say anything, I know that what’s upcoming is unlikely, but it’s possible.

Levance Fields has been cleared for full practice with the team, has been running on a treadmill, and participating in full 5-on-5 drills. Coach Dixon has said that Levance’s return is now completely dependent on pain tolerance and conditioning- and I would think that by Levance’s mad dash across the court at the end of the WVU game, pain tolerance is the least of Levance’s problems. I know it’s a bit of a stretch, but I would love to see Levance get put in for a very small amount of minutes against Providence- if nothing else, to get the crowd excited- but hopefully he’ll be able to play some solid minutes against Marquette, which would be incredibly important to Pitt’s chances in that game.

EDIT:
I stand corrected. -Keith McBride

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16 Responses to “Providence Comes to Town”

  1. Keith McBride Says:

    I hope Levance does not play tomorrow. He has no reason to get into the game when Pitt should be more than equipped to win already. I would be ecstatic to see him come out for warmup and get to sit on the bench in his jersey.He might not even play on Friday, so there is no reason to expect him to play tomorrow. Jamie Dixon merely said that he won’t tell Levance when to come back, but whenever Levance says he is ready.Don’t get your hopes up.

  2. Brian Ising Says:

    Hey Keith,Do you remember the Rutgers game? And the Cincinnati game? We were more than equipped to win those games, too. Maybe if you spent more time standing and cheering rather than sitting (like at the womens’ games), you’d remember those games.There are no easy games in this league. If Levance feels that he can help tomorrow night, then he should play. He may be the difference between a W and an L.By the way, posts like the one above are reasons why anonymous comments should be eliminated. We don’t need tough guys bashing our writers while hiding behind their computers.

  3. Keith McBride Says:

    We were equipped to win both of those games, and in my opinion lost both due to mental laziness. If Levance has only practiced maybe 3 days, he doesn’t have any reason to be in a game. He has missed out on a lot of practices and training.People are acting like adding Levance Fields is going to all of a sudden make us win by 30 points per game. If he is in the game, someone else isn’t. Our guys have grown in a way that Levance hasn’t been able to be part of so far. Just as in Villanova, we lost because our team didn’t know how to play together. I think adding Levance just for the sake of putting him out on the floor is a bad idea.The Zoo leaders should concentrate more on getting people fired up at games instead of doing stupid crap like posting on message boards. Stop running your mouth Ising.

  4. Brooklyn Bound Boy Says:

    Is this serious? If it is, then that’s hilarious. If I didn’t read this blog I would have no idea that you guys are leaders or contributers in any way. I read that you got the ribbons. That’s a good move. But I also read that you brag that you’re the best fans because you go to the most away games. Shouldn’t a leader not brag about his accomplishments and get other people involved? You guys certainly don’t do anything to further the aims of the zoo and you don’t get the zoo pumped up.Keith you always look so sad. Why don’t you ever try to do stuff to pump up your section? Josh, the dancing kid does more at a game than you’ve ever done. You may have tons of insider basketball information, but no one cares at all about that at the games. The zoo is lacking as of late and that’s not your fault, but you don’t do anything to help it get better.Brian, I don’t really know you (nor do I know Keith). I also have no idea what your contribution is in terms of pumping up the students. You talk to Ferris and buy ribbons – both good things – but definitely not enough.I don’t hate you guys, but I’m bummed that you don’t do more. I know if I had your kind of access and ability to write on this blog, I would make the most of it and I would do everything I could to make the zoo better. If feel like you guys don’t want to make the zoo that much better, at least that’s not your main goal. It seems like you guys are most concerned with just being there and nothing more, like at the women’s game.No matter how you feel about Ian, he does his best to get people into the game. Look at what he and Dave J. did at the WVU game. They ran up and down until everyone was standing.The zoo is lacking and this blog is lacking. Please, for the sake of Pitt hoops, step it up.P.S. Verlin’s doing a good job for a freshman. The articles for the most part are good, but let’s start using the blog as a forum to make the zoo better and not just as a pitt hoops blog.

  5. Max Greenwald Says:

    for some reason blogspot did something weird, but for the record, I’m the kid who posted it.

  6. Keith McBride Says:

    Dear Max,If you think you could do so much good for the world by writing on this blog, please email a legitimate inquiry to krm22@pitt.edu . I have been trying to get other people to post on this site for nearly 15 months now. Aside from Jason (now onto other things) and Josh, nobody has been interested.I am sorry that the humorous banter that I have partaken in here in Josh’s comment section has offended you.I don’t understand what the hostility is about. I didn’t say anything about Dave or Ian at all.

  7. Brian Ising Says:

    Max,I appreciate your concerns. I really do. I think its great that there are other people out there who want to see the Zoo become the best student section it can be.However, I think you’re being a little harsh when you say that the Zoo is lacking. Yes, some games are better than others. But I think its pretty clear that we have one of the 3-4 best student sections in the Big East.But, we are always looking to improve and encourage any suggestions on how to make the Zoo better. Please feel free to contact us with any ideas that you have. You mentioned that you feel you could do great things if you had the “kind of access and ability to write on this blog” that we do. As Keith mentioned, we would love to have more writers. If you think you could get students more excited about Pitt basketball through this blog, we could certainly grant you that access.If there is anything else you or any others would like to do but don’t think you have access to, let us know. We’ll be glad to work with you if you have good ideas.We’re all working towards the same goal – to have the best student section in the country. Criticizing the Zoo leaders does not help us reach that goal. But making suggestions and trying to get involved can help. Don’t be afraid to make suggestions. We’d love to hear any ideas that you have and give you as much freedom as possible to implement those ideas.If there’s anything else you’d like to talk about, comment on here, send me an e-mail (bpi1@pitt.edu), or talk to me at a game.

  8. Dave Says:

    the increase in harsh posts has really increased recently. everyone calling everyone else out isnt going to get us anywhere. lets just worry about the thing we carry about the most, our basketball team.

  9. Merlin Says:

    We are, above all, a student section. We can’t forget that fact. We’re all students at the same University, a group of students that all wants to see one thing- our Panthers winning it all on April 7th, 2008. I don’t see why there has to be all this bickering about it. Maybe we need another open Zoo meeting?

  10. Anonymous Says:

    maybe all of us should shut the hell up and stop treating this whole thing like a damn cult

  11. DPJ Says:

    Brian I disagree. We are by far the best student section in the Big East. That is why we get so much hype. There isn’t another student section in our conference that can match us. Everyone says Duke is better, but that would be like putting the Zoo in the field house. Much like the Zoo, the Craziest don’t have the best attendance during the non-conference games. You want an elite student section, look at UCLA. However it’s easy to build on tradition like that when you cheat your way for years under John Wooden to buy several national championships.Thats all I have to say about that.

  12. Drew Margulis Says:

    John Wooden never scouted his opponents Dave, and he still won. That’s a good coach. And I’ll start the bashing since no one else did yet…the zoo sucked tonight. Where were all the students? You kids are pathetic. Us leaders did nothing to start cheers. Damn it we are a terrible group of students and don’t deserve our good team. OK, got that off my chest.

  13. WaHa Loves Receivers Babies Says:

    God damnit, everybody’s gotta quit whining. Yes, the blog was much much much better last year, but shit happens, and people’s focus shifts to other things.Yes, the Zoo was awful tonight – but not the people that were there. When you put less than 500 students in seats that fit 1100, it’s going to look like shit, and that’s what happened. To everyone that was there, the energy was (for the most part) there, although from up top, you could barely hear anything. Once again, not at the fault of the people that showed, but it’s at the fault of the bandwagon fans that only show up for full national tv broadcasts against big named programs.Max – the guys are doing what they can do. I used to be a leader, so I can respect how difficult it can be when you’ve got a lethargic student section, however, I would also agree that DPJ and Ian do more than anybody else to get people going. Brian, just a word of advice – I respect the waving of the arms to try to get people to stand up (something I used to do myself at the end of games, along with our old “please stand up”), but it’s wasted during 99.9% of game situations. Just a thought to maybe going back to making it more of a selective timing on when you do that.Guys, keep doing what you’re doing. The biggest concern I can see from my nosebleeds is getting students in the damn seats. There were more seats filled in the 200 levels than in the Zoo tonight. There will always be haters, and those guys are typically assholes (example for the older Zoo leaders, a kid showing up in a UNC jersey at games and then acting tough when questioned why).The blog is an opportunity for people to raise topics of discussion, that’s all well and good, but leave out the personal attacks against people, because that just puts you in the realm of the internet toughguy douchebag we dealt with last year. Don’t be that guy…

  14. Drew Margulis Says:

    FYI, don’t take anything I said seriously. And I was shocked because we filled the student section for freaking Rutgers, and we couldn’t tonight. I don’t understand. But the kids that were there tonight were louder than some of the other student sections I’ve seen on the road, so I’m not too worried.

  15. vinnie Says:

    I think the reason the zoo filled for rutgers was the hangover from the g’town game. The bandwagoners were like “wow, it must be like this all the time.” Im sad at the attendence tonight, but I was also expecting it. All in all, Id rather be part of the zoo, then not be part of it.

  16. Drew Margulis Says:

    much agreed vinnie, much agreed…kids don’t know what they’re missing out on.


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