After Louisville, a Look Ahead

Well, this was a bit of a more promising loss (if there is such a thing) than the Notre Dame debacle. We never really had a point in the game where we fell asleep completely, we just were never able to hit that key basket to tie the game or take the lead- the Cardinals did just enough to keep us at finger’s length the entire game. Obviously, defense and three-pointing are the main concerns at this point. We’re 0-6 when we shoot under 33.3% from the arc, which really shouldn’t be much of a surprise to anybody who’s been paying attention to Pitt basketball lately.

Pitt is, for right now, on the NCAA bubble, but I’m fairly confident, based on how we played yesterday, that we should be able to get in. Going 3-1 over the last four games, along with a win in the first round of the Big East tournament, should solidify that, but I’ll take two wins in the tournament just to make it a sure thing. We might not make the Sweet 16 this year (it really depends on matchups), but I really wanted to write about how everybody shouldn’t panic about this Pitt basketball program. A few people complained about my last post, saying I was overreacting and that the program isn’t completely screwed, and that wasn’t the point I was trying to make. I was saying we were playing poor basketball for the moment, but I really think our outlook is very positive at the moment.

Jamie knows the kind of basketball he wants to play, and he’s now getting the kind of recruits he needs to play it. The next class (and already the 2009 class) have some solid shooters and great defensive players who are going to love Dixon’s style of play, and along with the growing maturity and skill of our current freshmen, our next few years should be increasingly good to watch. Nasir Robinson’s Chester team just won the PIAA District 1 AAAA title, and I very much enjoyed the following:

“Pittsburgh-bound Robinson added 18 points and 12 rebounds and Johnson collected 12 points and five rebounds. What won’t show [in the boxscore] is the stellar defense Johnson, Jefferson, Robinson, Burrell and Mark Collins played.”

This whole season, scouts have raved about Robinson’s tenacity and defensive intensity, so I can imagine this will only pick up under Dixon, and Nasir should be a fantastic player for Pitt- if not his freshman year, definitely by his sophomore. Ashton Gibbs and Travon Woodall are both very solid guard recruits for next year, as is JUCO transfer Jermaine Dixon. By my junior year, this Pitt team will have an abundance of talent, defensive know-how and intensity, as well as what should be a very dominant inside-outside game. DeJuan Blair, Gary McGhee, as well as Nasir Robinson and Lamar Patterson should be really hustling for offensive boards, and Patterson, Robinson, Gibbs, Woodall, Wanamaker, and Brown will all be able to shoot from anywhere on the court. I don’t want to say to forget about this year, but thinking ahead to the future is something that shouldn’t worry any Pitt fan. This is a team that is going to flourish in the next few years, and I’m excited to see who else Jamie Dixon can bring to Pittsburgh.

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7 Responses to “After Louisville, a Look Ahead”

  1. Jay Mills Says:

    We didn’t play bad, just not well enough to beat a team like Loserville. Biggest difference was our inability to shoot 3s. A couple possessions they killed us with huge 3s. Also they were able to drive the basket pretty easy a moments.Refs were horrible. I don’t know how many times Padget drove his shoulder into Blair and it wasn’t called. Also he travlled a couple times and it wasn’t called. Several times someone drove to the hoop, got fouled and it wasn’t called (Esp the time Young drove and got KNOCKED over with no contact to the ball). And when Sosa was pressuring our guard (Ramon/Fields) when he took it up court he was repeatedly slapping their hands and bumping into them. I have no problem with letting the boys play but we so didn’t the calls on the other side.Also, I can’t believe no one has said anything about that end of game scenario. Both of times Field’s passed the ball inside to Blair being down 3. THEY WERE LEAVING HIM OPEN FOR A REASON. First, whoever was guarding was going to foul him immediately and not even let him get a shot off. Second Blair is not a good finisher (yet) so the worry about a 3 point play wasn’t a huge concern. Third, WE WERE DOWN 3!.The first time Field’s made the pass (and both times they were GOOD passes, just not the best option) I was fine with it because there was a lot of time. The second time it was like, WTF? I can’t even really blame Fields, it’s Blair’s fault really, your supposed to dribble that ball once, back Padget up a little, have a defender come in for help and pass the ball out to a shooter. Ah, freshman mistakes.

  2. Brian Ising Says:

    Josh,I don’t disagree with your premise that the future of the Pitt basketball program is very bright. I too am excited to see guys like Travon Woodall, Nasir Robinson, Ashton Gibbs, and Lamar Patterson playing for the Panthers. But, I think you’re selling the current Panthers a little short. If those recruits win as many games as Ronnie, Keith, and Mike have, I’ll be extremely pleased.Remember, this is the first Pitt team that is entirely comprised of Jamie Dixon recruits. Don’t forget that this team of Dixon recruits was 12-0, ranked #6 in the country, and fresh off a victory over a Duke team that did not suffer their 2nd loss until last week. Without the injuries to Fields and Cook, this team represented Pitt’s best chance at a Final Four in many years. So it bothers me when you make comments like this:”Jamie knows the kind of basketball he wants to play, and he’s now getting the kind of recruits he needs to play it.”Yes, Jamie knows exactly the kind of basketball he wants to play. Since he’s been head coach, he’s been getting the kind of recruits he needs to play it. This is not a new phenomenon. And those recruits were playing his style of basketball extremely effectively this year (12-0, #6 in the country).Another comment that bothers me:”By my junior year, this Pitt team will have an abundance of talent, defensive know-how and intensity, as well as what should be a very dominant inside-outside game.”This year’s team had all of these components until injuries struck. And next year’s team will have all of these components as well. In fact, if (and this is a BIG if) Sam Young returns for his senior season, Pitt is gonna be very, VERY good next year.If Young improves as much as he did this past off-season, he’ll be the best player in the conference. Levance at 100% will be the best PG in the BE. All of the freshmen that were forced into action this year will be better for it next year. Blair is having a fantastic frosh season. Imagine him with more experience and better conditioning. Brown, Wanamaker, and McGhee will each improve dramatically. Not to mention the impact the incoming class will have, especially Robinson who will be a major contributor from day 1.Again, I agree that the Pitt program has great days ahead of it. But, we’ve experienced a lot of great days in the past couple years under Jamie. We would have been a top-10 team this year if not for the injuries. We’ll be a top-10 team next year if Sam Young sticks around. And we’ll have a lot of success for many years to come under Jamie Dixon.

  3. Brian Ising Says:

    I agree with you (not Jamie) on the strategy for our last possession. I think a 3 would have been a better way to go. If we were gonna go for a 2, we should have at least hurried. We took our time before finally going for a 2. However, down 3 with 20 seconds to go, the odds of any strategy being successful are slim. Just because this strategy didn’t work doesn’t mean it was the wrong strategy.I thought that Jamie made a far bigger blunder at the 12:41 mark of the 1st half when he replaced both Fields and Ramon with Benji and Wanamaker. At the time, we led 16-12. In 70 seconds, Benji committed 2 of our 4 turnovers (how crazy is it that we only had 4 turnovers against L’ville’s press?) and fired up an airball 3. By the time Fields had returned, our 16-12 lead had turned into a 19-16 deficit.So in summary, we got outscored by 7 in 70 seconds with Keith at the point. In the other 38:50, we beat L’ville by 5.I’m not trying to bash Keith for his performance in this stretch. He should not have been put in this situation. We now have 2 very capable PG’s on our roster. At least 1 of them should be on the court at all times, especially against a press like L’ville’s.I think that Jamie is one of the better coaches in the Big East. But, I think he may have cost us the game with this mistake. And I’m sure he would tell you the same thing and will not make the same mistake again.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    I still don’t know if we’re ON the bubble. We have some quality wins, still a decent RPI, and they will take the absence of Fields into account. Our last 12 games will not look too promising, but I have yet to hear one of the experts say we are on the bubble. Joe Lunardi is perhaps one of the best at predicting the tourney field every year and he currently has us at a 7 seed. I’m assuming we go 3-1 to end the season…even at 2-2 we are .500 in one of the best conferences in the country and have victories over 2 top 10 teams. No way we get left out unless we lose out.

  5. Brian Ising Says:

    If we get 3 more wins (including the BET), we’re a lock. If we get 2, I think we’re probably on the right side of the bubble. One win probably is not enough and losing out is a sure path to the NIT.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    You’re stupid.I’m not going to back up my claim with any real facts.You’re all just stupid.viewfromthezoo.blogspot.comthat’s a real blog.bitches.oh.and no more hedging on ball screens damnit.and please more tyrell biggs and high post offense

  7. hater Says:

    The Phillies had an excellent first round of the playoffs last year.


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