Syracuse Recap

Well, for anybody who read all 42 comments on the last post, mazel tov. Clearly there’s some stress going on in the Oakland Zoo and while I don’t want it to linger, I just wanna give my two cents. This is, above all, a blog. There’s no reason for all the personal attacks. This team is in the stretch run of a really incredible season (the wins, the losses, the injuries, etc) and I know every fan has been riding the roller-coaster with the team, some of us really emotionally. I hope that we can put this as water under a bridge and move on. I know my opinions don’t always agree with everybody else’s, I’m sorry if they don’t, I just say it how I see it. I really don’t mean to offend anybody, and I’ll try and tone it down.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, WOW what a win for the Panthers. A few people said that Syracuse handed Pitt the win, but I really don’t like looking at games like that. The good teams find ways to win games- Syracuse is not so bad a team as to just give up. We finally hit big shots when we needed them, and we might have a new hero in Gilbert Brown. I know a lot of you were shocked when he took that first three late in the game, and I might have been even more shocked when he took the second- and made it. When we went down by 11 late on, I was almost expecting to see us fold like we did against Notre Dame, and I was pleasantly surprised when Keith and Gil started burying threes. I don’t know if the return of Levance has finally kicked in, or if we finally realized we can compete with anybody in the NCAAs, but this win means so much for the Panthers.

Jamie did a great job of preparing his team for the zone, and while there were still some mistakes (some miscommunication on transition defense as well as some passing difficulties later on in the game), the team really knew how to challenge the Syracuse defense. Our own defense still isn’t great, and I’m going to say something my friends have been saying for a while- we need to stop hedging on ball screens. If we continue to do so, the only way it’s going to work is if our rotations are flawless, which isn’t going to happen with so many freshman in the rotation. The Panthers are certainly capable of fighting through screens, and against a team like Syracuse that doesn’t have much post presence, we can’t let them get open inside: if they want to get the ball down low, we should have made them work for it. That being said, I don’t want to concentrate too much on the negative- today’s victory both bodes well for our chances at winning @ WVU on Monday and secures a 7th-straight NCAA berth. This is a feat that is rare in college basketball, and the continued success of this program will continue for many years to come.

My player of the game today goes to Gil Brown. He played great defense, forcing some turnovers, hitting two incredibly key threes near the end of the game, and he plays hard every time he’s in the game. I can’t wait to see him mature through his years, and I feel like he’s going to be extremely special as early as next year, especially if his jump shot continues to improve. I’m interested to see how his shot selection changes now that he’s getting more comfortable with his long-range jumper, I just hope he doesn’t forget the little-used weapon of a mid-range jumper, especially with his jumping ability.


17 Responses to “Syracuse Recap”

  1. Brian Ising Says:

    Good post.This game can be summed by quotes from the 2 coaches.”We’re not going to quit. We may not win, but we’re not going to quit. There’s no quit in this team.”- Jamie Dixon”It’s the most disappointing game I’ve ever been involved with.”- Jim BoeheimI agree that defense has really been struggling as of late. Teams are picking us apart on the hedge. However, the hedge is an integral component of the defense we have been using since Howland came to Pitt. Its not like we can just stop doing it in the middle of the season. And zone is not a very good option, either. We are just going to have to get better at the hedge if we’re going to advance far in the tourneys.Like you said, our defense requires well-timed rotation. This is where I think our inexperience, especially with Blair, is hurting us. His timing of the hedge is off, which throws off the timing of the entire defense. If Blair is late hedging, then he’s late getting back to his guy. Young, who has to help on Blair’s guy, is then late back to his guy. Young’s guy can then get the ball in good scoring position. When Young’s guy scores a bunch of points, it looks like he’s playing bad D when its really the fault of poor timing on the hedge. Again, this is not something we can stop doing. We just have to get better at it.I agree with your praise of Gilbert. As Jamie said last year, Gil will be a very, very good player here at Pitt. But I think he should share the player of the game honors with Keith Benjamin. I think Keith took our rebounding woes personally as he led all players with 7 boards. He also hit big shot after big shot and was the only Panther to not turn the ball over despite leading the team with 37 minutes.Congrats to Keith, Gil and the rest of the Panthers on a great victory!

  2. Merlin Says:

    I know we can’t stop the hedging in the middle of the season, so I completely agree that we just have to work at improving it. It just might be worth it to work also on fighting through screens, like we do at the end of games anyways, or just switching. We hedged a lot on screens when we had a slow big man who couldn’t keep up with a guard, but I think that DeJuan is capable of covering a switch until he can switch again. Just a thought, but maybe something for Jamie to work on in the offseason now that he knows how capable DeJuan is at guarding someone a little quicker.

  3. Tony Says:

    I don’t know what’s up with our perimeter defense. I actually think we are playing good defense near the three point line, but everyone just seems to be able to swoosh three’s over top of our defense. Perhaps this is because we have short guys out front (Feilds, Ramon). But if we can start making our own threes (like we showed we could today) we will be in good shape.As for Gil…he had one hell of a game, he almost blew it at the end though with that stupid jumper with 15 seconds still left. He could have at least stopped and tried to dish it back out, I realize he was trapped, but they wouldn’t have been able to steal it from him (the ball would have went out of bounds). Thankfully Sam Young stepped up on the next play! That assist was one of the best I’ve ever seen! We needed one of these road wins, and now that we have one, we will be much more comfortable going into incestville on Monday! Let’s Sweep the hoopies! (I wish I could go, but I have an exam until 6!) Sorry, I know I’m using the “I have an exam” excuse”, but this is an away game that would require me to actually skip my mid-term! As for the State of the Zoo (haha, I like that term!) I think after that big road win (which was our first of the year…Duke doesn’t count as a road win), more people will be excited and I think we will see a decent crowd next Sunday for a game that is over break. I personally don’t know if I will be able to stay in town until Sunday, but I sure as hell am going to try. I’d hate to miss Ramon’s and Benjamin’s final game (and I’m sure they will honor Cook too). Okay, now I’m just rambling. But if anybody wants to contact the Pitt News to throw an ad in for senior day urging people to come send off Ramon, Cook, and Benjamin….let me know, I actually write for the Pitt News (no, not sports though…I’m in A&E).

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Don’t forget Reese for the Depaul game too.

  5. Merlin Says:

    I’m so mad I won’t be able to be at the DePaul game…I’m going to be in Colorado for it, so it’s gonna be a little tough to get back. I wish Keith and Ronny have the games of their careers, and the best of luck to Reese and Cook. Also, Tony, don’t forget the Duquesne and Washington road wins…the one at Washington looking even more impressive after they knocked off UCLA at home. That building is a tough place to play and we beat them.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    I agree that Gil played all-around great basketball yesterday. Hopefully it’s his coming out party and his improved-offensive play will continue along with his usually strong defensive efforts. The thing he did yesterday that really showed me something was when he made a bad pass from the corner that was stolen and beat everyone down the court to block to the layup. That was pure hustle and desire when many people would’ve hung their heads after a turnover. Great win and Hail to PITT!

  7. Anonymous Says:

    The duquesne win means nothing. They are garbage and shouldn’t even make the NIT. The only reason people think it is a big win is because of the retard sports announcers we have in the city who know nothing about basketball. While they say that Pitt is nothing special, they kiss the ass of duquesne, and don’t even realize how great of a job Mike Rice has done at Bobby Mo.I’d love to punch Jory Rand. He can go fuck himself.Faggot.

  8. Tony Says:

    I don’t know what sports announcers you are talking about. But Duquesne is a quality win. I don’t think it is a signature road victory though (Like Cuse and Washington). But The Dukes will be in the NIT, and they will make a decent run. The A10 is pretty solid this year, they might have 3 teams in the tourney, which is the most of any mid-major in a long time. But I don’t know what sports announcers you are talking about (other than Jory Rand). And yes, Bobby Mo will make the tourney….that would be something if Pitt played RMU in the tourney!

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Take your pick of any guys on the Sunday Sports Showdown (minus Bob P.) and any guy on a.m. 1250.They know nothing.Faggots

  10. vinnie Says:

    it would be oh so sweet, if we could hurt wvu’s tourny hopes. Pitt needs to come out with a lot of energy and kill the atmosphere of that place.Lets Go Pitt.PS. guys of this blog, lets come up with constructive critcism of the team and stop going after each other, after all we are all in the same boat and just want the best for the team

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Brad Wannawaker is the best guard that no one knows about. Why is Levance Fields starting while this great talent is on the bench. HELLO, I mean come on this guy could average 15pts better than Fields any game of the week.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    Sam Young isnt good enough to play for a D1 Team. I think he should be playing for CCAC St. Beanards or the BC3 Pioneers. I think the NAIA organization would like to have this washed up has been. I think he would be sitting the bench while playing for IUP or Slippery Rock.

  13. Tony Says:

    Sam Young isn’t good enough for a D1 team? Sam Young IS Pitt basketball. Apparently 20 points a game in the NCAA’s toughest conference isn’t good anymore! You are on crack!As for Wannamaker, he is good, but he is still a freshman. And there is no way Levance shouldn’t be starting. Fields and Young played crucial roles in saturday’s win. Young made one of the best assists I have ever seen. And Fields can make some great shots when it counts (see: Duke and Cincy).Wannamaker will have his time. He is lucky he got to play as much as he did this year. And that will be good for the team next year, because all of this year’s Freshman will have some valuable experience in big games. We may not make the final four this year, but Pitt will be the Big East front-runner next year.Fields and Young will be back, and those of you who don’t think they are any good will have your foot in your mouth next season when they win games for us.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    I think that guy was just joking buddy.Sam is nba bound. He’s so frickin crazy I don’t think anyone can talk him out of it.

  15. Rico Suave Says:

    Wait, am i to understand that someone just said Brad would be better starting than Levance? That’s ridiculous. Levance is the better than Brad in every aspect of the game. Brad might score more points if he had the same minutes, but Levance is worth more points. The opportunities he creates by breaking down the defense and finding the open man and the crazy on-ball defense, combined with the points he actually scores, are worth a solid 20-25 points a game. And he’s the team’s emotional leader. This team is significantly better with him on the court. He’s just had a hard time getting back in to rhythm with the rest of the guys.And we at View from the Zoo are not idiots. We just think you guys fighting like little girls is funny and we like to point it out.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    is rico youre real name?

  17. Rico Suave Says:

    it’s part of my name.

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