We are NOT a bubble team

So this being one of my few posts this year, I felt now is a perfect time to let my voice be heard.

If you read some of the garbage on the scout and rivals message boards, you will find fans who believe that the sky is falling and that this Panthers team is not going to make the NCAA tournament.

If you watch our local sports shows, or listen to sports radio in Pittsburgh, you will hear several idiots (both callers and hosts) say that Pitt is at best, a bubble team.

Well, everyone I mentioned above is wrong.

As a diehard Panther fan, the one thing I can tell you from watching all of our sports teams very closely for the last 8 years is that our fans are constantly on suicide watch. We’re like the bipolar kid in school who you never know what type of personality will show up on any given day. Catch us after a win and we are extremely confident, after a loss……….Oh Buddy! Watch out then. That is when the Jamie Dixon can’t recruit argument comes out, that is when we start to say this team is overrated, that is when we attack the Zoo for being overrated, and it is when we turn on our own players.

I hate losing to the hoopies as much as anyone. I probably have more hatred than most against them because of some personal involvement with one last year. However, one loss does not mean that we are out of the tournament. We all knew that with our last 4 games we needed to go 2-2 to at least to feel very comfortable with our situation. We won at home, stole a game in Syracuse, and now lost to the hoopies. That leaves Depaul on sunday (which i’m ready to mark down as a win already). We will be 3-1 in our last 4 games, which should secure us a 7 seed AT WORST! Now, I’m highly pessimistic in nature, so even though I believe a 7 is the lowest we should get, I can see us getting an 8 or 9 seed. Realistically though, we are a 7 seed. Now, if we can win one or two games in the BET there is no reason to believe that we are stuck at that 7 spot. A win on wednesday of the tourney will ensure us of that 7 seed, and a win on thursday should bump us up to a 6 seed.

The key point here is that, even with a 1st round loss in the BET, we will make the tournament for the 7th straight year.

So put away your noose, don’t take any sleeping pills, and put the razors away because this team will be in the tournament.

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19 Responses to “We are NOT a bubble team”

  1. Tony Says:

    Amen! But I still want to break something (partly out of my anger and partly because breaking things is fun!)

  2. J Jones Says:

    We are in the tournament definitely. I hope that on Sunday we can bring some sort of consistent play before getting to New York. Playing at MSG needs to re-energize us and give the team their teeth back. Flat play has killed us and this team is so much better than the one who came out tonight.Tonights loss feels really bad but it is going to have little or no consequence on the rest of the season. Let’s get the fire back.

  3. Brian Ising Says:

    I agree. We are in. And I think we’ll be a 7 seed after we win our next 2. I would love to move up to a 6 with 2 wins at MSG so that we can avoid a 1 or 2 seed in the 2nd round of the NCAA’s.Right now, this long layoff before the DePaul game is exactly what the doctor ordered. Our guys are flat-out drained. I think its safe to say that we have gone through more adversity, physically, mentally, and emotionally, than just about any team in the country. Jamie has done a fantastic job this year just keeping the wheels from falling off and qualifying for the NCAA Tournament for the 7th year in a row.Our guys need this time off to recharge and gear up for one final push. I hope they have in it them. If not, it won’t take away from what has already been yet another remarkable year of Pitt basketball.

  4. Drew Margulis Says:

    I agree with what you all are saying, but none if it will really matter if we don’t start playing defense. Not just better defense, but Pitt defense. I’m not satisfied with just making the tournament again, and neither should any of you.

  5. J Jones Says:

    There is something extremely wrong with our defense but I don’t think its going to change this year. We have problems at every single position and its all different. It’s the type of team we have. I’m not going to call out specific players because that isn’t going to help because nearly every player on the team has defensive problems.Jamie hasn’t lost his team at all these guys play their asses off for him. On defense though this team doesn’t have the physicality or ability to shut teams down. This is a product of the type of players we are starting to recruit. If we continue this path our defense is going to be the same.I’m satisfied that we are making the tournament. This year we are paying for recruiting losses and mistakes of the past. Jamie has done his best coaching job this year. The old Pitt defense is gone and if you look closely at our defense its pretty obvious why.

  6. Merlin Says:

    I agree with Jason that this team isn’t the Pitt defensive teams of past, but it’s good to see Jamie trying new things. We’ve been going to a zone more and more lately, and I’m sure in the offseason he’ll realize what kind of players we have and adjust the defensive positioning accordingly. I would expect we’ll start seeing a lot more zone next year, after the Panthers have a full offseason to really work on the rotations and double-teams needed to sustain a solid 2-3 zone. It’s something we’re working on, but clearly we’re not quite there yet.

  7. Brian Ising Says:

    Of course I would love to advance far in the NCAA’s this year. But I think simply making it to the NCAA Tournament for the 7th year in a row will be a very successful season considering everything this team has gone through. Programs better than ours have down years all the time that include the NIT (Syracuse) or even no post-season play at all (UConn).We lost 3 starters and then lost the other 2 to injuries for extended periods of time. Plus, we’ve had other guys that have been banged up all year (Ramon, Benji, Brown, etc.). How many teams would be able to overcome those circumstances and make the NCAA’s? Not many, which is why I’ll consider this season a success even if we do lose our first tourney game.I don’t think its impossible for our defense to improve this season or that there is some fundamental flaw in our defense. We were a pretty good defensive team for most of the year. Not as good as some past Pitt defenses, but still pretty good. For whatever reason, our defense hasn’t been the same since Levance returned. I don’t know if its because we’re smaller or because we’re still getting used to playing together or what it is. But I still think we can pull it together defensively since we were playing good defense up until a couple weeks ago.If you think its obvious why the defense is struggling, please enlighten those of us that don’t see it so clearly. I just can’t blame on not having the players to do it when these same guys were playing such good defense so recently.I disagree with the comment about recruiting misses and mistakes. Remember, this is not the team that Jamie built. The team he built was 12-0, ranked 6th in the country, and coming off a victory over Duke.Then, the injuries happened and it has taken the best coaching job of Jamie’s career to hold this thing together and make the NCAA’s. But I don’t think Jamie’s recruiting should be blamed for our current struggles when we were playing so well before the injuries.

  8. Brian Ising Says:

    Josh,I really doubt that we’ll see a 2-3 zone used much at all next year. I think the zone this year is just a desperation attempt because nothing else seems to be working. But, Jamie’s philosophy is man-to-man defense. The guys he is recruiting are suited to play man D.It would be an absolute travesty to waste Travon Woodall’s quickness or Nasir Robinson’s strength in a zone D. Those guys are great on-the-ball man-to-man defenders. We will use the off-season to get better at playing Pitt defense, which is almost exclusively man-to-man.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    jamie didnt recruit sam young, satan did

  10. Anonymous Says:

    I’ll tell you why the defense fell off. It’s because Sam young only gives a shit on the offensive side of the ball.He has chris taft syndrome, he sees the nba and doesn’t want to play defense anymore.Also losing cook cost us dearly.Ramon is a shitty defender and Blair is getting out of position too much. Any questions?

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Should antigua be fired for his failed recruiting attempts of the past few years?

  12. Drew Margulis Says:

    pleeeease get rid of anonymous comments after these asinine posts about sam young

  13. DPJ Says:

    Ummmm……….I think the anonymous poster may have a point. I didn’t really think about the Young/Taft comparison, but it does make some sense.

  14. Stuart Says:

    I re-watched that entire debacle, and kept track of how many “errors” each kid made on defense. Then i looked at how many minutes each kid played, and determined how many “errors per minute” each kid made on defense. Some plays more than one person made an error, some plays no one made an error, but wvu made a tough shot. Time to take a look, from best defender to worst:benji = .138 errors per minutefields = .139biggs = .143wanny = .200brown = .211ramon = .259blair = .318young = .345What you can garnish from this information is that Young is essentially makign 2.5X as many errors as either fields or benji. Being a junior and easily being the weakest link on defense is totally unacceptable. Between him and Blair, it is no wonder we’re getting killed on defese – add up all their errors, and essentially one or the other is making an error every 90 seconds that usually ends up costing us 2 points. Considering we’re on offense half the time, thats something like 2 out of every 3 defensive series they’re making an error. Unbelievable.When 3 of your starters are making the majority of your errors…i have no idea how we win any games at all. I was actually suprised how few errors biggs made on D – its just the 3 he did were so blatantly obvious during the game, they stuck out in my head. He actually played D pretty well.So what the hell do we do? Keep playing them, as they’re offensive weapons, but pray they stop sucking on defense? We’ve been praying for a long time now, and nothings changed. How the hell do you get their heads in the game? Is there anything Dixon can do from a schematic standpoint to cover up their errors? Cause going to a zone ain’t working either – they just make errors in the zone.I guess when your starting 4 and 5 suck on defense, you’re kind of fucked. Our guards didn’t even play that bad (minus Ramon)…

  15. jay mills Says:

    I’m not driving the Sam Young sucks at d bus but I’m getting on it on it for a few stopsI think it’s completely irresponsible to deny that he plays some poor defense. He got trounced on by Joe “Virgin” Alexander last night. It’s also the fact there are some really good 4s in the BE.The man’s offensive game is brilliant, and he’s won us maybe 4-5 games this year on his scoring not to mention a great no look pass at Cuse. But that defense is a liability, and it will catch up in the tourneys.

  16. Brian Ising Says:

    What I can’t understand is why the defense completely fell apart in the middle of the season. In our first 10 BE games, we allowed 0.98 points per possession, which is very good. In the 7 games since, we have given up 1.13 points per possession, which is terrible. What suddenly changed? That does coincide closely with Levance’s return, so is he really hurting us that badly on D? Is the smaller lineup the problem? Is communication a problem since these guys aren’t used to playing with Levance yet? Perhaps our guys just hit the wall?I don’t know what the answer is. But I have a hard time believing that Sam is the reason for our defensive woes when our defense played well with him for most of the year.

  17. J Jones Says:

    Sam is not the only reason our defense is bad and to think that is to be a little short sighted. What has really killed us since Levance has returned has been the small lineup. Ramon is the worst defender on our team but he is constantly playing out of position. There is no reason to go with three small guards in the backcourt, Gilbert Brown needs to start the rest of the way.When teams use screens and shifts our inability to recognize who’s guarding who leads to easy buckets. The two major culprits of this are Blair and Young. Blair is doing it because he is young and hasn’t faced this level of competition in his life. Why Young is having such trouble points to a lack of effort and intensity on the defensive end. This isn’t going to change throughout the rest of our run this year.Jamie has been going to zone defenses more which is making the laziness of our defense more visible. Our shifts are slow and misguided. The backcourt isn’t stopping the ball going into the post and the front court isn’t finding the ball once its put into the post.The defense is only going to get worse in the Big East tournament and the NCAA tournament. That doesn’t mean that we can’t win some games and make a run but it won’t be on the defensive end.


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