Fresh off their “tune up” (a one point loss against the underdog Niagara Purple Eagles), the Panthers should be highly motivated for this one.  The question is, can they win?  West Virginia has two non-con losses on the season, and so I’m saying yes.  #LetsGoPitt.  Beat ‘them Hoopies!

 

113 thoughts on “Pitt Basketball: Backyard Brawl Open Game Thread

  1. Maybe the Monday loss will wake up Pitt some for this game….or maybe not. Hope they can beat the press. The hoopies like man-to-man defense which is good for us. Glad their good center is out…

    Should be fun… H2P

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Konate was warming up. I think he plays. That would be bad for Pitt

    For those traveling down there, dont get lost on any Country Roads. Stay on the highway in West Virginny.

    Dem Hillbillies like us Pittsburgers too much. We’re good eats.

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  3. Ahhh, the Coliseum. Two hours of listening to the crowd chant, “Eat sxxt Pitt!” Can’t say that I miss it. Our success or lack thereof in this game can be measured by how much time Huggy spends on his stool. Hopefully we can keep him on his feet the entire game.

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  4. Heading out to see the Women play their BB Brawl later this afternoon. Will be watchng the men as long as I can, then listening on the radio.

    X-Man is getting some praise on ESPN2…hey it’s EJ time!

    H2P

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  5. Wow. HCJC and Pitt getting some good words from the announcers…they are basically recruiting for Pitt encouraging recruits to come play with the 3 frosh…nice.

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  6. Tried to make point before they would struggle vs press. Poor fundamentals on press break. Trying to depend on athleticism and that will never, ever work long run.

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  7. Early in the season you saw these guys have trouble with even light pressure. No real reversals, poor technique, just tried to blow by people. That can work in high school, or AAU against unorganized press, but it will get you killed against a well coached college team.

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  8. Listening. Sounds like a blowout in progress. Refs and crowd panicking this young Pitt team. See my boy Wilson Frame is shining again. Of course WVU s is playing. Hope none of you believed the nonsense that he was out.

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  9. Loved the TO, and Capel actually telling them to run press break. Looked much better instead of just trying to run past into traps.
    Team isn’t deep enough to go against this team the way games being called.

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  10. Johnson will need to learn. As announcers said, his out of control HS moves won’t work in big time college ball. He’ll score, but to become a good college point guard you need a more complete game. His 1-1 stuff is flashy, but needs to learn how to run the point. Sorry, great talent but lots to learn. Turnover machine.

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  11. Team isnt deep
    isnt experienced
    doesnt have a big man
    and cant break the press
    playing out of control

    but i still think they win 4-5 acc games this year and have an outside shot at the NIT

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  12. PITT needs a big man and a sharp shooter. I will also say that you have to like this Chukwuku kid. When i first flipped the game on while in progress Konate had two fouls not called and then tried to land on the PITT playe’s face but the ref’s have evened out their calls.

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    1. Need two big men in the worst way. Kofi and a two JuCos: one who can rebound and another who can defend the perimeter. It is obvious Stallings’ players just stink. The three freshmen, Kofi and a JuCo four need to be our starters next seasonfor there to be progress.

      If Capel misses on Kofi then this rebuild is looking a lot more daunting. Wahub is also a must get but I’m not sure how immediate his impact would be.

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  13. WVU hates to be pressed back. Hope Capel tries it second half. Pitt HAS to learn how to run its half court offense vs a packed in zone.

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  14. 4 first half TOs and poor passes that caused a couple more. We continue to get distracted by bright and flashy objects. This kid is a star in the making, but his current game is very seriously flawed. Good coaches saw the early game problems and will press this team to death until they learn discipline. No quality bigs hurts on press break, and the left over players are showing how bad they really are. Ellison is OK against lesser teams, will do nothing in conference, and the beard is a one trick pony. Only player with worse feet was Luther last year.
    Let’s see if Capel can reel them in at half, get them to breathe a little, and regain some control. Another guard who can shoot a couple 4s who can play, and a big . Ya, that’s all we need, lol.

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    1. I wouldn’t be too down on McGowens and especially Johnson. Even more experienced guards have had bad games vs WVU pressure, and obviously these frosh have never played against anything like this before.

      Again, while the team is making progress and certainly looks better than a year ago, Pitt will takes its lumps in the next few months. Be patient

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  15. This is no where near the WVU team they’ve had in the past. Their guards are not the type they’ve had. Their press has been non existent this year because of that. When you play out of control, especially from the point, you are asking for trouble. Johnson is a turnover machine. How many assists does he have? Point needs to run the team, not just look flashy scoring. Lots to learn. And ya, I’m gonna be hard on him all year till he learns.

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  16. Boy, if you could combine James Robinson and X Johnson you’d have a lottery pick. Well, like I said, it really doesn’t matter as they aren’t going anywhere this year, learn from it and go on. A very, very, negative assist/ turn over ratio is never good from PG, no matter how many they score.

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  17. Inability to shoot 3s is also obvious at this point. And the guards are getting embarrassed at the rim. These young players could lose confidence and the ACC hasn’t even started

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      1. Exactly. All those inbreds had to bet was one molar
        Bunch of toothless hillbillies
        Thank goodness a Pitt player wasnt injured by a coin or battery down there in dem Hills

        My wifes mothers side is from West Virginny
        I made sure before I married my wife to check that she had a full set of teeth and ran a test by Ancestry dot com

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Pitt outscored them in the 2nd half. I’ll take that. Sad though that Huggins had to lie about his center not playing when he clearly knew he would. He wasn’t hobbled in the least.

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  19. Welll, quite the game. First off, make no mistake, this WVU team is not very good. Not the pressVirginia they have been. Their guards are weak, they can’t really shoot, and have no true point guard. They are very sloppy. They do have a big guy wno, as long as games are called this way will change games.
    Johnson needs a great deal of work to become a good point guard. 8 to and 2 assists will not cut it, despite how many he scores. Now, as hard as I am on him, I will say there are not many options on this team. No real shooters outside of the beard, and he is pure catch and shoot. Toney had a bad game. McGowens really can’t shoot either. So I guess your options are limited to slash and drive.
    The obvious difference was the big kid. He is a very good shot blocker, but when you do not call the body contact, or the chippy BS shoves after the play, well, you have no chance.
    The press did pose what I saw earlier. They get rattled, forget what they are taught, and try to get by on their athleticism. Save that for high school. Capel did a great job refocusing them at the half. Much better later. Freshmen.
    The 3 new kids are the talent. Odir, or whatever his name is, was disappointing today, thought he’d handle pressure better. Frame is 1 trick. Ellison, well, he helped in early games, not expecting much from him in conference. Big kids stink. Sorry, they can’t play at ACC level. Team has limited depth and scoring options.
    Now, the good. Won’t see this type of officiating in conference. Oh, we’ll still get homered, but we will get more calls on the drives than today. What the stripes did today let WVU get up early, kept difference maker in game, and made it very hard for a team with no depth to come back.
    Johnson will learn. He has to. Right now he has limited options, but unforced errors and looking for Sports Center type plays aren’t the way to go. He needs to listen to his coach. McGiwens is going to be an enigma. He really can’t shoot. A 2 who can’t shoot is an issue. But the rest of his game is going to be solid. What do you do with a kid like that? Toney, well, my prejudice shows here. I really like the kid, and think he’ll be solid by the time he’s a senior.
    These kids played hard ALL game long. Anyone who questions the effort ……welllll. Watching them will be fun, frustrating, crazy, all rolled into one. I still think they will only win a couple more games. Well many 3-4 more, which won’t look much better on the sheet, but will be light years from last year.
    Capel is even a better coach than I thought. What a change, someone who actually uses time outs and makes adjustments. For the life of me I don’t know why a big kid, or forwards with length wouldn’t want to play for this guy. Get ready, what a year!

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    1. “The obvious difference was the big kid. He is a very good shot blocker, but when you do not call the body contact, or the chippy BS shoves after the play, well, you have no chance.”

      One of the main reasons I turned the game off…that and other garbage calls…like when the hoopie player stood over Chukwuka and the ref gave both of them fouls. I was about done right there.

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  20. I agree with announcers. Maybe not so much this year, but we are going to enjoy Johnson, McGowens and Toney over the next couple of years.

    Just hope we are able to get some decent frontcourt talent in the very near future. No doubt that Konate was the major difference today and we had nobody that could play him

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Just hope the freshmen don’t get discouraged and develop bad habits this year. They are going to get beat up in league play. They need to learn to play as a team and keep working hard, but as has been said big talented guys are sorely needed. A swing man that can score and a three point shooter will help immensely as well.

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  22. Truer words were never spoken…

    Craig Meyer@CraigMeyerPG

    Jeff Capel on Pitt’s rebounding
    “We have to gang rebound, all 5 guys. What it is is it’s changing habits. The young guys don’t have the habits yet & the returning guys don’t have them because it’s not something they did last year. They weren’t a good rebounding team last season”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. From Dixon whiffing on Carr and Stevens, who went to PSU, to jerking around Kanote combined with the Stallings sh!tstorm this rebuild is going to take some time. Capel would have to land a couple of JuCos who make a big impact to turn it around quicker, but that isn’t happening.

      Like

  23. Was it me or were the freshman making a lot of unnecessary passes close to the basket instead of just putting it off the glass and it resulted in 3-4 turnovers. I think it goes back to what was referenced above, out of control play and being freshman.

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  24. Just watched the game on tape. It went about as I suspected but it wasn’t a blowout. Pitt gave one hell of an effort for an undermanned team.

    Lots to learn from today. Many teaching moments. We will be a better team for having endured this game.

    Liked by 3 people

  25. I learned a lot about this Pitt team today. X is as good of a freshman point guard as I’ve seen at Pitt. Period. I hope he continues to develop. I agree Capel (including staff) is a very pleasant surprise in terms of a coach, really happy with him. And finally, the the freshman are a really nice foundation going forward. Looks to me like all we need is a big man or two and a the point shooter. It’s silly to think that the rebuild will take a long time, it’s a matter of recruiting the right 2-3 players, and we’ll be a handful.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. I agree. Much easier job to elevate a team in BB versus FB.

          However, just about every BB team in the country is looking for a big man or two and a shooter. Tough to get all the pieces in one or two tries — then you still have to get them to learn how to win. Can be done, but not easy…

          Go Pitt.

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  26. Having been to Morgantown to watch us (it was in the old barn with wood sight beams), I appreciate the kids fighting hard in this game. Give them some time to grow and you never know. H2P.

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  27. One thing for sure, they need to learn to play under control. No body can win with 25 turnovers. The Freshmen need to know their limits. Going to the rim against WVU’s front court is suicidal.

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  28. I’m wondering how Pitt’s rebuilding could be compared to UConn. Both in terms of record this year and recruiting. Is Pitt ahead of UConn at this point?

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  29. UConn has two verbals for the 2019 class, both guards, one 3* from PA and the other a 4* from NY. Plus, they have the 5* center Akok Akok joining them in January.

    Pitt currently has NO verbals for 2019 and NO center joining the team in January.

    Record wise, both are at 7-3. UConn beat cuse, lost by 21 to Iowa, lost by 4 to Arizona and lost by 8 to FL State. Pitt beat St. Louis, lost to Niagara, lost to a bad hoopie team and lost to Iowa by 1. Mixed bag – UConn lost to a better resume.

    All subject to change in due time, of course.

    So, UConn is currently winning the rebuilding battle, not counting the new head coach. I’d rather have Capel, so that is a HUGE win for Pitt in my book.

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  30. Narduzzi can’t recruit OL and Capel can’t recruit big guys … at least so far

    Note Akok Akok is from Putnam, CT. Where do you think he was going to go? This is just like the HC search last year. Remember Pitt was after upper NJ native Danny Hurley but he decided to stay in greater NYC area. In fact, he moved 45 minutes from URI to UConn.

    The recent downfall of Pitt BB (even prior to Stallings) coincided with Pitt’s move to the ACC. So instead of Pitt playing in NYC/NJ/Philadelphia area several times a year, they play once a year in the pre-season. While they never got the blue-chips, they got solid hard-nosed recruits from the eastern seaboard. Now, they don’t get them anymore .. and this seems to continue.

    Capel is doing well within the ACC imprint so far … hopefully, this will improve

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  31. to follow-up on my post above, while in BE, Pitt played in a preseason tourney every year in NYC as well as BE Tourney in MSG, They also played every year at Providence, UConn, St John;s, Seton Hall, Rutgers, and Villanova … so that’s a guarantee of 10 games per year in that area.

    Now, they play 1 game a year there. Yes, with ACC tourney in Brooklyn, it’s 2 games but this will end after this year.

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    1. Even worse on the BB recruiting front (IMO), the nitters have four recruits for 2019 – a 4* F from PA, a 3* C from MD, a 3* F from NC and a 3* F from FL.

      All in Pitt’s recruiting footprint.

      For 2020, the nitters have one verbal from a 3* F from FL.

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  32. Capel came on like gangbusters, has he hit the recruiting wall that has plagued Pitt regarding big men since we joined the ACC? I hope not, he certainly did well with guards, better than we have seen in years. We still need a center, power forward and three point specialist.

    He got guys late last year, hopefully he can do it again.

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  33. Plus, I don’t remember a home schedule that had just rotten weather. Aside from the Albany game, which I couldn’t attend, it sucked. If God is willing, I’ll see you all next season at Fran’s tailgate. Otherwise a long off season after this bowl game of keeping the POV interesting and running like a greased piggie. Good Luck MAM!

    Like

  34. Just read the Cardiac Hill article on Travis Koontz

    https://www.cardiachill.com/2018/12/6/18128312/travis-koontz-former-pitt-panthers-football-commit-tim-salem-recruitment-juco-ventura-tight-end-run

    What the heck?, Talk about tone deaf. A huge position of need, and a guy that could really help the passing game and Salem is talking about the run scheme? This is seriously mind boggling. One way to get our anemic passing game going is a strong, big target tight end.

    This seems to be another example of dumbfounding recruiting anecdotes, when added up make you say, what???

    Not offering the Penn Hills kid(s) and improving local relationships, Dissing kids that decide to go elsewhere, and all the other issues that Reed allude too over the last couple years.

    It is not just about telling kids what they want to hear, but you certainly need to paint a picture that they want to be a part of.

    I’d still like to know why Clark and the Reeves left? Clark seemed to be getting better and might have made an impact this year. Also Tyler Sear makes you wonder what in the heck is going on? Add to that this new issue with Koontz. Something definitely rotten in Denmark. Time for Salem to leave?

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    1. Gc — agree that this work by Coach Salem sounds troubling. And the info came right from the recruit, so Pitt’s approach certainly missed the mark by a wide margin. Then I hear the guy on PSN stating afterwards that he’s pretty confident Knootz will come back to Pitt. Say what? It’s like Salem and the PSN Guy are in another universe on this one…

      Go Pitt.

      Like

  35. Is anyone else having trouble with “this comment cannot be posted”

    Frustrating when you write a long comment. I have been copying the comment . then refreshing and pasting, then it posts, what’s up with that?

    Like

  36. Going a little further, just how important are tight ends to the passing game, to the offense?
    First off a good tight end is a large target that can pick up first downs in the middle of the field.
    Second, they assist the O-tackle in blocking D-Ends protecting the QB.
    Third, they block for the running game, sealing the end, making more options for the running back.
    Sometimes they get bigger and become great O-tackles. Sometimes they are just unstoppable, just ask the Patriots.

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  37. Medure, Carrigan, Gragg and Van Lynn all are returning and all saw action last year at TE. Of the 4, Gragg is the best receiver but saw limited action in Pitt’s run control offense. Medure and Carrigan also caught passes but they were very few and far between. A, frosh, Kymar Mimes moved from DE to practice at TE but don’t believe he saw action.

    No doubt a talented TE (or two) is needed especially since I think Van Lynn may be moved to OG or OT. It will be interesting to see what Pitt will attract in the next 2 months.

    Like

  38. Here’s my take on the tight end situation. Gragg looks to be a decent to good option as a receiver, PITT decided to not throw the ball to him or even have in the lineup half the time. Tells me a couple things. Watson doesn’t use the tight ends as a receiving threat or Pickett can’t see the field well enough to get them the ball. or is it both? The third point is……. PITT needs to get a QB coach in the house ASAP! I’m hearing the players really like Watson and he won’t be going anywhere soon…. so trade in the extra DB coach for a QB coach or go the grad assistant route. Hell Wlat Harris would coach for next to nothing or a grand slam breakfast every morning.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Capel started very high with attempted recruiting of 4-5 star bigs. After a few losses (to above average programs like UConn and Seton Hall) he may now be in a period of coming back down to earth, and we may see some 3 star bigs enter the picture soon. Capel has said he can recruit anywhere, so lets hope he stays after the top big men. We have seen that quality bigs like Steve Adams are in serious demand by the NBA, and typically don’t stay long in college. So top programs want to have significant depth at the power forward and center positions.

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  40. VoR and Dan – The big question for me is whether Pitt will allow Capel to play the game….wink, wink! Pitt just needs to look the other way every once in awhile, else he may have problems. In my opinion UConn and Seton Hall are not better programs than ours.

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  41. Agreed, Huff. At this point, however, Capel has shown he can recruit by the rules and there is no need to get “creative”. There are a lot of places to find one or two big men.

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  42. I know the lack of the available scholarship at UCONN with Akok Akok gets me scratching my head, but you people do realize that UCONN has won multiple national championships in recent memory. Pitt hasn’t won any, ever. I don’t really buy the argument that Pitt is a much more attractive program than UCONN.

    Heck, even Seton Hall made the final 4 within the past 3 decades, something Pitt cannot say.

    Like

  43. Location, location, location, Apparently being located in the greater NYC area doesn’t hurt recruiting (except Rutgers of course)

    Like

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