If you haven’t noticed I’ve not been posting much since football season.  There are many reasons, but the internet is no place to air your dirty laundry, and so I won’t.  (It’s not all that dirty, but still).

And there are so many things I’d like to write, if I could only muster the time…

Is Kenny Pickett really any good?

How would you rate the coaching staff?

Do we really have the horses to take the coastal next year?

What was your favorite team in Pitt history?

Are we going to do better in the director’s cup?

I heard there is a new on-campus stadium feasibility study in the works (kidding kidding).

Kidding aside, there will be plenty of time for all of that and more after basketball season is over and before spring football starts (and after its over).  In the meantime, expect to see the basketball open threads published on-schedule, and a weekly “Week in Review” column starting today.   If there is really big breaking news I’m also now on EJ’s PR list, so I’ll do my best to publish the Pitt SID’s press releases so you call can comment on those.

For the Week in Review pieces, I’ll be hanging a letter grade on each day, and also the week, just because I can.  As you might guess, “A” equals “Heck of a week for Pitt sports, and we should all [insert activity here] and sing the fight song”, while “F” equals “one of the worst Pitt sports weeks in recent memory, we should all [insert activity here] to make ourselves feel better.”

Anyway, here’s our first-ever week in review.

Monday, January 13th:  Pitt announced a Press Conference where they would reveal plans for Victory Heights.  Grade:  B.  Announcing an announcement is kind of like scheduling a meeting about a meeting, but Victory Heights…well that might be one you want to schedule a meeting for.

Tuesday, January 14th:  Pitt held said press conference.  Despite many fans’ assertations to the contrary, Victory heights is indeed going forward.  It will be funded by debt with “as much booster support as possible”.  From what I recall, it was reported a group of 10 or so larger donors have all made six or seven figure donations.  Regardless of where the funding is coming from, this has to be considered a major win for Heather Lyke.  She promised something that nobody really thought was possible, and she delivered.

In actual sports action, Pitt Men’s Basketball dropped a heartbreaker to #11 Louisville at home, 73-68.  Many fans pointed to the officiating in overtime (the phantom foul on Terrell Brown’s put-back in particular), but the truth is that if Pitt had just played a tad bit better for a few minutes in the second half, that overtime would have never happend.

Pitt Wrestling started the week ranked #10

Grade:  B+ Victory Heights was huge news, and Wrestling continued to get its due, but damn Men’s Basketball, you need to win that game. 

Wednesday, January 15th:  Jimbo Covert’s Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement was announced.  Not enough can be said about this, other than as the keeper of one of the premier Pitt sports blogs in the country, I completely missed the ball.  Was I knee-deep in emergencies on the job and home front?  Yes?  But I still could have found time to post the press release.  And so my self-loathing is an all-time high.  I would personally like to apologize to Mr. Covert, to the University and to any Pitt fan that wanted to come here to bask in the glory years of Pitt football.  Jimbo personifies everything that we want Pitt football to be:  Hard-nosed, talented, successful and nationally recognized.

Pitt Sports Grade:  A+

Pitt POV Grade:  F

Thursday, January 16th:  Senior Safety Damar Hamlin was granted a 5th year of eligibility by the NCAA.  Pitt Football promptly posts this video featuring Hamlin and Paris Ford (sound up please):

Grade:  A

Friday January 17th:  Pretty quiet day, but since Heather Lyke seemed to be rolling, Pittsburgh Sports Now posted an article about how Pitt is currently ranked 38th in the director’s cup.  This could have been posted any day of the week month, but it was a nice feather in Heather’s cap after the big Victory Heights news.

Pitt Sees Massive Jump in Director’s Cup Points through Fall Sports Season

Also former Pitt QB Ben DiNucci posted the following Tweet:

DiNucci transferred from Pitt following the 2017 season and led James Madison to the 2019 FCS championship game against North Dakota State.  JMU lost 28-20.  DiNucci didn’t play all that badly per-se (at least based on the box score), but the Bison rolled up 281 yards rushing, and that’s tough to overcome at any level.  Always good to see a local kid go deep into the postseason though, and I wish Ben well in whatever he does next.

Passing Comp Att Pct Yds TD Int QBR
Ben DiNucci 22 33 66.7 204 2 1 96.3

Also, Pittsburgh Photographer Dave DiCello posted this image.  Call me biased, but it looks to me like this one was purposely exposed in blue and gold.

Grade:  C+ nothing really happened to Pitt sports, but then again nothing really happened to Pitt sports.  Adding the + on behalf of DiNucci.

Saturday, January 18th:  Men’s BBB beat the UNC Tarholes at home to complete a football-basketball trifecta sweep on the season.

The wrestling team lost to #9 Oklahoma State on the road

A Pat Signal was seen from the Southside.  No word on the commit.

Grade:  I debated giving this one an A- on the demerit of the wrestling loss, but sweeping UNC in basketball and beating them in football may never happen again, and so this one gets an A ladies and gents.  Enjoy it while you can. 

Sunday, January 19th:  Former Pitt RB commit (four star…) Henry Parrish committed to Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss.  He reportedly chose the Rebels over Florida and Oregon.  In other news Parrish was seen carrying a large, unmarked duffel bag, along with his regular suitcase, back to the airport after the official visit.  (I made that last part up…at least I’m pretty sure I did.)

Grade:  C-  We all knew Parrish was a lost cause a long, long time ago, and Pitt has enough running backs to sustain Whipple’s pass-happy offense.  I wish Parrish well in Oxford, and I hope our paths never cross again.  

Weekly Grade:  A.  You’re always going to have your ups and downs, but the three-way combo of Victory Heights happening, Jimbo Covert going to Canton and the Basketball Sweep of the hated Tarheels … Even the most jaded fan has to admit that this has definitely been one of the better weeks for Pitt sports in recent memory and certainly the best week of the young decade.

Hail to Pitt

Michaelangelo Monteleone

94 thoughts on “The Week in Review 1/19/2019

      1. Well thanks prof. I thought you were grading the week. The column is definitely no better than a B 😁

        Like

      2. By the way wwb just kidding with you. I’m actually curious to hear why you give the week a b.

        Unless you are being sarcastic about that b altogether…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. we lost to Louisville and to OK St …. if you want an A, one of them had to be a win.

          The A- was that I found quite witty. I’ve always liked your sarcasm

          Liked by 1 person

  1. “A” on the week and “A” on the column. And “A+” on the whole darn concept for the column. Well done MM. Hail to Pitt and Hail to POV (despite a self-imposed “F” on Jimbo day.)

    Liked by 3 people

  2. A++ on the concept of a weekly review

    A on the execution of the concept

    B+ on the week.
    Sorry, but the heartbreaking Louisville loss, wrestling loss, and Parrish loss just outnumber the NC beat-down, Covert election, and Victory Heights plan. If the Pat Signal is a big-time OL transfer from a P5 with significant playing experience then I move it up to an “A”.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Anybody old enough to remember the TV show:

    “That Was The Week That Was?”

    That’s what I’m reminded of by MM’s latest. I think it was abbreviated TWTWTW.

    I think the TWTWTW grades will be trending up nicely in the big 3 after this season.

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. B straight – B minus. Women’s bball 18 point loss to syracuse which is a .500 team shows we aren’t improving or just not maturing. Two losses for the week. Wrestling had a tough outing. Mens bball had a nice victory over NC. without their best players. But a win is a win which is great. However, that win needs to be balanced against the other part of the week in men’s hoops where we had a chance to put Lewisville away and couldnt do it. Obviously, a blown call in there as well, but the Loss is a loss.

    30 year plan is a D for me. No accountability and noone is going to be here in 30 years to see this through. Stick to a 3-5 year plan. Five year plans are going the way of the dinosaur due to technology. It’s okay to project 5-10 years, but 30 is just over the top.

    Speaking of 30 year plans, Jimbo Covert is a positive……30 years ago. LOL.

    Parrish, was called as a flip, the day he verballed. Thanks for all the abuse over that. Still no OL studs…Need trench winners.

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  5. Should we also mention Jimmy Johnson’s and Marty Shottenheimer’s stops at Pitt on their way to the Pro Football HOF among the weeks positives?

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  6. Excellent article, MM. But there’s absolutely no reason to be hard on yourself. I don’t know how you find the time to write and monitor like you do. I couldn’t do it and I’m retired.

    I also don’t see the need for you to announce or address every happening on the Pitt sports front. We have many astute fans on this forum who will catch and post news as it happens. I doubt anything is missed and the discussion threads occur without a detailed article.

    You are doing a terrific job and I’m confident it is universally appreciated! Thank you!

    Liked by 6 people

  7. I think we’re so happy to see something positive, that we have a knee-jerk reaction to give us a good grade. I think B plus or just a B would’ve been the grade for the week. Mainly because of the wrestling beat down and women’s b-ball.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Great idea and article Mike, an A+ for sure. Thought PITTs week was a B+ and maybe an A considering the time of year it is.

    Mike, you’ve given yourself quite the assignment taking on the “weekly grading of all things PITT” good luck with that and your off the field problems.

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  9. Best guess on the Pat Signal, a 2021 3 star safety Javon McIntyre from Imhotep(Phila area). Getting the Stanford Grad transfer OT that visited Saturday should be a priority for Borberly and Narduzzi.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Good stuff. Louisville hurt the most. I would love to see an unbiased evaluation of all the refs calls and non calls during that game. The Brown call was only the last of many and it was all three refs all night.

    Also like to see a replay of I believe it was Nwora fight with X for a ball and X was thrown to the floor, Nwora won the fight and made a three. No foul called of course.

    Great concept Maestro and thanks again for all you do.

    A little disappointed there was only one Pat Signal and that we still don’t know for what.

    Like

  11. As anonymous indicated above, Pitt wrestling was not focused against OKST. OKST was always going to win. But, we only won two of ten matches. We should have won four of ten. Nothing really went our way. We came out flat. Even Phillipi (our best wrestling) had to come back to win (and he came back in a big way with a pin). Pitt wrestling has been solid all season except for this dual meet. I’d give then a C.

    As to the reasons why they came out flat – a long layoff after the southern scuffle tourney might have been the main reason.

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  12. Florida O-Line transfer Bleich who twice considered coming to PITT now, chose Syracuse. I guess there is more than one way to look at. Did he just like cuse more than PITT? Does PITT have another transfer ready to commit? Is the PITT depth on the O-Line good enough for Bleich to go elsewhere? and on and on…

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    1. Ike Syracuse is about 110 miles from his home in Pa and Pitt would have been about 250 plus away. I’d be willing bet the distance was a big reason behind his commit to Syracuse over Pitt.

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          1. Closest P5 program … right, wrong or indifferent. Maybe he also wants to get into broadcasting…

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            1. Alright, a couple good points but why didn’t he go to Syracuse in first place? BTW Rutgers is closer. 🙂

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            2. so easy to forget about Rutgers…although with Schinao at the helm that will likely not long be the case

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  13. As for the Week in Review concept and execution, Michaelangelo, in my book you grade out at an A+ ! But as for the week, sadly I give it a C at best. Wins and losses will come and go each week, but the update of Victory Heights was a sad disappointment that really tells us very little about Pitt’s commitment to the minor sports. A 30 year plan is a joke, and is really just a PR stunt. Pitt should have laid out a firm 5 year plan for completion and said that it would be paid for one way or another. So the VH update dragged down the whole week, which was otherwise a mixed bag of W-L results.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The idea of Victory Heights is an A. It’s execution is a D. To totally ignore swimming and outdoor track in phase one is inexcusable. And to build lacrosse their own field on precious land is just plain stupid. Debt financing of this magnitude is also not smart…a tax on Pitts future. And the sad thing is that once these facilities are built and ready four years from now, they will be outdated in some aspects.

      Now if the week included an announcement of a feasibility study for a MPC and a kickoff of a fundraising campaign for division 1 hockey, the week would have gotten an A.

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  14. If you’re willing to include branch campuses we can bump that weekly grade up a notch. UPJ basketball beat Slippery Rock earlier in the week to give coach Bob Ruckavina his 500th win, and the 2nd ranked UPJ wrestling team won 2 dual meets to give Hall-of-Fame coach Pat Pecora win number 608. Pecora is only 3 wins away from passing Dale Thomas of Oregon State to become the winningest wrestling coach in NCAA history. Should happen within the next 2 weeks. Although Pecora’s bio needs to be updated, you can see his story here: https://pittjohnstownathletics.com/sports/wrestling/roster/coaches/pat-pecora/154

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think they would have gotten far more big booster support for it and the future revenue streams could have paid down any debt financing. That would have been smart.

      Now there are four potential sites within the Victory Heights footprint for that MPC. Each has its own unique benefits and drawbacks.

      1). OC lot and cost center combo. Pitt already owns the land. Flat terrain. 45k venue would fit snugly.

      2). Pete. In 20 years the Pete will be in need of some major upgrades. Will become costly to maintain. Debt would have been paid off completely by then.

      3). VA hospital. Heath care is rapidly changing. Vet population is rapidly diminishing. The hospital and system most likely won’t last another 20 years.

      4). The Hill. Behind Trees there is section 8 housing and a neighborhood ‘park.’ Prime real estate for private investors. But suitable land for a ‘community’ MPC. It’s technically off campus today and it would be a long walk if you didn’t shuttle or trolley up. Politically charged one I’ll admit.

      South oakland, hollow behind Frick, schenley park, and that school down from the VA are other locations within walking distance. All with limitations, constraints, costs.

      I didn’t say it would be easy. But there are multiple locations even in a dense urban environment.

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  15. A+ just for Victory Heights and new student rec center connecting upper and lower campus. This is decades past due.

    New 3k seat venue with attached training facilty. You heard the coaches from wrestling, volleyball, gymnastics. It will be one of the top in the country. Pitt can host national college and high school tournaments.

    Indoor track. Another facility that can be used YEAR round for meets and training. The field portion is multi use also.

    New coaching offices at the baseball/soccer/softball complex. Crucial to recruiting.

    Lacrosse venue. It will be the last built. That could change if the soccer venue is adequate for lacrosse which it should be. If it is built, look for men’s LAX to be added.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They would need to add a women’s team though for title 9. Maybe rowing?

      But all these scholie programs cost money to get off the ground. Pitt should think strategically on what new programs can be afforded and offer a competitive advantage.

      The ACC is the toughest lacrosse conference. Wins will be hard to come by for some time.

      But I do like lacrosse as a sport. Better than tennis or golf or rifle. 😆

      Like

  16. MM — I’m afraid you can pencil the women’s BB team in for at best a “D” each week for the rest of this season. Our freshman PG had 10 turnovers versus the Orange. Ten!

    She’s going to be good once she harnesses all that energy, but it’s looking like a slow learning curve.

    The women can play defense and rebound but their offensive skills are lacking right now. I think there will be better grades next season when they add two true forwards – a piece they’re missing now. (We have a 6- footer, Amber Brown, playing against 6-2s… AB should be a guard…)

    We should have beaten Clemson down there but could barely make a bucket in the 4th Q. and let them come back. Lost in OT.

    All they can do is learn as much as they can this season – they will be much better next season. They are a year behind the men’s team in putting a team together…

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. MM you are too hard on yourself. You don’t deserve an F for anything. Keep up the great work. I don’t know how you find the time to do what you do as it is!
    As for VH, I was glad to see it addressed a bunch of programs. Football already gets the lion’s share of attention. If we want to make headway in the Director’s Cup then the Olympic sports need attention. It’ll probably be easier to upgrade those other teams than it will be for football, just bc they don’t need as many “pieces” to make a whole successful program. Just MHO.
    H2P.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I know in high school, soccer is played in the fall and lacrosse in the spring. If the same in college, then lacrosse can use the soccer field until …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is the same. That’s why there is no issue of sharing a field for practice or the logistics of game scheduling. Plus the cost center and that bubble are indoors for practice. Makes no sense that lacrosse gets a new field when track doesn’t even have a track and field. Lacrosse could also play within the track…the field part. But no media rag even questioned this. Worthless cuse and Nitter alums they are.

      Like

  19. the new commit is for 2021 ….

    Chris Dokish@ChrisDokish
    Pitt’s first 3 commitments for ’21 are a 4 star DE with Penn St and Michigan offers, a fast Virginia RB with Penn St, Michigan, Nebraska, Virginia Tech, and North Carolina offers, and a safety from a powerhouse Philly program with Penn St, Michigan St, Tennessee, and VT offers.

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  20. MM

    Thanks for finding a way to get us going. I grade the Week a B. I happen to think that Victory Heights is off to a good start. Baby steps are best.

    pmdH2P

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Maybe I misunderstood the timing of the individual efforts, but I thought the VH commitment was halfhearted and the funding plan was inadequate. Pitt desperately needs these facilities to compete in the ACC, but I thought based on the firmness of the plans it would be quite sometime before any of these facilities would be available.

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    1. VoR, sometimes it’s smart to put the cart before the horse. PITT has basically said to all donors, alumni and fans. Here’s what we want to do, are you on board or not for improving PITT athletics and campus life along with the entire University of Pittsburgh?

      Like

    2. Spring of 2024 assuming no cost or time over-runs

      I just hope they have the foresight to build that 3500 seat venue with configurable seating and a sub floor.

      You do know why.

      Like

  22. It has been a very good month for pitt football. With coveted coaches staying (Andrews meh?), players staying in college, Hamlin, jimbo, and an uptick in recruiting. Even the most jaded pitt fans can admit it right?

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  23. Pman – we knew you werent suggesting any offensive coaches…..or strength and conditioning coaches.

    Coveted and Pitt coaches just dont go together.

    As far as IMho out east, they are loaded. We have missed on a lot of players from that program for years. Good to get one. Maybe he has connections and can open some doors.

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  24. OT but are there any recent developments concerning Jamie Dixon and TCU? I thought he was on shaky ground due to some recruiting (?) allegations.

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  25. We all know, commitments are nice, but until the letter is signed it means nothing. I don’t get too caught up in recruiting because of that, and it’s not just Pitt specific, happens to everyone. Good start, let’s see if we can hold it together.

    Like

  26. Thanks, Jack. I think Dixon’s best coaching days are behind him, but he’s probably got an airtight contract from his flirtation with UCLA.

    Like

  27. Pitt FB recruiting, for whatever reason, seems to be on the upswing. Pretty positive article on Pittsburgh Sports Now about Donavan McMillon’s visit to Pitt.

    He’s a safety from Peter’s Township. Said he was impressed by the coaches and by meeting home-town heroes Hamlin and Ford.

    I liked, and Donavan liked, that he had been invited to bring a little brother with him on the visit. A very nice touch by Pitt.

    You never know, but Donavan sounds pretty impressed with the opportunity at Pitt.

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 3 people

  28. Pitt recruiting is on the upswing no doubt …. but it still appears to be too slanted to wards the defense. I guess the HC really must matter especially at Pitt, Chryst had no issue acquiring OL and RB because of his power running attack and his 3 classes at Pitt were very offense oriented. And it’s the defense nowadays.

    I don’t think it’s due to a lack of effort ,,, but it’s shame that Pitt has good talent that is over 2-deep on the DL ad DB, but continues to struggle on the OL. I do think the 2 OT in the current class has a lot of promise just like I thought what they got 2 years ago had (Kradel and Zubovic), but it doesn’t appear to be enough.

    Like

    1. they do appear however to have 3 pretty good WRs in the class …. Addison and Barden had terrific senior years, and received some attractive offers in the fall

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      1. Plus, if you’re star gazing, it appears PITT has 2 QBs with a lot of potential to get the ball to said WRs in Beville and Yellen.

        Like

  29. Duquesne Dukes is currently at 15-2 after a 2 point win vs Fordham 6-10 at home. Their 2 losses were to UAB and Marshall (UAB was at home). They deserve credit but they received as many votes in the AP polls as did UVa and more than a few traditional powers like Marquette and others with much more difficult records.…. which shows you that records matter just like in FB.

    BTW, FSU is 5th, LVille is 6th, and Rutgers is 24th.

    Like

  30. No doubt Narduzzi can recruit D-Backs and D-Ends.Very deep at those positions
    Deep enough to move one to linebacker and one to running back.

    Hopefully, like wbb said he starts to catch up on the O-side. O-line is the toughest to figure because those guys rarely start as freshmen or sophomores. The lack of a star running back or tight end is a mystery when recruiting appeared to be solid but no one panned out or with tight ends left the team. Mixed results with the O-line, but there is still time for many on the roster, since O-linemen are as much made as born.
    Need that S&C team soon.

    Like

    1. We needed a S&C coach last week unless he is the Chief’s or 49ers guy.

      There is a strong connection with the Chief’s head S&C coach. Former Pitt soccer player –

      Like

  31. Maybe we lack that dynamo recruiter on the O side???????? Hopefully, there is an improved product on the field this season, meaning the O, and recruiting gets an up-tick…..hope we start landing some of the local talent…looks like there are a few more fish in the pond this year….love our Panthers to have “Burgh flavor”….our boys against theirs….(that’s me)

    Like

  32. Apparently Jimbo Covert getting into the Hall of Fame was as big a surprise to him as it was to the rest of us.
    In any case another very positive occurrence for Pitt this month to ten with certainly more to come.

    Maybe, Narduzzi, Whipple and Borbely can use Pitt’s historical great O-linemen to help in recruiting. Two in the Hall of Fame and three borderline greats in Mark May, Bill Fralic and Ruben Brown and with a current starter in O’Neill. Unfortunately with tight end we only have Ditka, and kids today don’t know much about him. We could show John Brown’s great Sugar Bowl catch, but that is about it.

    No surprise here but the ACCNet is pretty much an advertisement for Duke and UNC basketball and not much more so far. Pitt needs to push some film from it’s archives, like that Sugar Bowl, or the Bowl we beat Clemson. How about Pitt beating Georgetown, UConn or Syracuse? They would probably show that stuff at 3 in the morning but what the heck?

    Like

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