A Commit! (A Commit?)

Well just when you think the entire thing was going off the rails, Pat Narduzzi goes out and lands himself a commit. And not just any commit. But a Tight End commit. Three stars at that! Gavin Bartholomew is a three-star rivals 5.5 from Schuylkill Haven, PA (Blue Mountain HS), which means he’s a small school guy. He must fancy himself a pass catcher, because he de-committed from Buffalo to sign with the Panthers. Buffalo, as you can see, is more of a running school:

Pitt on the other hand sets up the run with the pass, and has been searching for a pass catching tight end (or really just any sort of tight end) for oh… the last twenty years (exaggeration here, but only slightly), so maybe Bartholomew is the guy.

Continue reading “A Commit! (A Commit?)”

The State of the Program

Interestingly the University of Pittsburgh did not release Pat Narduzzi’s press conference transcript yesterday, which is a shame because I was really looking forward to doing a Sunday “reading between the lines”. I’ll chalk that up to a systems glitch.

Nonetheless, Pat Narduzzi is in year six and offensive coordinator four, and this was supposed to be THE YEAR. He’s lost two winnable games by one point, and he’s been blown out by both top five teams that he’s faced.

Expectations were higher. And yet, as long as he beats Georgia Tech he’ll probably be back next year. Oh and here is an interesting stat. Pat Narduzzi’s career winning percentage is .547. His 2020 winning percentage if he beats Georgia Tech? .545. Water finds its level.

Sound off if you haven’t already…

Michaelangelo Monteleone

Up Next: Clemson (+Prediction Thread)

By Richard Hefner

Editor’s Note: We are on a compressed holiday schedule this week, so had to delay this until today. Feel free to tee off on a prediction after digesting Richard’s always-thorough analysis. -Michaelangelo

Pitt is coming off their second straight 40+ scoring effort. Who would have thunk it? The 47 – 14 victory over Virginia Tech puts Pitt’s record at 5–4 (4-4 in conference). Pitt fans where happy to see another relaxing win. My worry stopped after the early 3’rd quarter goal line stand and the  following 99+ yard TD drive. The rest of the game was gravy.

Pitt’s next opponent is 7-1 (6-1 in conference) Clemson. They are coming off a Covid inspired bye week and game postponement after Clemson was already in Tallahassee. As I am typing this, I am watching a TV interview with Clemson’s head coach Dabo Swinney. Dabo is accusing FSU of not wanting to play and that the FSU is using Covid as an excuse. Dabo is demanding that FSU cough up $300k to reimburse Clemson for the cost of the trip (and upgraded hotel accommodations on a recommendation from Pat Narduzzi) if they want to reschedule. (Dabo did say that they had a team meeting in a “Circus” tent prior to game postponement. Cancellation, FSU forfeit.)

Clemson’s Dabo Swinney says Florida State administration ‘forfeited’ Saturday’s game (msn.com)

The scheduled kickoff time is Saturday at 3:30pm on ABC (was previously ESPN).

We all know the rise of Clemson under HCDS. Hired midway thru the 2008 to replace the departing Tommy Bowden, he won the 2008 rivalry game with the Gamecocks. He then promptly lost 5 straight to Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina squads. By 2013, the ACC started to change. Pitt and Syracuse joined the ACC. In 2014 Clemson finally won a rivalry game against U of SC and has not tasted the bitterness of a rivalry game loss since.

But the huge step up for Clemson began in 2015. For the time period 2015-19, Clemson has won both the Atlantic division and the ACC championship 5 straight years with an overall ACC record (including C/C) of 43-2. Those two losses were dealt by the ACC newest members (excluding the 2020 interloper Notre Dame) Pitt in 2016 and Syracuse 2017.

Clemson has also been a CFP team since 2015 winning the NCG twice. The ACC, wanting a 3’rd NC team, made sure Pitt was on Clemson’s schedule. It is Pitt that guarantees Clemson another NC victory. Pitt is the only team that Clemson played in regular or C/C games in the years they won the NC that they did not play in non-winning years. Iron sharpens iron (but so does a sharpening stone).

Continue reading “Up Next: Clemson (+Prediction Thread)”

The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight

The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight

Michaelangelo’s Note: I asked Dan to write an overview of the upcoming Pitt basketball season because I think he’s got an extremely educated perspective on the game. (And I know that I do not.)

Also, not that some of you care, but I know some of you do, so I’d like to point out that Dan titled this piece in reference to a 1970’s comedy movie about a bunch of Italian Mobsters. No modern day “gang” or “thug” overtones should be inferred. While Pitt’s on the court performance may leave something to be desired, Jeff Capel’s off-the-field player selection, mentorship, guidance and standards are second-to-none. Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving to all POVers and long-suffering Pitt Fans out there!

The Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight

By Dan Davis, aka “Dan 72”

November 26, 2020

I wrote this article for the POV previous to the St Francis blow out embarrassment. See if you think I was on to something.

It’s hard to talk about this coming year’s version of Pitt Basketball without reflecting back on last year’s team.

Last year, when I tried to educate you folks on the intricacies of The Flex Offense (the one Capel loves) I mentioned that to be effective, you had to hit your jump shots. But…last year’s team was one of the worst shooting teams in Pitt history. I don’t know who taught Xman to shoot a jumper from below his chin, but it is a disastrous way for any outside player to shoot a jumper. It’s easily blocked, so X has to be wide open to even take the shot. This did not bode well for an offense that is predicated on high percentage shooting, and I think the result was pretty apparent on the court.

Editor’s Note – For those not familiar with the Flex Offense, here is a basic overview from Hooptactics.net

The Flex offense is a powerful screening game utilizing strong baseline and down screens. The continuous “Pick the Picker” screening action puts a tremendous burden on the defense by having to defend two different types of screens simultaneously. Teams that exhibit good patience will surely create open shots. The Flex continuity also provides strong offensive rebounding and second efforts by constantly having two rebounders on the weakside.

Offensive Fundamentals Required

Passing – Click Here

Executing Base Screens – Click Here

Setting & Using Down Screens – Click Here

Executing Back Cuts – Click Here

Okay back to Dan’s write up:

Because X-man couldn’t shoot last year, Capel was forced to go into the standard 1-4 offense to get any screens set and shots closer to the basket after just eight games.

Editor’s Note – Here is what my research on the 1-4 offense turned up. From Hoopstudent.com:

The 1-4 High offense is a basketball offense that can be useful to teams that have several guards with the ability to shoot from the perimeter. It features a ball handler at the top of the key, two high post players, and two players located on the wings near the foul line extended areas. This offense can also create scoring opportunities by way of basketball cuts such as the Iverson cut or via basketball screens such as the cross screen. Additionally, teams with high basketball IQ will be able to take advantage of potential backdoor possibilities because of the open space below the free throw line extended. Also, teams can use the 1-4 high offense to execute actions such as high low and screen the screener.

Okay again, back to Dan:

The thing about the flex is that it requires a team to have good shooters AND an offensive threat at center. Regardless of whether we were in the flex or the 1-4, last year Terrell Brown presented such a little threat to score, that defenders constantly sloughed off of him an double teamed our shooters. As a former coach, I simply cannot understand why Brown can’t learn one offensive move back to the basket and one facing the basket. Most inside post players learn those moves in 8th grade.

So to summarize last year’s offensive woes. 1) Our guards couldn’t shoot, and 2) our center literally had no offensive moves.

Continue reading “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight”