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.

On defense things were a bit simpler. Pitt was terrific in man to man and good in the full court 2-1-2 press, but when Pitt went to any kind of zone defense, they got hammered.

On to this year……

First, the Schedule: This is as difficult a schedule as Pitt has ever been tasked with, because there are a lot of ACC games against ACC studs. Also Pitt plays Drexel (maybe …Covid problems) Northwestern (ACC/Big 10), and Gardiner Webb. In conference Pitt has Miami, Louisville, Duke, Notre Dame, Florida State, GA Tech, Syracuse then Duke again. How many wins do you see against those ACC studs? I see 2 wins or less unless Sibande plays.

The Ballhandlers (The 1 & 2): I hope that Xavier Johnson has fixed his jumper and foul shooting but most likely not. He’s very good at assists and drives to the basket.   I’ll say this right away…If Nike Sibande gets a waiver for this season (he’s transferring from Miami Ohio), Pitt will have a winning record. He is THAT good! If not, .500 or worse is a real possibility. Meanwhile, Ithiel Horton is a Delaware transfer with a 40.9% 3 point shot average. He practiced with the team all last year. Pitt only shot 30% as a team last year. But… that was at Delaware! This is the ACC.

Our best new backcourt addition could be 6’5” Freshman Femi Odukale who shoots 52% from the field and 39% from 3. At least in high school…

I don’t see any of the others being of help in the brutal ACC.

Lets look at the Wings – Positions 3 & 4: It seems like every Pitt team for years has had a plethora of players 6’5 – 6’8 . Justin Champagne is back after a terrific season last year. He was perhaps the MVP of the 2019 team as a freshman.

He is an athletic quick and accurate shooter, but this year he will not be a surprise to any of our opponents. Think of the phrase “doubling down” because if we cannot shoot from outside again, I assure you Champagne will have a lot of defensive company on the wing and low post.

A player who stunned me with his improvement last year was Au’Diese Toney. His shooting form was horrible but somehow the ball went in more often than not. His drives to the basket were epic and flashy. Gerald Drumgoole will be back too…nuff said!

Two impactful frosh, William Jeffries (top 100 recruit and all-time leading scorer for Erie McDowell) and Collier join Pitt as freshmen.  But…Jeffries is only 17 and this is the big leagues. Collier is 6’8” and lead a HS team to Friends School Title last year. Again, this is the big leagues.

Finally, a look at the 5: Honestly, I think Pitt is in big trouble at center. You know what I think of Terrell Brown.good defensive player but massive underachiever on offense. How many of us screamed for Capel to recruit a good big man!!  Coulibay returns to help but meh!

John Hugley may be the answer. He’s another frosh, but at 6’9” 240lbs he could be the starter at center.  Again, he’s a frosh and this is the ACC!  Last but not least is 6’10” Max Amadasun from Dublin Ireland. Again, he was a HS star but this is the ACC.

My viewpoint overall is that this Pitt team has more depth and *should* have better outside shooting. Capel should also be able to install the Flex Offense and keep with it (hopefully). Duke runs it but they have 4’s and 5’stars at each position. The bottom line is that our 2020-21 season depends greatly on our Frosh growing up quickly and Nick Sibande being allowed to play. Nike is a fundamentally sound, and yet flashy point guard that could elevate this team to play with the ACC’s best. Without Nike, i.e. with Xman at point guard, Pitt may not win an ACC Game.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL MY FELLOW POVers. What character it takes to be a Pitt Fan – Dan72.

45 thoughts on “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight

  1. Thanks Dan and Mike. Great post. Unfortunately, regarding Pitt basketball I’m too sad and shocked to make a comment. In any case, Happy Thanksgiving to all POVers.

    Like

  2. Good article and funny pic. This from the Trib:

    “Pitt players confessed they didn’t know much about their opponent in the season opener, other than that St. Francis (Pa.) was a member of the Northeast Conference. That almost always assured the Panthers of a victory, as they had only lost once in 44 previous games against NEC teams.”

    How could they not have known anything about an opponent? Pitt had been 15-0 in season openers at the Pete, winning by an average margin of 21.3 points.

    “They smacked us right in the mouth,” Capel said, “and we panicked in that moment.”

    While St. Francis made 17 of 34 shots from the field in the first half, shooting 43% from 3 (6 of 14), the Panthers were content to shoot from the perimeter against the Red Flash zone defense. Pitt shot 35% from the field (13 of 37), making only 4 of 18 from beyond the arc.

    Just shoot me….

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  3. Narduzzi inherited a mediocre football and is still that, mediocre. Pitt has to be the worse Div. 1 Power 5 football team at recruiting and developing quarterbacks over the last 20 years. Until they can improve on that or at least scrap this pro-style offense, we will remain mediocre. I do see good improvements in the defense though, especially along the defensive line. Reminds me of the Wanny Days…. no decent O-linemen.

    Capel inherited the worse Div. basketball team in America. They remain the same or close to it, but he is recruiting some good players. I still think he’s 1-2 years away in developing his players, but needs a PG bad. I still can’t understand how none of them can shoot and how Brown hasn’t developed one move to the basket other than the dunk when no defender is in the area. What exactly do these guys work on in practice….and do they stay after to work on their offense?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That is certainly a good title for this article. A Football article could be, the Gang that couldn’t Catch, Block or Line Up Properly. But that’s another story for another time.

    Last year this team was just horrendous shooting. (as we all labored thru)
    FG % > 329th Rank
    3 Pt FG % > 335th Rank (it was 246th the year before as Capel inherited Wilson-Frame who shot 40% from 3 Land)
    FT % > 159th Rank

    Assists > 248th Rank
    Defensive Rebounding > 345th Rank (defensive rebounding is partially, the will to want the ball
    more than the other team, out hustling, etc. Pitt displayed none of these tendencies, poor coaching)

    Amazing they won 16 games with Team Stats like those. The 9 Rent-A-Wins played a large part in
    the 16. With wins over the worst teams in the B1G (Northwestern) and the Big 12 (Kansas State).

    Last nite’s game against a scrub team mirrored the shooting of 2019. And they gave up 15 Offensive
    Rebounds to smaller 2-3 star players of Saint Francis.

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    1. You mean to a bunch of no star players. Pitts no star coach got beat by a bunch of no stars.

      I have to seriously question whether Capel has meatballs for brains.

      Does heather practice brain surgery?

      Haven’t seen or heard from her in 5 months.

      Must be creating a Frankenstein monster in the Cathedral basement to be hoisted to Cathy’s top to be struck by lightening and become alive.

      The monster will then terrorize the fanbase with mediocrity, SOP and Fanta handouts.

      Tex who has the pitchforks.

      Like

  5. A dark winter ahead for pitt basketball. The cure is a PG and some euro big men who can shoot the 3. Until then, expect the loss count to climb.

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  6. What about the 22 turnovers, Coach Capel? Two other things really fried me: Brown’s man going right around him for a rebound and score; he still can’t block his man out, and 4 Pitt players standing under their basket with one SF guy, and he gets the rebound. I can tolerate mistakes but not a complete lack of effort.

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  7. Dan72 – well written and well informed article. Thanks – that helps me understand how bad this team will be. Last night was one game, but looked lyke the past two seasons. So we probably won’t be a very competitive team unless a few of the freshman find their legs and shooting range.

    The only difference from the past two years is that Heather and her yellow blouse was in the public eye. I hope she is healthy and safe.

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  8. Dan, I’m a little discouraged about Pitt basketball after that debacle yesterday. What I saw was mostly terrible play, poor shooting, not taking care of the basketball, and a lack of effort, especially in the first half, as though this Pitt team was not ready to play. Capel went deep into the bench looking for a spark, but I really think this was a failure of the starting group to play up to expectations.

    If we go beyond the obvious disaster yesterday, what do you think about the overall skill level of the players and especially the improvement of the returning players? Is Capel recruiting well enough to turn this program around? Also, was this more a failure of the coaching staff to get this team ready to play?

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  9. Voice….had some time to think this over. To be honest, I just don’t think the talent is there. What frosh talent is there is overcome by lack of any improvement by X and Brown. Thank God for Toney. I am still stunned by last nights awful performance. 14 airballs, brick after brick. I’ve never said this but unless they get Sibalde at PG, this is unfixable. I don’t see a single ACC win. This is really bad assortment of players. Sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Lamar Jackson just tested positive for Covid…..no way that game is being played. Ratbirds should have to forfeit. That must have been one hell of a party! As undisciplined off the field as they are on! At least we have Clemson to look forward to.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Not sure this can be fixed this year. Watched The Zqgs and Kansas earlier today and there is no comparison. Watched Ky highlights. The difference is that these teams recruit athletes that can shoot where Pitt recruits athletes that cannot shoot. I remember being at a clinic in 67 where Pistol Pete was the speaker and he said the easiest part of the game was shooting. I know we had better shooters on our FIJI team back in the day.

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  12. I thought that might be your assessment, Dan. Many of Capel’s players have 4 star, top 150 rankings. But I don’t see much basketball savvy. This team never feels like the whole is better than the parts. X man is not getting better, but they don’t have a point guard to fall back on. That 14 air ball stat is unbelievable. Something’s not right that they haven’t heard about Sibalde’s appeal yet. I would bench Brown at this point and develop their younger players for the 5 spot.

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  13. I think Capel’s comment is the best answer combined with the reality that other than Champagne and Toney you don’t have any experienced players with well-rounded skills. You are then left with a point guard who can drive well but can’t with a zone defense unless there is a fast break. Since they have trouble with defensive rebounding those seem to be rare. The fact that this team will depend on freshmen to take a significant step up reinforces the fact that they will be unprepared for the level of team play needed for a while.

    I think there is talent but they were in shock from the amazing shooting and intensity they experienced. X is not a food leader. He doesn’t penetrate on zones, so his major skill set is unused. Brown is gun shy and will never be what they need. Their freshman are talented but need seasoning which will be traumatic when ACC begins.

    We have a difficult season to face.

    One thing I am finding difficult to se here is he off-handed comments about Heather. She has transformed the athletic department across the board. We are nationally ranked in wrestling, soccer (M&W), have credible teams in baseball, lacrosse (from scratch), women’s basketball and its recruiting is greatly elevated and I think that Capel will shape a winning team as the talent ripens and increases.

    I do understand the historical frustration with Pitt football. I have experienced it also since 1965. But Heather inherited Duzz. He has many things going for him. Particularly the character of his teams and maybe their playing over their head given the number of cumulative stars they carry into college. This does reflect recruiting but I think that is improving. Game sense and his choice of offensive coordinators is suspect but the fact that he has held on is not surprising and isn’t Heather’s fault. He’s been just good enough.

    But she has been extraordinary for PItt sports across the board.

    Mark

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Heather extended Duzz

      She gets little credit for volleyball or men’s soccer. They were hired by Barnes.

      Wrestling has always been solid at Pitt. Some of the best recruits live in SW PA.

      Capel is her hire. He’s not looking good right now

      And she had to cut tennis to make room for a money losing sport like lacrosse.

      And where has heather been. No comments since July? That’s unreal.

      And there’s been no feasibility study yet. Donations are at the bottom of the ACC. Pitt finished dead last in the Cup last year after three years at the helm at Pitt. Pitt continues to run a heavy subsidy to keep sports afloat. And Pitt has two programs on probation. So much for coaches respecting her and her compliance expertise.

      And she gave out Fantas and had sleeping fans at Heinz. All of which were picked up by national media and many memes resulted.

      Tex whose not related

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  14. Funny, but this is the same offense my daughters AAU team ran years ago. Always made elite 8 at nationals but never further, lack of a big. 7 kids on that team started at point guard in college, yup 7. Could really shoot, play d, and quick as all get out. Things this team simply can’t do.
    I will disagree on Champine, he is smooth, but definitely not quick. Plays no, and I mean no d. Points come on cherry picks or at garbage time. Was hugely disappointed with his effort. But like I said, this team has so very many problems picking on one isn’t fair. Loooooonnnnnnnggggg season.

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  15. Excellent article, Dan. I don’t know crap about basketball, but just about anyone can recognize a well-coached and purposeful team. We look like a pick-up game team at Trees.

    I think Capel should bite the bullet and play the freshmen a lot. Jeffress, Collier, Hugely and Femi should see a lot of time. They can be the foundation in a year or two — seems like the only hope for this team.

    BTW, that is the approach the women’s team took last season – winning few games but playing 4 freshmen and a transfer for the main minutes. Then they added a transfer PG this season who had 18 points in the opener. The women’s team is still very young with 10 of the players sophomores and freshmen. I expect the women’s team to make some progress this season and then be pretty good next season when the team will be juniors and sophomores…

    Go Pitt.

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  16. Played for 2 Coaching legends. Chuck DeVenzio and Harry Litwack(inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Game, and was known was the Adolf Rupp of Philadelphia.

    This team is really poorly coached. That’s all I got.

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  17. The X man is not a point guard period. Now if you want to call him one because he plays the position at Pitt do so.—-A team trotting out no point guard combined with poor coaching is a lethal combination. Unfortunately we will witness that for the remained of this season. I take that back, I won’t be waisting my time watching this debacle unfold.

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  18. I’m in favor of starting the freshman with A.Toney as the lone upperclassman starting & anoint him as captain of the starters.

    Make Jeffress the PG and run the floor pushing hard to the rim for all baskets.

    X-man, Champ, Horton, Brown and Drummer come off the bench to give the starters a breather OR if the team is down a significant margin, these four become the “Pressmen” and force turnovers with fresh legs.

    It appears Pitt fumbled the compliance paperwork for the transfer in of much needed Nike Sibande.

    A long season awaits – who’s ready for some more Pitt FB. I may need to invest in a golf simulator.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Thanks Dan for explaining the X and O’s. It appears the worst things that have happened are the inability to get Sibande eligible, which is SOP, doesn’t hardly happen anywhere else, and Femi’s accident, these things do happen but unfortunate to be a potential scorer who is badly needed.

    While it is only one game, we pretty much witnessed all of the same problems, only worse from last year. The lack of defensive intensity, the easiest thing to correct, boggles the mind. Guys either can shoot or they can’t. Good shooters can get hot, poor shooters rarely if ever do. Air balls anyone?

    The other inexplicable occurrence is the number or turnovers a combination of terrible passing skills and poor ball handling.

    While all of these problems can and should be addressed by coaching, much of the responsibility is on the individual talents of the players.

    The coaches are definitely responsible for not recruiting a serviceable point guard, which seems to be the greatest need.

    Very glad I didn’t buy tickets this year. I sat through the Stallings years and would have been there this year, if not for a pandemic.

    Like

  20. Hmmm…….in 2016 Pitt played Clemson in Death Valley. Game was shown live on ABC. Game time was 3:30 PM. National Game of the Week. Clemson ranked. Pitt not.
    It’s 2020 now. All other facts are the same….well, so far at least….
    Just sayin……..

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  21. OT – Pitt FB is currently ranked a solid 8th in the ACC power rankings this past week. If the games play out as Vegas predicts, Pitt will slip to the ninth spot and probably stay there the remainder of 2020.

    Not a good look for a team and coach who had championship aspirations.

    Third or forth should be disappointing results for this team – what does ninth place say?

    Enjoy your Thanksgiving leftovers…

    Like

    1. Pitt was predicted in the preseason at 7th or 8th in the ACC, and is about where it should be, but it has two one-point losses going against them when for most other schools that is a split. Win one of those and Pitt stands at 6 or 7 in the conference. Pitt doesn’t get those breaks so it will fight to finish at 6-5 at season’s end.

      The new coach on the hot seat at Pitt is Capel. The Drexel game amazingly will have a ton of Pitt fans’ eyes on it.

      Like

  22. For the 4th straight year, Pitt is starting the year as a rebuild. In this time, the only upperclassmen leaving were middling players who came to Pitt as JUCOs or transfers . This was brought on by (1) a necessary coaching change and (2) Capel;s failure before his 2nd season to bring in any talent (except Champagne)

    IMO, at least there is an excuse this time …… again, the upperclassmen consists only of a senior who will rarely play. and 2 juniors who are inconsistent, although Toney plays D pretty steadily. But this time the core of the team is FR and Soph with both depth and promise. Sophs Champagne (who is still inconsistent and was last year) and Coulibaly who at least plays hard all the time. I thought both Hugley and especially Jeffress both showed promise while the jury is out on Collier and Okudale.

    Since the team did not scout or gameplan for St Francis, it appears to me that Capel is playing these early games primarily to get a focus on his team … getting everyone some PT and a feel.

    There were so many things to hate. The 2 things that disappointed me the most was (1) Horton and (2) the lack of defense, which IMO is my biggest issue with Capel (maybe this is from watching Dixon’s teams all this year). The fact remains … that teams are going to have poor shooting nights but defense can be a constant since it is based on effort. Also, a good defense can set up better opportunities for a poor shooting offense.

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    1. Wonder if it was nerves with Horton? He has been out of real action a long time. But I also wondered about his physical conditioning. Would like to see him looking a bit lighter (and quicker) at his position…

      Go Pitt.

      Like

  23. Dan – Thanks for the article. Enjoyed it and learned something. Like MajorMajors, I don’t know crap about basketball. I do recognize a bad game & that was what Pitt played.

    Like

  24. Not game planning for SF may have been an issue, but do they need to game plan to put some effort on D, and to not throw the ball away? When I think of game planning, I think of offensive and defensive strategies being developed based on the opponent. That was not the problem here. Will Brown ever learn to block out or add some physicality to his game? NO. He should be benched.

    Champagnie is starting to disappoint me, because he does not provide a consistent effort each game. It looks like if he is knocked around early it is good bye Champ for the entire game. When I saw X Man’s game I was totally disgusted. He has not improved or eliminated any of his flaws from last year, and should be benched if they had another PG.

    Overall, I saw a team that has not progressed from last year, and must rely on inexperienced Freshmen players to get by. Toney is the only returning player who is showing up. I watched that Villanova- ASU game last night and somehow other teams do find capable PGs to run their offense. What a strange concept!

    Like

  25. A team should never have a bad shooting night on their home floor shooting at rims that they have practiced on for every day over the last month. They just cannot shoot well.

    Like

  26. So I hear today that Pitt filed the wrong transfer form to get Sibalde from Miami Ohio. Someone should be fired for that! Typical Pitt incompetence!

    I’d start all the frosh but remember the best thing about a freshman is that they’ll be Sophomores next year!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. What an interesting lot we sports fans are. My memory is not great but it’s good enough to remember the praise for Trey McGowens, especially after a couple 30 point ACC games. Couldn’t wait for him to leave though.

    Justin Champagnie was praised like he was the next coming of David Thompson. Could shoot, drive, float to the basket seemingly from the 3 pt line. It was killing us when he was out with an injury. Now, meh.

    X is only sixth all time in Pitt history in assists per game. Worthless piece of crap!

    Ryan Murphy, Jared Wilson-Frame, even Terrell Brown. All get their moment in the sun. But if you can’t do it every game, get out of here!

    It was a bad game. Players, coaches, fans all agree. Might be a bad season. We’ll see.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. I’ve been reading this forum for a while and posting as everyone has. A common thread occurred to me in nearly all of the posts that we’re not thinking very much of major sports, i.e. FB and MBB. We all have solutions fire the coach, fire AC, fire the AD or just fire everyone. Starting all over is popular. I was thinking that maybe we’re the only problem PITT has. We’re expecting too much! We’ve never accepted that the best we can do is where we’re at, mediocre at best. We actually expect us to be good! Are we expecting too much and should we be fired instead of others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We pay salaries (Frauduzzi and Video Making Capel) that show we have high expectations. Sadly both are failing and Heather if she still works at Pitt needs to step up.

      And whoever earlier said Heather has done good and Baseball is doing well hasn’t watched Baseball.

      Like

  29. Pittfan1, you may have some valid points, but even a mediocre team should be able to dispatch of the Red Flash with relative ease. Angst in this moment is most assuredly deserved.

    Like

    1. Sure it is Mark (pt) all criticism is well deserved for that stunning loss. Only it should be reserved to the basketball program all the while realizing it’s only the first game of the season and only one game. Excuse me while I go sit in the corner and wring my hands in angst. Or I just might go on about my day and wait for the next game and see what happens.

      This thread reminds me of when the PITT football team goes 3 and out first series of a game and the world is coming to an end. Oh dearest me I don’t see another win on the schedule and PITT will go O for the ACC schedule. Let’s fire the AD with the yellow blouse? Horrible horrible game for sure so go crazy guys, you deserve it.

      Like

      1. I can agree that the criticism should be directed to the team and coaching staff Brother ike. Not game planning for this game was a horrible decision. Perhaps the coach said you can win this game with your eyes closed, and so the team decided to test that statement.

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  30. Well we won’t have to wait long to see if the SF game is the norm or an aberration. As the Drexel Dragons roll into The Pete, tomorrow at 1 pm. So this will be like a Pitt Doubleheader tomorrow. BBall at 1 pm and
    football at 3:30.

    Pitt will have the benefit ( guess you could call it that) of having played a game, while it will be Drexel’s first game, as their first 2 scheduled games were cancelled. Including one against Pedo State which might be
    rescheduled.

    Drexel hasn’t had a winning season since the 2013-14 campaign. Although they are returning 6 of their top 8 scorers. Including their Top 2 leading scorers from last year’s bunch which was 14-19.

    So like Pitt, are returning starters on losing teams….a good thing or a bad thing. We shall see.

    You would have to think, we’ll see a better, more inspired effort from Pitt.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Drexel and Pitt have one similarity. Both teams tanked in the 2nd half of last year.

    Pitt was 3 wins and 12 losses….in last 15 games.
    Drexel was 2 wins and 11 losses….. in last 13 games.

    Drexel is coached by some guy named Zach Spiker (sounds like he should be a volleyball coach).
    And Coach Spiker has got to be on the Hot Seat at Drexel. He’s never had a winning season, in
    this his 5th season. He was HC at Army before that and he did plenty of losing there too.

    So that’s an additional similarity between Pitt & Drexel. Neither HC has had a winning season
    at their current gig.

    Like

  32. Great write up regarding the nuances between Flex and 1-4 Dan. I am a 1-4 die hard, and believe you can utilize that offense in any way if your players can read and react to the defense. If you have high IQ players that can cut and pass, you can dissect a defense. Recruit 3 smart and quick guards and you will be competitive most nights. Princeton ran that offense to perfection almost defeating #1 seed in NCAA tournament in 1989.

    I am generally on board with Capel’s tenure so far. Unlike football where every game matters, an early season loss like this could actually benefit the group. I sound like Ike on that front!!! Clearly, this team overlooked the Red Flash and they are likely going to be up and down all season. While Dan’s piece was spot on, my big problem is the AAU-type player struggles to run any kind of structured offense because they play iso-ball most of the time. Very low IQ basketball and most of the elite players never learn to play without the basketball. Dixon’s team were always well coached and executed the offense at a high level. The problem with his teams is that they never had a high ceiling because the guard talent was less than elite. X Johnson may be an elite talent, but he’s not my type of point guard to steward any kind of structured offense.

    Like

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