Pitt Beats Duke: Through Dan72’s Eyes

Pitt Basketball – Where are we now?

Any summary of Pitt Basketball progress has to include last night’s Pitt – Duke game.

(Please note that Saturday’s game vs Boston College has changed to a game with Wake Forest).

It is with unbridled joy that I comment on last night’s game. Pitt led virtually all the way leading to a final of 79-73 Pitt. Pitt had great energy from the outset opening an 8-0 lead and repelling every run Duke made. To me, the dominance inside was very Jamie Dixon like, except this team has Champ and can shoot.  Pitt seemed to dominate the glass, yet when I look at the box score we were outrebounded 43-42.

Coach K threw at least 8 different defenses at Pitt in an effort to slow down this very athletic team.  After opening in a full court press, Duke went into a kind of Syracuse Zone. 3-2 zone morphed into 2-3 and then went into a matchup zone every other time Pitt came down the court.

Pitt shot 46.2 % overall vs Dukes 38.6 %. /Pitt was 35% from 3 point land while Duke was 28.6 %. Pitt was 24/37 from the free throw line or 64.9% and Duke was worse (hard to believe from Duke!) 11/19 or 57.9%.

Pitt played tenacious man to man defense the entire game with a look of zone twice.  This is one of the best efforts from Pitt in years and Champagnie has an opportunity to be a very special player. My only negative comments are about the Duke homer announcers (note -I shut off the sound second half) who never let a mute second go by without praising Duke and outwardly hoping for a comeback.  Pitt does need to work on their in-bound defense as Duke got within 2 on an easy pass under the basket which should never happen.  

My only peeve is with the officials. The charging call on Champ late in the game was a complete farce.  It was an ACC dive! A replay showed he never touched him but the ACC used to be known for great “actors” feigning “near death” to get a charging call. Other than that the refs did not ACC Pitt and called a pretty even game.

As you know, the season started with a loss to St Francis. Pitt would beat them today by 40. I had not realized how little time Coach Capel had to put the team together and St Francis played disciplined basketball and shot lights out. Pitt utterly panicked as most young teams do.  Best learning occurs after losses. This Pitt team is just now finding itself.

Since then, Pitt has improved every game. Their athleticism is off the board.  They don’t back down from anyone.  While XMan will drive you nuts at times, out of control, his drives late in the game are daggers in an opponent’s heart.  There are not enough words to describe Champs play! He is an assassin from 3 land, mid -range and inside and has incredible basketball intelligence.  His defense and rebounding are beyond description.

Toney has horrible shooting form but many of his shots go in anyhow. No one is more tenacious on the boards. Horton, while not always the best shooter can get hot from 3 land and is the best 2 guard that Pitt’s had in years. He does the little things off the ball.  Odukale  is the worst FT shooter on the team but gives intelligent minutes as a sub.

The post position players loss of Hugley hurts but Xman, Toney and Champ handle 70% of the scoring so all Brown and Coulibaly have to do is play defense, get rebounds and not screw up. Looking forward to seeing more Sibanda as he has the best shooting form I’ve seen at Pitt in years.

Pitt’s remaining schedule is all ACC but who we play and when is up to Covid. I don’t think there’s a team in the ACC that Pitt can’t hang with and beat save for UVA. Florida State is tough but Pitt seems to have their number in Pittsburgh.

I see Pitt maybe losing two more games and making it to the NCAA’s as a #6 seed. We have every chance to win the ACC outright and make some serious noise in the tourney.

Kudos to Coach Capel and staff  for their terrific recruiting and pulling this team together. So much fun to watch! H2P . I hope you all are as excited as I am to watch this team progress! The sky is the limit if Pitt stays healthy.

Dan 72

130 thoughts on “Pitt Beats Duke: Through Dan72’s Eyes

  1. Excellent, Dan. One of your points that jumped out at me was that “this team…can shoot.” We have shot so poorly for so long – I thought good shooting would be the very last piece of the puzzle that Coach Capel would put in place.

    Another thing that I’ve noticed – and this isn’t uncommon – but whenever this team builds a lead, then they let themselves get a bit hot-doggy and start making rushed, high-risk plays, which turn into turnovers…

    Still, nice to see the progress.

    Go Pitt.


  2. Dan, your unbridled optimism frightens me! 🤣

    Seriously, thanks for the nice summary of the season.

    I think a 6 seed might be kinda high, given that the ACC in general is not that strong. That will impact SOS, and thus their RPI or whatever the NCAA will use for seeding. Getting back to the tourney at any seed would be a great milestone in the climb back to relevance.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. quite a difference to “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight” .. back then after the opening loss to St Francis, I facetiously pointed out that in 2008, Pitt FB lost to Bowling Green … and then went on to finish the season 9-2. Little did I know that it appears to be what’s happening to this team

    I do agree that the ACC is down and a 6 seed may be ambitious, but should Pitt finish 3rd in the ACC, it’s certainly a possibility. This team has played poorly in February the last 2 years (more if you count the Stalling years) but I will be surprised to see that happen to this team. They are bound to lose a few more but should win even more


  4. wow Dan, overly positive and optimistic and while I do think the trajectory of this team is UP yet I see them as less far along than what YOU do and while I don’t doubt your basketball IQ, I think the “Iek” part of the Pitt fan in you is showing

    kinda surprised you and Reed get along so well considering, but I guess Reed’s novice level exposure to most things related to Pitt basketball has allowed it

    imo we do not have great ball movement or set plays creating opportunities but we do have kids that play relaxed and aren’t going to pucker like their former great coach probably precipitated (let’s just skip over Stallings)
    what we DO have is a team with kids who are allowed individually to create and enough talent and athleticism to make that happen
    most importantly we have a young team that plays consistently high effort defense

    while a 6 seed is not impossible, things need to stay together and Xavier will be the key guy to make or break that eventuality

    loved the prior thread Capel post game with Justin’s confidence beaming through and no doubt Capel fosters that in these young kids, and THEY ARE A YOUNG TEAM!!!

    frankly, liked the Coach K interview too, they are young too, but not much younger than Pitt

    thanks for last night men, let’s have several more over the next month and into the tournament/s


    1. Couldn’t disagree more tvax1!

      Running the flex offense makes it seem like few picks are set because it’s all about sharp diagonal cuts. The 1-4 that most teams run (ala Dixon) is based on pick after pick.

      Pitt ran 11 set plays vs Syracuse and about 4 last night. I’ve been diagraming some for personal use.

      And yes, we have a long (strange) way to go. I see things on this Pitt team I’ve never before seen at Pitt !

      Ps. Reed and I are polar opposite in all things but we agree to disagree on

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hated his 1-4 with the center always leaving his spot near the basket to run out to the point to set a 1/2 second pick, then run back where he belongs. It did set up some pick & rolls though….


  5. The athleticism of this team and its ability to score in a variety of ways is refreshing and allows them to go on some impressive runs. These are traits most recent Pitt teams have been lacking and will prove helpful in the tournament. Just hope they don’t draw a team with lots of bigs in the first round. I’ll be interested to see how Pitt fares against FSU since they always have a gang of 7-footers. Should be a good test.


    1. Rebounding has only a little to do with height. It’s all about positioning and “want to”

      Pitt’s “want to” is off the charts.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Dan, very well articulated and I enjoyed the banter throughout the game last night with the pov crew. I re-read the entire thing and snorted out loud a few times.

    I do worry about our free throw shooting. I do worry that they don’t have a big gamer presence. I do worry about court and game situation intelligence. I do worry about their communication. I do worry that Coulibaly does not play strong with his hands.

    I don’t worry that they won’t show up. I don’t worry that they are going to “stallings” a game. I don’t worry that they aren’t all great athletes. There’s more, but i gotta post and run. The sugardale rep just pulled in…..


  7. Thanks Dan. I see Pitt maybe losing 4 more games if they re-schedule the at Duke game that got canceled. Either way we make the NCAA and the Sweet 16. This year only the Zags are great. Very much looking forward to Selection Sunday.

    Also, Pitt wins Saturday, which they should, and we will be ranked. And now for the expert clown time award:

    Projected to finish 13th in the ACC by CBS Sports. One guy picked us 12th.

    “Fourteen wins in Jeff Capel’s first season, then 16 last season. With a 27-game max for the regular season in 2020-21, Pitt’s aim should be to finish above .500, but it won’t come easy. This was the third-worst rebounding team in college basketball last season and the Panthers lost one senior. Overcoming that habit will be paramount to Pitt avoiding landing where we’ve placed them here. Trey McGowens left, which isn’t ideal, but Justin Champagnie and Xavier Johnson are back. The latter could be one of the 10 best players in the league.”


    Does this make Capel a lock for ACC coach of the year?


      1. There is a precedent here to consider. While Miami is in the South, it’s more of a Northern School,
        than a Tobacco Road one.

        Jim Larrañaga has won ACC Coach of the Year….twice.

        Plus I think Capel being a Coach K disciple…….couldn’t hurt !


      2. Then Pittsburgh needs to annex west ‘by god’ virginia. Both are part of Appalachia. Pittsburgh is the Paris.

        Tex a member of the Texas militia plotting to invade the Indian territory up north.


    1. “…. the last player to post a 30-point, 10-board, five-block game against Duke was Virginia center Ralph Sampson in 1983.”

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Seems to me a significant difference with this year’s team, and I don’t want to jinx them, is that the scoring droughts have been shorter and fewer.

    I thought the stats would be even greater, maybe because we didn’t have some cupcakes this season, but here are the average points per game…

    Year — Pitt PPG—Opponent PPG
    2018 —- 70———-69
    2019 —- 65 ———65
    2020 —- 74 ———66 (so far)

    Go Pitt.


  9. Great article, Dan! This team IS fun to watch! I’m not defending the announcers, but the networks believe that most viewers tuned in to see Duke, not Pitt. So they served up the slop for the pigs (sorry Arnold).

    On the football side, it looks like some TN Vols are running for the exits. I see where more players are entering the transfer portal. Maybe Narduzzi picks up an unexpected player or two.


    1. Duke fans far out number pitt fans. I always turn the sound off and listen to the radio. The delay doesn’t bother me.


    1. That’s quite alright Commander, I took an evening nap and would have missed it !

      Cool that you enjoyed a bball game. Nice to have you back Sir !


  10. Levance Approves of this Article, Mister Dan

    Levance Drills the Dagger
    January 19, 2021 at 6:38 pm

    First time since 2016….the Dookies aren’t in the Top 25. And that means we’re almost certain to beat them !


  11. For all the optimism on Pitt BB I can see a real possibility that come Saturday Wake Forest may well come out the winner of that game. The Wake team will definite be up for the game and the Pitt team may be a bit too “cocky confident” entering the game. That combination is always a recipe for disaster. I’ll be very happy if I’m wrong on this prediction.


  12. I listened to XM84 College Sports radio on my ride home from work last evening. Mark Packer and Dan Daucich were discussing ACC men’s BB.

    They both referred to Duke as a “bad” ACC team – they did acknowledge that the return performance of Johnson vs Pitt and coach K’s stellar past performance lend itself to a Duke rise from the middle of the ACC pack soon.

    They did not say much about Pitt while I was listening other than they are in the top third of a mediocre ACC this year. They believe VA or FL State will win the ACC.

    There was mention by Daucich that Mike Bret of ND may be on the hot seat with several down years and no rise in sight.

    Pitt just needs to stay focused on the next team on their schedule and prepare to beat that team. No need to get ahead of themselves – they need to never forget St. Francis.

    Next up W_F at 6pm this Saturday.

    Go Pitt!


    1. The B1G is just as mediocre but vastly overrated if you look at records…but most sports writers went to B1G teams.


    1. Dan, thanks for the uplifting analysis. This Pitt team learned a lot about themselves with that great win at Syracuse when they were very short handed. I watched the game from start to finish (almost). Had to turn away when Pitt’s margin dwindled just because that’s what I do to preserve my sanity. But what a great game. Before the game, Coach K was 35 – 5 against former assistants. Now 35 – 6 afterwards.

      I saw Pitt move the ball around the court with controlled authority. And this team has speed. Quickness. It was awesome to watch.

      The 1st half hour is Packer and Durham yesterday was devoted to the game. So good coverage there.

      Can’t wait until the next game. What a remarkable turnaround from St. Fran.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Thanks for the great article Dan.

    This team is much improved but I worry about a late season collapse. Cautiously optimistic.


    1. The short bench increases the concern for problems in February. The team’s record under Coach Capel in Feb. has been awful…


  14. Marshal hired an Alabama assistant to replace Doc. Asked what type of offense he would run, he replied..
    RPO with pro style passing mixed in, it drives defenses crazy.
    Also, you must have two QBs ready to go

    Take note Narduzzi, Whipple must go.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Football Scoop news. Remember this guy…

    The Badgers announced today that head strength coach Ross Kolodziej will transition to an on-field coaching role on Paul Chryst’s staff overseeing the development of the defensive line.

    Kolodziej has served as Chryst’s head strength coach for the last seven years – six years in Madison and one season at Pitt.


  16. Pitt has a tough one on Saturday at Wake. The Deacs might be losing games but all are close. Last night they played Carolina tight on the road and seem to have had Pitt’s number in recent years.


  17. Good synopsis, Dan, thank you! I can’t believe that I am less optimistic than you. I see us now as a middle of the pack ACC team, which is still a huge leap up from where we were. I see our biggest weakness as a lack of depth of ACC-ready players. They may get there. But not yet. We only had three players come off the bench against Duke. And not a lot of minutes between them.

    When Collier came in with about four minutes to go in the first half against Syracuse, and got eaten alive, it was fairly clear he is not ready yet. Minor injuries or foul trouble could easily cost us a game or two.

    But we are competitive now. We are watching exciting basketball. We will win and lose our share of games that come down to the wire. Nothing wrong with that. In the past, middle of the pack in the ACC put you on the fringe of the NCAA Tournament. Maybe not this year though.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. as much readership as this site brings, I hope the Pitt players aren’t among them. They need to stay hungry and not sit on their laurels ;;;; not like the Steelers or Pitt FB.

    I saw an NC State media type talking about the accomplishments of the Wolfpack FB team, and he mentioned how they played 5 ranked teams and beat 2 of them. He didn’t mention that 2 of these ranked team were Va Tech and Pitt back in the first 3 weeks. Yes, the Pitt Fb team was ranked 24th back in early October. (This is why I always stress that rankings are meaningless until mid November)

    But anyway, I hope the team isn’t obsessed with the win over Duke like all of us are … and will focus on the task at hand on Saturday

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Good stuff Dan, great to hear such unbridled enthusiasm about a Pitt team. Maybe it is just my Pitt history, but I think the other shoe will drop. Champ’s performance has been nothing less than spectacular, but even the great ones have off nights. Other than 3 point and foul shots, he didn’t miss a shot. How rare is that?
    He carries the team. His knee is a major concern, the obvious limp is a problem. Good chance it deteriorates during the season. Hate to be negative but I have a lot of experience with knees.

    Syracuse and Duke are middle of the road ACC teams this year and there is not a lot of difference between the top and bottom so all games will be competitive. The loss of Hugely is a problem, he was our only power guy in the middle, lack of depth will hurt when the fouls go the other way. We will find out when we face the leagues big men. We had no answer for J Johnson and were very lucky he fouled out.

    Pitt has climbed out of the cellar for sure.

    The good news is that Pitt is competitive again, and is fun to watch. While I hope Dan is right, he is also more fun when he is positive, lots of games left to play. (hopefully)


  20. Question off subject: when is the end of recruiting for the current class now that the early commits have signed? Are we anticipating any more commits in this class? Thanks.


    1. Unless someone leaves the program, pitt has no more scholies to give. They can always do gray shirts or preferred walk-ons. But they still can’t carry more than 85 players. Not sure if these non scholie players count towards that 85. Don’t think they do but there is a hard ceiling unlike the old Pitt and Nebraska days. Someone knows this answer.


  21. Definitely love the enthusiasm. I’m also on the “other shoe” end of things, but am hopeful. To me, how far this team goes this season hinges a lot on Johnson. He still commits too many turnovers (and horrific ones at that) and his outside shooting is way too inconsistent. His jump shot is what it is, it’s not going to magically get better this season. But if he cuts down on the turnovers and creates more easy scoring opportunities for others, particularly Coulibaly and Brown, it would go a long, long way.

    I wish we could get just a few more hoops from Horton. If defenses had to respect him more, it would open up a lot of opportunities for others. And I thought that Jeffries (sp?) might have a little more of an impact, although I realize that he’s still quite young.


  22. Dan-

    Keep it going. This site is much better/stronger if we start incorporating hoops talk to supplement the dead season for football. Plus college sports fans love both sports a lot so this fills a void. And speaking as a Pitt fan, the Pete at its best (like in the good Dixon years) is as good as anything we as a school have to offer in terms of sports entertainment, so this development is worth following.

    I’m going to try this again, because I got wordpressed earlier…

    Regarding Capel, being a big time head coach with the salary that comes along with it, most Pitt fans (myself included) have been (very) cautiously optimistic about Capel and his potential here, with our caution meaning that he has a lot to prove, and our optimism due to his experience/pedigree plus reputation for recruiting. That said, this year’s team has his arrow pointing way up, and there are a few reasons why in my opinion: (1) Our defense is drastically and consistently improved this year, and that especially includes the huge leap forward in rebounding. In most games this year we have destroyed opponents on the boards, and even against Duke, who is normally a strong rebounding team, we were dead even with them on the boards despite not even having a true center, (2) the offensive chemistry this year is also drastically improved; granted we’ve benefitted from McGowens leaving obviously, but our passing and movement away from the ball, as well as decision making has just been light years ahead despite occasional sloppiness, and lastly (3) player development has also been impressive, as evidenced by the growth of Champ, Toney, and Coulibaly in particular.

    I’d love to know what are prospects are for bringing in a center…


    Liked by 3 people

  23. I prefer to look at the bright side on X. He is playing 100% better than the last two years. Much better passing therefore assists. Of course Champ and Toney help that assist total, having guys that can actually catch the ball and score makes a big difference. Turnovers are down and finishing at the hoop is up although attempts are down. The only thing that hasn’t changed is the team won’t win without him, but it is no longer about only him.

    The other improvement I have noticed is there are not nearly as many errant passes as the last two years, not just from X, but from everyone.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. I had to keep a roster of Pitt BB in front of me while I watched the game. But I’ll agree with the above – I thought the relief players were a step down from the starting five – which I suppose makes sense. But I’d think that after 20+ games the starters would beginning to wear down and those relievers would become all that much more important.


  25. Gordon, Good points about X. I almost included him in the group of player development standouts, but he is still too out-of-control for me to lump him into that group; that said, he played stellar at the end of the game against Duke when it counted, and he is a better decision maker this year as well, so I’d agree he has improved somewhat so far this year.

    The other obvious thing I forgot to mention, is that this team has improved considerably from the beginning of the year, with their best 2 games being the last two. Did anybody notice that Syracuse beat Miami by 26 points the night we beat Duke? So yes, we’re starting to bring it together…


  26. as far as the FB schollie limit goes, I’m pretty sure no decision has been made as yet of what the totals will be this year …. which is typical NCAA. They’re probably waiting to hear from Bama, OSU, ND Clemson and Oklahoma before they finally decide

    Liked by 1 person

  27. On the coaching, I’ve noticed that Pitt seems to be doing a lot more ball-faking this season. Particularly Horton and Femi. I like it as an added element to get defenders leaning the wrong way…

    Also, in our last two games – Syracuse and Duke – Femi has 11 assists and zero turnovers…

    Go Pitt.


    1. I think they push-pass fake too much – it gets to be the boy who cried wolf after a while. I do think we didn’t eye fake on passes much though – used every so often that opens up lanes pretty well.


    2. Good comment John and very accurate. The reason for ball faking is to make your defender move. No player on my teams was ever allowed to pass/dribble/shoot in the offensive zone without a ball fake. Also a player should not pass off the dribble in the O Zone as it negates a ball fake and is always telegraphed. I can tell you that Capel is a huge believer in all of the above.


  28. Folks – Right after I took the POV back I wrote a rather large article that was not just sports related but Reader & Pitt-centric. It will get lengthy comments from the readers (you’ll see what I mean later) so I’m putting that on the back-burner for a while until we have a long enough BB break to enjoy it.

    Since we play BB pretty quickly one game after one another how does this sound?

    If needed I’ll do up BB Game Day threads with a bit of text attached. We’ll watch the game and comment on how great it is we are winning all these games! Then Dan will chip in with his professional thoughts on the team/game the next morning. Then we’ll let his article stand until the next game day- if there is only three days in-between. The above is a fantastic post-game write up and I’m interested to hear what he thinks the progress of the team is going forward.

    I probably should ask Dan first but I’m rolling the dice…BTW he and I don’t really disagree on all things – just 99% of things. We both don’t like Narduzzi all that much and that counts, right?

    I see by the schedule that we have a full week between VT and Louisville games so I’ll post the big article then.

    Although, and help me out here, with the Covid effect on the season can we look at the dates on that schedule and feel like that will happen? Or will the ACC fill in postponed games when they can? Inquiring minds want to know…

    Also – if readers want to write up a pre-game Game Day thread preview of the opponent I’d greatly appreciate it. Doesn’t have to be long but anything someone who has followed Pitt BB is going to produce a better piece than I could.

    Again – my email is: rkohberger@gmail.com for submissions. Thanks in advance.


        1. it means if you publish it, we will read and respond to it. Sorry if it came off as threatening or negative; wasn’t intended as such


  29. I think that X’s big improvement is attributable to not having to press as much as when he, and occasionally McGowens, were the only scoring threats. However, Pitt seems to be a very streaky (excluding Champ) scoring team with Horton, Toney, Femi, and Nike as the obvious examples. They each have the ability to be effective scorers, but at the same time can disappear just as often.

    The loss of Hugely will give Coulibaly the chance to show whether he is an ACC big man that can be relied upon or not because we already know what Brown’s limitations are. This is where Pitt will struggle as the season progresses. Capel can’t develop a small line-up that can win, unless he can get consistent scoring from the group mentioned above.

    Lastly, this line-up is paper thin, however I think they can survive X-man missing a few games (thanks to Sibande and Femi) more so than Champ, and if Coulibaly gets hurt for a long stretch they will be in for some dark days.

    However, it was and always will be a great day when Pitt beats the “ACC elites” like Syracuse, NC, and Duke. Congrats to the boys on one of the finest performances I have ever witnessed by any Pitt team.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Roerrsen on the Fan …

    — 20 year anniversary of Page’s dunk at Georgetown (incidentally, same day as W’s inaugaration)

    — Champaignie’s high HC also coached Ronald Ramon. LeVance Field also from Brooklyn

    — best recruiters are ex-players. Best thin that could happen is that if Champaignie starts spreading around NYC how great it is playing for Capel

    — lastly, he channeled Ironhead (unknowingly). He said NYC players feel very comfortable in Oakland “with the concrete under their feet”

    Liked by 1 person

  31. BTW – regarding me and BB – because I was 6’6″ since I was 15 I played a ton of BB over HS years and afterward. Before getting kicked out of Pitt I played pick up ball every so often at Fitzgerald with Keith Starr and Larry Harris sometimes- actually scored some points against them and held my own (for about 30 minutes then the beer and too much laziness kicked it).

    Played against Maurice Lucas in club ball in my HS days for two years also – he kicked the living crap out of me. Of course he was 6’9″ and 230 and I weighted maybe 175. I stayed around the basket for about five seconds before he’d hip check me into oblivion.

    Played on the Pacific Region Coast Guard team for a season – right after boot camp when I was in decent shape and stationed in Hawai’i. Pretty serious players those huge island boys along with the other Service teams. They too kicked the crap out of me. So, I was a gym rat since age 13 and know old-school BB OK.

    Many, many more terms/play calls/phrases now though and its confusing but I’ll learn.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Luke Walton, former NBA player and current coach, is named after Maurice Lucas, who was Bill Walton’s teammate at Portland when they won the NBA title


    2. That’s good stuff, Reed, thanks for sharing. And thanks for coming back and keeping things going.

      This is belated, but thanks to Michaelangelo as well, really appreciated all he did even though I hadn’t commented for a period.


    3. Commander — we need to see some video! Oh crap, there isn’t any. ☹️

      Wouldn’t it be great if we all had video of the sports highlights of our youth (like I envy Julius Page and the video of his dunk over Boumjte Boumjte…).

      Go Pitt.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. this article said that Pitt was located in Pennsylvania’s ‘3rd’ largest downtown area …. what am I missing here?


      1. My point is that many of Pitts peers are located in cities. They don’t use that as an excuse why they can’t recruit. Concrete is concrete. I would think pitt is more ‘city’ than some of these bigger schools since Pitts campus is under 100 acres, only 3 miles from the city center and has a high population density surrounding campus. But concrete is not a bad thing. You can sell concrete just as easily as you can sell grass…in most states. 🤠


      2. If you consider Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood as a separate entity, it’s the state’s third largest downtown after Philly’s downtown and Pittsburgh’s actual downtown.


      1. You can thank Rap for that. Pittsburgh & Philly inner city ball is a shell of what it use to be as well. As it is in most all of the inner cities. Most of the players that do come out of these cities, are coming from
        Private Religious oriented schools, like Xaverian and Bishop Loughlin(where the Champagnie’s went) in Brooklyn. Most of the public schools are just a wasteland.

        Most of the kids want to live ‘The Lifestyle’ of gangsta’s. (gangsta rap) Getting good in bball requires
        some work and discipline.


    1. Lunardi has us just outside, on the bubble, before the Duke game. With the Duke win, and IF we beat Wake, we would essentially be in already. The big question to me is whether or not we are able to propel this success forward, and not wear out our starters…


    1. Is that confirmed? I thought they were just completing the interview process. I think the interview to Jackson was a favor and a fig leaf to give the appearance of a “comprehensive” search process.


  32. We’re seeing history repeat here and that’s a good thing in this regard.

    I remember and I’m sure so do some of you, when Pitt started to rise to the Top in the BigEast…the sportswriters
    would often say…..the BigEast was down, the BigEast was down, the BigEast was down,

    Now they had to stop saying that after Uconn & Syracuse.
    in 2003 & 2004 won back to back NC’s. But in 2001 & 2002, that’s all you heard….Well the BigEast was
    having a down year.

    Skip to 2021. The ACC is down, the ACC is down, The ACC is down.

    And Pitt is going back up ! And Pitt is going back up ! And Pitt is going back up !

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Great write up, Dan. My biggest concern is the February collapse Capel has had his first two seasons. Some nice play and a few upsets and then a steep drop off come February. I’ll be curious how this Pitt team responds heading into the drudges of winter.


    1. Well of course that could happen. But one thing to consider is; we haven’t played nearly as many games
      as we have normally played at this point of the year. And there has been considerable ‘down time’
      in-between games as well.

      So let’s hope they don’t.


  34. Heard a bit of Mike DeCourcy on the FAN. He was asked what he thought of the move back when Pitt hired Coach Capel. Mike said that he was a bit surprised that Pitt was able to hire Capel.

    He also said, which surprised me, that he didn’t expect that Capel would be able to turn things around at Pitt as fast as he has…

    Course we’re all hoping that Coach Capel really has turned things around.

    We keep hearing that we are in with this 4-star big and that 4-star big, but we seem to keep coming up short. We’d be looking pretty awesome right now had we lured Cockburn or one of those other high profile bigs who were considering us…

    Go Pitt.


    1. I believe it took a year or so for Capel to realize that he wasn’t recruiting for Duke anymore. I can’t see how Champagnie’s and the the team’s success could do anything but help recruiting in the near future.


    2. Well I don’t much listen to the national ‘talking heads’ much…as they all generally hate Pitt. Regardless of the sport.

      And I don’t understand his comment, because in bball…it’s only takes one or 2 recruiting classes (or investing $100 to $200 mil in the program) to turn around a program.

      And it wasn’t like Pitt was mired in basketball hell for a decade or two. It was only 2 years under
      Uncle Rockports.

      Screw them all !!!


    1. Absolutely, Reed. If this team stays healthy and stays out of foul trouble, they can play with anybody and beat most of them. But injuries and foul trouble are part of the game. And now we have Covid exposures and protocols to take a player or two out of commission for a week or two. I just don’t think we are deep enough to go unscathed.

      Speaking of foul trouble, we recognize how lucky we were that Jalen Johnson made that boneheaded foul on Champ when Champ came down with the defensive rebound cleanly with a little over two minutes remaining. Obviously Jalen realized it immediately after as well. That instance aside, I sometimes wonder whether it is better to attack a guy with four fouls to get him out of the game or just let him play with four. I’ve seen players with four fouls actually step aside, giving an opponent a clear path to the basket rather than foul out. In my view, if the opposing team has any depth at all, let the guy with four fouls continue to play with that handicap. But what do I know.


  35. Elaborating further on my point, Doctor Chipman started the Pitt pipeline into NYC in the early 1980’s, with a trio of NYC players, one of whom became Pitt’s 2nd All-time Scorer, that being Clyde Vaughn.
    The other one was a Mr. NYC in hoops, George Allen, who was barely 6’0″ tall but had incredible hops, once
    dunking over the formidable and considered one of the greatest all-time Centers in college basketball, Patrick Ewing. And the 3rd was Andre Williams.

    These 3 helped propel Pitt to wins over two Nationally Ranked BigEast teams in only Pitt’s 2nd year in the
    BigEast. Those being Georgetown and St. John’s. And Pitt finished 18-13 that year and in the middle
    of the pack in the BigEast. As it did the previous year. Vaughn, Allen & Williams were Pitt’s 3 leading scorers in those years.

    And Doc Roy, did it, recruiting to old rickety Fitzgerald Field House.

    Pitt’s campus (have you seen Forbes Ave lately) and basketball arena are a 1000 times nicer now.

    Liked by 3 people

  36. I received an email from Pitt Athletics yesterday highlighting the Duke win. It included links to game highlights, press conference, postgame wrap up and other info. But it also included a link to complete an Interest Form for those who are not in the season ticket file. I thought this was a great time for this type of marketing effort, especially since the game was on ESPN and more heavily viewed than the ACCN games. I really think that if we can hang on to Coach Capel, Pitt Basketball will become the hot ticket it once was. Remember the waiting list for season tickets at the Pete? Don’t get placed on that list. Order your tickets for next season as soon as they are available.

    Liked by 2 people

  37. Does anyone from the POV do tailgates for BB or pre and post game libations? If so, send me a round trip plane ticket, book a room for me at The William Penn and grab me two seats next to each out so I can stretch out my legs. I’ll buy the first two rounds.

    But seriously, in a normal year do you guys meet up for the games?


    1. I mentioned this two days ago under the “A Goodbye …” post, Reed. Fran, Scooter and I, and usually several others here, meet up at Hemingways before most Pitt basketball games. If we know you are coming, I’m sure we will arrange to meet you there. If it is a noon game, it may be after the game. But any evening game, it would be before. Any others reading this who would like to join us, please let us know in advance so we can try to secure enough tables and chairs to accommodate everyone.

      Liked by 1 person

  38. Listening to Coach Capel tonight on Zeise show…today’s practice was horrible. Sloppy and mindless and the walk-ons were taking it to the starters. Mackey in the PG pointed out Pitt’s bad history after a big game win. But that was under Dixon who’s teams could only score inside.

    This team has no resemblance to past Pitt teams. It has depth to the point you could take out Champ and Xman and beat most average teams.

    Coaching 101 says let the team rest a day after the big win then bring then back into focus by extra tough drills and adding a complex new play or defense. That’s exactly what Capel did.

    I have no worries about beating WAke Forest. I do worry about Pitt beating Pitt!

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Reed, I used to tailgate with Scooter pre game at the OC lot and post game after some big wins but the past few years Hemingway’s can’t be beat for food and drink.
    Farmers is always there and we have had Missing Wlat and Joel’s crew on occasion.


  40. Dan – thanks for the post-game article. Better than anything in the Pittsburgh rags.

    On my ride home from work today I listened to a radio show that was hosted by coach K. He spoke very highly of the Pitt BB team and had the highest praise for Champ. K said Champ has been impressive to the point he should be added to the Wooden Award list and most importantly Champ is probably the nations player of the year if the season ended today.

    Yes, he really said that!

    Of course, the season has a long ways to go – remembering how great a season Patterson was having under Dixon a few years back – teams started scheming their D to stop Lamar and the dive downward began. Hoping Champ, Toney and X-man continue to play well as a trio, which Lamar never had.


  41. I heard Coach Capel on the Fan this AM. He was amazing. Usually I come away from a coach interview wondering why I wasted my time. Not so with Capel. He answers the questions thoughtfully and is clearly comfortable with himself. I’m a fan.

    Liked by 2 people

  42. Seems weird, but the Pitt baseball team opens their season in a month. Where’s that domed baseball stadium when you need it? 😊

    Pitt will open with out-of-conference games Feb. 19-21 in Florida. The following weekend they open ACC play. Here’s the early conference schedule with the games being in warmer climates (against ranked teams).

    2/26 – 2/28 at #14 Florida State
    3/5 – 3/7 at #18 Duke
    3/12 – 3/14 at #15 Georgia Tech
    3/19 – 3/21 at #10 Virginia

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Dan – really enjoyed your post. Particularly enjoyed unbridled enthusiasm from an unimpeachable voice. Can’t remember the last time we’ve had that in either FB or BB.

    Liked by 2 people

  44. Just heard that the NCAA has placed ND on probation for recruiting violations. They will be penalized with restrictions on recruiting. Kelly and an assistant coach were mentioned as violators. ESPN is reporting this.


    1. in related news, it is reported with bombast and utter disdain by someone here that HCPN jaywalked and Heather returned a library book late


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