Pitt 65 – GA Tech 71 Recap

February 14, 2021

Before I comment (eviscerate) the Pitt Basketball team and coaches over this game, I would like to say that it has to be difficult being tested for Covid daily, not being able to see friends and family and being one of the youngest NCAA Basketball teams. Games cancelled and rescheduled at the drop of a hat make additional angst for any basketball team.

Having said that, today’s effort (or lack of) was the worst since the opening loss to St Francis! In fact Pitt had 18 turn overs (12 in the first half) second worse only….you guessed it!…. to the St Francis game where they had twenty three. Pitt was coming off 8 days of rest while Tech had played 3 games in the last five days.

Craig Meyer of the PG said it best “they were undone by relatively simple mistakes”; 18 TOS, shooting 8 – 15 from the Free Throw line as Tech went 21-23.

This loss was Pitt’s fifth in the last six games! It was well deserved. Pitt was tied 6-6 in the first five minutes and then Tech opened a nine point lead at halftime which could have been 19 if they shot well.

GA Tech has a terrific proven pointy guard in Alverado and he ate Xman’s lunch. In fact, Xman alone could have killed Pitt with his selfish play and fouls; four in the first half and all of them avoidable stupid mistakes. He rode the bench most of the game. Femi was awful as his replacement and the Pitt offense just stood around and watched!  Pitt played so bad and with such little effort in the first half that if I was coaching, I would have benched the entire starting five.  I find lack of effort and being outhustled……unforgivable!

Yes the refs were horrible to Pitt but we should be used to it by now in the ACC who can’t even find a network the majority of fans can watch!

Georgia Tech was nothing special! They had one shooter Moses who had 24 points and Alverado, a gutsy hustling Brooklyn point guard who showed more effort than the entire Pitt team.  These late season fades are becoming a habit for Pitt Basketball under Capel and he and his coaches do not escape blame.

Last but not least is Champ who is underperforming at an alarming level. I know he’s hurt and I heard he may have reinjured his left knee in practice but he is not half the player he’s been and no one seems to be able to pick up the slack. At least the NBA talk has stopped.

This loss was unforgivable and pretty much ends any hope of post season play.  I was a strong Capel supporter but am wavering greatly after the last six games. His unusual use of time outs as well as his substitution patterns are puzzling to say the least. Oh well…it can’t much worse!



61 thoughts on “Pitt 65 – GA Tech 71 Recap

  1. As I said I’m old school BB but to me the lack of any coherent court strategy is this team’s downfall. Capel just lets his players play pick up street ball on offense. That sort of play – pick up ball – is all about the guy with the ball showing off to score as many points as HE can with disregard to the other four teammates.

    I agree with others than Capel might not be the HC Pitt thought he’d be. But then again this is Pitt where we give FB HC’s six years before even questioning if he’s the man to “get us to the next level”.

    That ain’t happening in BB after almost three full years so brace for more of the same.

    I cringe when I read any references to Covid references to this year’s FB and BB games. It isn’t like it affects only Pitt…but every team in every conference. If I read one more reference to Narduzzi’s 6-5 season and Covid I’ll puke. It is what it is.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I did NOT say fire the coach. I said it’s time he took some blame for the poor performance. It’s obvious Capel and his staff don’t emphasize fundamentals. If they did, neither St Francis, Wake or GA Tech would have happened. I’m utterly disgusted watching the same mistakes occur over and over 16 games into the season. That’s on coaching.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This game just seemed so uninspired. I thought that it might’ve just been me and my mood last night but, Dan72, you apparently watched the same game that I did. You saw what I did. Thanks for posting.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. agree with the story for the most part

    what is interesting is the game was being called evenly by the refs for at least the first 10+ minutes

    I saw little team effort or a coordinated offense, mostly(not all) disjointed individual efforts and when passes were attempted often poorly executed
    again poor shooting at least for most of the first half and then only Horton in the 2nd half

    I’ll say there was decent effort on the Defensive end most of the game, not 100% of the time but close
    TBrown blown by and Champ even at times not anticipating or moving with complete effort


    1. Defense is easy to play – not a whole lot of thinking involved – mostly reacting to opponent’s moves. But on offense a well disciplined team has to not only curb the impulse to get the quick basket (even if it is a shot that will probably miss) but has to think one or two passes ahead to get best % shot possible.

      Pitt hasn’t done that in any games I have watched this season.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. agree on the offensive analysis

        and as to defense easy to play, I think there may be important coordination of certain schemes and switches and “help” situations but effort is HUGE

        Coulibaly seems to be the single best effort guy all over the defensive end having already showed tons of improvement from being a fouling machine and slow to react big guy


        1. He, meaning Coulibaly, tvax1, did get some media attention & praise for effort in the second half.

          It’s important to point these things out. The most disappointing aspect of this game was that it was in reach for the W.


  5. After reading the PG coverage of this game, and the player and coach comments, it is clear that Capel’s plan is to drive to the hoop, draw fouls, make foul shots and play good defense. So when X Man is criticized (rightly so) for driving to the rim too much and being out of control, it appears that this is the general game plan he is following.

    But they are not rebounding well and getting many 2nd chance points. And they seem to be giving up on the 3 point shot because up until now Horton hasn’t been a major factor. This team just has too many deficiencies to be a Tournament caliber team.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No one drives the basket better than X man but reality says he cannot drive one on three or four. That’s bad decision which he makes way too often and results in turnovers. Also, I saw 5 lob attempts to Coulibally all missed their mark. Coulb needs to learn to come to the ball but he was being held on a least two occasions with no call or review by our ACC “friends!”

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Voiceofreason, I think your analysis is on target:

      “ X Man is criticized (rightly so) for driving to the rim too much and being out of control, it appears that this is the general game plan he is following.”

      And it’s a good take to share with a less-than-astute-basketball-student/fan like myself.

      I did watch this game and it does in fact seek X is following instruction per Capel. In this scenario I am wondering could criticize X’s play in the 2nd half.

      Once more I am not an XO basketball guy, but to the naked eye X performed and made some extremely athletic layups to get this game tied with a chance to win.

      Gotta question the scheme here laid out by Capel. And I’ll be paying a bit more attention in the future because this team could have won this game. And a variety of the 5 losses in 6 also could’ve been managed better.


  6. It’s being reported that BC HC Jim Christian is being fired. BC is currently 3-13 and Christian’s record there is 78-132. He was hired at BC in 2014 to replace Steve Donahue who had a 4-year record at BC of 54-76

    Al Skinner was the previous HC at BC. Skinner was fired in 2010, after BC went 15-16 …. which was only his 2nd losing season there. The year before (80-09) BC was 22-12. Skinner’s overall record at BC was 247-165 …. which was apparently not good enough

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I believe the firing of Skinner was controversial and, overall, a mistake. Wasn’t Gene DiFillipo the AD at the time?


  7. Reports of Pitt to hire Brennan Marion as WR Coach. If true, sounds like a interesting and somewhat bold move. I watched a bit of video on his Go-Go offense and there were plays where due to the deception the OLine didn’t really need to block anyone. Could have used some of that the last couple years.

    So Narduzzi may be hiring a young, hungry, innovative Coach – what the heck is going on….


    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Don’t watch basketball but played it in HS- that being said “18 TURNOVERS!!!” and in an era that traveling, palming the ball are now permissible…Do they practice the “turn-over” play- seems they are pretty damn proficient at it…..basketball is tough to stomach for this ole timer…

    Love your write-ups and passion CoachDan

    Liked by 2 people

  9. BB….I love college basketball but I am growing weary of Pitt Basketball. I played until age 44 and coached til age 60. I find the NBA hard to stomach but enjoy most college ball. When you and I played in HS, it was a different game. Most HS games ended with scoring in the 40s. Today’s game is much more athletic and motion oriented and scores are in the 60s and 70s.

    Pitt has lost that athleticism as well as any discipline they had earlier. A lot of that’s due to Xman.
    With the loss of Hugley, Pitt goes as Xman goes. He did not go well yesterday!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. These are my opinions based on years as a CYO and high school player in WPA MANY decades ago in the 1950’s.

    Street ball comments are accurate. Driving to the rim seems to be a Pitt habit if nothing else, but how many times do they miss either an easy put back or try to muscle their way through a flurry of arms that make the shot near impossible to get through?

    Yes, get fouled, but it doesn’t happen often enough. Either the opponents are trained better to block shots or Pitt kids know only one way to go to the hoop: blindly. How many dunks and layups do the kids have to miss before they learn to improve their technique? Make that before they are taught to improve their technique. Forget the NBA talk for Justin or X or Toney. They are not skilled enough yet. Justin is hurt.

    The announcers called him out for loafing on defense as a Tech kid hit an uncontested side shot. Capel recruited X and Tre as drive to the rim guards who had speed and hustle but little discipline. Guess that is why they were still there when he recruited them. Same for Toney, a hustler and a try hard guy but not skilled as a scorer. Poor foul shooting cost Pitt the games most recently against Tech and VA.

    Pitt’s admitted athleticism at pressure defense almost got them back into each of those games. Missed foul shots were the difference despite the other teams’ better players or opposing coaches’ superior strategy. We never left practice without shooting at least 25 foul shots with at least 20-22 made accuracy.

    That was after practice when we were very tired. That muscle memory with the foul shooting should not be an afterthought. A player as skilled as Justin has missed some foul shots lately. Practice, practice makes perfect. At least with foul shooting. And the turnovers? That cannot just be the way a fast-paced team plays today. Unavoidable collateral damage.

    Okay, that is my opinionated take on things. If I have revealed my ignorance on the way the game is played today, cut me some slack by giving me the benefit of a senior moment. Regardless, I will keep watching Pitt play and hope for the best.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Great comments and I guess I’m a senior commenter also. I said in my opening article months ago that I’m always surprised when a Toney shot goes in because his form is atrocious! I was very old school as a coach and shooting FTs at end of practice was a habit. It also reinforced the fact that good form shooting was so important because legs get tired and pressures of the moment are distracting.

      Too often, with deals made in recruiting, coaches have to promise not to change a players shooting form. Fundamentals and form are still hugely important. It keeps a team from having a “St Francis” game.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. https://triblive.com/sports/lawsuits-claim-pitt-ncaa-pitt-knew-about-danger-of-football-concussions/

    This kind of stuff (the lawsuits) is concerning. More parents are steering their kids away from the game as well due to injuries while the game itself is being changed to make it safer.

    One could imagine that fans’ calls for going “all in” on football are deafened by these challenges in BOT mtgs. Won’t be surprised is a P5 school doesn’t announce plans to drop FB in the next 10 yrs.


    1. See Tex, Pitt is a win at all cost university, lol.

      “DelSardo felt that the school’s prioritization of a ‘win-first’…”

      This law suit is a money grab. Sad.


  12. Capel has been ok I guess. But overall I am disappointed as I thought he was a phenomenal hire when we got him. His coaching and recruiting have been pretty average.


  13. Bruce Feldman, longtime national college football writer, is reporting that Brennan Marion has indeed accepted the position of WR Coach at Pitt. I agree with Major about he being a young, hungry coach.

    It will be quite interesting to see how he meshes with the older men, and how much input he will have in the offensive scheme.

    And of course, it is great to take a coach away from Fraud.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Brennan Marion is also a potential replacement for Mr.Whipple! That is the most important part of this hire. After next football season is over, Pitt can let Mr. Whipple go and retain whatever offensive coaches they want by promoting from within. This is much less disruptive than starting with an entire new staff on the offensive side of the ball.


      1. hope you’re right ….. but I might be having second thoughts. Here is part of his Hawaii bio:

        Hawai‘i, Wide Receivers (2020-present)
        William & Mary, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks (2019)
        Howard, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks (2017-18)
        Oklahoma Baptist, Running Backs (2016)
        Arizona State, Offensive Quality Control (2015)
        Waynesboro Area HS (Pa.), Head Coach (2014)
        St. Patrick-St. Vincent HS (Calif.), Head Coach (2013)
        Harker Academy (Calif.), Wide Receivers/Defensive Backs (2012)
        West Valley College (Calif.), Wide Receivers (2011)
        James Logan HS (Calif.), Offensive Coordinator (2010)

        hope he stays put next year

        Liked by 1 person

  14. I get the concerns about X, but he is not the only issue. Toney was 6-14 last night and 1-4 in free throws
    Coulibaly was 1-5 and attempted two threes. No doubt the TO’s are killers and X made 7 but the rest of the team added 11.


  15. Pitt is reported to play in the Gotham Classic in NYC next December vs St John’s. This will be a battle between the Champagnie brothers.

    Justin is currently averaging 18.6 ppg / 11,6 rpg

    Julian is averaging 19.4 / 7.4


  16. With Capel, it is hard to figure out if it is the coaching or the recruiting that is the problem. X Man may have missed out on his last year of high school coaching which he clearly needed. But Capel has not really impacted his undisciplined style of play. Coulibaly seems to be out muscled every game. He did get some rebounds this game, but he cannot even dunk the ball if challenged by a defender. I don’t see enough sitting on the bench when turnovers happen. Dixon used to sit people if they sneezed on the court, but he was excessive. Except for Capel, it is standard practice among coaches that when a player screws up he sits.


  17. Reading Brennan Marion’s life story I hope for the best for him, not just as a Pitt fan but for him personally. Given all that he has been through I’d like to see some good karma come his way. Good Luck Brennan and welcome to Pitt!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Dan for the insightful write-up. I switched to golf at halftime – your descriptive writing matched what I saw up to when I tuned out.

      Reed, thanks for re-engaging with your BB color commentating. Slam dunk in my book!

      EE – whose best BB moves are the box out for a rebound and the no call bank shot.


  18. Anyone who watched the game would tell you that they were both sloppy and lazy last night. Coach Capel complimented GT in the post game presser for their turnover creating defense, but to my eye, our turnover problem appeared to be a self inflicted wound mostly. We’ve lost to several bad teams. We aren’t improving as the year goes on. We looked disinterested against a team that should have been exhausted in the second half.

    I’m beginning to wonder about Jeff Capel. Can’t blame him for Hughley, but not one player other than Champ has improved as the year has gone on, or even from last year. Maybe Coulibaly, but he’s still less than average.

    Being a Pitt fan is tough.

    It would help if we had a point guard or a big man.


  19. A couple random thoughts on bball. There is driving to the rim with authority to draw a foul, dish to an open man whose defender left him to stop the ball, or make a layup.That is a legitimate strategy when you have a player with the quick burst and skill set of X. However, if you look closely at his drives, he is typically off balance, falling away from the bucket and hoisting a highly inaccurate ball towards the hoop. That is a failure to execute and the reason he was benched, in my opinion.

    Playing defense is all about having the passion to compete and win. You want better offense, play better defense. Defense is about pride in your craft. It’s like rebounding. You want a great rebounder, find me someone who wants the ball more than the other nine guys on the court. Simple as that.

    This game is called basketball, not basketballs. Sharing of the basketball and understanding where the appropriate best shot is going to be two to three passes before it happens is a great concept. These kids are not schooled that way.

    Finally, I do agree with Dan and his expert analysis. What I will disagree with in this particular article is the excuse about covid protocols, being poked and prodded, etc. Although true, what we need to understand is that our opponents have the same protocols and are getting probed and prodded the same way. So for me, no free pass on any game.

    Finally, finally. I see the comments of the possible new WR coach. I looked at his resume’ and feel underwhelmed. I get the human interest story. I get that some sports writer says something really good about him, which is great. The question that I have is whether he has ever recruited a 4 star or high 3 stars and won those battles in his past. I don’t see it, but maybe I am reading a different cv. I also feel it is a bit premature to be naming him as Charmins replacement. Based on what actually?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. this is a good point. All Marion really has thus far is that controversial trait …. “potential” I agree that being a successful OC at Howard and Bill & Mary hardly qualifies him as a ‘can’t miss’

      But what I like about this is that after hiring veteran OCs Chaney (59), Canada (49), Watson (61) and Whipple (63) …. all current ages …. they appear to be open to young and fresh ideas. As I wrote above. it should be quite interesting how much Marion meshes.

      We may see Marion’s new bio ….. 2021: Pitt WR Coach …. 2022 Pitt WR Coach / Run Game Coordinator (a paradox) … 2023 Pitt OC. Or we can see a it as a failed experiment


    1. Very interesting but not surprising. You may recall that is how NJ native Jeff Hafley began making his presence felt when he was at Pitt …. Dion Lewis, K’Wuan Williams, TJ Clemmings, etc.

      You may recall that Hafley was the only Pitt assistant that was interviewed by Mike Hayward after Wanny’s firing but he had already been hired by Schiano at Rutgers. Now I see that he may be out-recruiting Schiano (Rutgers had the 67th ranked team recruiting class in 2021; BC was 30th)


  20. While there are some things coaches can control there are many they can’t.
    They can’t make Champ’s knee healthy They can’t make Brown be a tough guy or
    even a serviceable one as a senior. They can’t make Sibande into an ACC capable guy.
    They can’t make Horton more consistent. They can’t make guys who shoot FT’s at 60%
    shoot them at 80%.

    And no they can’t seem to slow down the X-Man, make him more consistent, stop fouling and turning the ball over, at least not nearly enough.

    Yes coaches have an impact, some more some less, but even great coaches can’t do much
    without enough talent. Take UNC, did Roy forget how to coach last year?

    I would say that Capel’s recruiting has been a little disappointing and it really hurt to lose his most important guy from this year’s class. He needs to replace some guys and bring in more talent next year. Easier said than done at Pitt. I hear a lot of references to Jamie. He almost always had 5 years of guys to choose from.
    Capel barely has three. Jamie had more than a few guys that didn’t really contribute till their third year in the program.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. While I like Femi, I don’t think he is cut out to be a point guard much more than X is.
      A point guard needs three things to be an excellent dribbler and very tough to take the ball from, an excellent passer who can anticipate and thread the needle, the ability to drive to the hoop. Having a mid range jumper and excellent decision making are also plusses. Of course the intangible leadership is icing on the cake, but can’t exist without the physical talent.

      Very few have all the skills, but ball control and passing are the most important. Our best in recent memory was Brandon Knight with dribbling skills and superior passing, he was only decent at driving to the hoop or shooting the ball. James Robinson was the best ball handler and solid leader but below the line at all other skills. We had some other good ones.

      But just like last year we don’t have one now or a solid big man and until we do there will be more losses than wins.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Reed, just looked at the art work…amazing the talent/creativity some possess. Thanks for sharing. I am passing that along to friends.


      1. I have an autograph Ricky Jackson Pitt Jersey and I live in the city Chris Doleman was born & raised.



    1. I think Partridge is taking liberties with the All ACC conference usage. He is showing only DL that he could/would have coached. So obviously no offensive players, linebackers or DB’s. Let alone P’s & K’s.


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