Pitt Beats Wake Forest Recap; 3/2/21

Here is a recap by Dan72 of our Pitt 70 – Wake Forest 53 win

How on earth did we ever lose to this team earlier this year? OK, Xman could not, or did not want to, cover his three point shooter who was red hot in that game, but still geez. I blamed Xman entirely for that loss as he was out of control all night on offense.

Tonight, in what was a sloppy game, Pitt dominated the paint outrebounding Wake 42-23.  While Pitt seemed to shoot badly they ended up shooting 46.2% from the floor and 40% from the three point line. Turnovers were 13-9 Pitt on the wrong side.  

First, I am ecstatic that Pitt won on Senior Night and after what might have been the worst week for our team since Stallings roamed the floor. I see hope for the future for Pitt as a team playing together in a Capel system …but…we are severely lacking in talent vs the rest of the ACC. Today, I saw we offered a 6’10” center today from NC.  We need to make many more offers!!!

Now, to answer some of the questions on tonight’s blog. First let me say that I could not coach a team under the Covid circumstances and obstacles of a short preseason (which caused the St Francis fiasco), never knowing until last minute who and/or when you are playing next, being away from family and friends and having cotton swabs stuck up your nose daily. This has been a very strange season.

It’s no wonder coaches call strange time outs, players don’t know what sets we are in, etc. There’s been virtually no time to practice… and now a new set of players need to learn to play together. Disjointed will be our motto until we start next year.

Next I would tell you that any coach would rather face a team with only three scorers (no matter how good they were) than a team like Pitt tonight, while not as talented, but a threat for everyone on the floor and bench to score.

I am somewhat perturbed though that it has taken the recent events to get Sibande on the floor as I called for him to start and play some point guard from day one, but he had a great night …again…leading a scoring challenged team with 23 points. Champ, still not looking right physically, had another double-double with 20 points and 13 boards. Horton again, was no help with zero points in 11 minutes. However, I saw some promise with Jeffries who had eight points and like all players he just needs time on the floor.

So it’s on to Clemson, and I have to say I like our chances but Pitt should have won by 30 tonight. We are 10-10 and I would like to see Pitt finish with a winning record. Beat the 15-5 Clemson Tigers on Saturday to win one last one in the ACC and that will help a lot in the off-season.


31 thoughts on “Pitt Beats Wake Forest Recap; 3/2/21

  1. Questions the crappy press don’t ask Capel?

    Why didn’t Nike play more earlier?
    Why didn’t Jeffries and Collier get more minutes throughout the season?

    These games are showing Capel screwed up big time.


  2. Nike was unbelievably lucky some of his threes went in the hoop.
    He isn’t X quick, but he is quick enough to get past defenders and drive or pull up for a jumper.

    Jeffries will be a stud. His size is fantastic for 17, Capel said he is still growing. He is athletic. Pitt needs a bunch more like him.


  3. You can never tell that much from one game against a bad team, but a much needed win for a lot of reasons.
    Hopefully Champ and Nike stay for another year. Champ is a double double machine, best all around player to play at Pitt in a long, long time. And to think we almost had his brother too, what might have been.

    The big difference in the game was rebounding, just incredible.

    Funny how we have gone from wanting the season to be over to wanting to see more.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. OK, I got wordpressed again, I will give this one more try.

    First, thank you to Reed for his game thread initiative, and for Dan’s post above, appreciate it gentlemen.

    Notrocketscience, I agree it’s frustrating when you think guys should’ve been playing more/sooner (same thing happened to our football team with the young OL that played late in the season, several of them looked better than the starters). Frankly, I think Collier fits into that category for me now and shouldn’t be yanked so soon. I will add the caveat thought that both Jeffress (offensively) and Nike (defensively) looked lost earlier in the season. And though I despise using Covid as an excuse for everything, I really think this crop of freshmen were really set back by the lack of preseason prep and missing out on all those early season games.

    With regard to last night’s game, I know Wake has struggled, but I thought it was a really good win for Pitt and I for one was not counting on it. In fact, I would’ve never guess that after losing Toney & X that we could play a very close game against NC St. & follow that up with a win against Wake. But this ‘new look Panther team’ has lifted the veil for me as to what happened behind the scenes that led to their losing streak during X & Toney’s tenures, and the defensive stats tell the story.

    In the last 2 games Pitt held both opponents to under 40% shooting (36% for Wake & 39% for a hot NC St. team), and you’d have to go back months I think to see where Pitt held an opponent to under 40%, with almost every opponent during Pitt’s losing streak shooting between 45% and 55% against Pitt; the only exception was Pitt’s good defensive effort against Virginia Tech, where they were held them to 41% shooting (and Pitt won).

    Even if you compare Pitt’s first games against NC State & Wake to their second games against both teams this week you will see a statistical disparity: (1) the first time Pitt played NC State game on 2/17, NC State shot 57% with Toney & X playing, vs 39% on Sunday, and (2) the first time Pitt played Wake they lost by one point due to Wake shooting 46%, and Pitt held them to just 36% last night and won. Yes, I know there is more to every game, our shooting percentages, rebounding, etc., but this particular statistical area tells me all I need to know. Obviously, Capel needs to add talent, as we lost two good players in Toney & X, but I think Capel needs to recruit with an eye on character/unselfishness if possible, like Dixon did in his early days, and build talent more slowly if need be. Again, Toney & X are both talents, but now I reflect back with a suspicion that they just didn’t positively influence the rest of the roster and am glad they moved on for their sakes and ours.

    Liked by 9 people

  5. This team is CLEARLY better off with Odukale at Point and not Johnson. Actually playing basketball now.

    It is just a shame it took Johnson leaving the team for the change to be made.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 166 vs 288 ranked

    That’s pitt vs wake in defensive efficiency.

    My list of 5 candidates I previously submitted

    Guess what they all had in common.


  7. Right Tex, but our defensive efficiency is markedly better the last 2 games, whereas you’re probably just pulling up data for the whole year.


    1. Correct. I think Pitt was around 190 ranked when I first looked.

      And this team looked much better the last two games

      Capel needs to teach defensive fundamentals and find some defensive guys in the transfer. Well and a sharp shooter. Always need one of those.


  8. Thanks to Dan and to Reed.

    —Pitt outscored Wake by 12 in the second half – nice to see.

    —And we complain about the foul shooting (16 for 24) but make one more and they’re over 70 percent; two more and they’re at 75 percent. Femi will improve – a lot I think.

    —Great to see Ezeakuda get that driving layup!

    —Perhaps a meaningless stat, but Jeffress was +21 for the game!

    —And a stat that’s definitely not meaningless, Richman was +13 for the game!

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. One thing I’ve noticed about Femi’s free throw shooting – I’d like to see his 1st half versus 2ns half comparisons. He seems to be fairly decent in the 1st half and atrocious in the 2nd. I’m guessing it’s a fatigue thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I noticed that Toney has a large number of teams currently showing interest. Apparently, they don’t think he was a problem in the locker room. But as 1618mt pointed out, the last few months with Toney playing were basically defensive disasters. In hindsight, it appears that Toney may have had an attitude problem, and basically quit on this team in the weeks leading up to his departure.

    The level of interest shown for Toney on the transfer portal also creates some concern over the competition that Capel will expect to run into as he attempts to find some additional players this year. It appears that solid P5 starting players will get huge attention, even if they quit on their teams. Capel may need to find some bench players who were caught in a numbers game at their school, or else try the JuCo talent pool.


    1. Or maybe Capel just needs to recruit better. There are at least three of his recruits on the team that wouldn’t sniff the starting five for IUP.


      1. If Capel is going to pull a rabbit out of a hat with the remaining recruiting time, my best hope at this point is it’s a 2022 reclass or two; I like our odds of that better than landing Efton Reid, but who knows. I agree I think the transfer portal is going to be a crapshoot, though I’d guess we’ll bring on 2 guys from there as well.


        1. Pitt will have three scholarships to fill if Nike decides to extend his stay. Openings will be from Brown exiting school as a senior and the departure of the 2 quitters to the transfer portal.

          Look for Pitt to offer three walk-ons full scholarships and skip the recruiting process. C.Aiken, Jr, C.Smith and Ezekuda.


  10. Thanks Coach Dan. I tend to forget the lack of practice time together before the seaon once the season is nearing the end.

    13-9 usually brings a smile to my face, btw. Seemed like quite earlier ones were blown opportunities to pull further ahead after making a nice stop in their own end.

    Guarding the arc was much better last night – it helps when all five guys are playing D hard and keep moving. Did not notice much standing around either…wiating for someone else to make something happen.

    Anyone able to give us a match up on Clemson?


  11. Thanks, Dan72. All wins are good, but I thought this one especially so without X and A. Agree, if Pitt can beat Clemson, it would be a great way to end the season. Further proof there’s life without X and A.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. For various reasons I suppose – a 2 game losing streak to end the regular season is tough to rebound from heading into the ACC tournament.

        Champ may be the best sixth man in college BB.


  12. My POV friends – please see the PSA I just posted about a “Vietnam Veterans Welcome Home” celebration a hospice that I volunteer with is holding on March, 28th.

    This event holds a dear place in my heart and I ask each of you to please think of anyone you know who might enjoy this ceremony and celebration and get recognized for the hard and unpopular work they did while in the military during the Vietnam era.

    Thank you all so much and please do get the word out. The Vets deserve this…


    Liked by 4 people

  13. Proof that players follow the POV – pulled from an article from PSN today:

    The main differences (with improved competitiveness & demonstrative in game performances) have been improved defensive play and what freshman forward Will Jeffress (Erie native) called an emphasis on togetherness.

    “The response we’ve had is just to stick together,” Jeffress said. “One of the things we’ve really been saying is, ‘We’re all we got. We’re all we need. So just continue fighting.’”

    H2P and Ike!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. LOL Will pulled that one out of the heep. That’s right Rick, there is strength in numbers. Brothers, Sisters, Friends, Teammates and those who have your back!

    We All We Got!
    We All We Need!

    Liked by 7 people

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