(Reed’s Editor note) Here is a great comment by UlteriorMotifs in the last POV article- discuss…
“This was always a game but flawed team that found a way to hide its deficiencies for most of the season. One-trick ponies eventually get revealed though and Pitt was no different. Other Pittsburgh teams (Steelers, Penguins) are like this: they do one thing one well but midway through the year, one opponent brings a particular style or finds an attack that neutralizes their strength and the Pittsburgh team has no counter, plan B, or fallback. At least the Pirates don’t tease us with initial success, they have the decency to make it plain they’ll suck from the outset.
It’s a shame because the biggest issue with this Pitt team besides a lack of inside strength and overall athleticism (problems most college teams have) is that their ballhandling is ATROCIOUS. It’s not nearly as hard to find a capable ballhandler who can penetrate as it is to land a solid big man.
I guess they found that in Dior but he removed himself from the equation. If Pitt had even one strong ballhandler that made defenses pay for over-defending the three point-line and exposing the underbelly of their defense, it would open up so much offensively and unlock the stagnant three-point shooting. Really, it’s almost impressive in a perverse way that Pitt scores as much as they do being so one-dimensional.
The other big problem, and maybe it’s been the biggest one over the last month, is the defense. If you’re going to give up 80-plus points to every single team you play, you might as well mix in more zone. You allow a gang of offensive rebounds even in man-to-man and it’s not like teams aren’t hitting deep shots anyway, so what do you have to lose?
All in all, it’s been a disappointing end to the season, but for the first time in many years there’s at least reason to anticipate Selection Sunday. I think Pitt’s done enough (NET ranking of 56 and wins against probable tournament teams like UVa, Northwestern, Miami, NC State ) to get into the tournament, but really there’s no complaint if they miss out.
Pitt needed to be competitive with Duke to solidify its position. A respectable loss would have gone a long way, but Pitt was completely overmatched from the opening tip. Combine that with the lingering stench from the loss to woeful Notre Dame and you’re at the mercy of some pretty subjective decisions on who should fill the last 6 or so spots in the dance.
Even so, I’ll have fond memories of this team as one that restored some level of excitement to Pitt basketball, played hard, overachieved (how many opponents have they played where Pitt was clearly more talented, not many) and flew pretty close to the sun before burning their wings. Let’s hope they get to fly one more time.”