There is an old saying that goes along the lines of “Nobody ever thinks about the kicker until you need one.” Well maybe it’s not exactly an old saying, but I heard an ex-NFL radio jock say it once and it stuck with me. And to prove my point, if I said the name “Sean Conley” to you, you’d probably think “who’s the hell is that guy?”
He’s a former kicker of course. For Pitt. All Big-East actually. But you didn’t know that. Primarily because he played on one of the most underwhelming teams in modern Pitt history, and also because well…he’s a kicker. And so if you saw Conley’s memoir on the bookshelf, you’d probably walk right past it.
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.
This is Mike – I wanted to let you know I’ll be stepping back from the POV for a while. The last two years have been an amazing experience for me, and running a blog of the POV’s caliber has been an honor and a privilege. However, duty is calling outside of sports, and I am harnessing all my free time and putting it towards a business opportunity that has too much potential to ignore.
The good news is that the POV won’t be going away. At least not yet, anyway. Reed has graciously agreed to step in and at the very least administrate the blog. As for content, well POVers, that is up to YOU. Sure, Reed and I will be able to post game threads, and maybe the occasional write up, but if you want long form articles, we are going to need your help. Richard did a great job during the football season, and we’ve had a couple of additional guest authors. So if you have an idea for a weekly column, or even a one-off, now is the time.
As for me, I’ll be dropping one more piece in the next week or so (made a commitment to someone and I’ll keep that) and after that it will generally be Commander Reed’s show. Thanks for understanding and let’s see if we can’t keep this thing going collectively for a little while.
Hail to Pitt
Ha!! Back Again!!
This is Reed. Mike and I have been discussing how to best effect the change due to Mike’s stepping back from running the POV. He’s got an outstanding new business opportunity (along with a great family with youngsters) so his time is going to be dedicated to the really important things in life. Let’s wish him the best of luck because he’s been a wonderful Pitt POV head.
As most readers, commenters and POV family can remember I gave Mike the POV back in October of 2018 because my interest in Pitt football fell off. I can’t honestly say that I feel any more attached to it now as I did then. Obviously the POV was in good, no, great hands and so this last year I hardly read any articles, commented infrequently and wrote one article that pissed people off.
When Mike let me know he had to back out of running the Blog my first immediate thoughts were twofold; on one hand I felt sorry that the POV’ers would lose this great forum. On the other hand I started really thinking back about the beginning of the POV and how it became, by a hugely large margin, the most popular, most read and most commented on media outlet for Pitt football ever.
Yes, I do mean ever. More read and commented on than any other blogs but also way more than any local media articles by the mainstream papers or radio/TV shows. The POV sprung out of the Pitt Blather, which was also very popular, then shot to the moon back when it first published in June of 2016 because of your interest.
I remembered all the extraneous things this blog has going for it with its newfound and strong friendships, planned events like golf outings (thanks Rick) and our wonderful tailgate parties (thanks King Fran) and excellent written articles and comments (thanks Ike, Annie, etc.) which are well written, insightful and most importantly respectful of other’s thoughts and opinions.
Try finding all that in any other sports blog. Not just any Pitt football blog, but any sports blog. You won’t be able to.
For all the above reasons I decided to wade back into the Pitt POV. But I’ll be very honest here; if I don’t get a lot of help from all of you we may have to face another hard decision down the road. By ‘help’ I mean doing guest articles, policing yourselves in writing your comments and maintaining decorum in adherence to the published standards of this blog.
Mike will chip in for awhile with BB gameday threads, Rich in SC will spin his writing magic also and I’ll try to put some interesting stuff up to discuss every so often too – but let’s make this a real joint venture with our whole POV family.
So – good to be back. My email address is: email@example.com for article submissions or just getting in touch. For newcomers to the POV who may not know or remember me here is a photo that might help so we can meet each other at tailgates or whatever… Yes, I’m only 22 years old.
Pitt landed a verbal from Elijah Staham yesterday. He’s (gulp) unranked on Rivals.com and had only (sigh) two other offers (Akron and Cincy).
50% of POV fans will say “HEY PAT STOP SIGNING UNRANKED RECRUITS!”
But I will say that all D-line recruits get a pass from me, given that Pitt recently turned two, two-stars into consensus All-Americans and looks to be loaded with talent across all positions. Until that production drops off I don’t think anybody has any room to say anything.
As Rashad Weaver and Patrick Jones continue to rack up All-American Awards, our All-ACC analyst, Richard Hefner, put together a nice run down on the 2020 All-ACC team. I’ve been sitting on this for about a week, so my apologies if some of the data is a little bit dated. – Michaelangelo
The 2020 ALL ACC Team
The 2020 ALL ACC Team and (some) Recruiting Info
by Richard Hefner
The 2020 All ACC Team was announced in late December. Below is a link to the press release. If you have not read the release, I suggest you do. It does add some detail to the first team selections.