11 January 2012
Football season is officially over so that means all the focus is turned to the basketball team, and that's normally a good thing. So this is probably not the best time for the team to be off to the worst start in recent memory, bringing an 0 and 3 record in BIG EAST play to the table. PSB Bryan diagnosed some of the problems with this team yesterday, as have many of the other Pitt Blogs over the past few days.
The soup du jour on how to turn things around for Jamie Dixon might be trying out a zone defense. We've seen Pitt slip in and out of a 2-3 zone this season and there are hints that we may see more of it. The main purpose of using the 2-3 would be to minimize opponents penetrating into the paint. Tonight might be a good night to experiment with this, as Rutgers is only shooting 33.9% behind the 3 point line. This is a big change though, as Dixon and Pitt are known for their tough man-to-man defense, but clearly the way this season has unfolded the defense just isn't where people expected it to be. If Pitt does use the 2-3 more tonight keep an eye on rebounding, as the zone traditionally lessons your chance of out-rebounding your opponent in the defensive zone.
University of Pittsburgh
|11 - 5 (0 - 3)|
|9 - 7 (1 - 2)|
|Official Game Notes: Pitt|
Location: Petersen Event Center,
|TV Coverage: ESPN Regional / ROOT|
|Announcers: Mike Gleason, Dickie Simpson
|Radio Coverage: 93.7 FM - The Fan Pittsburgh|
|All-Time Series: Tied 23 - 23|
|Last Meeting: 1/29/11, Pitt 65, Rutgers 62|
|Vegas Line: Pitt -8.5, over/under 133.5|
Pitt desperately needs a win in this game to try to right the ship. Historically, Rutgers would be a good target team for Pitt to try to turn things around, with Pitt running 12 of the last 14 games against the Scarlet Knights. But this season is different, this team is different. That does NOT mean it's time to pull the plug on the program, however. Every program has down years (great job by Panther's Prey on putting that together), I like to think the adversity faced by this years team will help them in the future as they mature as players.
But what about Rutgers?
We already talked about Rutgers back in October during a football season many people are going to try to forget. So what are we going to talk about this time?
Good question. How about uniforms? Remember when Rutgers wore all black for the football game against Pitt back in October? Well they have a basketball version of this jersey as well. So Rutgers, whose school colors are officially Red and White, may make an attempt to dress like Darth Vadar against Pitt at the Pete tonight.
What else? Hmmm... Well, there is that little fact that Rutgers beat #8 UCONN just a few days ago. But what is the history of Rutgers Basketball? It hasn't been the best recently, Rutgers last NCAA appearance was all the way back in 1991. Let's put that into some prospective: this years incoming Freshman and some Sophomores were not around when this happened. Rutgers has one Final Four appearance, occurring in 1976. Rutgers coach, in his second season, is Mike Rice, Jr. You may recognize the name as he has some local ties - he was the head coach at Robert Morris prior to heading east to New Jersey. Rice is a Pittsburgh native, and spent one year on Jamie Dixon's staff at Pitt as an assistant in 2006-2007. Interestingly enough, he is a distant relative of star Rutgers running back and current Baltimore Raven Ray Rice. That last fact does come from Wikipedia, and there is no citation, so take that for what it's worth.
Hail to Pitt!
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