12 January 2012
I don't think I've ever been so dejected after a Pitt basketball at the Pete. Last night's loss to Rutgers was terrible. Give Rutgers credit for winning, but they suck too. It wasn't great defense that beat Pitt, it was Pitt beating Pitt.
And if you think there was anything positive that can be taken out of last night's performance, stop it. Pitt had more turnovers (15) than made field goals (12).
Take it away, Grupp (via the Trib):
Pitt, which had won 11 of its past 12 meetings with the Scarlet Knights (10-7, 2-2), finds itself alone in last in the Big East. Thoughts of an 11th consecutive NCAA Tournament berth are giving way to how many games the Panthers will manage to win the rest of the season.
With about 11 minutes left and Pitt trailing, 43-26, the unthinkable happened: After a Lamar Patterson turnover on a breakaway, fans in the crowd of 10,812 began to boo. It was the lowest offensive output in a Big East game in school history, surpassing a 47-45 win over Villanova on Feb. 11, 1984.
Pitt, the nation's top rebounding team, was punished on the boards, 51-35. The Panthers trailed, 30-19, at halftime and by as many as 27 points in the second half.
Three point shooting continues to be a head-scratcher (via the PG):
Shooting remains the Panthers’ biggest problem. They were 12 for 57 (21.1 percent) from the field against Rutgers. They were 4 for 19 from 3-point range.
In four Big East games, the Panthers are 15 for 66 from 3-point range. It’s hard to figure how the Panthers have gone from one of the top 3-point shooting teams in the country to one of the worst in the span of a month.
They shot 45 percent or better from 3-point range in three of their first seven games.
Obviously, the loss of Woodall is a big part of that. But if losing Tray is the reason Pitt's playing like they are then they should just hang his number from the rafters now. This team's problems go far beyond one guy, although it's easy to pick out culprits.
But Pitt truly lost this one as a team. No starter scored in double figures. Gibbs went 2-11 (0-7 from three). Only one bench player, JJ Moore scored at all. Dante Taylor was 0-1 and only had 3 rebounds despite playing 15 minutes. Nasir Robinson missed six baskets, all of them layups.
There is no one culprit. The fact is that this team is bad. They're just bad. There is no magic bullet - if Pitt makes some strides in defense or starts shooting the ball better - they're still bad. How a team that went 15-3 in the Big East last season can go to dead last place in the conference the next year amazes me. Wanamaker, McGhee and Brown were great players, but it's not like they were irreplaceable players. And Pitt had returning, experienced players waiting in the wings.
No one on this team has stepped up even a little bit. Say what you will about Gary McGhee, but when it was his time, he worked his ass off became one of the best defensive players in the Big East. Other Dixon Pitt team has had someone step up to and take the place of the guy in front in them. This team doesn't have that. They've downgraded at every position on the court.
Gene Collier was there and sums up the fans' frustrations (via the PG):
Pitt made four field goals in the first half. Let me dive on the floor for some perspective on that.
If you selected five Pitt students at random, subjected them to zero coaching, let them practice by themselves once a week, kicked each of them in the shins as they walked onto the court, they might get four baskets in 20 minutes.
Pitt travels to ranked Marquette next, then #1 Syracuse before coming home to a similarly free-falling Louisville.
Let the good times roll.
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