Sunday, March 1, 2009

Week in Review- Pitt Panthers

I'm not that thrilled by what i saw from the Pitt Panthers this week. To recap
mon: Pitt rises to number 1 in the nation for the second time this year
tues: Pitt gets destroyed by Providence 81-73. Don't let the score fool you, they got thumped. Pitt was down 20 on more than 1 occasion.
sat Pitt beats Seton hall 89-78.

Going 1-1 in the Big east with both games on the road is acceptable, but many things bothered me this week from this team. First of all, the soundbites. Several Panthers, including Blair, Gibbs and Fields had something like this to say, "The ranking is nice, but we already know we are the best team in the nation."

Excuse Me? Who have you ever beaten when it counts to say that. Newsflash, the best team in the nation is the one who will cut the nets down in Detroit this year. That may be the Panthers, but so far they have accomplished nothing to be able to go out and proclaim it.

Tuesday's game was tough to watch, but every team has games like that: on the road, Providence fighting for their tournament lives, Senior night, etc. Hey it happens. What bothered me was the lack of emotion that the Panthers always have. It appeared as if they took it for granted and just went through the motions.

Saturday at the Hall, the first half was more of the same, until the Panthers got their act together in the second half and cruised to a win. Sam Young scored 29 in the win.

1. What happened to the guard play? Pitt entered the week averaging less than 10 turnovers per game. Pitt turned the ball over 41 times in the two games. That will send you home early in March.
2. Pressure- Providence applied some, but Seton Hall pressed the entire game. Louisville plays the same way and beat Pitt. Pitt simply is not doing a good job against the press. Other teams will start pressuring the Panthers in the backcourt and they are going to have to prove they can handle it.
3.Defense- Look I like the up-tempo game as much as the next guy, but I just don't think the Panthers should rely on running all the time. Let's refocus on the in your face defense that creates bad shots and turnovers to get buckets. They have the offensive talent to score in a half-court game. Teams are shooting a better percentage against the Panthers and are getting to the basket way to easy.

With all that being said, Pitt is still a number 1 seed unless they totally collapse this week, and it doesn't get easier with Marquette and U Conn (both at home though). Dejuan Blair appeared to hurt his knee and I've gotten no reports on it, but he finished Saturday's game fine.

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