Tag Archive: Pittsburgh Panthers



I’m moving out of my beloved confort conference zone this post.  I’m going to put out there who I think is going to win the Big East and how I think each team will finish. Now, I’m warning you. It’s a little different than what the ESPN experts have to say. But, nobody really knows exactly how things are going to play out. I mean who really predicted that Uconn would win 10 straight games, all in tournament play, and walk away with the NCAA Tournament Title? I know I didn’t. After watching a game of Uconn’s in December last year I put up a post stating I wouldn’t be surprised if Uconn won it all. Don’t believe me? Check my older/beginning posts. 

Also, these predictions aren’t going to be as in depth as my Big Ten predications. That would take forever given the boat load of teams in the Big East.  Also, I’m doing this in hopes of hearing some comments and sparking a little more conversation on my blog. I want to hear what others think….that’s part of why I write!  Without further ado here’s my Big East predictions!

  1. Syracuse Orangemen
  2. Cincinnati Bearcats
  3. Connecticut Huskies (Uconn)
  4. Louisville Cardinals
  5. Marquette Golden Eagles
  6. Pittsburgh Panthers
  7. Georgetown Hoyas
  8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  9. West Virginia Mountaineers
  10. St. John’s Red Storm
  11. Villanova Wildcats
  12. Depaul Blue Demons
  13. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
  14. Seton Hall Pirates
  15. South Florida Bulls
  16. Providence Friars

This is how I feel the Big East will play out in the 2011-2012 regular season.  If you have any questions at all as to why I put a team where they’re at leave a comment and I’ll answer for you!

Thanks for reading everybody!


I recently read an article where the writer announced the top 10 toughest places he thought there was to play. You may or may not have heard of him but he writes for Yahoo Sports, his name is Jason King.  Here’s his rankings, and I’ll spoil it now Wisconsin was his 4th toughest and Purdue was his overall 9th toughest place.  But, like promised, here you go:

  1. Allen Fieldhouse = Kansas
  2. Cameron Indoor Stadium = Duke
  3. Carrier Dome = Syracuse
  4. Kohl Center = Wisconsin
  5. The Pit = New Mexico
  6. Rupp Arena = Kentucky
  7. Comcast Center = Maryland
  8. Petersen Events Center = Pittsburgh
  9. Mackey Arena = Purdue
  10. Bramlage Coliseum = Kansas State

Also mentioned were: North Carolina, Oklahoma State, Villanova, Arizona, Michigan State, Illinois, Vanderbilt, Texas, BYU, and Memphis. 

I agree with most of his rankings. However, I don’t see how The Pit for New Mexico made the list at all and I disagree with the Comcast Center’s placement.  What in the heck has New Mexico done in the last 20 years basketball wise? Nothing is what I can think of.  And Maryland hasn’t been good in years. To me when considering what arena’s should be thought of as “tough to play in” I think of the program’s recent success.  How well do they thrive off their crowd? How dominant is this team? Especially at home? When I think about the toughest places to play I don’t think about how the arena was constructed, how many people can fit inside, nor how loud it could get if everybody in the stadium was screaming.  Personally, New Mexico and Maryland just don’t cut it.  If you ask me North Carolina and Michigan State (or even Texas) should be moved onto the list in place of New Mexico and Maryland.  Oh well I suppose. Everybody has the right to their opinions and has the right to express them.  Shortly I will post my rankings of the toughest places to play in the Big Ten.  And, if you’re a Nebraska fan I apologize now, I have them 12th out of 12. So, stay tuned for my opinions on the toughest Big Ten arenas to play in!

 

Thanks for reading!

 


This tournament has been nothing short of ridiculous.  I’m not very old but I don’t remember ever seeing so many upsets not only during the tournament but during the regular season.  Which makes me wonder.  It’s the game of college basketball becoming watered down or are the players becoming that much better? Making the game much more competitive? I’ll go with the latter.

Personally, I’m not  a fan of this year’s tournament.  I also think it’s fair to say that Ohio State was the most consistent and dominant team and was eliminated in the Sweet 16.  Pittsburgh could also be argued to be the best team in the nation winning the Big East outright which was considered the best conference this season in basketball.  These two teams are no longer in the field of 5 (Kentucky and UNC are currently playing for the 4th spot in Houston).  I’m all about upsets but not this many. Seriously who wanted to watch Richmond vs. Morehead State? Or even 11 seed VCU vs. 10 seed Florida State in the Sweet 16? I’m all for Cinderella teams but not 4 Cinderella teams.

Another thing that has made this tournament less enjoyable is the pathetic excuse of refereeing.  I know it’s a tough job but let’s get real here.  These are supposed to be professionals.  I’ve seen so many missed or bad calls this tournament to make up a lifetime.  I know that if I make that many mistakes I’m fired and no longer have a job. I like to watch good basketball and solid refereeing is a huge part of a good basketball game.  Crappy refereeing = crappy/sloppy basketball from one team making the games usually lopsided.  Overall, the calling of these games has been less than acceptable.

After the second round (field of 64) I knew not to be surprised by who won and who lost. Yeah all these upsets are good for ratings and possibly for the game but, I’m having a hard time accepting that the way the tournament has played out.

Anyway, Congrats to Uconn, Butler, and VCU for making it to the Final Four and congrats to whoever wins between Kentucky and North Carolina.


My Sweet 16 analysis has basically turned into my Final Four predictions.  You may have guessed it from the title but, I think Uconn is going to make the Final Four from the West Region.  And here’s why:

Uconn is coach by Jim Calhoun.  You cannot argue that Calhoun isn’t a great coach. He’s been in the tournament multiple times and has won a national championship.  The point is Calhoun knows how to coach in big games and in close games.  Plus it always helps to have one of the Player of the Year nominees on your squad.

Kemba is in contention for the Naismith Award (Player of the Year). His moves will be needed to lead the Huskies to a hopeful Final Four run.

I’ve said it all year that I like Kemba Walker.  Personally I can’t think of another player that I’ve ever seen.  He’s the all around player that can take over games and put the team on his back.  Kemba is 1st on his team in points (23.5) and assists (4.3) per game and second in rebounds per game (5.3).  To me that’s amazing.  It’s really good for a guard to be in the top 2 for points and assists but when you’re guard can also get up there in rebounds too your ball club will be given an advantage.  Walker has that uncanny ability to find the ball.  I remember watching the Pittsburgh vs. Uconn game on the Dec. 27th 2010 and even though Uconn lost I knew Uconn was going to be a Final Four team.  I just remember Kemba Walker making plays that no other player was making at the time (Jared Sullinger was making post player plays like none other, can’t compare the two).  Personally, I think Kemba is damn near impossible to stop and nobody can stop him besides himself at the college level.

Not only have the Huskies been through the brutal Big East schedule this season but they managed to win the Big East Tournament.  All 9 of Uconn’s losses came during Big East play (regular season obviously).  The Huskies are currently on a 7 game winning streak including 4 wins against teams ranked in the top 25! If that’s not being hot at the right time I’m not really sure what is.

I can’t forget to mention the fact that I don’t think San Diego State is very good.  Giving them a 2 seed was very very generous by the Selection Committee and they had a close game from a Temple Owls team I hadn’t heard too much about. I know it’s March and should expect close games but I thought they played sloppy against Temple.  I’m still not convinced SDSU is an Elite 8 or Final Four team.  I like Uconn in this match up, I think the Huskies will win big!


In this post I’m going to talk about some of the reasons why I like Butler to advance not only to the Elite 8 but to the Final Four.

I’m not sure if a team can be considered the Cinderella team two years in a row but I like Butler this year as the “Underdog” once again.  This season (including the NCAA tournament games) Butler is only 3-3 against teams that made it into the tournament.  Their losses were against Louisville (Nov. 16th 2010), Duke (Dec. 4th 2010), and Xavier (Dec. 9th 2010) and their wins against Florida State (Dec. 23rd 2010), Old Dominion (March 17th 2011), and Pittsburgh (March 19th 2011).  Some would say this is a weak resume against teams in the tournament, only two of those teams are left in the tournament not including Butler.  I would have to agree with this claim, that’s not very impressive.  However, the Bulldogs are tough and know how to win tough close games.

“This team is tough because Matt Howard is tough” -Butler Guard Ronald Nored (article from espn.com, Matt Howard leads Butler to Sweet 16) link to article:  http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/tournament/2011/columns/story?columnist=oneil_dana&id=6246779

Howard's workhorse mentality and leadership gives Butler the boost they need to win games

I like Butler making its second trip to the Final Four in two years because of the fact they have Matt Howard.  Howard isn’t the most versatile or flashy player in the game but he gets it done with hard work and hustle.  His energy and work ethic motivates his teammates to work hard and to get better.  They respond to his on and off court leadership. He also leads the team in points per game (16.7) and rebounds per game (7.8).  Howard’s hustle is also second to none.  He has one speed, GO (To quote the great Charlie Sheen) and he doesn’t stop til the game is over. You have to admire that from an athlete that is so gifted.  His hustle and toughness though have gotten him to trouble at times.  Last season he was known to get into foul trouble, this year he’s done better and seems to be playing under more control, which is good news for Bulldogs fans.

I also like Butler’s coach Brad Stevens.  Even though he’s a young coach he knows the game exceptionally well and relates to his players on a very personal level.  You can tell his players respect him and want to play for him.  He brings a sense of family to the program which has not only brought him closer to his players but the whole team and faculty closer together.  Another good thing about Stevens’ youth is that he brings a certain energy to the game that most coaches can only attempt to bring.  I also like his composure. His calm and collected attitude mixed with his passion and energy vibes perfectly with his team.

Shelvin Mack needs to continue his hot shooting to help Butler reach the Elite 8

Shelvin Mack, absolutely lit up the the first round.  In order for Butler to be successful the Bulldogs need more big games out of Mack.  Which I think he’ll have.  He was a part of the amazing run Butler had last year and knows what is needed of him to make the same type of run.  I’m not saying he needs to put up another 30 points but he needs to hit big 3’s with the shot clock winding down or hit open looks (I guess you could say that about any shooter).

I like this team a lot. I think their unselfishness on the offensive end will help them get good looks against the Badgers defense.  The Badgers will put up a great fight but Butler wins in a close game.  I also like Butler in the Elite 8, whether they play BYU or Florida. I like the way they match up against both teams and believe they’ll be successful and will see themselves in Houston!


After Butler’s amazing run last season I think everybody had pretty high expectations for the Bulldogs again this season. After a slow start and a couple of tough losses it seems that Butler learned from those mistakes and grew as a team.  After their amazing last second heroics all throughout last years tournament Butler is back at it again.

 

Shelvin Mack's 30 points from 7 three pointers boosted the Bulldogs over the 1 seeded Panthers

Butler looked really good against Pittsburgh Saturday night.  A lot of it is credited to their hot 3 point shooting.  As a team they hit 44.4% from behind the arc.  Shelvin Mack finished with 30 points, 21 of  those coming from behind the 3 point line.  Despite Mack’s amazing performance he almost cost his team a W.

 

After Butler converted a layup to take the lead with about 2 seconds left Pitt had to scramble and try to get off a good shot as time was expiring.  however, Shelvin fouled Gilbert Brown who received the inbound pass.  Brown hit the first free throw.  What happened next was one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen in a basketball game, and I thought Mack’s foul to send Gilbert Brown to the free throw line with .9 seconds left would never be topped.  Brown missed the second free throw and Matt Howard got the defensive rebound and was fouled!

Howard's 16 point sealed the deal for the 8 seeded Bulldogs in their upset of 1 seeded Pittsburgh

Howard hit the first free throw to make the score 71-70 and then went on to intentionally miss the second free throw.  Howard finished the game with 16 points and 6 rebounds. Butler upsets the #1 seed Pittsburgh and makes Pitt the 6th Big East team to be eliminated from the tournament.  I didn’t agree with the 11 Big East teams in the tournament and I think all who agree have reason to argue that kind of blasphemy.  Everybody wanted to talk about how tough the Big East was this year but yet they are currently 6-6 in the tournament. And all those who wanted to talk about how weak the Big Ten was needs to reconsider how they evaluate conferences.  The Big Ten is currently 5-2 with only 7 teams making the tournament this year.  I’ll admit that I had Pitt in my Final Four but I’ve never been so happy to be wrong in this situation.

It’s been an interesting tournament so far and I can’t wait for tomorrow’s second wave of games when my two favorite teams take to the court (Kansas and Purdue).  And for all who are wondering teams from Indiana are 5-1.  Indiana is the heart and soul of basketball!

1st Round Predictions!


I have a few thoughts on this Thursday’s match ups.  I think the nation will be shocked by what they will see and even more shocked by my predictions and upsets I have picked. All these games I have on my bracket (I only have one bracket. I hate people who have a billion brackets filled out.  Your bound to be successful in one pool if you fill out 10 brackets, amateurs).

East Region: 1st Round

The Sycamores have the ability to shoot lights out from behind the arc. Don't be surprised if they pull off the 1st round upset

  • Obviously I have Ohio State advancing.
  • George Mason/Villanova is a tough pick but I’m going with George Mason
  • West Virginia over the play team (Clemson/UAB)
  • Kentucky over Princeton
  • I have Xavier over Marquette
  • Indiana St. over Syracuse ( I know I’m crazy but, I have a feeling ISU will shoot well against the zone. That’s  just me though)
  • Washington over Georgia big time
  • North Carolina over Long Island

West Region: 1st Round

Oakland has shown their ability to put up points in bunches. Look for the high scoring Golden Grizzlies to show up the low scoring Longhorns of Texas

  • Duke over Hampton, of course
  • Michigan over The Vols
  • Arizona over Memphis
  • Oakland > Texas.  Call me crazy but Texas has been struggling to score and the boys from Oakland have experience and can put points on the board. They put up 100+ twice this season including once in their conference tourney
  • Mizzou bests Cincy
  • Uconn pounds Bucknell
  • Penn St pulls out the shocker
  • San Diego State gets past Northern Colorado

Southwest Region: 1st Round

Kelsey Barlow has been suspended for the remainder of the season. His lockdown D could be missed in the backcourt when Lewis Jackson needs a breather

  • Kansas over Boston (Kansas has a crappy track record against teams that start with “B”. Does Bucknell or Bradley ring a bell?) However, I think the Jayhawks have this one
  • Illinois over UNLV
  • Vandy over Richmond, this was a tough one to pick too
  • Louisville > Morehead St. Gotta love the in state match up though!
  • Georgetown over play in (USC/VCU)
  • Purdue over St. Peter’s (Although losing Kelsey Barlow for the season hurts I think Purdue has enough guard depth, offensively, to still make a run)
  • Texas A&M over Florida St. I have no clue on this one. Simply went with the higher seed on this one
  • Notre Dame over Akron

Southeast Region: 1st Round

The Aggies won 30 games this season. Look for them to come out confident against the inconsistent kansas State Wildcats

  • Pitt over NC-Ashville
  • Butler ousts Old Dominion
  • Utah St pulls out a thriller against Kansas St ( I don’t care who you play you don’t win 30 games by accident.  I see Utah St. shocking the nation only in the new 2nd round, field of 64)
  • Wisconsin over Belmont. Bo Ryan will have his guys ready to go
  • St. John’s I feel will clobber Gonzaga
  • BYU escapes a close one against Wofford
  • Michigan State surprises everybody by actually showing up to play and beating UCLA
  • Florida wins it’s only game of the tournament against UC-Santa Barbara

I’ve mentioned in a reply to a comment that I’ve received that I’m unhappy and strongly disagree with some of the seedings.  Some of the match ups will be interesting and I see a lot of potential upsets.  The above mentioned upsets may sound ridiculous but how many people picked George Mason to make the run they made a few years back? They may be unlikely and I realize this.  However, anything can happen and if I call these games correctly I look like a genius and if not who really cares. I could care less either way.

I would like to hear all of your thoughts and points of views.  Especially if you think some different upsets may happen I’d be very interested in hearing your reasons of why.  Leave a comment and let everyone else know your opinion.

Thanks everybody for reading!

Ohio State Makes the Cut


If you’ve been following my blog the past few days you’ll know that I’m on a streak of writing about an episode of College Basketball Final.  They ran through the 5 teams that have met the criteria of a championship caliber team.  These 5 teams are the Duke Blue Devils, Pittsburgh Panthers, Kansas Jayhawks, Ohio State Buckeyes, and the Purdue Boilermakers.  In this post you’ve probably already guessed that I’ll be writing about Ohio State given the title.  First I’ll review the criteria that has been met the past 10 Mens College Basketball National Champions.

  1. Teams have had win streaks of at least 10 games during the season
  2. Teams average MoV(margin of victory) is at least 10 points per game
  3. Teams must have been ranked in the preseason top 10

As you may also have guessed Ohio State met all three of these criteria making them 1 of 5 that have the best shot of winning the National Championship.

Ohio St.’s preseason ranking: 5 (As I mentioned before from the numbers I have Pittsburgh was also ranked 5th in the preseason)

Ohio St.’s MoV: 19.7

Ohio St.’s Record: 28-2 (15-2 Big Ten)

Ohio St.’s RPI: 2

I would be an idiot to say Ohio State isn’t a good team (although I did say that before they got into conference play. I was obviously wrong).  In fact I think they’ll get to the Championship Game.  One reason is the simple and undeniable fact that Jared Sullinger gets away with tons of fouls on the offensive end of the floor.  I haven’t watched a guy get away so many hooks (hooking your elbow around your defender giving you leverage as you push the defender clear of your desired path).  If for some reason the referees decide to start making that call I think Ohio State will face some bumps in the road.  Do I still think they’ll make it to the Championship game? Yes, I do.  That’s just my knock against the NCAA/Big Ten referees not making the right calls.  Sullinger is a very talented athlete and plays with an extremely gifted supporting cast.

The Buckeyes high five after a foul and a bucket

Thad Matta is also a very intelligent coach.  Ohio State only has 2 losses this season, #14 Wisconsin and #11 Purdue (All three of these teams are currently ranked in the top 10; OSU=1, Purdue=6, Wisconsin=10).  I do not blame either loss on Ohio State, both games were on the road.  Not many teams can go into the Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin and pull off a win.  Playing Purdue in Mackey Arena is one of the toughest things to do as well, Purdue and Wisconsin both went undefeated at home this year too.

Ohio State currently ranks 20th in the nation in scoring (77.4ppg), 19th in assists/game (16.2), 3rd in Field Goal % (.495), and 216th in rebounds/game (34.1).  Some might look at the 216th in rebounds but look at how many they average.  34 boards a game isn’t too bad, it’s actually pretty good.  As of right now I have Ohio State losing to Kansas in the Title Game.


The Pittsburgh Panthers is another team that meets the criteria of a National Championship team.  You should know the criteria by now but if you don’t no worries. I’ll tell what they are right now:

  1. Team must have at least a 10 game win streak at some point during the season.
  2. Team’s victories must average double digit margin.  +10 points/victory
  3. Team must have been ranked in the preseason top 10

Pitt’s Preseason rank: 5 (I ran into a problem with this.  From the information I have Ohio State is said to have also been preseason ranked #5.  If anyone can help me out with this that would be great.)

Pitt’ MoV: 16.4

Pitt’s record: 26-4 (14-3 Big East)

RPI: 7

I’m not going to act like I know a whole bunch about the Panthers.  I do know that all of their losses are against tough opponents (Tennessee, Notre Dame, St. John’s, and Louisville).  All of those teams are/were ranked at some point this season.  They say that the Big East Conference is the toughest basketball conference this year, that could be true and I will not refute that claim here. I have not had the time to look at each team individually and their RPI’s and key wins/losses but I’m flabbergasted that the Big East might get 11 teams in the tournament.  I will thoroughly enjoy watching the Big East get knocked off fairly quickly in the first two rounds, and of course with that many teams in the tournament somebody has got to get past the Elite 8 and I’m confidently positive that Pittsburgh is the Big East team that has the best shot at making the Final Four.  Some might say well that’s easy to call.  No kidding.  I think the Big East has so many teams eligible and ranked because other big time conferences are down (mainly the ACC).  But, Pitt’s season team stats are very impressive considering the “level” of competition they supposedly play.  They rank in the top 50 in the nation in the following categories; Points per game, Assists per game, Rebounds per game, and team Field Goal % (46th, 7th, 3rd, 23rd respectively).  I’m not a math major but that’s incredible!

Like I said, I do not know very much about Pitt even though I wish I did.  The numbers only sometimes lie and with their numbers I can see them making it to the Final Four.  But, just like any other team they could be upset.  Which keeps the game and especially the tournament exciting!

If you know more about Pitt please fill free to leave comments about them and your opinions on how far they will go in the upcoming March Madness Tournament.


Some of you may think my posts are very sporadic and inconsistent. I would have to agree wholeheartedly.  Please keep in mind that I’m busy with classes, work, working out, and random shenanigans that college students find themselves partaking in throughout the week.  I’ll reiterate that I do watch a lot of college basketball when I can and usually only write about stories/issues/players/or teams that catch my interest at any given moment.  This next post was inspired by College Basketball Final on ESPN that I was watching during the early hours of March 3, 2011.  It was around 1AM in the morning and I was folding my laundry about to pass out at any second.  Then out of nowhere they started talking about the criteria a National Champion must meet.  According to College Basketball Final the past 10 or so championships have met these requirements/criteria.

Many of you may be wondering to yourself, what could the criteria be needed to win a National Championship????? Well I’ll tell you.  1) Must have at least a 10 game win streak at some point during the season.  2) Margin of Victory must is in the double digits {+10}.  and 3) Must have been ranked in the preseason top 10.  Only 5 teams made the cut.  The 5 teams that have the best shot at winning the National Championship, according to College Basketball Final, are Duke, Pittsburgh, Kansas, Ohio State, and Purdue.  When Jay Williams (former Duke point guard and National Champion) was asked who he thought was going to be cutting down the nets in April he responded, “I’m going with the Boilermakers”.

 

I’m not necessarily sure I agree with Jay Williams but I like his answer a whole bunch.  He also gave some pretty good reasons as to why Purdue has a good shot at winning the title.  As a Purdue fan I really hope he’s right. But, as you all know predictions and whatnot are only that.  Each team has a shot if they make the field of 68.  I’ve done my homework and have compiled the most accurate up to date stats for the 5 teams that I could find.  I’m going to be posting my thoughts and findings on each team separately so keep you eyes open and please post some feedback on what you think as well.

Thank you all for reading!