Pitt has to really get in gear not only playing defense in the paint but for them to make an impact in the tournament their “perimeter” defense has to become better. Currently the Panthers have dropped out of the top 25 and barring a miracle out of the 15 teams in the ACC they, (Pitt) will not be higher than a 5th seed in the tournament.
Who says so? Dr. “Bruce for Juice” dats who. Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon had these comments about the close win. “Notre Dame’s shooting was great, but we withstood their barrage. It says a lot about our guys. It was a great character game for us, to just keep battling, keep fighting. But for us, it is always about rebounding and often when we haven’t, we have fallen short.When you play a team that has shooters, you have got to hurt them in other ways and that is what we did. You always love seeing good rebounding numbers because it is such an effort stat and that’s why we’re so good at it. It is something we have emphasized.”
This was not a character win. This was a lucky win for Pitt. It seems to me if you are controlling the inside and have the advantage you have to protect the outside because that is the only place that your opponent has to go. At the time this column was written the four teams that were ahead of Pitt in the ACC were; North Carolina 22-7, Duke, 23-6, Syracuse, 26-3 and Virginia 25-5.
The “balanced” Syracuse Orange have the personnel and the coaching not only to win the ACC tournament but to win the NCAA tournament as well. Right now the University of Pittsburgh Men’s basketball squad are on a tight wire their departing platform is ice and their destination platform is fire. “March Madness” is a circus game with you and me.
What is a character win? Character has to be exhibited from top to bottom because if it isn’t everyone will be walking on a tight wire. The window for Jamie Dixon to win the “big one” is closing albeit ever so slowly, but a coach, any coach that does not hoist the championship trophy over their head at least just once may be dying a slow death and taking a program with him.
Whether Pitt is in ACC, the Big East, or the Atlantic 10; playing “musical conferences” is not going to hide the fact that Pitt has sprained their ankle time after time when it comes to doing a “victory dance.”
(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-583-6741.)