What Pitt can do to avoid an upset in the tournament
I have to say, watching the Pitt lose to ND the other night was like being water tortured. It was slow, painful, and in the end, it just was plain horrible. I know most people will look at that final score and say “at least Pitt played good defense”. They didn’t. Not in the first half at least where ND consistently ran time off of the clock and then found an open man for a jumper or dunk. Notre Dame has taken to this new “burn” offense where they burn time off of the clock and then initiate offense with 10 to 15 seconds left on the shot clock. However, this post is about what Pitt can do to avoid a horrible performance like this in the tournament.
Ashton Gibbs: He won the Big East’s Most Improved Player award. He’s an assassin from deep and is capable of making any shot inside of half court. Just look at the video of him beating Providence from beyond NBA 3 point land. His most glaring stat of the ND game: 2-4, as in only 4 shots taken the entire game. In fact I don’t even know if he took a single shot in the second half. Jamie Dixon needs to run plays for him. He’s the best weapon they have, use him.
Jermaine Dixon: What a perplexing basketball player. Dixon does not have the stroke of older brother Juan. He seemingly gets to the rim at will whenever he drives to the hoop. However, for some unknown reason, he’s always taking jumpers. He shot 3 airballs against Notre Dame and finished a horrible 4-12 from the field. He’s a lockdown defender so this is a player you simply cannot take off the court, but he should be looking to take it to the hole every time he gets the ball.
Brad Wanamaker: This was a typical game for him. Scores in double figures, dishes out a few assists. As long as he plays within himself, he’ll be fine.
Gilbert Brown: Yes, he seems to dominate one game to only seem to shrink in the spotlight in the next game. This is the type of uneven performance that will get a team upset in the big dance. Having never found a rhythm from game to game is why he sits while Nasir Robinson starts.
Gary McGhee: I felt watching this game like it was last year all over again. McGhee has improved exponentially this year. He can rebound, block shots, and even throw one down on occasion. However, he couldn’t catch a ball to save his life. He let rebounds and entry passes slip through his fingers on multiple occasions. Needs to play solid defense and patrol the paint if this team has a chance to win.
Dante Taylor: He’s not a key cog in the lineup. Funny thing was, this McDonalds All-American was supposed to come in and dominate the paint from day one. He has looked lost most of the year but recently has seemed to find a bit of a groove. His main issue is his youth. Multiple times he got caught in a switch that allowed Luke Harangody, who is a beast, to have the ball in the post, backing down one of Pitt’s guards. If he cannot play smarter than this, he shouldn’t be on the floor.
This loss could possibly have cost Pitt a 3 seed which is important because if they get a 4 instead, they will potentially have to play a 1 seed in the Sweet 16, if they get there.