Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Backyard Blowout

What a W by Pitt over their archrivals, the West Virginia Mountaineers. The game was close for a long time, but as the second half progressed, the Panthers just blew the doors off of West Virginia 79-67, who just couldn't hang with Pitt's depth, strength, size, speed, and skill. It got so bad that Tiesi and Frye were playing at the end. Obviously a pretty one-sided finish. I love whooping up on the Hoopies. They have that annoying little brother, inferiority complex going when it comes to Pitt. They relish any chance they can get to rub even minor victories in Pitt's face and any time someone even mentions Pitt to a WV fan they start flipping out and yelling "Eat Shit Pitt" and other nonsense like that, completely unprovoked. It's crazy how desperate they are to appear better than Pitt, even though everyone knows they aren't.

Anywho, some thoughts from the game:

-You could tell this game was in West Virginia. Multiple commercials pertained to back-woodsy things like mining, trees, agriculture, coal power, insurance for laborers (specifically truckers), and in-breeding. And I only made up 1 of those things. There were also countless WVU commercials that looked as though a high school A/V Club had produced them.

-The lighting in that dump they call an arena makes it look like you're watching a game in a high school gym where half the lights are burnt out. Then again, it is West Virginia, I guess I shouldn'tbe surprised.

-WVU student section is seriously weak. I mean, they went with the obvious "Ta-ser" chant at Levance, and I can't blame them for that, but it sounded like about 20 people were chanting it. Really, that's the best you can do against your arch-rival? I didn't hear one "Eat shit Pitt" cheer and way too many "Let's Gooooooooo Mountaineers" chants. Try mixing things up guys, it makes things more exciting. They also had a few basically inaudible cheers mixed in there aimed at DeJuan Blair, but I couldn't quite pick up what they were saying, probably something dumb. What's the point of a cheer if no one can understand what you're saying? They are no Oakland Zoo. Also, when Pitt charged back in the first half to bring the game about even, you could've heard a pin drop in there. Even the announcers were commenting on it it was so bad. And the game was tied! I'm not even going to discuss how silent they were once Pitt pulled away.

-Speaking of their fans, I can't remember the last time I saw a fan get tossed out of a game by the refs, but it definitely happened in this one. The refs tossed some dumb hoopie student out of the section. Just hilarious.

-Very exciting to see the 13-9 Backyard Brawl of 2007 highlights! I think WVU fans the state over just simultaneously threw things at their 8 inch black-and-white antenna TV's. Don't forget Mountaineer fans to make the switch to digital. It's coming soon.

-It's evident how feared Levance Fields is when he's in the game. The WVU defense backed waaay off when he was in the game because they pretty much knew they weren't going to be able to force him into any turnovers. You don't notice until Gibbs or Wanamaker starts running the point and the pressure amps up how big the difference is.

-Pitt was streaky from the foul line. They made their first 6 free throws, 4 of which were from DeJuan, but then went back to typical Pitt shooting for a while before finishing well at 15/20 on the day. Still, its a bit frustrating at times and still very much an achilles heel for this team.

-A mess of a start for Sam Young turned into a great day. He picked up 2 fouls with just less than 7 minutes to go in the first half, and then, 7 seconds into the second half, gets called again for an absolute nonsense foul. Just total garbage call by the refs. Even the announcers based it. Not good. Sam came back in at the 15:54 mark and really didn't alter his play at all, strangely. He was still active on defense and nearly got called for a charge that ended up being a blocking foul. That would have been disastrous had it been called on Sam. The gamble may have paid off for Pitt, as Sam starts filling the basket and the Panthers got up too big on WVU and the Hoopies just couldn't get back in it after Sam started playing at his peak level with a 22 point night.

-Levance Fields is very comfortable shooting from inside the 3 point arc, something that you couldn't have said in years past. He finished with 13 points on the day and made 4 regulation field goals out of 6. I think that is the biggest reason for his increased scoring touch. The team is better if he's passing more than shooting, but when a guy like Sam goes out with foul issues, Levance can more than pick up the slack, and that is huge for this team. He also looks to have ironed out some of the earlier issues he had with free throw shooting.

-Another sloppy first half for Pitt. I don't get why this keeps happening, but the Panthers are definitely a second half team. Maybe it's their depth or their strength or their physicality or something like that, but Pitt is soooooo much better in the second half it's scary. It's gotten to the point that I'm expecting it nowadays. If Pitt's up or close at half time I am feeling pretty good about our chances (the Louisville game aside, of course). WVU looked absolutely exhausted at the end.

-Nas Robinson giving very high quality minutes right now. His athleticism is superb. I think he might be taking some minutes from Biggs, and is definitely the reason that Gary McGhee's playing time has absolutely vanished. Jamie would rather have Nas at the 4 and Biggsy at the 5 and go a little small than play the worthless McGhee. And frankly, I couldn't agree more with this philosophy. If they want to play a speed game, Robinson could be a superb weapon.

-Tyrell Biggs looked badly hurt late in the first half. Appeared to be an ankle thing. He ended up returning but didn't really do a whole lot after that injury. Let's hope he's okay and that this won't turn into a nagging thing.

-Jermaine Dixon was very quiet early, and I briefly fretted that maybe this was going to be a Jermaine Dixon of old performance, but he ended up playing very well in the second half, finishing with 11 points and was an excellent 3/5 from 3-point range, a nice thing to see from him.

-DeJuan Blair staying out of foul trouble was quite pleasant to see. He struggled a bit early with his shot, uncharacteristically missing some buniies, but he rebounded nicely as his physicality overwhelmed the Mountaineers eventually and finished with yet another double-double with a 16 and 11.

-That said, the rest of the team made some silly/ useless fouls. That kind of thing can't continue. Luckily, the Eers spent much of the game doing their best impersonation of Pitt from the foul line as they went just...

All in all, that was a nice win for the Panthers, as they have traditionally struggled mightily in the WVU Crapiseum. The Big Three were critical yet again for the Panthers, as they have been all season, and if these three are clicking on all cylinders, the Panthers will be a very tough team to beat no matter who they are playing.

1 comment:

Peter said...

First off, I love the Mountaineer bashing. I was really pumped by Sam's play yesterday after getting in foul trouble. I even read him admitting himself that he has been too dependent on taking 3's of late and just wanted to get inside and score yesterday. I hope we see more of that from him.