COLUMN: Pitt's worrisome 4-3 start

Looking at Pitt's current problems and where the Panthers need to improve after their first seven games.

The Pitt Panthers fell behind as much as 20 points to the Indiana Hoosiers Tuesday night but trailed by 12 with about three minutes remaining in the second half. Pitt was on a 11-3 run and appeared poised to cut the deficit to 10 as James Robinson led a fast break up the floor.

Pitt didn’t get a chance to come any closer as Indiana guard Yogi Ferrell, the only player in Robinson’s way, jumped his hesitation move for a steal that led to a dunk for James Blackmon Jr. The play deflated any chance of a comeback and effectively ended the game as the Hoosiers won 81-69, dropping Pitt to 4-3 on the season.

Ferrell’s steal was indicative of the way Tuesday’s game went for Pitt. Anytime the Panthers seemed like they were on the verge of taking some sort of control or making a comeback, it didn’t happen from plays like Robinson’s late turnover to missed lay-ups.

Seven games in, that’s how this season has gone for Pitt. For good game the Panthers have played, they’ve followed it up with a subpar performance.

“We’re kind of unpredictable right now,” forward Mike Young said. “One day we’re good, one day we’re not.”

Unpredictable might not be the best word to describe Pitt right now, but maybe inconsistent.

The 12-point final margin doesn’t do justice to how poorly the Panthers played Tuesday. They didn’t hit open shots, shooting 7-for-26 on 3-pointers, and missed 16 lay-ups.

Those missed lay-ups contributed to (but also wasted) Pitt’s rebounding effort as the Panthers out-rebounded Indiana 44-36, an advantage bolstered by 25 offensive rebounds.

“To get 25 offensive rebounds and get 14 second-chance points is really an unbelievably low percentage,” head coach Jamie Dixon said. “We didn’t finish well when we did get those offensive rebounds, which is hard to understand.”

Pitt shot 13-for-36 in each half, finishing the game 26-of-72 for a 36.1 percent rate of fire. Pitt couldn’t execute effective offense against Indiana’s zone, a rarity for a Pitt team.

Chris Jones, who scored a game-high 18 points mostly due to a scoring flurry late in the first half, said Pitt’s guards weren’t good enough at penetrating.

“I think that starts out front and I’ll start by saying that was partly my fault,” Jones said. “We did a poor job, us guards, of getting in the lane.”

The defense was equally as bad, if not worse, allowing Indiana to shoot 54.1 percent from the field as the Hoosiers penetrated at will on seemingly each offensive possession.

Dixon thought his team allowed its poor offense to carry into the defensive half of the floor, something which concerns the head coach whose teams usually base their identities around defense and rebounding.

“When our offense isn’t going well,” he said, “it doesn’t seem we have the belief in our defense to get it done.”

Indiana’s 54.1 percent shooting clip marked the fourth time in five games the Panthers allowed their opposition to shoot over 50 percent from the field. As head coach Jamie Dixon aspires for his team to hold the opposition below 40 percent, Pitt’s defense has been alarmingly bad.

Cameron Wright will return to Pitt’s lineup soon and he should help the defense, and might even give Pitt one of the conference’s best defensive guard duos between himself and James Robinson. But he won’t single-handedly win any more games for the Panthers than they normally would.

That defense allowed Indiana to get to the basket whenever it wanted Tuesday, some of which Dixon chalked up to players not getting back on defense or just flat out being beaten by their man.

“There were some which were hard to believe,” Dixon said. “We were in position, we’re there and they still were able to turn the corner on us and that makes you wonder where our deficiencies lie.”

For Pitt’s sake, Dixon must figure out where they’re at whether on defense or offense.

Young called back to the issue of letting offense affect the team’s defense and implied players might not be giving their all at all times.

“Make a shot, miss a shot, whatever the case may be,” Young said. “We just have to play hard all the time.”

If players aren’t playing hard, that would be a good place for Dixon and the Panthers to start mending the wounds they’ve suffered early this season.


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The Pitt Panthers fell behind as much as 20 points to the Indiana Hoosiers Tuesday night but trailed by 12 with about three minutes remaining in the second half. Pitt was on a 11-3 run and appeared poised to cut the deficit to 10 as James Robinson led a fast break up the floor.

\r\n

Pitt didn’t get a chance to come any closer as Indiana guard Yogi Ferrell, the only player in Robinson’s way, jumped his hesitation move for a steal that led to a dunk for James Blackmon Jr. The play deflated any chance of a comeback and effectively ended the game as the Hoosiers won 81-69, dropping Pitt to 4-3 on the season.

\r\n

Ferrell’s steal was indicative of the way Tuesday’s game went for Pitt. Anytime the Panthers seemed like they were on the verge of taking some sort of control or making a comeback, it didn’t happen from plays like Robinson’s late turnover to missed lay-ups.

\r\n

Seven games in, that’s how this season has gone for Pitt. For good game the Panthers have played, they’ve followed it up with a subpar performance.

\r\n

“We’re kind of unpredictable right now,” forward Mike Young said. “One day we’re good, one day we’re not.”

\r\n

Unpredictable might not be the best word to describe Pitt right now, but maybe inconsistent.\r\n

The 12-point final margin doesn’t do justice to how poorly the Panthers played Tuesday. They didn’t hit open shots, shooting 7-for-26 on 3-pointers, and missed 16 lay-ups.

\r\n

Those missed lay-ups contributed to (but also wasted) Pitt’s rebounding effort as the Panthers out-rebounded Indiana 44-36, an advantage bolstered by 25 offensive rebounds.

\r\n

“To get 25 offensive rebounds and get 14 second-chance points is really an unbelievably low percentage,” head coach Jamie Dixon said. “We didn’t finish well when we did get those offensive rebounds, which is hard to understand.”

\r\n

Pitt shot 13-for-36 in each half, finishing the game 26-of-72 for a 36.1 percent rate of fire. Pitt couldn’t execute effective offense against Indiana’s zone, a rarity for a Pitt team.

\r\n

Chris Jones, who scored a game-high 18 points mostly due to a scoring flurry late in the first half, said Pitt’s guards weren’t good enough at penetrating.

\r\n

“I think that starts out front and I’ll start by saying that was partly my fault,” Jones said. “We did a poor job, us guards, of getting in the lane.”

\r\n

The defense was equally as bad, if not worse, allowing Indiana to shoot 54.1 percent from the field as the Hoosiers penetrated at will on seemingly each offensive possession.

\r\n

Dixon thought his team allowed its poor offense to carry into the defensive half of the floor, something which concerns the head coach whose teams usually base their identities around defense and rebounding.

\r\n

“When our offense isn’t going well,” he said, “it doesn’t seem we have the belief in our defense to get it done.”

\r\n

Indiana’s 54.1 percent shooting clip marked the fourth time in five games the Panthers allowed their opposition to shoot over 50 percent from the field. As head coach Jamie Dixon aspires for his team to hold the opposition below 40 percent, Pitt’s defense has been alarmingly bad.

\r\n

Cameron Wright will return to Pitt’s lineup soon and he should help the defense, and might even give Pitt one of the conference’s best defensive guard duos between himself and James Robinson. But he won’t single-handedly win any more games for the Panthers than they normally would.

\r\n

That defense allowed Indiana to get to the basket whenever it wanted Tuesday, some of which Dixon chalked up to players not getting back on defense or just flat out being beaten by their man.

\r\n

“There were some which were hard to believe,” Dixon said. “We were in position, we’re there and they still were able to turn the corner on us and that makes you wonder where our deficiencies lie.”

\r\n

For Pitt’s sake, Dixon must figure out where they’re at whether on defense or offense.\r\n

Young called back to the issue of letting offense affect the team’s defense and implied players might not be giving their all at all times.

\r\n

“Make a shot, miss a shot, whatever the case may be,” Young said. “We just have to play hard all the time.”

\r\n

If players aren’t playing hard, that would be a good place for Dixon and the Panthers to start mending the wounds they’ve suffered early this season.

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The Pitt Panthers fell behind as much as 20 points to the Indiana Hoosiers Tuesday night but trailed by 12 with about three minutes remaining in the second half. Pitt was on a 11-3 run and appeared poised to cut the deficit to 10 as James Robinson led a fast break up the floor.

Pitt didn’t get a chance to come any closer as Indiana guard Yogi Ferrell, the only player in Robinson’s way, jumped his hesitation move for a steal that led to a dunk for James Blackmon Jr. The play deflated any chance of a comeback and effectively ended the game as the Hoosiers won 81-69, dropping Pitt to 4-3 on the season.

Ferrell’s steal was indicative of the way Tuesday’s game went for Pitt. Anytime the Panthers seemed like they were on the verge of taking some sort of control or making a comeback, it didn’t happen from plays like Robinson’s late turnover to missed lay-ups.

Seven games in, that’s how this season has gone for Pitt. For good game the Panthers have played, they’ve followed it up with a subpar performance.

“We’re kind of unpredictable right now,” forward Mike Young said. “One day we’re good, one day we’re not.”

Unpredictable might not be the best word to describe Pitt right now, but maybe inconsistent.

The 12-point final margin doesn’t do justice to how poorly the Panthers played Tuesday. They didn’t hit open shots, shooting 7-for-26 on 3-pointers, and missed 16 lay-ups.

Those missed lay-ups contributed to (but also wasted) Pitt’s rebounding effort as the Panthers out-rebounded Indiana 44-36, an advantage bolstered by 25 offensive rebounds.

“To get 25 offensive rebounds and get 14 second-chance points is really an unbelievably low percentage,” head coach Jamie Dixon said. “We didn’t finish well when we did get those offensive rebounds, which is hard to understand.”

Pitt shot 13-for-36 in each half, finishing the game 26-of-72 for a 36.1 percent rate of fire. Pitt couldn’t execute effective offense against Indiana’s zone, a rarity for a Pitt team.

Chris Jones, who scored a game-high 18 points mostly due to a scoring flurry late in the first half, said Pitt’s guards weren’t good enough at penetrating.

“I think that starts out front and I’ll start by saying that was partly my fault,” Jones said. “We did a poor job, us guards, of getting in the lane.”

The defense was equally as bad, if not worse, allowing Indiana to shoot 54.1 percent from the field as the Hoosiers penetrated at will on seemingly each offensive possession.

Dixon thought his team allowed its poor offense to carry into the defensive half of the floor, something which concerns the head coach whose teams usually base their identities around defense and rebounding.

“When our offense isn’t going well,” he said, “it doesn’t seem we have the belief in our defense to get it done.”

Indiana’s 54.1 percent shooting clip marked the fourth time in five games the Panthers allowed their opposition to shoot over 50 percent from the field. As head coach Jamie Dixon aspires for his team to hold the opposition below 40 percent, Pitt’s defense has been alarmingly bad.

Cameron Wright will return to Pitt’s lineup soon and he should help the defense, and might even give Pitt one of the conference’s best defensive guard duos between himself and James Robinson. But he won’t single-handedly win any more games for the Panthers than they normally would.

That defense allowed Indiana to get to the basket whenever it wanted Tuesday, some of which Dixon chalked up to players not getting back on defense or just flat out being beaten by their man.

“There were some which were hard to believe,” Dixon said. “We were in position, we’re there and they still were able to turn the corner on us and that makes you wonder where our deficiencies lie.”

For Pitt’s sake, Dixon must figure out where they’re at whether on defense or offense.

Young called back to the issue of letting offense affect the team’s defense and implied players might not be giving their all at all times.

“Make a shot, miss a shot, whatever the case may be,” Young said. “We just have to play hard all the time.”

If players aren’t playing hard, that would be a good place for Dixon and the Panthers to start mending the wounds they’ve suffered early this season.

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