Pitt 51 WVU 70

image from cbssports.com

Game Recap

Watching the highlights on ESPN and reading a few headlines, it seems like the theme for the game is that WVU won a game last night where tempers flared.  Well, I’m not sure that I really agree with that.  The fan’s tempers flared, but I didn’t see much on the court.  There was the one play that halted the game for a while, but that was more guys tripping over each other than anything.  And the actual game was no more physical than a lot of games I’ve watched in the Big East.  Emotional, yes.  Overly physical with tempers?  Not so much.  The actual game itself was a little more complex.  Pitt was right in it until about 8 minutes left when they just lost their shot.  I have no idea what happened there.  I didn’t see a defensive switch by the Mountaineer or anything else that would explain it.  Unfortunately, the cold shooting really did in Pitt because the other aspects of the game were all going to WVU.  If the Panthers would have won this game, it would have been a steal.  But they didn’t win, and they didn’t really deserve to, either.  Some other thoughts:

  • I’ve never seen Gary McGhee look so bad with layups.  Honest to goodness.  He was 3 for 11 shooting without taking a shot from outside 3 feet.  My theory is that he was juiced with adrenaline coming in, threw a few over the rim, and was trying to compensate and find his touch for the rest of the game.  But that’s just a theory.  I’m not in his head.
  • I think the biggest reason Pitt lost was the lack of rebounding.  Yeah, there was a big rebounding deficit overall, but to get a clearer picture of the problem you just have to look at the offensive rebounds the Panthers allowed: 17.  WVU is a good rebounding team, and they’re especially good on the offensive glass, but 17 is ridiculous.  This has got to stop or Pitt’s going to struggle to win every single game from now on.
  • WVU shot better from beyond the arc than they did from inside.  I have a feeling its because most of those were wide open attempts.  It’s not a pattern yet, but it’s something to keep an eye on.
  • Lots of people have weighed in on this, but the WVU fan behavior was inexcusable.  The student swearing is bad, but not the worst thing ever.  Pitt’s gone through the same troubles as does just about every school in the country with a student section.  But throwing things just can’t happen.  Ever.  What’s worse is this is not the first time this has happened from WVU fans, and it doesn’t seem to get better.  Both the fans and the administration have to do a better job of creating an atmosphere where that’s not tolerated.  I know you want to make the arena intimidating, but take it from a Pitt fan who has watched a game in Morgantown: the Colosseum (and Mountaineer Field.  I’ve been there too) is already intimidating because its filled with real down to earth people that aren’t afraid to cheer and make noise.  You don’t have to make it a dangerous place to be intimidating.
  • J.J. Richardson played fairly well considering the circumstances.  He got a lot more minutes than Dante Taylor who looked lost out there again.  I’m wondering if he’s starting to overtake him on the depth chart.
  • Anyone still think Gilbert Brown should start ahead of Nasir Robinson?

I guess the thing to remember is that it was a great team across the court (#6 in the country, remember?) and the Panthers hung tough for a while.  They had some spurts of doing the right thing, so I know they’re capable.  Pitt just needs to gain some consistency, which is not surprising considering how young they are.  The only real consistent problems with this team are the reliance on shooters and the lack of rebounding (both are fairly big problems, I know).  Who knows, if Richardson keeps bouncing up the depth chart, maybe he can bring a little bit of a solution to both problems.  Until then, I guess Pitt fans just have to cross their fingers and hope that this team has some more great shooting nights (a la Syracuse) and gets enough wins to get a tournament spot.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Pitt 51 WVU 70

  1. I’m from Pittsburgh, but I go to school at WVU. Let me agree with you, I am embarrassed of our fans. I was not at the game, but I did however watch it on TV. The last few games that I have witnessed, the fans have been a mess.

    The swearing should be kept to a minimum. WVU students should take into account that even though, yeah it is their (our) school, there are little kids from the Morgantown and surrounding area that should not be exposed to such words. The occasional “asshole” chant, that’s whatever. It’s everything else that is appalling. Seriously, little kids look up to older (college) kids and WVU is not setting a good example.

    Also, the debris being thrown at players/coaches. That should never happen. I don’t care what sport it is, it should never happen.

    I feel WVU students are slowly becoming the Philadelphia Flyers fans of college sports and have the potential to be even worse than their NHL predecessors.

  2. sportsnat

    Totally agree.

    The swearing is a problem, but the thing you have to stop first is the throwing of objects. It’s an easy fix, too. Just start pointing people out if they’re in your section. If people know they can’t get away with it, they won’t do it.

    If you want to get rid of the swearing, it’s a little more complex. Pitt used to have a bit of a problem with this in the Oakland Zoo and it really came to a head in a game against Notre Dame a few years ago. From what I can tell, Pitt did two things right to tone things down. First, they implemented a student ticket system where people who have shown up to past games get first dibs on future ones. This means that the people who bother to show up for New Hampshire in November also get to go to UConn in February. It was started because of complaints by students who showed up to all the games in the preseason and then couldn’t get in for the marquee games, but I think it had a positive outcome for the behavior of the students. The people who start those obscene chants are usually the guys that are just there for the big games where ESPN is there and they can brag about it the next day. If you can weed those bad eggs out a little bit, it goes a long way. The other thing Pitt did was to establish an Oakland Zoo president who gets some benefits (I’m not positive, but I think they get some away game tickets and the ear of some people in the athletics department), but they also are held responsible for the Zoo. If there’s an obscene chant, it’s their butts on the line. Being told to shut up by a fellow student instead of some guy in a suit makes a big difference. It’s still not perfect, but those changes seem to have made it a whole lot better.

    I’m not sure exactly how the Mountaineer Maniacs work, but those are just a few ideas. I’m assuming that you’ve got more info on what’s been tried before down in Morgantown, but I’d be interested to hear it.

  3. Those are definitely some interesting options.

    I’m not entirely sure what they are trying to do down here to fix the problems (I don’t get to go to many games because of schoolwork). The way our ticketing system works is literally just first-come-first-serve. Show up at the Colosseum with a swipe-able WVU Student ID and you are in. There are no benefits to those whom constantly show up at games.

    I did notice last night, while watching the game on TV, that the President of WVU and his wife were in attendance for the sole reason of keeping the students in check. My dad watched more of the game than I did. He told me today that because the Prez was in attendance there were hardly any peeps from the student section (in lieu of dirty chants and rowdiness). Apparently “we” were relatively mannered.

    Side note: My Brit Lit 2 professor is apparently heading the “Student Section Cheering Committee” or some business like that through the school. Her whole goal is to come up with cleaner cheers, with input from students, for the student section (this all came to light after the Notre Dame game. I consider that to be the true beginning of the downfall).

    I’ll try to run some ideas by her way. If you have any ideas I’ll be sure to send them up the ladder as well.

  4. sportsnat

    Yeah. I’d say getting a loyalty system in place would help things a lot. But having the president show up will also get the job done. I noticed that the Maniacs were a lot more well behaved at the ‘Nova game. Maybe a getting a dialogue going about this was all that needed to happen.

    Oh, and my condolences for having to take Brit Lit. I’m guessing it’s not a real fun class. I read Beowulf (never saw the movie, though), The Canterbury Tales and Paradise Lost and I have no interest in delving any deeper. But by the fact that you’re taking Brit Lit 2, I’m guessing you’re probably an English major who enjoys the stuff, so more power to you.

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