Some late-night thoughts before departing University of Dayton Arena…
*East Tennessee State might have been better than a No. 16 seed, but there is now way the Panthers should have allowed the game to be so close in the second half. East Tennessee State wanted to win that game more, which is so strange because all Pitt’s players have been saying since last year’s second-round loss to Michigan State was that they weren’t going to come out flat again in NCAA play. And they did!
*Jermaine Dixon might have played his worst game in a Pitt uniform. He only played 17 minutes because of foul trouble and ineffective play. It’s not an excuse, but he had an ice bag on his ankle in the locker room afterward. For what it’s worth he didn’t use the sprained ankle as an excuse for his play.
*Here’s a question that needs to be asked tomorrow: Why is Fields – the nation’s leader in assist-to-turnover ratio – not bringing the ball up the court against the press? It would seem to me that you would want your senior point guard with the ball in his hands instead of others who don’t handle the ball as much.
It might have something to do with Fields’ injured groin, but they’ve been employing this system of breaking the pres all season when Fields was healthy.
*Fields has 12 assists and seven turnovers in the past two games. He led the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio during the regular season (4:1).
*The 3-point shooting came around after a bad slump at the end of the season. The Panthers were 7 for 9 from behind the arc. Sam Young was 4 for 6 on 3-point attempts and Ashton Gibbs was 2 for 2.
*DeJuan Blair is the only reason Pitt won that game. Well, maybe not the only reason. Gibbs stepped up big. What does that tell you when a sophomore and a freshman in his first tournament game are the only ones playing inspired basketball?
*I know Young scored 14 points, shot 4 for 6 from 3-point range and had 13 rebounds, but it wasn’t his typical strong game. He did not make a shot from inside the 3-point arc and looked clueless against the press. Maybe that’s being too hard on him, but he has set a high bar to play that poorly in an NCAA game.
Check in tomorrow for more from Dayton