Thoughts on Pitt from Reader SlicenDice112 (Write your own Fanpost over to the right)
If Jamie Dixon doesn’t switch it up on both offense and defense, Pitt is in trouble this year. What has made Pitt so good throughout the years is the fact that they don’t need to score 80 points to be in a game. They would hold teams to the 60 point range through solid defense and dominating the glass. In order for Pitt to get a top 3 seed in the NCAA tournament this year, I think they need to make the following changes:
Defense: Their starting lineup right now is 4 guys under 6’6" and no Dejuan Blair, Aaron Gray or Gary Mcghee underneath to compensate. Since we don’t have a monster in the middle this year, we need more size to be more effective on defense and dominate the glass. We can’t start Travon Woodall at the 1 and Nasir Robinson at the 4, that’s way too small. We need to start Talib Zanna (or maybe Malcolm Gilbert – I haven’t really seen him but hear good things) at the 5, move Dante Taylor to the 4, Robinson to the 3 and Lamar Patterson to the 2, to give us more size and rebounding. Bring Woodall off the bench. Is this our best offensive team, no, but we have the size and quickness to lockdown on defense and control the boards. Plus bringing Woodall off the bench will give us a veteran spark to complement/spell Gibbs. Last year, Robinson could start at the 4 because you had Mcghee at center, Gilbert Brown (6’6") at small forward and Brad Wannamaker (6’4") at the 2. Brown and Wannamaker were insane athletes, something Patterson and Gibbs aren’t.
Offense: A byproduct of the above lineup will be less threes and more quality possessions. Ashton Gibbs is one of the best players in the country. But that doesn’t mean that the best possession is throwing one pass to Gibbs off that down screen and letting him create his own shot, or pass it around the perimeter with Woodall. Even if it does go in, it takes everyone else out of the game, doesn’t make the other team work on defense, doesn’t draw fouls and leads to long rebounds if they miss. The motion offense Pitt has run for years, gets everyone a touch, makes the other team play defense and we still get a great look at the end. By making Ashton bring up the ball as opposed to Woodall, we are forcing him to initiate the offense and then get the ball back only after it goes through the progression. Additionally, give Taylor the ball in the post. We need to develop a post game or at least have people respect it. Whether or not he is going to live up to his Mcdonalds reputation, at least give him a chance. We don’t even look to get the ball in the post and it’s only a matter of time before he becomes totally uninterested on the other end. If you feed this dude and show him that you trust him to kick it back out or take it to the rack, his energy on the other end will rise.
We have a ton of talent and we are young, but it would be unfortunate if we end up being that team that starts off in the top 10 and goes to the NIT. Gibbs is great, but great players aren’t what got us to where we are. Good players playing as a great team. Now we have great players who need to play the same way, and we could go extremely far.