Well, after Pitt's loss, people are in full panic mode. Still, I've noticed a pretty disturbing trend on the talk shows and around the internet...
Pitt's players have become choke artists, apparently.
Really? This is what we're going with? The Post-Gazette's Dejan Kovacevic is among the latest to throw that term out there. I should preface this by saying that I was a big fan of Dejan's Pirates blog on the PG. He is a heck of a reporter and provided as much information as one man could possibly be expected to dig up. Plus, he really knows his baseball.
Still, he's wrong on this one.
A recent entry, 'Another Pitt Choke?,' was up on the site after Pitt's loss to UConn.
To start, I've got some issues with calling a bunch of kids choke artists. People forget these are actually kids. And regardless of what the law says, at 21, when you're still in school with primary of means of support coming from your parents, you're a kid. So for Dejan to use that term (even though it was tempered by the use of a question mark) was a bit disturbing...for me anyway.
And about that UConn game.
Pitt actually played fairly well. They shot 55% from the field. And while turnovers late in the game were critical, the team still only had a dozen of them in the game - that usually doesn't kill you. The Panthers also scored 74 points - the most they've scored in a month and a half. They weren't at their best, but please, let's not act as if Pitt played an awful game.
Dejan then makes the plea for more playing time for Travon Woodall and less for Gilbert Brown. This sounds like the ramblings of someone who's watched a handful of Pitt games this season and nothing more. Pitt isn't going anywhere without Gilbert Brown. Now, whether he actually plays consistent enough to help Pitt get to a Final Four is anybody's guess. But I know for a fact that Travon Woodall isn't going to lead Pitt there. Woodall's a good backup guard and could even start for some teams, but to say that he's more important to Pitt's success is really a reach.
Woodall shoots only 37% from the field and under 30% from three-point range. Those are, at best, bad numbers, and at worst, awful. No team in the hunt for a championship can have a guard shooting that poorly in a major role. Brown, meanwhile, shoots over 45% from the field and 40% from three-point range.
Plus, Gil has infinitely more NCAA tournament experience than Woodall and played a pretty decent role in Pitt's 2008-09 Elite Eight run. And let's not forget the fact that Gil has, at least at times, showed the ability to carry the team on his back (including a 20-point game on the road against a good Louisville team). Woodall has hit some big shots, but doesn't have the scoring capacity that Gil does...in fact, it's not even close.
But yeah, let's give Woodall more time and decrease Gil's.
Look, I've not always been spot on with my opinions and I've been downright wrong on more than one occasion. But calling for Woodall to get more time in this case is ludicrous and the article looks like something that was thrown together in five minutes without much analysis.
In my opinion.
I'll still be following Dejan's posts about the Pirates and Penguins, where is pretty knowledgeable. But when it comes to college basketball, I think he's a little out of his element.