After hot start, James Robinson struggling

USA TODAY Sports

Pitt's James Robinson was having a tremendous freshman season. He refused to turn the ball over early on, was previously Big East Rookie of the Week, and was fitting right in, even as a first-year starter.

But if you've noticed, Robinson's play has taken a bit of a nosedive recently. He had his best game in a while in the Marquette loss on Saturday with six points, four assists, and three rebounds, but he also had two turnovers and shot only 1-5 from the field.

Things started to turn sour after the first Marquette game. Against Villanova, he had a single point, four assists, and three turnovers. He rebounded for a 12-point effort against UConn, but things got markedly worse after that.

In the seven games since then, Robinson has shot a beyond-dismal (get ready for this, folks) 16% from the field. He hasn't had more than one field goal in any of those games and is also only 2-9 from three-point range. In addition, he's averaged only about two assists per game while suffering ten turnovers. Robinson's free throw shooting has actually improved slightly as he's connected on nearly 80% over that stretch, but that's one of the few things going his way.

So what's the reason for the drop in production? For one thing, Robinson could be hitting a bit of a freshman wall. The season's nearing its end and he's played quite a bit more than a typical freshman has, averaging almost 30 minutes a game. But the other thing is that Pitt has faced some increased competition. The Panthers have played four top 20 teams in those games, including Syracuse, Marquette, Louisville, and Cincinnati.

Robinson will be just fine, I'm sure. But as the season wears on, he could probably stand to play fewer minutes and the good thing is that that's the direction Jamie Dixon has been taking. The guard is averaging about 21 minutes per game during those last seven contests.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics.

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