Not much to say here, folks. Plus, I mean, it's after midnight, anyway.
Pitt was beaten pretty soundly by San Diego State tonight (okay, fine, last night), 74-57, in the Maui Invitational semifinals. The Panthers had a tall order in the Aztecs, who are ranked No. 15 in the country, but I'm not sure most people expected the blowout that would ensue.
This, though, is what happens when you take a team like San Diego State and match them up with a team that lost to Hawaii and struggled against Samford. You can break this down a million different ways if you care to do so, but it's really pretty simple - the Aztecs are good and Pitt, right now, anyway, is not.
The Panthers struggled on offense and did so equally on defense. They got a superhuman effort from Mike Young and Derrick Randall on Monday against Chaminade, but they had no such luck on Tuesday. James Robinson had 17 points, but did so on 5-12 shooting and also had five turnovers to only three assists. Randall went back to being, well, Randall (two points and two rebounds) and Young eight points and seven rebounds weren't nearly enough.
Someone made the remark either in the gamethread or on Twitter, but San Diego State is really like the Pitt teams of old. Tough defense and efficient shooting. The Panthers did win the rebounding battle pretty significantly (35-22, unofficially) but shot below 40% from the field and had 17 turnovers to the Aztecs' nine. That's just a recipe for disaster - particularly when the team you're facing shoots nearly 60%.
I don't know - I don't want to say this year is a lost cause or even one that's going to be really down, but nothing else right now points to anything different. Pitt will get a boost when Cam Wright comes back, but Wright couldn't have done anything during this debacle. If you judge this team based on what we've seen already - the Hawaii mess, the struggling against Samford, the nightmare that was Tuesday's game, it's really hard to feel too optimistic. This isn't a one-game situation where the team has an off night - this is a bad team right now.
And I'll have more on this in the morning, but Jamel Artis is slumping right now. That wouldn't have been a huge problem last year when he was a role player, but as a starter now getting big minutes, Pitt needs him to play better. He had only four points on Tuesday.
Jim made a solid point in the gamethread in that the struggles right now are pretty unfortunate since we're coming off of such a down football season. Basketball was the one thing most of us felt pretty good about and if this is a rebuilding year, it's just a miserable time to be a Pitt fan.
Things can change, of course. Some of the youth will grow up during the season. Josh Newkirk was a good example of a true freshman that got significantly better by the end of last year, after all. But the team doesn't defend well, doesn't have an offensive star, and goes through slumps on offense.
In other words, there's a lot of work to do. Pitt gets back at it on Wednesday with a game against Kansas State for third place.
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