I'd like to give a detailed analysis of tonight's game against Louisville - I really would. But when you score 41 points in an entire game, there's really not much to be said. There's absolutely zero merit in reciting the individual stats here - you can't take anything away from this. If you really want to torture yourself with a box score, here you go, you sickos. Spoiler alert - there was Michael Young and really not much else. For some odd reason, Sterling Smith had zero points and eight rebounds. Whatever.
Look, here's what this isn't. It's not the end of the season or the worst thing ever. This was the exception, not the norm of what we've seen this year. Did Pitt play poorly? Of course. Guess what ... it happens.
Sometimes the shots don't always fall and there's no amount of coaching or effort that fixes that. Everyone has off nights. It can be argued that this was a horrible night, and in reality, it was.
With such a terrible game, why am I not that concerned? This.
This was almost entirely about shooting. Pitt tied Louisville on the boards despite the Cardinals owning a significant size advantage. Their defense held Louisville to 59 points, which, on many nights, would be enough. Sure, the Panthers could have played better but this largely about simply not shooting well. Those things happen. I'm not saying the effort was perfect and I'm sure that, even without reading the post-game quotes, that the players would freely admit that. But when you shoot 28% from the field, 9% from three-point range, and 60% from the free throw line, I mean, what can you expect? If you look up anomaly in the Pitt basketball dictionary, you'd find this game. There's no real sense in getting worked up over a team shooting 28% when they've been so good otherwise.
Pitt, of course, has a pretty good history of doing this. They had 49 points last year against Virginia after only 15 in the first half. They had 43 in that ugly game against Cincinnati two years ago. They had 42 in an equally ugly game against Notre Dame the year before that. I know people are surprised by this, but the very simple fact is that, despite how good or bad Pitt is in any given year, they're almost always good for an absolute dud of a performance. Tonight was it. It's always surprising when you see these types of games but the reality is that it happens to the team once (or even twice) a year on a pretty regular basis.
The Panthers' offense has by and large been amazing this year. Pitt has been the near the top of the nation in several statistical offensive categories this season and I'm hardly going to panic over one game where they can't find the basket. Pitt has scored over 80 points in 11 of their 16 games (and they scored 79 in a 12th). Again, what we saw tonight was the exception, not the rule. Sure, the competition had something to do with that but even in ACC play, the Panthers averaged over 82 points per game before tonight.
Worrying about what this season holds won't get you anywhere. It's unfortunate that Pitt picked tonight for an absolute dud. The Panthers could have used tonight to silence a lot of their critics and win here would have done that. But that's the way the game works - shots don't always fall. The best thing to do is chalk this one up to a very off night and move forward.
If Pitt has more games like tonight, then let's talk. Obviously, I can't state unequivocally that the Panthers won't have any more games like this. But until I see more of it, I'm not overly concerned here.
Oh yeah, and blame PBS.